I got to celebrate at my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday, and a got a little teary-eyed talking about my journey.
This is at least the third time I’ve done Weight Watchers “officially”—as in, paying the money and going to the meetings. Both times I tried it previously, I would get very close to my goal, plateau out, get frustrated, and quit. I figured, “Well, I’ve lost XX pounds, that’s good enough.” And every time, the weight slowly crept back on.
This time was a little different from the start. I joined again in June of 2011, eight weeks after my daughter was born when I got the go ahead to start trying to lose weight from my doctor. It was incredibly difficult for me to deal emotionally with the weight gain I experienced while pregnant, and I was desperate to get started losing it. At my 38-week appointment, three days before my daughter was born, I weighed 212 pounds, higher than I’d ever seen the scale in my entire life, and it terrified me. I knew, rationally, that a good portion of that was baby, but I was desperately afraid of getting stuck and not being able to lose the weight once I was a mama.
Strangely, the opposite was true. I was so motivated to lose the baby weight, to be a good role model for my infant daughter, and to provide her with the best possible nutrition that at first it was easy to lose. The weight melted off practically effortlessly. It wasn’t hard to stick to my daily Points target, because I was getting a lot of extra points for nursing.
Then came my first plateau. I stalled out for several months gaining and losing the same couple of pounds over and over again. I decided that because my daughter was eating solid foods and I was nursing less, I would adjust my Points target, and the weight started dropping again. Then we stopped nursing almost entirely, and I dropped them again. I was at the lowest Points target permitted by the plan (and appropriate for my weight), but the pounds stopped dropping.
I was stuck. I was stuck for a LONG time. I hovered around 160 pounds for months and months and months. Looking back at my records, I realize now that it took me about 5 months to lose the last 5 pounds I needed to reach my goal.
That is a long and frustrating journey. I was ready to quit many, many times. I was ready to say, “This is good enough,” many times, as I had done before.
More than just losing the weight, I am proud of the fact that I stuck with the program and made it to my goal.
I think the difference for me this time was that I had a vision, not just a goal.
This time, I am not just a mom with some weight to lose, I am also a food writer and a work-from-home mom with weight to lose—two conditions that really could have stacked the deck against me. As a food writer, I’m required to go out to fancy restaurants at least twice a month; these are restaurants that don’t post the nutritional information on their websites, and occasions when it’s inappropriate for me to just order the garden salad with dressing on the side. In addition, I’m often invited to events at restaurants and local food producers, and it’s important to my work that I attend.
Plus, for me, being at home with access to food at all hours of the day is dangerous! I’m the sort of person that will actually make a batch of chocolate chip cookies or head to the store to buy a certain snack just because I have a craving!
But I told myself—and lots of people at my Weight Watchers meetings—that I was planning to be a WW poster child; if I could lose the weight as a food writer, anyone could do it.
That goal, that vision of being a “poster child” really helped to keep me motivated. In fact, before the holidays, I applied for and was offered a position working as a receptionist for Weight Watchers. I’m thrilled to get started as soon as I finish my six weeks of maintenance and earn Lifetime Member status.
And that’s the other change: because I will get my meetings and online tools for free as a Lifetime Member, I don’t plan on quitting the program any time soon (if ever). I’ll keep going to meetings. I’ll keep weighing in (a requirement of employment, actually). I’ll keep writing down what I eat.
I feel like I’ve really made it this time. I’ve promised myself over and over (and OVER) again that I would buy myself some new clothes when I reached my goal weight, and I can’t wait to go shopping!
I write all this not to brag, not to preach, and not even to endorse Weight Watchers. I just want to share my journey. I want to share that it WAS NOT EASY. I started this when my daughter was 8 weeks old, and she’s 22 months old next week. That is a long-ass time to take to lose 36 pounds. My transformation is not as dramatic as some of the amazing people who drop 100+ pounds, but it is my transformation, and that makes it amazing to me.
I want to share that it is possible, that it is a lot of hard work, but most of all that I have been there. If you’re on a similar journey, I’m giving you a big digital hug. The odds are stacked against us in this modern life, but we can take control. We can overcome all our own personal obstacles. We can win the battle and the war.
And I can’t wait to keep providing information to help us all on our individual journeys.
(THANKS for reading if you read this whole thing! It got awfully long!) 🙂