About nine weeks ago, I made a life-altering decision.
I joined WeightWatchers.
Actually, this may be the tenth or twelfth time I’ve joined WeightWatchers. My history with this organization is like many people who are unsuccessful:
1. I stayed for about four weeks. The weight didn’t drop as quickly as I wanted, so I quit.
2. I didn’t have the extra money to pay the monthly fee, so I quit.
3. I got too busy at work/home and skipped meetings and then quit.
4. I could do this myself; I didn’t need them. All I had to do was write down what I ate and weigh myself, so I quit.
Last year, I wrote a post about all of my weight-loss attempts. Some are pretty outrageous, I admit, so I knew what I didn't want to do. If I lost weight quickly, I’d gain it back.
WeightWatchers was my choice.
Several recent events led to my return to WeightWatchers. In January, my husband passed away after a year-long battle with lung cancer. During that year, especially the last few months, I experienced the roughest times I’ve ever known. I was a full-time caregiver to him while managing to take care of my son who has Down syndrome and my 11-year-old granddaughter who lives with me. What little time I scratched out for myself was usually late at night after everyone was in bed. I’d sit in front of the TV, mindlessly watching while consuming empty calories.
Last fall, my annual blood work showed elevated levels of everything bad. My doctor said she would redo the labs in three months. What she meant was, “You’ve got three months to get your crap together and work on your health.” I knew I had to do something, but I was in a one-day-at-a-time existence, trying to keep everyone’s schedules in sync and putting on that brave face. There was no time for me.
In March, one of my good friends died. He was six years younger than I am and had battled weight issues most of his adult life. He died alone in a hotel room from heart failure. I assume that his yo-yo dieting had a big impact on his heart.
After these two deaths and my doctor's warning, I didn’t even have to stand on the scales to know that I had to make a change for the rest of my life. I was done with thinking I could battle my weight alone and with quick fixes.
I had no more excuses.
I didn’t have anyone to take care of really. I still had my family living at home, but they were at school/work all day. I didn’t have a job that would take up my time. I justified spending the money on meetings because if I didn’t do something, I would have to buy all new clothes and clothes get more expensive as they get bigger. I'd also have to start spending money on expensive medications.
And after eight weeks, I have to say that I’ve been very successful, not just with losing weight, but also with my general health and mental state. Some of the changes I’ve noticed are
1. I keep track of every crumb that I put in my mouth. With my smart phone, I can easily input everything and can even scan an item to see how many points it is. Then I decide if I want to spend those points on eating it. Is this item worth the sacrifice?
2. I bought a FitBit, which syncs my fitness to the WeightWatchers app on my phone. I don’t have to figure out Fit Points because the app does it for me.
3. I walk every day. I hit at least 10,000 steps, not all at one time, but I have at least 45 active moments during the day. That means I’m exerting myself during those minutes.
4. I broke my sugar addiction. The only sweet items in the house right now are strawberries and pineapple. If I really crave chocolate, I put 1 tsp. of chocolate syrup (1 point) on chopped strawberries (0 points). I’m satisfied.
5. My shopping trips to the grocery store have changed. I even enter the store in a different door. I have always entered my store in the door that leads through the pharmacy and then followed the path of up-and-down aisles, putting whatever I thiought I’d like or whatever would please my family in my basket. Now I enter the door that leads to the produce first. I shop for fresh vegetables and fruits and then meats. I look down each aisle to see if there’s something I need, but most often I don’t go down the aisle. I shop in the U pattern, hitting all the outside aisles and leaving the processed/refined products sitting on the shelves.
6. Every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m., I’m at my WeightWatchers meeting. I’ve met many people and we exchange tips and ideas. The leader is caring and really motivates us by letting us be part of the discussion.
7. I don’t think about food so much. I used to worry about what I was going to eat for lunch before even finishing breakfast. I think I’m now eating to live instead of living to eat.
In these past weeks, I’ve lost 21.8 pounds and have dropped 2 sizes in pants. I’ve got more weight to lose, but I concentrate on 5 pounds at a time instead of the big goal. I’m seeing my doctor next week, and I’m certain my lab work will show improvement.
I’ve always known what it took to lose weight and get healthy. I just wanted to do it my way – to have my cake and eat it, too. This time, the timing was right and everything just clicked in my brain.
I guess it’s just my time.
I have no more excuses.