I have maintained a seventy pound weight loss since rejoining Weight Watchers for the fourth and final time, over 10 years ago. Being a repeat Weight Watcher offender, I got tired of starting over so decided on this last attempt that I was going to cut out the constant excuses, and wasn’t giving up again. NO MATTER WHAT and no matter how long it took to reach my goal. At that time I also decided I needed to approach weight loss with several REALITY CHECKS. The first reality check was that I will always be a “food addict”. I learned from other addiction support groups that it’s recommended to attend meetings for the rest of their lives. It made sense to me that I approached my addition to food in the same manner. I decided that when I made goal, I needed to continue attending meetings as I would always be one cheeseburger and french fry away from a relapse. Seventy pounds and nine years later, I still love food as much as I did ON DAY ONE of my weight loss journey! Which means it was a good decision to stick to meetings. Once an addict, always an addict. Still to this day, I drive home from work on the back roads as the smells are still tempting from the love of my life, In N Out Burger. In fact, there is temptation every single day I leave my home. Another reason I need meetings is because I can’t fight that temptation alone, and it just made sense as they addressed the mental help I needed with losing weight. I had to address the WHY I ate, in order to be successful. In meetings I learned other ways to deal with stressful situations, instead of eating them. If hunger isn’t the problem, then food isn’t the solution. Meetings are a constant reminder of that.
Another reality check was that I simply have to work out, even when I don’t feel like it. Being healthy wasn’t just about what I was eating, I also had to move more. I have worked out on a regular basis for the last ten years as well. A funny thing happens when you ACCEPT things you have to do, and eliminate excuses. Reality said I had to do both, for the REST OF MY LIFE! Once accepted, both became easier to do. I would love to be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want and not gain weight. It will never happen, so it’s just easier to do what I need to do. Thank goodness walking is the EASIEST form of exercise, it’s really what I do the most. Something else that motivates me to exercise is inviting others so that I stay accountable! In the bottom left photo above, I am at the Warrior Dash completed in my forties with my oldest son and other Weight Watcher members. The race itself wasn’t that fun (it was an obstacle course and hard work, lol), but the friends that completed it with me made all the difference. I was really proud that not only did I not come in last for my age group, I also beat my son across the finish line! (Had too as he told me I was too old and my bones were brittle when I asked for his support!)
The last reality check was that diets didn’t work for me. Diets involve banning food, and I had no desire to cut out anything. I’d tried banning foods in prior weight loss attempts, and it didn’t work for me. If a program even mentions what I can’t eat, that food is all I will think about until I fall into it head first. That was also another reason I rejoined Weight Watchers when there were so many options available. Weight Watcher’s was the only program that was really a lifestyle change, and not a diet. I was willing to cut BACK on items, but I wasn’t cutting OUT anything. I kept that in mind when I decided it was time to get serious about my weight and chose accordingly.
Over the last few weeks I’ve received comments from friends regarding what I was consuming, knowing that I have been a Weight Watcher member for many years! The first comment was from my photo of a grilled pork chop (with a small amount of gravy on the side like we are taught), roasted sweet potatoes, and green beans. The second was about what I was drinking. These recent comments got me thinking. Why is it that people are shocked and comment when I am eating and drinking items that are NOT filled with sugar and fat. Yet if I am drinking Starbucks or eating a cheeseburger or even Cheesecake, no comments are mentioned. Is societies preconceived notions of losing weight (giving up things they love!) the reason our obesity rate has skyrocketed? Instead of understanding what the Weight Watcher’s program is really about, eating items in moderation and moving more. My friend was shocked that I was eating carbs, even though Weight Watchers has never suggested that we eliminate anything. Even though they haven’t, I wonder if members feel it is something they have to do, which can create unnecessary pressure in an already stressful situation. Which results in giving up before reaching the desired goal.
I want to take a moment and add a sidenote on carbs as I had the same misconceptions before being educated by Weight Watcher’s. The main purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy. Carbs can also be turned into fat (stored energy) for later use.
Dietary carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:
- Sugars: Sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose,fructose, galactose and sucrose.
- Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which eventually get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.
- Fiber: Humans can not digest fiber, although the bacteria in the digestive system can make use of some of them.
The second item I was caught red handed with was Crystal Light. A friend noticed me adding it to my water and commented on whether Weight Watcher’s allowed it or not. I drink it almost daily, and begin adding it to my water for flavor in order to help me cut back on soda. Again, I could be at Starbucks enjoying a full FAT drink as there are so many options, but yet it was more shocking to see me adding crystal light to water. Things that make you go hmmmm. I shared my reasons with my friend, (she cut out soda completely and was excited about that, which is not realistic for me!) adding the fact that I’ve learned to make the main thing the main thing in my Weight Watcher life. How much crystal light I drank, just like how many sweet potatoes I ate, weren’t the reasons for my obesity. Even though the Weight Watcher’s program has changed over the years, what hasn’t changed is that tracking is key. The main thing for me is awareness of what and how much I eat, as well as understanding that I need to incorporate some form of movement into my life, for the rest of my life. I don’t need to concern myself with banning food, it simply isn’t realistic for me.