Tag Archives: WW

My Loyalty to WW (formerly Weight Watchers)

Standard

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?!

bing.com public domain image

 

But, but, where does the time go?

Standard

I write in this blog on Fridays. Usually before I begin to write, I have an idea of what I will be tackling. Most Fridays, I am completely off base with what I think I will write about and what actually ends up appearing on the blog. I don’t know why that is but it does happen, and frequently.

This morning, I was all showered and dressed by 10:20 a.m. I was on my way to my computer with many ideas, the most prominent one had to do with WW because I was thinking that I am just 9 days away from turning 65 and thus it means I have been connected to WW for about 50 years! 50 years! How is that even possible? I feel like I am 15…well, I have to admit yesterday I felt like I was 115!

On Wednesday this week, I decided to do the housekeeping which I used to pay someone to do. Although it is very tiring, I honestly feel wonderful about it because I know exactly what windows need a little love and what baseboards were the last ones I tackled…and now I see that the cleaning lady was a wonderful floor cleaner but she didn’t like dusting, washing windows or wiping down baseboards. And why should she have? I never asked her to do it and I was emphatic about wanting my floors to sparkle above everything else. So yesterday from the moment I woke up till I got back to bed in the late evening, I was tired all day. I thought today, Friday, would find me even more exhausted but in fact that was not the case.

Okay, so I am ready by 10:20 to start my blog. But I was interrupted by our gardener who brought me several coconuts he picked from the property (we live in the tropics). When I took them to the refrigerator, I realized that there were 3 large bags of spinach that we bought at the farmers market yesterday that needed to be washed, steamed and prepared for freezing…I looked at the clock, this is a time-consuming process but it had to be done. An hour later, I was headed for the computer. However, the bills caught my eye and I decided that I’d better just pay them. Internet troubles on my end and the bank’s end meant that the normal 15 minutes it takes me, actually took more than 2 hours.

Now it was 2 p.m. Lunch had to be taken care of, the daily call to my father, and then it was time for me to have my afternoon coffee since I had more or less made lunch but didn’t actually have any. Then another 2 hour interruption as renters had visitors and I needed to help them out with something.

It is now 5:24. It is time for me to go boil the potatoes that will turn into mashed potatoes to go with our steak dinner. My wonderful thoughts on my 50 year association with WW will have to wait until next Friday…when I will be just 2 days away from turning 65 (God willing)! Perhaps I can draft everything in my head.

In the meantime, I am happy with all my blessings and thank everyone who drops by my blog and enjoys the craziness herein.

bing.com public domain image

Revisiting a New York Memory

Standard

Earlier today I engaged with my writers group in a cyber meeting. It went very well, a sign that at least as writers, we are not suffering from the negative side effects of “quarantine”. In fact, we all agreed that the permission we now have to spend our day indoors and writing is something we have long been able to devote ourselves to, only now, we don’t have to have any guilt over it.

Many years ago, an overweight friend of mine become mesmerized by the extremely obese people she saw in movies or magazines. One particular movie from 1985 was called Zuckerbaby. It was about a lonely overweight 38 year old woman and her romantic interest. I went to see the movie with my friend when it opened in the Lincoln Center area of New York City. It was in German with subtitles but we loved going to foreign language films, I think it made me feel very sophisticated. The movie’s story has stayed with me all these years. I think about writing about the subject of obesity, attractiveness, acceptance, and love at least once a day. Today’s, cyber meeting prompted me to just do it.

This morning, I chose my outfit carefully. I knew that my colleagues would only be able to see me from the waist up but that did not stop me from ironing my slacks or wearing proper shoes. It has never mattered to me what other people wear or whether people iron their clothes, go for the rumpled look or simply grab whatever is clean or handy to wear for a day. My clothes must always fit me properly (regardless of what size I am) and must look nice. There are times when I try on several things before I feel comfortable and confident in my choice.

A long time ago, I was a size 8! I could walk into any store or boutique and not bother to try anything on. I simply chose, paid, went on my merry way. Alas, times have changed and so have I. I will never go back to being a size 8, no matter how much I might want to. I am targeting 12-14 as a size I can manage and not feel uncomfortable when photographed. I have a ways to go. It is okay. I have accepted that I lose weight very slowly but it is better because the wrinkles won’t be quite so noticeable!

I joined WW late 2017. To date I have lost 17 of the 40 lbs. I need to lose. My heart and soul have not been in it. I am not sure why not. The program is wonderful and it works. One theory I have is that instead of failure, I am afraid of success. What will it mean in terms of more attention from the opposite sex? I already get plenty even though I don’t feel I am at my most attractive right now. I don’t like being pursued and don’t know how to respond without being mean or offensive. Saying I am married doesn’t always discourage Romeos!

This morning, I had a wonderful NSV (non-scale victory). I tried on a few blouses that did not fit me a month ago. Although they are still a tiny bit snug, I can see the difference and it made me more determined than ever to get back to a size that makes me feel my very best. The movie Zuckerbaby was a wonderful reminder of the real value of a human being. I am the same inside at every size, but I cannot wear the gorgeous clothes I have in my closet and that makes me sad!

public domain image

The Journey Towards 65!

Standard

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!

 

Bing.com public domain image

 

What Are We Bringing To The Table?

Standard

Here we are past the midway point of the first month of 2020! I am sure I am not the only one who has become very aware that time just gets away from us whether we are using it wisely or wasting it. My resolve and determination to follow my WW plan (Go Purple!) has been taking some effort because there is always a friend dropping by with goodies, children visiting who request that I make them favorite (non-dietetic) foods or community meetings that come with coffee and dessert. What to do? I try to simply do my best every day and remember when I get on the scale that the number is guide, just something to remind me that I have come this far and that with steadfastness and attention I can become as inspiring and the many WW people who have lost and kept off their hundreds of pounds.

When I was a young girl, other people’s obsession with my weight always entertained me. I didn’t really understand why they were so focused on me when their own lives, whether they were thin or fat, did not have anything to do with my weight. It wasn’t like they were purchasing my food or my clothes, or feeling the discomfort that I had when the tight(er) pants began making marks on my body or when my feet were just so tired from walking with the extra weight.

I eventually became an adult, got my weight under control and kept it that way for a very long time. The fact that now, as a full-fledged senior citizen, the excess weight seems like a permanent thing in my life, the only thing I want is to be healthy and live a long long time. I think my best solution is to relax, accept that the number (for now) will remain a little higher than I like but that I can and will finally reach a point where three sizes in my closet is a thing of the past. For today, I will track and plan the meals I will eat and go about the rest of my day with a positive attitude and an optimistic viewpoint.

Imagine a world where our size is no longer an interesting part of our personality? I do and try my very best to bring other things to the tables I frequent.

bing.com public domain image

Bye 2019, Welcome 2020!

Standard

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

Fit for Life?

Standard

Except for the ugly platter that this fruit is on, this is a mouth-watering variety of fruit, ready-made for a good start to the day.

In my clearing up of bookcases to prepare for painting my bedroom, I came across a copy of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s Fit for Life “program” that I had participated in almost 20 years ago. It is amazing how good advice never goes out of style. I also came across a Weight Watchers program guide that dates to 1976 when my mom and my sister were participating in the program. I was at a good weight at the time, they were getting ready for my upcoming wedding! It seems like a lifetime ago, and actually I have experienced many changes and have updated my body for many years. Right now, I am back on WW (they too have had many iterations!) and hoping that this final time will see me going into the final chapters of my life with a manageable weight and good health. So far, it has been slow going but that has its own rewards as my skin is not as wrinkled as it would be if the weight loss were too quick.

But going back to the Diamond’s plan. It makes sense. It’s kind of the advice one would give a friend one cares about: start the day with fruit, move, have good thoughts, keep yourself hydrated, etc. The problem is that we are all distracted by work, family obligations, the need for relaxation which usually involves fattening and delicious food…

I did the plan when I was just 10 lbs. over my goal. It was not something I wanted to do, trying my best to lose the weight naturally by eating healthily when hungry and avoiding binging and eating high calorie junk food. However, I had a friend who was about 25 lbs. overweight at the time and wanted to do something drastic about it. She had heard of a homeopath who was implementing meditation, inserting a tiny device in one’s ear (like acupuncture) and following the Diamond’s plan. The homeopath gave a group discount for three participants so my friend enlisted one other person and off we went. I don’t think I lost a single ounce but I did get to keep the meditation tape, and the book. The acupuncture thing came out of the ear after the three or four sessions, I can’t remember. Doing the program turned into one of my big mistakes, it seems to me that is when my modest but steady weight gain trend began. 20 years later, I had added almost 40 lbs. to my small frame! The instigator of the idea eventually went on to another commercial diet plan where her food intake was monitored (I think she wore a patch for a few months) daily but she did successfully take off the weight and has kept it off for more than 5 years. Our other friend remains the same weight more or less but has been trying to lose also as I have.

The moral of the story for me is this: everyone who is or has been overweight has an individual story to tell. Some people are fat because they love to eat. Some people are fat because they eat in response to emotional triggers. Some people focus so much attention on dieting, their body rebels and hangs on to the weight just in case it ever finds itself stranded on some desert island with nothing to eat…it is protection. In my case, I was a fat kid because bad habits begun when I was a baby (my mom adding sugar to the milk to make up for her absence) continued to my teenage years and I never learned to eat properly and healthily until I was an adult and decided to lose weight for me. I am a veteran dieter. I know any plan will work if you stick with it long enough and although I am a very big fan of WW, I can accept that everyone has the ability to make choices. My choice for today is to stay away from the scale this week until Friday which is my weekly weigh in. I will mindfully plan, prepare and eat my way into health and a good weight for me. I am grateful that my internal panic button did not allow me to add hundreds of pounds to my body. People who have that much weight to lose inspire me and have my heartfelt solidarity and compassion during their journey.

bing.com public domain picture

A visit to the doctor

Standard

I accompanied my 90 year old dad to the doctor today. Nothing to worry about, just a routine follow-up visit that had been scheduled months ago. My dad is not your typical 90 year old, although these days there seem to be more and more atypical ones around. Just look at Betty White still going strong at 98!

As I sat in the doctor’s office, I noticed that he kept looking at me, asking me questions about whether or not I had yearly check ups and all that. He happens to be an exceptional human being, and is renowed for his laporoscopy surgeries, many of them dealing with extremely obese clients who opt for gastric surgeries.

Every time I go to his office with my Dad (who has never been overweight in his life), I feel that the doctor would like a few minutes alone with me to suggest me going under the knife for such a surgery. I am not extremely obese and it is probably all in my mind but it does give me pause. Fortunately since the last time he saw me, I have managed to lose a bit more thaan 20 lbs. I wonder if he can tell. He, of course, looks terrific.

I fell in my shower yesterday. A blow to the ego but also some damage to my never-great knee cap because I had to figure out a way to get up and had to kneel before being able to grap the shower handles to raise myself. It is a terrible feeling, in that moment, I felt like such a dumbell and I could anticipate the swelling, the tightness and the overall discomfort in my immediate future. I knew I was going to have to let my husband know because limping was going to be the order of the day. The reason for the fall was that I washed my hair and the conditioner is super slippery but the reality was that if I had put down the shower mat, I could have avoided what I am powering through today.

My knees have never been great. I am not sure why that is but I can recall that even when I was thin, if I walked too much or danced the night away, there was always inflammation and discomfort the day after. I took a pain pill (no real remedy that I can feel), and right now I have made myself an improvised bandage. Luckily, the strain has not interfered with my ability to drive so that’s good.

In keeping with my calorie counting, yesterday I also noted the food I ate in my WW log and was happy that at the end of the day, I had not exceeded the points allowed for the day. I feel a bit hungry right now and realize that all I have had to eat today was a hard-boiled egg…the first one this week…and some fruit. Lunch is coming up, not sure what it will be but at this point, everything will be welcome.

 

bing.com public domain image

Such a conundrum…

Standard

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!

bing.com free to share and use image

 

Preparing for the Whole 30!

Standard

Following up on yesterday’s blog, I am almost ready to tackle the program again on Monday. I know there is nothing in the program that will compete or negate anything WW has so I feel pretty excited about doing it this way.

I spent the morning shopping and looking over the recipes and reviewing the “rules” again. I have to say that the practical and grounded me feels comforted by the fact that I can rely on someone to tell me exactly what I can and cannot eat. I love that every once in a while the author reminds us that we are “grown ups” and gives us much needed “tough love” as feedback. It is tough love that will work with me, even if that coach exists only in my head.

My husband, who will probably NOT join me in the 30 days, has been very supportive in the past of all my efforts and wondered out loud earlier why I had picked up a bottle of red wine. With a straight face, I replied that I was starting on MONDAY, no need to get crazy over the weekend.

I will keep us posted…perhaps with pictures so I can motivate myself. I realized not long ago that one of ways in which I was able to sublimate my desire to overeat in the past was by purchasing beautifully photographed cookbooks (I have an extensive collection) and reading and drooling over the recipes. Sometimes, I would indulge in a bite of something really spectacular and found that when it is just a bite it never did much harm and satisfied whatever the craving was.

When life is stressful, I crave crunchy things. When I am sad, I enjoy chocolate things, but really high quality stuff. When I am angry, I go for nuts that require shelling, like peanuts (which are actually legumes, I know, I know).

Have a great rest of the weekend. Perhaps I’ll take the day off tomorrow and post my menu on Monday!

bing.com free to use and share image