Me, last summer 2012, age 49
Two weeks ago I joined Weight Watchers.
I held off posting about it because I wanted to reach my goal weight and then say how awesome Weight Watchers is and how it helped me.
Why would I — a thin person — go to Weight Watchers? you may ask.
Okay, here’s the deal. I was always the thin person — or the person of a healthy weight (if you’re one of those types who only thinks a size 0 is thin, as I’ve fluctuated between size 3 and 6 most of my adult life). I never went on a diet. Never counted calories. Never worried. I became a vegetarian in my 20s and by my early 40s I was eating mostly raw foods and still am. I’ve always done a variety of exercise since I was a kid: yoga, light weights, dance (tap and jazz), kickboxing, etc. I always exercise regularly and actually embrace it. At 42 I was in a bikini and had a perfectly flat stomach. Even at 48 I was in a bikini with a flat stomach, without watching my weight.
So that was my life, September, 2011, me with a flat stomach, in a bikini. Two months later, I married the love of my life. Since we eloped we didn’t have a big party. It was absolutely beautiful, just us and the couple who stood up for us. We got married by the mayor of Neptune Township. It was one of those perfectly, unseasonal warm days in November. Beautiful clear skies, a light breeze. I was floating on the cloud of euphoria. We had a lovely lunch at a restaurant on the beach with our friends, had champagne, lots of laughs and just a hell of a good time.
Afterwards we called everyone to say, “Hey, we got married!”
Soon the cards of “congrats” came pouring in. And the offers from people to take us out to dinner. That winter, we were going out to dinner — A LOT! Within a few months, eight pounds crept up on me and at 123 pounds, I was the most I weighed in my life. But somehow the following summer, I lost a few pounds and stayed between 121 and 122.
Then winter came and the weight crept up again. I slowly watched the scale numbers, 123, 124, and finally 125 — which is a lot for a person who is only 5’3″. Now here I am — with a belly, not being able to fit into my jeans, tossing beautiful dresses aside because they no longer fit and being completely frustrated.
People have said to me, “You don’t look 125,” “You’re not fat,” “You look great,” “People would love to look like you,” etc.
And my husband thinks I’m perfect. I also got compliments from my mom and uncle when I shared that I gained a good eight pounds.
I appreciate the nice comments from others, but the bottom line is, I feel uncomfortable — it’s ME! (And yeah, I admit, a girl friend or two that insinuated I should lose a few).
Now, if this is my destiny because of my age/hormones and I have to accept, hey I’m almost 50 and I have to learn to live with the extra weight — so be it. BUT, I need to know that if I CAN lose the weight, sensibly, why not give it a shot before going out and buying a bunch of new clothes. Makes sense, right?
So two weeks ago I was 125. Now I am 123 and would sensibly like to get back to 121 (that’s the weight I was in the above photo). Ideally, I’d like my 46-year-old bikini body back as the photo below, but I am being realistic, as 46 and 50 are two different things — maybe .. we shall see …
Me, summer 2008, age 46
Prior to starting Weight Watchers, I was talking to a client who was in the same boat as I was: ate healthy, exercised, but wasn’t able to lose. I said I wanted to join but my concern was that I didn’t want to be the thinnest person there and have people hating on me. Her husband misunderstood, and said, “What are you supposed to do, hide until you lose the weight?” He didn’t get my point. I guess I shouldn’t expect anyone to. Seems the majority of people are overweight and need to lose; or people are too obsessed with their weight that they feel they need to lose when they don’t; and then there are the few like me, that want to NIP IT IN THE BUD before it gets out of hand. The clothes feel tight, I need to do something, right?
So, I joined — mainly to get my clothes fitting again.
In two weeks I lost 2 pounds. I am now 123, two pounds from my “sensible” weight of 121 and five pounds from my “ideal” weight of 118 (like the picture above at age 46). NOTE: This is MY ideal, I’m not talking about competing with movie stars.
Mind you, just because I’m thin, it doesn’t mean losing weight easy (otherwise I wouldn’t have joined Weight Watchers!). It’s actually HARDER for a thin person to lose five pounds than it is for a fat person to lose 60, because those last few pounds are always the hardest. That is probably why I’ve been struggling before I joined Weight Watchers. I’d lose a few pounds, get excited and overeat. I was yo-yo dieting without realizing it!
But the good news is, now that is all under control. Weight Watchers, I feel is a GENIUS program because you count points, not calories. You are going by the merit of the food. It’s a science that’s worked for people for over 40 years and now it’s working for me too!
Weight Watchers is awesome because you’re not on a diet. You can eat everything you want. You can be a vegetarian, a meat eater, a sweet lover … whatever your thing is, this WILL work!
Weight Watchers assigns you a number of points, plus bonus points (that could be used for weddings, parties, etc.) Now for me, I’m not a cake, cookies or chocolate person, so that part is easy. The hard part, for me, is portion control. If my husband makes a box of pasta, I’ll help him eat it until it’s all gone. If I’m at a restaurant and really enjoying my meal, I’ll eat the whole thing. I love to drink. I’ll down a few glasses of wine or a couple bottles of beer or a half bottle of unfiltered sake — my favorite. I am a foodie through and through. I love to eat. I like GOOD food. I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m stressed. I eat when I’m celebrating.
But in the past two weeks, making a conscious effort, tracking points, I’ve learned some things about myself, and why I was able to lose two pounds.
1. I drank more alcoholic beverages than I should have. With the point system, I now save four points on the nights I plan to have a cocktail (five points for a beer). I just have ONE.
2. I didn’t know portion control. Now I do. I now take home food from restaurants and make a second meal out of leftovers. I know that five slices of Tofurky is two points, so I don’t eat the whole package, I ration.
3. Organic chocolate bars are so not worth the points. I don’t miss them one bit! I’d rather have something more substantial like vegetarian cheese.
4. Some nights almond milk (1 point) and some fresh fruit is so much more rewarding than a glass of wine (4 points). Other nights those 4 points for the wine are definitely worth forfeiting something else.
5. Seaweed snacks, without sugar, are only a point! A delicious healthy treat that I love!
6. My beloved kombucha with chia seeds is two points for two servings. So I cut down to one every few days instead of two every day!
(See how easy?)
The meetings are a little harder. The first two were a breeze. But last night, my biggest nightmare happened. People, left and right, were questioning my being there, which SUCKED!
First, I am not “skinny.” I am thin or healthy, but my clothes are still tight! Don’t get on my case. We all have our own journey. My reason for being here is to nip my issue in the bud before it gets out of hand. I’m proud of myself for doing this and not just chalking weight gain to hormones or age. If that’s the end discovery, so be it, but I am losing, so I was doing something wrong. Get it?
This one girl said that everyone there was inspiring, “EXCEPT HER!” and pointed to me.
It hurt. So I said, “Okay, I’ll tell you about my struggle for the week. It’s been very hot and I’m an exercise failure this week. I blew off several of my workouts.”
And that’s just one of my struggles. Mind you too, I have a sick cat, I run my own business, I sometimes have back issues, I need some dental work in the near future, sometimes I fight with my perfect husband like any other normal couples … life is not always peaches and cream.
So ladies, please cut me a break. Just because I’m going to meetings NOW and didn’t wait until I was up to 140 pounds (which is officially overweight for a 5’3″ person!), I shouldn’t be nailed to the cross. I deserve to be there just like you do.
Luckily by the end of the meeting, I saw a girl I met when I was only a few days into it. She was happy to see me and asked how I was doing. I said that I lost two pounds. She was cool about it and not judgmental about me being thin. I asked her how she was doing and supported her efforts as well.
We all have our own journeys and this is good for me. Weight Watchers is not only helping me lose weight, but helping me drink less alcohol, learn portion control, and save money by not eating every healthy snack that’s in the house!
I think I’ll become a lifetime member!