Sunday, September 7, 2008

If Weight Watchers Was My Lover, Would You Tell Me to Leave Him? Part II

Really, the best part of my years-long relationship with Weight Watchers lasted only about 9 months from about July 1999 to March 2000. But it was an awesome period of time.

I felt a confidence I probably hadn’t felt since the 5th grade.

Many days, I walked 3 times a day—in the morning and the evenings with my husband, and at lunch with my friend Lynn. My husband likes to remind me how we walked in ice and snow. I remember getting up to take the early train all that January because it was just too icy to walk outside. The early train allowed me to walk on the treadmill at work, shower, and be eating my breakfast when people arrived. We took up bowling—candle pin, “big” ball, and even duckpin while on vacation around Baltimore.

We talked about what we were eating to anyone and everyone. We ate delicious things. Two weeks into the plan, we took him South on vacation with us, with him urging us on to share entrees, get up in the AMs and walk, walk to dinner, eat shrimp on a salad with cocktail sauce as dressing for lunches, keep fruit granola bars in the car for a 2-point snack, and figure out how many BBQ ribs we could manage to count so we could taste them and still stay on track points wise. We both lost 10 lbs on a two week vacation!

The end of my fairy tale relationship with him came when I changed jobs and we moved states away, leaving Boston after 11 years and heading to New Jersey.

He wasn’t the same in the next town. We met in different places until we found a comfortable spot (I strongly prefer meeting rooms—no churches for me!), and we hunted for the best chaperone. . . but the sparks were gone.

Still, I respected him. And I didn’t want to go back to what life was like before him. I was walking and watching points. I walked during my lunch hour—even with my boss’s boss. I ate delicious veggie sandwiches and sushi for lunches. I did well at keeping off the weight. In fact, my husband and I started riding bikes. It was amazing. Riding bikes was very likely the first new physical thing I’d done since I’d first started learning to ride in the 3rd grade. Oh, and we started doing Jane Fonda videos. . .”crunches” became part of my vocabulary.

Then—one and a half years later—I changed jobs and we moved states away AGAIN. This time we settled in Alabama. It took a 7 or 8 pound increase for me to seek him out again.

He wasn’t the same. Chaperones pointed at people to ask how much they lost, meetings focused on the stupid questions like how do canned tomatoes count and how many carrots can you eat before they actually eat into your point allotment; and every person who lost a blasted pound this week (regardless of their history) blathered on. Sitting in meetings with him made me feel panicked and bad about myself.

My knees started hurting when I sat down (I will never let Southern women talk me into wearing heels again!) I joined a fabulous gym that catered to rehab and started lifting weights to strengthen my knees. A trainer noticed my persistence and convinced me to work with him. It was life-changing! It was a new me—not the me who had hated gym, who cried in gym. This me was lifting weights and grunting to do them. This me left work faithfully 3x a week before lunch to meet with my trainer. Some evenings I went back to the gym to swim. I discovered Zoomer swim fins. I bought goggles. I bought a heart rate monitor. I found myself demonstrating “The Plank” to family members, and talking about “my trainer” at work. Sore muscles became part of my every day. It hurt to sit because my glutes hurt—my knees were strong. I had never been at that level of activity and fitness.

I tracked my food at home, writing it down, based on his guidelines. And before we moved for the 3rd time in 5 years, I was 8 pounds less than when I had left him in Boston 4 years before.

And then we moved again, two and a half years after we’d arrived. I can’t really even talk about meeting back up with him in Boston. We tried the same haunts. . .even with the same chaperone, it didn’t feel the same. I gained weight immediately during the 2 months I lived with a friend, waiting for our house to sell before I could re-unite with my husband.

I joined a gym and even met with a trainer once—spraining my thumb on the first day. Then I didn’t go at all for 9 months. (It was a very pricey gym.)

My friend Lynn was still there, but we didn’t walk. My new job was a disaster.

I couldn’t figure out how to reconnect with him or with exercise. I sought counseling to see why to try to find the magic with him again.

Briefly, I tried meeting with him again and even used a pedometer. My nickname with our chaperone was “Pedometer Girl,” which made me totally tickled.

But my counseling sessions became taken over with discussions about my ending job, my husband’s diagnosis of cancer and its treatment, and the zillions of fears and issues both those things raised. I did work with a trainer briefly to try to stay somewhat in balance. But I stayed way clear of him. My weight kept creeping up and up. I wasn’t quite back up to where I had started when I first met him.

We moved again--this time to Atlanta, this time with my Mom for 2 months waiting for hubby & the house to sell. We’ve been here about a year. My weight is at a new all-time high. I don’t even know where he meets. I tell myself (well, and others tell me too), what would meeting with him do for me that I don’t already know from our previous relationship? Why spend the money? Some people suggest I get over thinking about him with body-changing surgery. I guess I just don’t believe that changing my body to something else is guaranteed to change my mind.

I’ve paid a trainer and was meeting with her infrequently—until the wrist incident.

I am debilitated once again in my life. I can barely get over to put my shoes on. Getting up and down off the floor is exercise. The stairs in our house make me breathless. I have tons of clothes I can’t wear. I’m in the largest possible size you can buy even in a fat woman’s store. I’m as wide as a refrigerator. I weigh more than a football player. My thighs measure what some women’s waists do and my upper arms are as large as some women’s thighs.

As before, I am sick of my weight being the main issue of my life. There has to be more to life than worrying about losing weight. And, of course, worrying about it gets you no where. It’s that down the drain thinking. I don’t just want to see Weight Watchers, I want the old thrill back. And if I can’t get that, I’m not sure what else there is for me. . . what else will give me the healthy discipline and support to work? What else can I believe in like I believed in him?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, in answer to your question. I would tell you to leave him.

    What a fantastic telling of a story, but it's only half done. And one thing stands out over and over in the telling. It wasn't weight watchers. He is a selfish egotistical lover that keeps saying take me or leave me. Either way it will be your loss. But it wasn't weight watchers that made the difference.

    When I read parts one and two again, it seems pretty clear that what made the magic for you was the right coaches. I'd find one, a professional coach, and if Hubby objects that it costs too much (and I don't think he will), tell him the Grandpa says it will cost way more if you don't.


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