Saturday, March 17, 2018

Slice #17- Saturdays start with Weightwatchers.

Saturday morning. It's still dark and a little cold when I left myself out of the house at 6:20. This has been my Saturday routine for the last 15 months. First thing on Saturday morning I go to Weight Watchers.

Last January, I decided I really needed to do something about my weight. My clothes were getting tight. And maybe ore importantly, I'm not getting any younger, and my joints, especially my hips, were starting to hurt. I had been successful at Weight Watchers before, and decided to try it again.

I'm what people at Weightwatchers call a "turtle." I lose weight really slowly. But over the course of nine months, I lost 28 pounds. And I've kept it off for about six months. The things I have learned at Weightwatchers are strategies that work in most areas of life, I think.

1) Show up every week. 
Weightwatchers has several different programs. You can do it online, or you can go to meetings. For me, the key to Weightwatchers is showing up at a meeting every single week. Or at least almost every single week. Even now, when I could only go and weigh in once a month.  Every week I get up on Saturday mornings, drive the five miles in the cold and dark, and weigh in. And I always stay for the meetings. They get a little redundant sometimes, but I need the showing up, and stepping on the scale, and listening to other people's stories. That keeps me going.

2) Practice the three P's.
After I had been attending Weightwatchers for about six weeks, I had a really bad week. Or maybe a couple of bad weeks in a row. I was feeling really frustrated and was about ready to quit. My leader, Cheri, said something at the meeting that day that stuck with me. "It's all about the three P's," she said. "Patience, positivity, and persistence." For some reason, those three P's really resonated with me. Losing weight takes patience-- the weight came on over ten years, after I adopted the boys. It probably won't come off instantly.  Losing weight takes positivity- you have to keep telling yourself that you CAN do this. And losing weight takes persistence- just doing the right thing over and over and over again. Day after day after day.

3) Create patterns you can sustain. 
It's important to create patterns that you can sustain. You can't give up everything forever. And if you can't give it up forever, maybe you shouldn't give it up at all. Last Saturday night, for example, my mom and I went out to dinner before we went to see HAMILTON. I had salmon, but I also had a glass of wine. And a piece of bread with a little butter. And we shared a dessert. I'm going to continue to do that once in a while. And it's really ok.

More regular patterns are ok too. I like having milk in my coffee. I like thousand island salad dressing.  I love a good hamburger. I want to go to a Mexican restaurant and have a margarita and chips and guacamole once in a while. For me, it's not about giving up those things, instead it's about making the choice to have them. And knowing that it's ok, as long as I plan ahead.

4) Do what works for you. 
In December, Weightwatchers introduced a new program. I tried it for a few weeks, but it just wasn't working for me. I had gained two pounds in two weeks. So I went back to the old program, which did work for me, really well. I don't say a lot about it at meetings, because I know it would probably be considered heretical. I just go and listen and then go home and eat the way that works for me. It's important to be true to yourself. There really is something to be said for marching to your own drummer.

5) Be kind to yourself. 
This morning, two things happened at Weightwatchers that really made me think. First, a woman was talking about being proud of herself for setting a goal of getting 10,000 steps a day. She said that she had lost six pounds this week (not typical!) and then said, "But I'm really big." People shut her down immediately. It's not ok to say bad things about yourself. "You lost six pounds. Period. And that's absolutely terrific!"

Another woman said, "When I'm having a bad week, I think about the most supportive people I know. I think of Kathy (the woman sitting next to her) and I think, "What would she say to me if I gained weight? And then I try to be that kind to myself." I think that's important and it's something I'm not all that good at. I really need to work on being a little kinder to myself and not beating myself up when I do make bad choices.

I've been doing Weightwatchers every Saturday for about a year now. I anticipate that I will be doing it for probably the rest of my life. And that's ok. It's a lifestyle I can sustain.


Fran said...

I really enjoyed reading this.
You have such a sensible, compassionate, patient tone here in telling your story.
Driving in the dark Saturday morning really starts the piece off well.
Sharing the stories of others, even while you stay quiet, listening, was nice to read.
I am inspired to take some patient action myself, reading about your resolve and how you make the program work for you.

elsie said...

You are a smart lady. (I think I may have said that before.) But it's true. You have taken control of yourself and are living a healthier life because of this control. Yes, you can't give up everything you enjoy. A once in a while treat is savored more than having it whenever you want it. Remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare. You are winning!

Tamara said...

Very inspirational. I love the way you tell and structure your story. Number five, for example, brought a lump to my throat. And organizing your thinking around “strategies that work in most areas of life,” made it sticky—I’ll remember.

Karen said...

Carol - going back to WW is something I've toyed with for awhile. Like you, I've had great success, but then I let life get in the way. Reading your post - knowing the importance of showing up - I think I'm going to look for a meeting near me this week. Thanks for that encouragement. And congratulations on the success you are having! said...

Such great tips! Inspirational. I just have to admit, I got a little distracted when you talked about going before HAMILTON! :-) So awesome. :-)

Stacey said...

I had no idea -- when I saw you last month -- that you were on a weight loss journey too. Wow, Carol! You look fabulous! I can tell you're really committed to this.

I needed to read this post. I was craving some chocolate (and got some chocolate granola). However, I ate too much of it. Then I read your post and I stopped and put it away. I'm not going to beat myself up about it (after all, I already worked out for 75 minutes today), but everything in moderation, right?

bjdonaldson said...

Your commitment to your health is very evident. I appreciate the tips that your discovered along your weight loss journey. Congrats! I especially like your thoughts on being kind to yourself.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I also found this very interesting to read, as well as inspirational. Good for you for making such amazing progress! I like how many of these lessons are applicable to so many areas of life.

Ramona said...

Carol, as a fellow WW member who gets up on Saturday mornings too, I appreciate your words. I actually squeezed in a Thursday meeting this week when I realized I wouldn't be able to go on Saturday this week.

Glenda Funk said...

I needed to read this post. Weight Watchers is the only weight loss plan that has worked for me, and I need to get back. I think you may have given me to motivation. Congratulations on your successful journey.

Dani said...

Thank you for your post, Carol. I was a faithful WW member many years ago and had great success meeting my goal. My meetings were Saturday mornings too. I love your strategies—you should submit this to WW for one of their magazines!