Tag Archives: Weight Watchers

My Loyalty to WW (formerly Weight Watchers)

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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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The Journey Towards 65!

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In one of my early posts of 2015, I featured the above scale as a grim reminder of how much weight I had been steadily gaining in the last few years. It is 5 years later…I have lost 15 pounds since then but I am still not at a weight I feel happy with.

What is going on? I ask myself that every Friday as I get on the scale. The last two years have essentially shown very (truly very) modest changes in the scale in either direction. In other words, I have become a master at maintaining. Maybe I need to accept that this is as much as I am willing to do  right now.

My knees feel good (thank you Glucosamine?), I have no aches and pains anywhere, I take no medication and I will turn 65 (God willing) in September. Tomorrow is March 1st. We are in Lent. I practice a smorgasbord Catholicism that allows me to eat meat on Fridays, except that I do observe Good Friday and won’t eat meat then. I have decided (maybe?) to abstain from alcohol for the remainder of the Lenten season (I’ve been imbibing since Ash Wednesday!) and perhaps that will allow me to see a modest to large weight loss.

I joined WW more than 2 years ago when I saw pictures of myself at my son’s wedding. I couldn’t believe it was me. In 2014, I had quit the on-line WW because I was paying but not following. I gained weight but was never hungry! I thought I could accept myself.

It is boring, isn’t it? Reading the blog of a person who really hasn’t come to terms with what she wants for her body. I love dieting, that’s the truth. If I plan ahead, I am able to do it. To my great disadvantage is my husband who has gained weight along with me, loves food, and finds me attractive (or so he says) at any weight. These are not motivators to losing weight. I don’t really enjoy cooking, choosing to do just about anything else if I can help it. Again to my great disadvantage, my husband does not mind cooking and is a very good cook. He plates the food beautifully and I don’t want to hurt his feelings by not consuming everything he puts on my plate. Oh poor me!

As I said before, tomorrow is March 1st. Time for a new beginning but that does not mean that today has to be a complete disaster. So far, I have eaten a hard boiled egg, fruit, coffee for breakfast. Ceviche with crackers for my lunch, a healthy dose of water and a handful of chocolate chips. The day is going well. There is no wine or rum for me at home and I am planning a nice fish dinner.

Here’s to motivation and perseverance!

 

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Bye 2019, Welcome 2020!

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I’ve been involved with WW (formerly Weight Watchers) since about 1970 when my mother took me to a meeting because she wanted to lose weight and didn’t want to go alone. Don’t get me wrong, I needed to lose weight too but I didn’t really feel like going on a “diet” again. I was 15 years old, about 20 lbs. overweight (though I was made to feel like I was 200 lbs. overweight!). I didn’t have the wherewithal to refuse her.

My father, always slim and never one to comment on anyone’s physical appearance, used to drive us to the church that had the basement where the meetings were held. I suppose this readied me for the many (future) years of sitting in 12-step meetings and town-hall community gatherings. I learned a lot about nutrition at those meetings and I was very inspired by our leader, a tall, funny many who had lost over 100 lbs. My favorite of all his “pep rallies” where the ones where he told us the Jean Nidetch (co-founder of WW) story. I think I might have at some point been present at some event where Ms. Nidetch spoke but I cannot say if this is true or just some fantasy of mine.

I, like millions of other people, have gained and lost hundreds of pounds in my life. Today, I am getting ready to close out 2019, not as heavy as I was at the end of 2017 but heavier than I thought I would be at this time. I am disappointed but I do not feel like throwing in the towel. I just watched an old clip of Ms. Nidetch accepting the Horatio Alger award in 1989. I am newly inspired by her words and will pretend that I am going to be a Horatio Alger award recipient in the future and need to lose weight for the occasion. Everything and nothing works, this too, I know.

So as we start the new year 2020, let us begin with optimism, accompanied by all the tools that are available for us to have success. Ms Nidetch’s story is certainly worth reading about.

Best wishes, may all your projects come to fruition in the new year.

Picture of book my own

Enter December!

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I’ve been on the WW plan for almost two years now. I have lost almost 20 lbs. which is better than gaining but certainly nowhere I thought I would be two years later. It is not the plan, it is definitely me! But today is a new day and WW is nothing if not supportive. It does not matter that it is a business and wouldn’t survive if we were all successful but I cannot worry about other people’s weight journey, I can only “control” to a certain degree what goes into my body and what movements I do to use the calories. As I have always thought, the reason why I am not extreme in dieting is because my weight (matronly but still somewhat shapely) does not stop me from doing things. I am outgoing, simply move into a larger size when things start to get tight, etc. but when I see pictures of me, they do not look like what I see in the mirror or the image I have of myself in my head.

I live in the tropics but my children live on the East Coast of the US where it is cold and snowy. I have been looking up recipes to try with my diet and all of them are calling for “cozy foods” that will warm us up…hey, we have overweight people in the tropics too, no recipes for us?

The month of November was given over to NaNoWriMo. I do write quite a bit anyway but November is specifically designed to just write, write, write. I did not make the 50K mark but I did make it to 40K and that was a very great milestone. Not only that, I did begin the memoir that I want to leave my children. Writing it now and letting them read it allows them to ask any questions while I am still able to remember stuff.

Heck of a ride I am in for as I continue all the end-of-year projects. I hope the days go slower than the year has gone.

 

picture of snowy NY my own

Such a conundrum…

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Recently, The New York Times posted an article about that controversial topic: eggs! (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/well/eat/eggs-cholesterol-heart-health.html)

I have been following the Weight Watchers (WW) program for a little over a year and of course, Zero point foods are an incredibly popular part of success. In the last year, I have consumed more eggs that ever before in my life because they are easy, tasty and zero points.

I “slipped” for a few months from the WW program and gained back 6 lbs. of a modest weight loss. I decided to give the Whole-30 another try since it requires the elimination of high point items like rice and bread, both my pitfalls.  I know that the Whole-30 is really geared towards pinpointing foods that make us break out or give us allergies, etc. but I tried it a couple of years ago, not only did I feel great, I lost 10 lbs. I discovered that I do have a slight allergy to almonds if I eat them in large quantities or in combination with chocolate but I otherwise can tolerate most foods, which is wonderful.

After being on the Whole-30 and only being able to eat eggs as zero point foods (well, veggies and fruits too but no more plain yogurt), I have only lost a couple of pounds which is very frustrating because I was hoping it would move quickly. Then I remembered that Whole-30 is not for weight loss (although that can happen). I am in a spot that I put myself in. At my age, no one is telling me (or frankly caring about) what goes in my mouth. My personal goal is to lose (once and for all this year) the 30 pounds that continue to haunt me.

Although I have never thought of myself as a veteran dieter, the truth is that I had a normal weight for a very long time because I followed a very strict routine. I ate breakfast consisting of a slice of toast, one slice of cheese, a small fruit juice and a cup of black coffee. Lunch was either soup with saltines, or yogurt, an apple and a diet soda. Dinner was a salad. I drank lots of water, did not snack between meals and cannot really ever say I was hungry. I suppose my stomach shrunk. On Fridays, I did indulge in a dinner which consisted of two slices of sicilian pizza (New York style), a large serving of steamed broccoli and a huge shortbread cookie triangle that had pecans and chocolate in one corner. It was a wonderful treat and something I looked forward to for years. I didn’t lose or gain weight with this method and I always had energy, good moods, etc.

My pregnancies were great, I followed the guidelines so that I gained a nice amount of weight to ensure healthy babies (one was 7 lbs. one was 7 1/2 lbs.) and then I joined WW for a few months to safely return to my “normal” weight. A medical emergency almost 20 years ago landed me in a hospital with antibiotics. The doctor ordered a high-calorie diet to ensure no damage to my organs. I left the hospital weighing 6 lbs. more than when I went in. I was unable or maybe just not motivated to lose the 6 lbs. and every year added just one or two more. In the course of 20 years, it adds up. I am now the carrier of an excess of 30 lbs. (at least it’s not the 50 lbs. it was last year!). I don’t like the way I look in pictures and frankly, I want to live for a long time.

So, the article has made it difficult for me to continue to eat my zero point eggs with abandon because now I have to worry that my health will suffer! I am laughing at myself because I might need to go back and just count calories, the only thing that really works. I will be spending my time this afternoon researching the diets (or to be more “correct” – the nutrition plans) of long ago that used simple caloric counts and common sense. I just want to lose the weight, safely and permanently. Wish me luck!

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All I want is to heal

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I am currently reading Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss. It is my second time around with this book, the first time I read it, my motivation was not strong and the weight I needed to lose was more modest than currently. I was in New York and found myself in one of those bookshops that buys college textbooks to sell second hand and has a section where limited copies of current best sellers can be found for a fraction of what they would cost at a proper bookstore like B&N.

My interest in everything to do with weight loss has always been high even when my need to lose weight has not been the all-consuming affair it has become in the last couple of years. Of course, my weight has never been as high as it is now…well, that’s not entirely true, last year I was at my heaviest which is 20 lbs. more than it is today.

I joined WW in December 2017. It is important for me to get all of this in a blog. If it never gets read by anyone, that is fine, at least I know I have done what I needed to do and that is to get it down. Okay so, after joining WW in December 2017, my mom passes away on the first day of 2018. My mom was always after me in my youth to lose weight. By the time I was 20 I was slim and remained that way for many, many years. I got married, divorced, remarried, had a couple of kids, raised them and off they went and my weight fluctuated maybe 10 lbs. which was easy enough to get off my body quickly.

Menopause happened and I began to see the weight go up a pound or two every year. I did not panic or worry about it, until 2017…when I saw a picture of myself that I didn’t recognize. Panic set in, I had to admit to myself that I was more than 50 lbs. overweight. I have a very small frame, I cannot continue down that path. I worked with the new WW model and had great success. My weight loss has always been slow but by August 2018 I had lost 26 lbs. I went to New York to visit my children. I don’t know what happened…I cannot blame the variety and deliciousness of the food in NY, it still baffles me. I was unable to stay on track and I have gained at least 6 or 7 lbs. which I have not been able to take off. Add that to the remaining 30…it seems overwhelming sometimes.

I have lots of literature in the house on weight loss. Indeed, I am an expert. I could have written the books I read on the subject, I am that knowledgeable. Alas, I have not written the books and I have not taken off the weight. That is the difference between me and Marianne Williamson, between me and Geneen Roth whose books and workshops on weight loss I have also purchased. I guess I just have to commit…this time for what I hope will be the last and permanent time.

One thing that I have learned from both Marianne and Geneen is that I really, really, really need to be kind to myself. I need to stop chastising myself for overeating or for being stuck in this place which I just don’t understand. It is not easy, I feel humbled and sometimes a little scared that I will never come out on the other side, but I have to try again.

 

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A new approach to losing weight

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I consider myself an expert on matters of weight. When I was born, I weight more than 8 lbs. I was overweight. All during my childhood, I was overweight. This was in the 1960’s when frankly being overweight was not the norm it is today.

I have shared that my mother suffered due to my weight, though I am willing to say that the excess pounds never amounted to more than 10 during my childhood and around 30 during adolescence. It never bothered me much, the excess weight. What bothered me and made me feel really guilty was my mother’s constant criticism, suffering, remedy-seeking and other ways in which I was made to feel inadequate.

My mother was a wonderful and successful social worker and family therapist. Her success, however, did not extend to her family and although I considered myself a good daughter, my weight was a constant reminder to her that she had somehow failed as a mother and that others were judging her for my “problem”.

She tried everything from scolding, to being supportive, to joining Weight Watchers with a view to not only losing weight herself but also to having me join her so I could lose weight. I concentrated on other aspects of my personality, developing the ability to entertain others (a gift inherited from my always-slim father) while taking care of the many household chores that would guarantee me an honored place in the family. I don’t think I have ever really put it in quite these words but I think I was looking to become indispensable so that my weight would not be a factor in my being loved and accepted by Mom.

The many and varied weight loss methods always worked: for a while. Soon after losing and getting to goal weight, the pounds magically reappeared. When I was around 19, an offhand and nasty comment from a coworker spurred me to lose 30 lbs. quickly. That was the extent of my overweight, a number I don’t consider as extreme as I was always made to feel. Perhaps it is because I am very short. I always felt I carried it well, though, wearing nice (I made my own clothes) outfits that complemented my coloring and personality. I do have to admit, though, that after losing the weight, I was happy to go shopping and purchase outfits right from the racks to wear (after hemming of course!). My rapid weight loss was instrumental in forcing me to assess my situation. I decided to apply the good eating habits I learned at Weight Watchers in 1971 and stayed within 5 lbs. for the next 25 years. I gained weight during my two pregnancies but then went right back on a sensible diet and always went back to my new normal weight.

But let’s move on. I am now in my 60’s. In the last couple of years, I have gained weight and although I have lost 20 lbs. in 2018, I still have another 30 or 40 to lose! I am once again following the Weight Watchers method on line because I live overseas. WW has always been my friend, I feel. This new plan, however, is a bit too lax or maybe what I mean is that it has us be completely in control of our eating and I guess I need someone to more or less tell me exactly what to eat. I am a Virgo, after all. Anyway, I stopped tracking for a few weeks and although I did some tracking mentally, I managed to gain back at least 6 lbs.

2018 was a difficult year. I lost my mother in the beginning of it. Later in the year, my older sister died which I have still not fully grasped. We had an odd relationship. I believe she thought we were friends…I could never be myself around her narcissistic person so I never let her see the real me because I sensed that she wanted to take my happiness and get rid of it. It is a terribly lonely feeling which I have yet to address, this lack of sibling solidarity, yet there it is.

2019 is the year I promised myself I will get my office in order and devote myself to writing, which has always been my passion. I owe my mother (who I adored and admired despite her shortcomings) a biography of whatever I have available on her life which is plenty. I also have two novels that I am currently working on.

Yesterday I was tackling the filing system in my office. I am a secretary by profession (well one profession) so I devoted a lot of time to taking a piece of paper at a time, reading it, assessing its place and filing or discarding. I feel that although it is not apparent to the observer, I know that the drawers are in better shape, that alphabetizing has taken place and that much more needs to be done.

While in the office, I saw several weight-loss books that I have purchased over the years. I handled them lovingly, dusting off their jackets and deciding to assign them their own space on my bookshelves. I have realized that I hide my weight loss guides because I am ashamed of being fat. I cannot believe I allowed this to happen to me at a time in my life when weight and its issues should not be important. But here we are. I am determined to giving Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss a proper try. The first time around, I was half-hearted. This time I am committed to it. I am not sure whether I am a food addict (I believe I am not) or just an overeater (I am often). I am eager to get back to the place I was in my late 20’s when I needed no scale and ate what I wanted but remained a normal weight for my age, size and current life situation. I am embracing getting back to that place.

July is here already!

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It’s the Fourth of July! Celebrations are going on in the U.S. but
where I live (in a tropical paradise), nothing seems to be going
on in quite the same scale as the celebrations of years past.

I feel a bit odd that one entire month (June) went by and I didn’t
post a single entry. It is not that I don’t write every single day,
because I do, it just hasn’t been the kind of writing that I feel
comfortable sharing. Not sure what that’s about.

My husband was away for almost the entire month of June. He
returned quite exhausted and seems to have caught a bug, maybe
on the airplane? I feel bad for him but in a way, perhaps it is best
to let him rest while I catch up on some of the writing that I have
put on the side so I could devote myself to doing the chores that
keep our household running and that he is usually responsible for.
A few more days won’t make any difference, the poor guy has a lot
of things on his mind.

So July! I have continued to have slow progress with my Weight
Watchers plan and I am confident that by the end of this year, I
will have lost most of the weight I have set myself a goal for. It
would be wonderful to begin 2019 (which feels like it is just around
the corner!) in some new clothes…

I have done some serious decluttering in June. I actually got rid of
a good amount of clothing and knickknacks that were not bringing
me any joy. It is amazing how light one feels after disposing of items
that no longer fit one’s life. I finally accepted that I was keeping things
for the wrong reasons. For example, a friend of mine gave my daughter
and me earrings that were crafted by her then-boyfriend, a man I know
and whose behavior has impressed me, but not in a good way. I never
wore the earrings because they were too long for my short neck and my
daughter never wore hers because they were not in a style she liked. But
I felt I needed to keep them because my friend might be hurt if I found
another home for them.

A few months after the earrings were given to us, my friend’s relationship
ended. The artist boyfriend began a new relationship and a year later, that
one also ended. Every morning, I saw the earrings. I moved them from one
side of the dresser to another.  I began to question why I still had them.
One serendipitous night as I was watching Youtube, I ended up catching a
video on Marie Kondo, the decluttering consultant…she has a very unique
way of approaching decluttering. You have to gather all the items you own
wherever you are working. You hold each item in your hand until they either
spark “joy” or not. If they still give you joy, that is your permission to keep
them; otherwise, it is best to find a new home for them.

I held each pair in my hands. Waited for the “joy” that never came. I made
two beautiful packages for these lovely items and then placed them with
other “treasures” I was giving away to the local Animal Shelter for their
fundraising campaign. It felt so good to send the earrings to a place that
I know will find someone they can bring joy to.

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Cauliflower pizza, anyone?

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A lovely head!

I did a terrible thing today: in anticipation of tomorrow being garbage
day, I decided to clean out my refrigerator! No, that’s not the terrible
thing I did! The terrible thing I did was to throw out almost an entire
week’s worth of vegetables that my husband and I purchased at the
farmers market just last week.

I don’t know what comes over the two of us when we visit the place. It’s
like all those colorful vegetables are shouting to us that they want to come
home…and that they will be cooked…only to end up in the compost bucket
time after time.

In the last few months, since I’ve been watching what I eat, I have become
a bit more interested in trying out new recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I used
to love cooking, especially when my children were young and I was a full-
time (and happy) stay-at-home, home-school Mom. But then the kids grew
up and moved away and now it’s hubby and me and we spend a lot of time at
home (semi-retired) and I have embraced this “new life”.

My husband enjoys cooking and so for the last few years, he’s been more or
less responsible for the meals we have for dinner. Of course, he also enjoys
eating and snacking and has a penchant for things like pepperoni, potato chips,
chocolate…thus, we have both gained a fair amount of weight in those same few
years.  I know no one was forcing me to have the extra calories; I am human too
and although I don’t indulge in pepperoni or chips (no sacrifice really, it’s not my
thing!), almonds, chocolate and cake are definitely on my list of favorites.

Since I joined Weight Watchers in December, though, I have definitely been off
most of those goodies. Not that WW “forbids” anything, I just feel that if I am
dieting, it should feel a like a diet. I am one of those people who feels a need to
have “rules” that I will feel disappointed about breaking. I know, I know, but
there you have it.

Last week when we were at the farmers market, there was an enormous cauli-
flower for sale. It was sold by unit and my husband found a much smaller one
that he preferred but he deferred to me since I had visions of making a pizza
with a cauliflower crust. I don’t know what possessed me to think I was going
to actually tackle that project; to begin with, it involved getting out and dusting
the food processor and making cauliflower rice! It never happened and today
when I found myself tossing the entire head, I was overcome with pangs of guilt.
If we had purchased the smaller head, it would have been a nice side dish for one
of our few dinners at home this week. I told my husband that from now on he
must not humor me when I lose my head momentarily like that!

 

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A slow journey, the weight loss route!

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April has indeed been a very busy month for me. When I began my weight loss
journey in December it was motivated by my disbelief at how much weight I had
gained in the last few years. All my “reasons” for the weight gain were understood
by me, both emotionally and intellectually. When I saw a picture of myself (that I
immediately deleted), I was spurred into action mode.

It is now almost 5 months later. I have managed to lose almost 19 lbs. and wish
it was so much more but I am feeling much better these days that the speed at
which I am losing (slowly) will allow me to “fit” into the idea that going quickly
is not in my reality or future. I cannot say that I have not been hungry on this
program (Weight Watchers) but I also cannot say that I have deprived myself
of healthy or tasty food in the last few months.

I track my food for accountability (personal since I am strictly on the program
“on line”), weigh myself every day (it works for me) and have good support from
those around me. I use the tools available to me, especially the ones that allow
me to see other people’s progress and read their comments.

A new weight watchers enrollee asked others to share their motivations and the
ways in which they get or stay inspired. I began to think about that; I usually
don’t give it much thought, I just do what I do because I know it will get results.
But when I looked deep into my soul, I realized that I am motivated by the most
superficial of reasons: I don’t like what I see when I see myself in pictures!

It’s that simple and that superficial and for now, it is the best incentive I have. I
realized last week that the almost 19 lb. loss has allowed me to consider trying on
clothing that had been relegated to the back of my closet. I am a clotheshorse and
although I have gotten rid of impossible-to-get-back-into-sizes, I have kept those
that are reasonably within my reach. Much to my great surprise and joy, I was able
to fit into a lovely blouse and slacks (size 14…) that I wore to an event last week. My
friend and I took a picture and I did not balk when I saw it; I am beginning to see
the self I recall…it is also worth mentioning that even though I usually drive every-
where I was forced to take a bus last week and I fit into the seat without any discomfort.
All of these non-scale victories are doing wonders for motivation and my self-esteem.

I am eager to continue my slow and steady progress. Just like the turtle, I too will
get to the finish line!

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