This time around, I've been doing Weight Watchers since August of 2010. It's by no means the first time I've done it, I've been a Weight Watchers member on and off since I was 16.
But the last 3 or so years have by far been my most successful. I've lost 50 pounds, and I haven't quit and gained it back. That's a huge accomplishment. That's because it's a great program. They have a system that works, that's livable, and they've created an online and in person support system.
Not to brag, but I feel like the pictures speak for themselves.
Summer 2010 (Pre-Weight Watchers)
So, there's a little bragging here, but seriously. Look at my face.
I know I've had success, and I'm really proud of it.
I'm tired of doing everything right, eating well, working out, feeling great, then stepping on that scale to have that great feeling come crashing down.
I feel healthy. I feel better than I've ever felt. So why have I been gaining and losing the same 10 pounds since last October? That's right, I hit my lowest weight since high school last October. Then I hit a plateau. Then I gained 15 pounds over the holidays. And I still haven't lost it all or gotten back to my October weight.
And I think focusing on my weight is making it worse.
If you're familiar with Weight Watchers, you can skip this paragraph. But if you're not, here's a quick run down. Weight Watchers gives you points. Every food is a certain number of points, it's based on the fat, fiber, protein, and carbs in the food. You get a certain number of points per day. You can earn extra points by working out. And on top of all that, you get 49 points per week you can use however you want.
Sounds like a great plan, right? Well, it is. Between the weekly, daily, and activity points, I don't generally feel deprived, and deprivation is a fatal blow to any weight loss program for me. I can still drink wine and eat pizza, I just can't drink wine and eat pizza every night. And if I want more wine and pizza, I have to go for a run or a zumba class.
But here's my cycle. I've been at Weight Watchers long enough to know how my body reacts to certain things. I know that if I'm sore from a hard workout, I'll retain about 3-4 pounds of water weight. I gain weight around my period, and a salty dinner and alcohol will also cause a gain. In my head, I KNOW there are all false gains. I know that it's just water, and it'll be gone next week.
But I hate seeing a gain. So starting Monday, my entire menu and schedule will be focused on not seeing a gain on Wednesday. Even if I have Activity or Weekly Points left, I won't touch them. I'll chug water with lemon to get rid of bloat. And under no circumstances will I do activity on Tuesday that could either dehydrate me or make me sore.
On top of that, I'll start jumping on and off the scale. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, I probably weighed myself 7 or 8 times before my official weigh in. I'd weigh myself, go do something, then come back and a weigh myself again to see if anything changed.
So as you can probably imagine, I'm a bundle of nerves by the time I get to my official weigh in. And then crushed when I find out what I knew I was going to find out, that it's a gain.
How do I deal with disappointment and stress? you ask. How do you think?
And it's Wednesday, which means I have all 49 points ahead of me. So I get a dose of disappointment, and an influx of points at the same time.
By the time I get a hold of myself, it's usually half way through the weekend, and I decide the only way to make up for it is, low and behold, deprivation and ridding myself of water weight. And the cycle continues.
It's not healthy, and I know it's not healthy. Not only is it stalling my physical weight, it's taking a toll on my mental health.
So here's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to keep counting points. I know Weight Watchers works when I let it.
I'm going to stop going to meetings. I just can't have the focus be on losing weight right now, and that's a big focus of the meetings (which is understandable, considering it's in the name of the organization).
I'm going to hide my scale for a month. I decided to have my points reset on Mondays, since I don't have a meeting to go in, so my last weigh in for a month is going to be Monday morning.
So I'm just going to focus on exercise and eating, and I'm not going to worry about my weight. Because regardless of what I weigh, it's the healthy habits that are important, right?
Then I'll weigh myself in a month and see where I stand.
I sound sure of myself, but it's all just an act.
I know this is what's right for me. I'm feeling a ton of anxiety about not knowing my weight for a month. But the amount of anxiety I'm feeling right now is telling me that I'm doing the right thing by changing the focus.