WW update

Ever wonder why it’s called Weight Watchers? I never did before.

Here’s the thing, even though I have kind of despised my body for as long as I can remember, I was always opposed to the idea of any kind of dieting. Hmmm, I guess that isn’t quite true, as I recall eating some kind of crazy cabbage soup back when I still lived at home with my mom. Let me rephrase – once I became an adult I planted myself firmly against any kind of crazy diet.

Over the years, the times that my weight did go down, it always happened when I was working out at a pretty low aerobic level. This is something that I have considered from time to time, but I really love running and it seemed too been hard to give up. I had done everything else I could think of (see Weight Watchers and the new story) and now it was time for something new.

So, I joined WW and began counting points. It didn’t change what I was eating much, since I was already watching my calories on and off for the last few years. I did get a bit of a feeling of liberation, though, feeling like I could “save up” some points for eating out once in a while or for dessert on other days. But I did not lose any weight. I bought the first scale I’ve ever owned and began checking my weight once a week. Well, once or twice. Oh, ok, I started checking several times a day. That alone bothered me, but as my weight changed from day to day, so did my mood. That really pissed me off. I decided I would not renew my WW membership as it wasn’t helping – and actually seemed to be adding to my distress about my weight.

Meanwhile, my knee pain finally stopped me from running altogether. I had to start walking s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y, 2 mph or less, to keep from having intense knee pain. And guess what happened? Without changing one other thing and not keeping track of my food beyond a casual count in my head, my weight started dropping, about a pound a week.

I know, right? That sounds great, right? It’s easy and I can do homework and even work while walking since I’m going so slowly. I can shower as soon as I’m done without waiting the requisite 35 minutes after a good run to cool down. And I’m glad about the weight, too. But I already miss the running and the feeling I get from it, the euphoria, yes, but also that feeling of accomplishment when I’m done. And I hate that I have taken to the scale the way I have, checking and thinking about checking all the damn time. Then I started reading this book:

and it messed with my mind. It is a great non-fiction anthology, with some really fun essays in it, including “Fat Guys Kick Ass,” by Steven A. Shaw and “A Shiner Like a Diamond,” by David Sedaris. And there are some really sad, disturbing essays (The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Eating, Atul Gawadne – Big Game Hunting, Sarah Fenske, On Being Invisible, Natalie Kusz) and inspiring ones (Queen of the Gym, Cheryl PeckHunger, Anne Lamott). But the one that really got me was the first one, “Letting Myself Go,” by Sally Tisdale.

Tisdale talks about all the attention she has put on her weight over the years, losing and gaining, dieting and exercising. She talks about the freedom of letting all that go, of “choosing to stop fighting” herself. She talks about learning to live without fear. I nearly stopped reading right there. I want to feel that way about myself, don’t I? But it was a Tuesday night when I read it and I hadn’t weighed myself all day and was hoping for a “good” number on Wednesday morning, my official weigh-in day with WW. How can I be healthy and feel ok about myself AND work for the good numbers? I thought back to the times when my numbers were good – and I remembered that they were always times when I was not focused on my weight at all. They were times that I was focused on other things, joyful things, new things, but not times when I was slaving away watching my weight.

What I really want more than anything is just to feel good the way I am, to feel healthy and strong and happy. That is the new story.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kelly on March 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    This was a really great blog entry, Martha! Thanks for sharing – and for being so open about it. You make some really good points…and its true, when you stop focusing on things like that “perfect number” you can actually enjoy life and all the wonderful things around you. I hope you continue to feel positive and good about yourself, no matter what that number is. How you FEEL is more important than what number appears…


    • Thanks, Kelly. The food thing can get so crazy – I recently made up a “rule” for myself that I wouldn’t eat things that I wasn’t enjoying. Then I thought, “Really? I need a rule about eating food I like?” That’s sad.


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