Here’s a topic that most people can relate to: Gaining weight after you’ve made a concerted effort to lose it. I’m not in big trouble—we’re talking about a few pounds here. But it’s a slippery slope. Once I tell myself that it’s now okay to eat those delicious homemade chips instead of fruit, next comes butter with my bread (bread!) and a margarita instead of white wine.
I’m still in Weight Watchers, and it is helpful. But I have now learned a lesson that long-time WW members tried to tell me a year and a half ago: Being a Life Time Member is hard work!
During one meeting in my first few months of WW meetings, we were treated to stories from Life Timers, those who have reached their desired weight goal and promise to maintain it by weighing in at least once a month and staying within 2 pounds of the original goal. They pay no fees—quite an incentive after paying over $40 per month while losing the weight. One by one, these LTs stood up and showed off their now svelte bodies and said, “Being on Life Time is hard!”
I was surprised. How hard can it be? I was into the whole routine, counting points, making sure the restaurant held the sauce and even the crust on the macadamia-crusted fish. I was also keeping track of my activities so I could add points for a possible splurge. I thought (smugly) that when I reached goal, I’d just do more exercise so I could eat more. Or maybe I would eat like this the rest of my life. (Funny, right?)
When you reach Life Time, you get to add an extra 6 points to your daily intake. This worked out well for some time. And then I began to feel free to eat whatever I wanted, keeping in mind some of the basics I learned. But whereas earlier, I was able to pass up the double chocolate birthday cake someone brought to work, or just take a teeny slice, now my response to the word “cake” is “Where?”
Not long ago, a coworker called to me outside my office door and asked, “Are you in need of a sugar break? We have leftover doughnuts.” Before I could reply, she added, “Oh, you’re on a diet…” I stood up quickly and said, “No, I’m not. That is, I should be, but I would love a doughnut.” I have to give myself a little bit of credit though. I took only half a doughnut. It was the cakey kind with chocolate frosting, but I ate only a half! As soon as I gobbled it down, I was sorry. It tasted good but not worth the calories (and probable indigestion) as a 4:00 snack. And since I leave work at 4, I could have waited a half-hour and taken a more nutritious snack at home. This example is typical.
I’m not so much worried about the number on the scale. Nor am I so concerned about having to pay to attend meetings. There’s a more important issue: my pants. I treated myself to new pants and skirts after I lost weight, and now they’re beginning to feel snug around the middle. This is my wake-up call. I must commit to either 1) eating less, 2) moving more, or 3) doing both. I’m trying.
One of the hints we hear often at the WW meetings is, “Slow down. Chew each bite before taking the next.” That makes sense in principle, but for me, it’s not applicable. I am probably the slowest eater anyone’s ever met. Put me in a restaurant or at a party with an interesting flow of conversation, and I eat even more slowly, if possible. So rapid consumption is not my problem.
What is my problem? I’d guess that it’s often boredom at home and stress at work. If I have no activities planned on one of my days off, I wander into the kitchen often, looking for a snack, whether I’m really hungry or not. If I’m working on a piece of writing at work and can’t come up with the best way to express my thought, I’ll look in my purse to see if I have a snack bar handy.
Tomorrow’s another WW meeting, where I can commiserate with my fellow Life Time strugglers. They’re a great group, and LuAnn, our leader, is wonderful. But it’s disheartening to see so many people returning after gaining back their weight or a portion of it. I’m determined (in my own undetermined way) to not be one of them. I weigh in again in May. I have 4 weeks to drop a couple of pounds. I’ll try not to view it as 3 weeks to go wild and one to get serious!