I've been a chunky gal practically my entire life. Other than a few years in grade school - probably a growth spurt - I've been a little larger than most of my peers. Hey, I will give myself a break, I came into the world weighing a hefty 10.2 pounds. My poor mother.
As an adult, I've found ways to lose weight when I needed to. I used to be able to step up my exercise routine and lose 10-15 pounds. I went through a skinny phase after my divorce, subconsciously knowing that skinny girls get more dates than chubby ones. And I was right - they do.
So at age 46, I weighed more than I did when I was nine months pregnant. I weighed almost as much as my husband. I weighed 75 pounds more than the BMI scale said I should. I felt fat and miserable. My clothing crept out of the regular sizes and into plus sizes. I've always loved clothes, so that last one really hurt. I hated plus-size clothing. It's butt ugly.
The last straw was a picture I saw of myself. I was at an outdoor festival in the middle of August. I was wearing a long sleeved argyle sweater and khaki capris. I looked so uncomfortable. It was one of those rare photos that I wasn't trying to hide behind someone or something. I looked like a sausage squeezing out of those pants. There was no denying it. I was a fat chick.
Another thing happened around the same time. No guys checked me out anymore. Not a look, not a whistle, not a remark. Not that my life revolves around guys checking me out, but let's just say...it's no fun to be invisible.
I always thought that Weight Watchers was the best weight loss program out there. It was always the most sensible because you can eat real food. I do eat prepackaged food when I'm in a hurry, but mostly eat real food that I cook at home. And cooking is a real passion, so one of those programs where frozen food arrives in a box did not appeal to me at all. I faced the music - I was really going to have to make a lifestyle change.
My friend Lisa mentioned that she was ready to join Weight Watchers in March 2013. She'd already been through the program 20 years ago and had found success. She welcomed the opportunity to have a friend tag along. We both shared our weights with each other - very similar. That was oddly comforting. We also made the committment to attend meetings and weigh in every week, which is something I had never really thought would "work" for me. Looking back, I don't know what made me think that. Maybe it's because I didn't think I needed the help. But in reality, what I was doing wasn't working (which was NOTHING).
I ended up in a very supportive group of (mostly) women. All sizes, all shapes, in all stages of their weight loss. There are young athletic women who just need to lose a few pounds. There are women who have lost more than 100 pounds, sometimes over many years. There are a lot of women like me - middle-aged and looking to regain some control over our physical selves. There are people there for their health - Doctor's orders. Others are doing it to support a spouse or sister.
The Weight Watchers leader and the group who comes to the meetings are key components to why the meetings work. The leader makes sure that people get to tell their stories if they wish. She congratulates people on reaching their big goals, but also something as simple as a 5-pound increment. The group members tell personal stories about their struggles and victories. We discuss things that derail us as well and things that work.
If I could point to one thing that really makes it work, it's the weekly accountability of the weigh-in. Knowing that your progress will be measured and recorded does provide motivation to do well. At least it did for me. And when the scale doesn't budge for months for no particular reason, I have my leader and my group's words to get me through and keep me motivated. I also recognize the benefit of knowing how much I am eating every day and how to make better choices. As our leader often reminds us, we can eat anything we want - but does that donut really make sense? Probably not. I've also learned about power foods and the fact that choosing carefully really does make you more successful. And feel a heck of a lot better.
Given what I do for a living - I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention that our group has a very active private Facebook page where we share victories and failures. It's very inspiring to read what others in the group have to say.
I know that people have to meet this journey on their own terms, but this is what works for me. I highly recommend Weight Watchers! I've lost forty pounds and no longer wear plus sizes! I still have another 25 or so to lose, but I'm in control of that now. It will be a piece of cake. Well, maybe a rice cake!