Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yes, I'm a "Program" Girl


The Director of my local Weight Watchers called me early this week to ask if I would be interested in sharing my story at an employee function today.  While I can prattle on for eons in a blog post, the thought of speaking in front of a group fills me with terror (funny side note: I went to college in the era of transition from human based records to computer based records & my Intro to Computer Science class (ComS 103) was accidentally coded as a speech class (SCom 103) & I weasled my way into a BA from a D1 school without fulfilling the speech requirement!).  Anyway, I decided to write it out as a post.  It's a little longer than most for me, but it's something I haven't talked much about.  While I haven't made it a secret that I follow the Weight Watchers plan, I haven't really written much about it because I view it as a tool that has helped me into other, more important, things.  However, it is an important tool (for me--there are no silver bullets or one-size-fits-all solutions) & Weight Watchers more than deserves a few chicken scratches on topic.  Speaking of chicken scratches...

When Dayna called to ask me to come tell my story I was literally in the middle of frying six pounds of chicken nuggets.  FRYING.  And my first internal response was to feel incredibly guilty.  What Weight Watchers Success Story fries anything?  Shouldn't there be some sort of un-greased lightning coming down from the Weight Watchers gods to smite me or something?  But that's just the point of what Weight Watchers is to me.  It's about choices, control & no. more. guilt.

I originally started Weight Watchers in January of 2009 at 239 pounds.  After weening my first child, I had put all of my pregnancy weight back on & I was tired & in pain all of the time.  I owe a lot to a friend that had success on Weight Watchers.  Seeing her spurred me to "give that diet" a try.  Up until that time I was a habitual dieter--soups, juices, lemon/cayenne/maple concoctions--I had half-heartedly tried them all in my quest to "get skinny."
December 2008: 239 Pounds
I lost 30 pounds by rigorously following the plan & staying away from things that I wasn't "suppose to" have.  When I got pregnant with my second child I told Pam that I would see her again in April of 2010 & I skipped out the door.  "Pregnancy Cakes" (a yellow boxed cake with chocolate frosting eaten over the span of 2-3 days) soon followed.  All of the foods that I had disallowed came back into my diet with a vengeance & I justified it because I was pregnant & I would take care of it "after the baby came."  I had a 60 pound pregnancy & a 7 pound baby, but something had changed.  When the doctor said "It's a girl!" in the delivery room, I knew that I had a responsibility to break the obesity cycle that has been plaguing the women in my family.  I knew that my daughter wouldn't grow up with the assumption of obesity that I had.  I knew that if that were to be the case I had to model how to be healthy so that she would know that as an expectation, not a pipe dream. 
February 2010: 269 Pounds

I was 269 pounds when I came home from the hospital.  I lost 15 pounds on my own but was absolutely giddy to be starting back up with Weight Watchers when my daughter was six weeks old.  From there I started looking at how I got to be obese, how I use food, & what is going on in my head when it comes to food & body image.  I learned that I was a volume eater & used the Points system to help me reprogram what a healthy portion looks like.  I used the Recipe Builder for everything I cooked to help me figure out what each ingredient was doing to my food & analyze how to make each meal work harder for me.  I trained myself to go to Power Foods first for snacks & cravings & tried to re-frame my mindset that food is fuel, not a friend.  I started realizing that it wasn't about getting skinny, it was about being healthy & living a life where longevity with quality was an attainable reality.
April 2010: 254 Pounds

When people ask me about Weight Watchers I always say that it is ONE of the invaluable tools that I have used on this journey.  Weight Watchers, for me, is primarily about figuring out how much to eat by utilizing the PointsPlus system (& yes, I eat ALL of my Points) & giving me the support & accountability that I need along the way to doing that.   Weight Watchers is not about telling me what to eat or having me deprive myself.  It's about helping me change my life to one that is sustainable, where yes, I eat chicken nuggets that I fried in oil.  But now they're fried in a skimming--of heart-healthy oil--coated in whole wheat bread crumbs--made from bread that I baked--with flour that I milled.  As of this morning, I've lost nearly 105 pounds with Weight Watchers (120 in total) because I have learned how to make choices that are right for my body & the bodies of the people I feed.  Not by eating a set of pre-determined, regimented foods, but by making conscious & informed decisions through the knowledge the plan has given me.  For that, I will forever be grateful.
April 2012: 151 Pounds

1 comment:

  1. I did Weight Watchers back in 2003 and it was great. I weighed the least I have ever weighed as an adult by the end of the year. I was the exact middle of my BMI. Weight Watchers taught me portion control and how exercise affected how much food my body needed. Whenever my jeans would start to get tight I would record points for a week or so to get the portion creep under control.

    Then several years past and Peace Corps happened and I started to think about how what I ate impacted global market, environment and my physical health. I never made the leap while in Weight Watchers that it wasn't about being skinny. (From what I’ve heard, they do more to promote that idea now.) I finally got that it was my health I was maintaining not what size pants I wear.

    Then we decided to have a baby and I started to think about what I needed to eat for the karate kid living in my womb. I started eating dairy and meat again for the protein. I did a lot of research to figure out which fish were not in danger of being over fished, low in mercury and high in Omega-3s. Sardines, catfish and salmon are my choices in case you were wondering.

    Just recently I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (it doesn't kick in until the last trimester if you’re going to have it). I've adjusted again eating more fat this time in exchange for carbohydrates. As well as eating frequent snacks to keep my blood sugar constant. It's gotten me over my fear of eating fat, which unfortunately was heavily Weight Watchers driven. And as my midwife predicted now that I've figured out how to eat to for GD my pregnancy weight gain evened out and is increasing at a desirable rate.

    I guess my point is that health is always an evolution. There is always something to learn. And as we change so should how we eat. Weight Watchers was a step on the path to mindful eating for me too.