So last week I left you all hanging with my thoughts on knowing/participating/losing weight with WW for 50 years! I know, I know. A person’s weight/diet/thoughts on weight/diet are unique but there are some things that are shared because of society’s judgments on (especially female’s) looks.
I am just about to turn 65. I was always a chubby kid. I weighted over 8 lbs. at birth so I already had a handicap. My early years were in Costa Rica. I was heavier than my peers, always. My working mom felt terrible about leaving us every morning so she used to sweeten our milk before it went into the bottles that would comfort us the hours she was away. I don’t remember ever feeling deprived or sad. We were physically taken care of by the household help my parents were able to afford and there was plenty of love during the weekends from grandparents, parents, cousins and friends. But sugar in the milk was surely addictive.
When we moved to the U.S. in 1963, I was 8 years old, chubby. I look at pictures of me and see that I was chubbier than everyone else but nothing alarming. Baby fat that would have resolved itself without intervention for sure. However, there was plenty of intervention. My mother suffered about my “obesity” because she assumed there were emotions behind my overeating. I enjoyed eating and I was a rather sedentary child, that’s what I think. I did/do love sweets!
I managed to get along with everyone and I was a pretty good kid. The trouble always started when we needed to go get clothes. I could never find anything to fit me in the kids department. There were no plus sizes then…I sometimes believe that my mother just didn’t want to admit that she had to buy large sizes for her young child. When I was 10 years old, I was put on a diet. It involved a quack doctor, shots and diets. It didn’t last long but the damage to my metabolism probably started then.
When I was 15, my mother decided to go on a diet. She decided I would go on one too. I was probably 15 lbs. overweight at that point. We joined Weight Watchers. Our group leader was a man who had lost over 100 lbs. I was mesmerized. I lost the weight within 6 months and did learn a lot about nutrition. I did feel terrific. I had learned to sew a few summers prior to that (cause it was easier than fighting retail!) so I made myself some cute (small and short) skirts. I loved the compliments.
I don’t know when I fell off the wagon but I know it had something to do with my best friend’s mother’s wonderful Irish Soda bread that she made in the afternoons for her large family. I indulged all my desires, having not one but two thick slices, with plenty of butter and a hot cup of tea. Today we use the point system, back in 1970, it was all about starches and fats! My downfall. Within 6 months, I had gained back all the weight and then some. I still felt like me but I could no longer fit into the cute little skirts. Fortunately, it was now winter and I could “hide” behind my big coat. My mother lost and gained her weight too and then I guess we both gave up the struggle. I rarely ate in front of her because she would monitor my intake. Even if she said nothing, her expression said it all. I asked her once why she was so concerned about my weight when she had her own problem. She answered without apology that she had married, had a career, had children. Her life was complete. Mine was just beginning and aside from all my other worries, I was also carrying excess weight. She worried I would not find a mate. I never thought about marriage, children, etc. it all seemed complicated and too much work.
I will probably write an entire book about this “struggle” and how despite how far we’ve come in terms of body image, being normal weight is something that will always be my goal. At this moment, I am still 15 lbs. heavier than I want to be but 30 lbs. less than I was just 3 years ago. And again, WW has been my successful “go to” life plan. It truly is the only one that makes sense to me and I am fully aware that it is a business. My loss is my business. My business is their win. I don’t resent it, they have a good plan that will work if you work it. I have only lost about 7 lbs. this year. At this rate I will get to goal in two years but honestly, what else do I have to lose?!
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