Archive for December 12th, 2010

Weight Watchers and the new story

I have been known to tell people to “watch their words.” Words have power, I believe this. I believed it before I became a fan of narrative therapy. I love affirmations because this is a way to use that word power for good – for yourself and your well being. I won’t go into a lot of detail here about why I believe or why you should. The research is out there if you are interested. Here is a link to a recent one on a “values affirmation exercise” and how it helped raise women’s grades.

Meanwhile, I have been telling this old story about myself for about, oh, 10 years? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I am going to tell it again, one more time. I have good intentions that this be the last time I tell it this way. The story starts way back….

I did not grow up a fat child, although I always thought I was. The thing is, if you look at the pictures of me from “back in the day” I just wasn’t fat.


I'm about 14 here - yes, that's me with the fuzzy hair

After I moved out of my mother’s house, though, I gained weight fast. Hilariously, as I was looking for a picture to place here I found myself thinking, “Gosh, isn’t there one that shows the weight but doesn’t look too fat?”

Yes, this is me less than one year after moving out

After that, I kind of struggled with it over the years. I say “kind of” because there were times when I know I thought of myself as fat, but again, the pictures don’t tell the same story.

And this is just a couple of years later

For the record, I didn’t crop anyone out of this photo. I think it was really meant to be a picture of the Royal Gorge more than of me…

I moved to Italy some 10 years later, where I dropped 30 lbs without even thinking about it. Yes, yes, people always say, “Oh, but you were walking more, doing the tourist thing,” and all that but it wasn’t true. In truth, I went from running every other day to no running at all. I spent most of my time sitting around – I wasn’t even working! I was eating ice cream and pastries, cheesy creamy pastas, things I would never allow myself before.

Which leaves – the food. The food there is different in a number of ways. No chemicals, no colors, and only what is in season. Food portions are different, there are no left-overs, no second helpings. Not that they were tiny portions like in France – but they were pre-measured in a way we don’t do here. I could write a whole essay on the food – but I won’t.

One of the very few pictures I have of myself in Italy without food in my hand.

Then I moved back to the States and the weight crept back up again, despite the fact that I was still running and farther than before. I trained for a marathon and started working with a personal trainer for the rest (always hoping to get the weight down again). I made all kinds of modifications of my diet (I started having migraines then, so I went through a whole elimination diet deal and the like).

The long and short of it is that I have been a fairly attentive eater and exerciser for YEARS. I am mostly vegetarian (except for the sushi I still eat once in a while). I have been watching my portion sizes for the last few years (ever since someone told me there were 350 calories in half a cup of almonds). I run 15 – 20 miles a week. I work out with weights 3 times a week. I limit my intake of white sugars and flours. I eat mostly seasonal, organic veggies from a local farm and brown rice. I don’t drink alcohol or soda. I don’t even drink fruit juice. But for all that, I am at the same weight today that I was a month ago and 4 months before that.

I have considered Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem, where you just eat what they give you. I kept thinking, if it works for people who aren’t as active as I am, look out! But then the idea of eating that processed, salt laden, chemical clad food puts me off again. I have counted calories using and I find that useful, but then I kept hearing from the personal trainer and the doctor that maybe I’m not eating enough (1200 calories a day) given my exercise. The problem with that is, how will I increase my calories in healthy ways? The problem with eating a lot of veggies is that they throw off your percentages. Think of it this way, I can eat 2 cups of steamed broccoli for about 38 calories. Then, I can add HALF a tablespoon of olive oil and that is 60 calories. Now more than half of my calories come from fat. I could not figure it out.

I finally got fed up and decided to join Weight Watchers. Yes, Weight Watchers. On the one hand, I kind of hate to have worked this hard only to have to say, in the end, that I owe my weight to WW. I kind of want to be able to say I did it “on my own.” I kind of hate the whole WW set-up, public weighings and all that. Lucky for me someone told me that they have an online setup and I decided to try it. I mean really, what have I got to lose? (no pun intended)

This is the old story: I have done everything anyone ever said would help you to release weight and nothing works. But that is just the story. The truth is that I don’t own a scale, so I have measured my actual weight somewhat sporadically, at the doctor when I go, with the personal trainer. I borrowed a scale from my ex rumi after joining Weight Watchers (they ask you for your weight right away!) and discovered that I am down at least 5 lbs since the last time I stepped on a scale. The truth is that since June of 2009, I have lost about 35 pounds. It’s time to give up the old story.

The new story will go something like this – I care about myself enough to exercise, meditate and eat healthy food (still). These things effect change in my body over time. I can expect these changes to continue.

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