My weight has been the elephant in the room for many years. Even my primary doctor doesn’t directly address it. He knows I know that, in medical terms, I was morbidly obese at my last physical. He knows I know how to lose weight and how many times I’ve “tried” to lose it. This time, after 4-5 tries at Weight Watchers, I’ve reached and maintained my goal and am now a lifetime member; yet I’m still reluctant to discuss it. Oh, I’m definitely proud of the accomplishment. Although I complain about having spent so much money on buying several smaller wardrobes on my nearly 90 pound journey, believe me when I tell you I am ecstatic to be able to wear regular “misses” petite size 12 or 14 rather than “woman” petite size 22 or even 24! However, the phrase “4-5 tries” carries a lot of weight (no pun intended).
You see, I’ve backslid so many times, I’m afraid I will again, despite my determination not to let that happen. The WW members’ and leaders’ litany “it’s a lifestyle, not a diet” isn’t really entirely true. It is a diet, because unlike those lucky people who can eat anything without gaining an ounce, I have to continually watch what goes into my mouth. If I eat too much ice cream one day, the next I’ll have to eat salads and/or exercise. If I don’t track everything I eat, my weight creeps up. If I don’t go to meetings, my weight creeps up. Periodically, I have to stop eating ice cream and other sweets, even though it’s “allowed” on WW. That’s what any reasonable person would call a diet. It’s a dieting lifestyle. It’s comparable to being an alcoholic who needs AA to maintain sobriety.
So, one way I’m going to help myself to maintain my weight loss is to remind myself of some things I needed (and still need) to do to stay “on” the WW plan. If it also happens to help anyone else reading this, that’s great.
1. Contemplating reaching a WW goal involving 100+ pounds to lose made my head spin. Then, I discovered how much control I had over the app, so I periodically reset my goal weight in smaller increments (like 5-10 pounds at a time). Those goals were attainable, and I rewarded myself each time I reached one. (It may be verboten, but my rewards included special food items. Hey, it worked for me, as long as I tracked!)
2. Essentially a couch potato, I did the same for the fitness goals, since the WW auto settings were way too high. The app also got me to realize that housework — vacuuming, laundry, changing litter boxes, etc. — counts as activity! That was a relief, since the first time in my life that I set foot in a gym was after I had already lost around 30 pounds. (Note to self: You need to get back to regular exercise.)
2-a. Wearing a fitness tracker really does help to up the exercise quotient. If you wear one all the time, as I do, it’s a constant reminder to get moving. And it doesn’t have to be the popular Fit-Bit or Apple Watch. If a pedometer works better, go for it! Personally, I love my Motiv ring. (uncompensated plug)
3. I didn’t actually have to reach the WW goal, if my doctor wrote a note giving a more attainable weight as a goal. That was a real life-saver for me. I told my doctor that I would probably drop WW before reaching their goal, as usual, for three main reasons: the necessary, but incomprehensible, 100+ pounds I would need to lose, the nearly $50 monthly member cost, and hanging, excess skin (when you’re 60+ with that much weight to lose, your skin just doesn’t have the elasticity to contract that much).
4. The doctor-set goal weight slides me out of the obese category back into merely overweight. Having attained that goal weight, I no longer have to pay for WW meetings or the online tools. The only requirement is to weigh-in once a month and gain no more than 2 pounds over goal. I can still lose weight, if I want to. At some point, though, WW would start charging me again for the online tools; don’t know if they’d also charge for meetings. Also don’t know how much weight I’d have to lose for that to happen. I’ve had several weigh-ins that were 2-3 pounds under goal with no repercussions.
5. I need to both track everything and go to WW meetings at least every other week to avoid gaining weight. Compliments and encouragement from friends and family are gratifying and a nice ego-boost, but only other WW members truly don’t judge when another member plateaus or even gains a few pounds. Because we’ve all done it.
That’s it. Remember, it’s not a diet, it’s a dieting lifestyle.