Ten years ago this month, numerous events took place: test results from a physical showing my cholesterol to be extremely high, a printed picture of a night I thought I looked great but didn’t – at all, and sitting watching TV with an open and empty bag of chips and no memory of eating those chips.
Oh – and I walked back in to Weight Watchers for the 6th time.
Most people come in the door to Weight Watchers because they’ve decided to lose weight. But it’s rarely just a number that freaks us out. It’s usually something that number is causing. For me, it was high cholesterol, vanity, and the fact I was out of control. Completely out of control.
If I had a bad day then wine or cookies or just the cookie dough or chips or all of the above were on the table. And I say “on the table” in a figurative way because sometimes I didn’t have them on the table. They went hand to mouth. Food was my crutch. And truth be told, it’s not completely NOT my crutch now. If I celebrated, I celebrated with food and drink. If I was alone in the house I might have had 4 meals before lunch. So yeah – I was definitely out of control.
Once I made the decision to join I felt I should be thinner immediately – or at least within the week. We’re in a world of instant gratification so if I wasn’t thinner, then it wasn’t working and I needed to quit. But that’s not what happened.
I had to work. I had to work hard. I had to do it daily. And I made it hard on myself at first. You know how we are in the beginning – all excited and motivated. We want to do everything perfectly and get the best results so that it can keep motivating us to keep going. But that’s also not what happened.
I worked so hard and would lose .2 or .4. Others in my meeting were not (in my very resentful opinion) working as hard as I was and they were losing more. But somewhere in that first month I heard someone say a common phrase I hear (and even say) now: Don’t do anything to lose weight that you’re not willing to do for the rest of your life. I was making this a bit too strict and I’m not a “bit-too-strict” kinda girl.
I relaxed in to this journey, this adventure. I took it baby step by baby step. I intentionally was not perfect. There were some weeks I was less perfect than others and some weeks that it was easier all around. And ironically, it made NO difference to my weight loss. My stubborn body was only going to release .2 or .4 at a time. (There might have been a few choice words during this process.) But a beautiful acceptance crept in to my life and my household and this is just how I cooked and ate and lived. Some of the small changes that happened over time was meal planning, water drinking, measuring and weighing food, creating new recipes, and splurging with limits. (Up til then I didn’t understand this word “limits.”)
I had setbacks. We all do. “We get the I don’t wannas.” “I shouldn’t havetas” and even the “I’m gonna have it all despite this *@*@&!! Plan”. We have surgeries and family crises and job layoffs – we have setbacks of our own making and setbacks that are out of our control. And trust me, when that food is a crutch, that’s where we go. And no one emotionally eats broccoli. (Please do not tell me that you do.)
Asking the question “what do you do?” is not necessarily “what is it that you SHOULD do?” I’m a fairly intelligent woman and I know that when I have a setback I should not give up. Then why time after time after time do I? And since I’ve been leading meetings, those setbacks come with an added sense of guilt – now I’m a hypocrite. Why, if I can’t get my act together should I be in front of people leading how they should?
But I’m not a hypocrite. I’m simply a flawed human – redundant, I know. I’m a member first. I have to remind myself that I do different things today than I did 10 years ago and that makes me a work in progress. I do some things a lot better and some things a little better. I’ve come a long way. I’m not where I was and I’m not where I’m going. A long time ago I decided I will like the journey. I will fall down and that’s okay as long as I get back up. I will make a dish I hate. Then I’ll make a dish I love. I will try a new form of activity that I might like. I will feel the feelings that come along with falling and rising. That’s the adventure. That’s the life.
So now my cholesterol is lower, I like more pictures of myself than I don’t, and there are no chips in my house. Happy WW anniversary to me!
Setbacks be damned.