Monday, January 11, 2010

Success in Small Steps

Seven years ago, I joined Weight Watchers on a whim. Well, not a whim, per se, since that sounds free-spirited and fun. And joining was neither free-spirited nor fun. It was prompted by stepping onto my scale in our little 2 bedroom home and seeing a number higher than I'd ever seen before.

It took me a year to lose 28 pounds, following the Weight Watchers program online. The first week I was following the plan, I would literally be in bed every night by 9 p.m., because going to sleep was the only thing that made me forget how hungry I was. I lived off of veggie subs (no mayo or cheese), baked Lay's, and Diet Coke. I snacked on salads with fat free Italian dressing, Pria bars, and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. I logged in once a week, and depending on my weight the website would give me a big smiley face (lost), a face with no smile (maintained), or a sad face (gained). That sad face really pissed me off.

I was obsessive about the graph WW online provided. For me, that was the single best motivator aside from actually losing weight. I needed the visual to remind me This is where you were, and this is where you are now, and look for far you've come.

Seven years later, and my '20 in 20' goal (not really 20 in 20...my real goal is to lose 20 in 12, then another 10 in 8, for a total of 30 in 20), when reached, would leave me weighing 13 pounds more than the weight that sent me running to Weight Watchers online at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. This is hard for me to swallow. Not hard for me to swallow: cookies, candy, mac and cheese, delicious 600-calorie coffee drinks, and cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

Losing weight is, for me, a long and slow road. 12 months. 52 weeks. 28 pounds. That's an average of just over half a pound a week.

So I guess I should be thrilled that this morning, when I stepped on the scale, I'd lost another 1.5, for a total 2 week loss of 2.5.

It's hard to be thrilled when you've got so far yet to go.

But the truth is this: I knew going into this that it would be a long, slow road. I set my goal high...to lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks. That means I need to average 1.6 pounds a week. And so far I'm not doing that. But rather than focus on that negative, I'm going to remember to celebrate the small losses as victories, and not get frustrated with slow progress.

I'm not doing WW this time. I know it works for me, but I also know too many ways around the system. Weighing in wearing your heaviest clothes the first week, so the next week you're bound to show a loss. Skipping a meeting and going on another day so you can fast for 18 hours before getting on the scale. Showing up in a dress on weigh-in day so you can see a loss, rather than staying on target with eating like you should have. Look, Weight Watchers is great and it works and I fully advocate it to people looking to lose weight, especially those who need to learn (or relearn) healthy habits and portion sizes. But I know all that, and I need to learn to put that knowledge to good use on my own, without Points and the shame of stepping on the scale in front of a stranger. And quite honestly I'm not willing to spend the $13 a week to go to meetings, which is what I would need to do to see the kind of progress I want to see with WW.

So I'm going to move forward and keep focusing on the basics: lots of water, healthy foods, moving more, eating less. And here's to another week closer to goal!

2 comments:

Crystal said...

Pretty much exactly how I feel. I lost 45 lbs with Weight Watchers. And when I started, when I was appalled at my weight, I was 25lbs lighter than I am right now. I am refocusing my energy on eating healthy, drinking water, portion control, but I am not going back to WW. Not this time.

Jennifer said...

I agree. I cannot - and will not - weigh in with people staring at me. Hell, when I was married my own HUSBAND didn't even know what I weighed. I don't talk about it, I find it to be personal (and quite frankly embarrassing.) I have about 50 lbs to lose. When I count points, it seems I stall more frequently. I have decided to set a calorie goal for each day and adjust it as I need to when I'm not losing. Simple as that. Drinking water and making better choices of what I eat are both things I'm working on... all things in due time. I know what you mean about looking ahead at how much there is to lose. I'm trying to take it slow - 10 lbs at a time. I set my next goal to be 10 lbs, then another 10 lbs and pretty soon I'll be done with this. The time is NOW. I have no one around eating crappy food tripping me up on the diet living in my house now - there is NO excuse! Thank you, I feel better getting that off my chest.

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