Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lenten Challenge- Day 23

23 days and still "scale free".  Actually, I hardly even think of weighing anymore.  They say that it takes 3 weeks or so to break a habit, maybe that's what this is.

Before I joined WW, we owned a scale.  It was analog and not very accurate.  I started Weight Watchers in July of 2001.  I remember it vividly.  I had strept throat.  I was as sick as I can remember being.  I was home from work, laying in bed with the tv on.  The Today Show did a piece on "WW in the White House" .  I think this is the first time it dawned on me to try WW.

Before Weight Watchers (WW), I had tried every diet imaginable.  I admit to being seduced by diet books. I love the feeling of buying a new one, believing that it holds THE answer that I have been searching for.  I have done Atkins (very briefly - ick!), Sugar-busted, South Beached, lived on Cabbage Soup, followed the Mayo Clinic plan(grapefruit juice), and lord knows how many others.  I followed Dr. Gabe Mirkin's low fat advice (less and 20 grams a day).  I love the feeling of purging my kitchen of all the taboo foods and drinks and starting on a new journey.  However, after the "honeymoon phase", I was usually tired, cranky and was mostly still fat.  I did lose a bunch of weight drinking Herbal Life shakes, but after about 3 months, I really needed to "chew food".  Now it was time for WW.

Once I got better, I went to the WW Center and signed up.  I told no one except my husband.  I was ashamed that I actually needed "outside help".   At my first meeting, Wayne, the leader, said "If we could have done this alone, we would have.".  I felt better.  Wayne, who is an amazing leader, helped me shed about a bunch of weight (somewhere between 30-40 pounds -- I had already lost a bunch on Herbal Life) and I made it to Goal in October of 2001.

That is where the trouble started.  WW is a great place to lose weight.  They have given me the information to make healthy choices.  I learned a lot about my body and how it uses food.  However, nothing prepared me for the "Maintenance Phase".  Here is where I think WW lets down their members. They give you a handout on Maintenance, and tell you to come at least once a month to Weigh In.

Although they say you can eat everything on WW, that isn't exactly true.  There were things I missed.  So I started adding those "occasional splurges" back into my diet.  For 3 weeks, the scale would creep up a pound or so.  Weigh In day would be looming so I would "prepare".  I would basically starve myself for 3-4 days before weighing in.  I would not exercise that week - that may add weight.  When I was losing, I went to Wayne's meeting which is Wednesday at 7 p.m.  Now, I needed a morning meeting to make weight.  If I didn't eat or drink that would shave off the pounds I needed to squeak by.  That and wearing "ultra light" clothes.  Yes, I did know what my clothes weighed.  I would wear sweats over a pair of shorts and a tank top.  I would actually strip down prior to getting on the scale, with my eyes closed and hope for a good number.   Phew another month.  Wow, I'm starving!  Can't stay for the meeting, gotta eat.  Oh, look!  There's a McDonald's right over there.  A sausage McMuffin would taste really good right now.  Gone.  Free for another month.  Now to get some breakfast!

I didn't see the danger in this pattern.  In the mean time, I had spent a $100 or so on a Tanita Scale that had one decimal place.  I knew EXACTLY how it differed from the scale at the WW Center.  So the week before, I would not schedule anything in the mornings and see which morning would be a "good" day to weigh.  I went through the same little ritual every month, including the sausage McMuffin.

This went on for a year or so.  My Dad got sick (had open heart surgery and never recovered -- long story).  9/11 happened.  My BFF's husband was killed that day.  I was helping both her and her 4 year old daughter cope.  I quit my job - another long story.   Everything in my world seemed out of control.  However, there was one thing I could control - the scale.  It became an obsession and the whole way that I "graded" my performance as a human being.  It wasn't the all of the good things that I was doings - taking care of my father and helping my stepmother out, helping my friend and her daughter, raising my daughter (who was in Elementary School), selling tons of PartyLite Candles (that was my income source at the time), being a good wife, etc.  No, it was the number on the dang scale.

A lot has happened since 2002.  Some of it good, some of it not so good.  My dad and stepmom have passed away.  My friend and her daughter are doing great, in fact, Debbie and I run together.  My daughter has graduated high school and thriving at Belmont University in Nashville (beaming with pride as I type this), my marriage is good and solid and fulfilling.  Now maybe the scale doesn't need to be an obsession.  It can just be a habit.  Habits can be broken in 3 weeks.  Maybe that's what I have done.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lenten Challenge - Day 20 (I think!)

I've kinda lost count, can you believe it?  I didn't even think about the scale today.  Instead, I thought about going to my Pilates class and maybe getting a short walk in.  I think I miss my cardio on my pilates days.  My day seems to be "off" without a little bit of cardio.  So today, I added in a brisk two mile treadmill walk after the gym.

I almost forgot the biggest "scale" moment.  It happened this past Thursday.  I went to the doctor for my 6 month visit and didn't look at the scale.  The nurse said that my weight was within the healthy range, so I just let it go at that.  I will get the report from my blood work in a week or so.  Guess we'll see how I'm doing.  Anyway, weight did not seem to be an issue.  Imagine that?

I think that sometimes Weight Watchers pushes us to "pick" a number in a sort of random fashion.  I think it would be healthier to live "in the range".  I know that I chose my goal weight to be too low.  It was fine at 40, but not so much at 50.  Our bodies change.

I know that I am physically healthier at 50 than I was at 40.  However, I weigh 15 more pounds.  I'm still in the healthy BMI range, but let's face it, that is not what they would say to me if I stepped on a scale.  I might be able to change my weight to the top of the goal, but it's still a single number.  A single number is not real.  A glass of water can change your weight more than a pound.

Weight Watchers did not encourage people to pick their weight at the top of their range.  If they did, they would lose money.  I know that Weight Watchers is a business, but sometimes I think they put their business ahead of their clients.  For example, all of the crap that they call "food" that they sell is just AWFUL.  It is full of chemicals.  The leaders push the food items because they get commission.  People load up on it.  I know,  I used to ring them up at Weigh In.  Boxes and Boxes of cheese snacks, 2 point bars, shakes and the oatmeal that was loaded with artificial sweeteners.  ICK.  A lot of meeting time was spent talking about snacks and processed foods  - Skinny Cows, Pirates Booty, Lean Cuisines, etc.

Let's here it for real food.  Yes, Virginia, you have to cook it.  Oh, yeah.  You have to shop for it.  Honestly, how hard is it to make a pitcher of iced tea with some real sugar.

NO! You can't use real sugar.  It will make you fat.  Drink Diet Soda.  Diet soda counts as a "water" in Weight Watchers, or at least it did.  WHAT?  Soda is not WATER!!!  Oh wait, we can flavor your water with Crystal Light so you can drink it.  All full of artificial sweeteners.  I'm not convinced that artificial sweeteners are not what make us fat.

Okay, so I didn't mean to go off on another Weight Watcher rant.  I guess what bothers me is that most Weight Watcher Leaders are very dogmatic about the program.  They don't want to hear that you can eat more "real" food and lose weight.  If so, how would they make money if you didn't buy their junk food.  Their new Points Plus sort of says that, but I don't know if anyone believes it.  I haven't been to a meeting, nor do I plan to go again.  However, everyone I know that still does Weight Watchers is screaming about how "points pricey" their processed junk food items are.  Get real people -- that's what is making you fat.

Also Weight Watchers doesn't get "real" exercise.  Believe it or not, some people claim Activity Points, which you can eat, for CLEANING!!!!  I don't count anything as exercise unless it involves a  Sports Bra.

I guess I'm being sort of negative about Weight Watchers.  I get that way.  I'm sorry.  Maybe it's PMS.

I spun off from my original point, but I guess that is what blogs are for.  I think fixating on a single number is just not healthy.  I'm going to work on getting away from that.  I wonder if I can?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lenten Challenge Day 19 - I can't believe I made it this far!

Things have been busy, so I've gotten behind on blogging.  However, I'm still "scale free" after 19 days!

I feel awesome!  I have been concentrating on what makes me want to weigh. I think it's "fear".  Then I have to look at what I'm afraid of.  I am afraid of getting fat again.  Is that fear based in reality?

I'm not sure.  I think I have learned over the years what to eat, what not to eat and how much to eat.  I love to exercise.  That is no lie.  I look forward to my pilates reformer classes and my running.  I really look forward to my running.  So, what would make me get fat.  Ignoring everything I know about food and giving up the exercising that I truly love.  That isn't going to happen. 

So what do I need the number on the scale for?  Is it validation of my "success" on some level?  Can't I get that validation in other ways?  Finishing a run, helping a student overcome his or her fear of math, doing something nice for someone, etc. are other forms of positive validation.  Why not focus on those?  Why is the number on the scale so important?

It never was until I joined Weight Watchers.  I'm not going to bash Weight Watchers because I got a lot of good information and support from them.  I have met some very good friends on the Weight Watcher message boards.  One of the "bad" things that I have gotten from Weight Watchers is my scale obsession.  I can only speak to my own obsession, but I know others share it.  I know people that weigh multiple times a day or use multiple scales.  I've seen women remove their wedding rings at the scale at Weight Watchers before a Weigh In.  Come on, what could rings weigh?  However, SO much emphasis is on the scale at Weight Watchers.  All the prizes are based on lost pounds.  Losing weight is good, but I've seen people not exercise because it made them "gain".  Is that crazy?  Crazy, but true. 

They talk about NSV's (Non-Scale Victories" at Weight Watchers.   Why not place an emphasis victories of all kinds?  Just the fact that it is a "Non Scale" victory shows how "All about the scale" Weight Watchers is.

I had to quit.  I quit my job at Weight Watchers first.  Finally, I quit doing the program.  The tracking was becoming an obsession, too.  I knew that I was "in trouble" when I asked my husband recently after dinner, "Do you think I ate more than 12 potato chips with my sandwich?".

Now, my goal is to eat when I'm hungry.  I also want to eat what I want to eat.  However, I will stop when I'm full. I'm going to continue to exercise like I do, because I love it.  I was afraid that running would become an obsession, too.  So far, it has been a relief, not an obsession.  It clears my mind, works my body and gets me some fresh air.  How can that be bad!  I just need to not let it control my life.  I will talk about my Garmin another day.  I was afraid that would feed my tendency to obsess.  I didn't.

It is hard not to get on the scale.  I want to a lot.  I want to know if I'm doing "good" or "bad".  Why is everything "good" or "bad".

I just finished up a 4 mile treadmill run because the weather was not to my liking to run outside.  I did speed work because I love the way it makes me feel (not while I'm doing it, but after).  I want to jump on the scale and see if I lost.  I won't do that.

I need to think about my relationship with the scale, "Post Lent".  There is enough time for that.  Today, I'm just happy that at 19 days into it, I'm still "scale free".

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 3: Starting to feel Withdrawl

Okay.  It's Day 3.  I did not step on the scale today and I don't plan to.  I looked at it.  Thought about it, but didn't.

I thought about putting the scale away.  Hiding it.  That might make this easier.  However, it really isn't about where the scale is.  If I really wanted to weigh, I'd go get it.  It's just like when I hide food.  I go dig it out.  I'd have to throw the scale in the trash and others use it, so that wouldn't be fair.

As for eating, I've been fine.  It's been a little tricky since I'm at the beach and in a bit of "vacation mode", however, the beach weekends are part of my life so I need to go through them during this challenge.  I usually exercise more at the beach but the rain yesterday kept me inside.  I'm not going to run today because I am running a 5K tomorrow and want to save my legs. 

I haven't snacked much at all.  That is good.  I've tried to eat reasonably and good portions.  I haven't felt stuffed and have been hungry by the time the next meal rolls around.  The tough part of my "beach lifestyle" is the adult beverages.  I have had more Lite Beer than I would have at home.  I won't be drinking next weekend, so this is okay. 

Life has it's ebbs and flows.  I roll with it with the scale, I can roll with it, without the scale.  I just wish it wasn't so hard.  It would be much easier to give up my watch.  It would be far easier to not know what time is was rather than to not know how much I weigh.  I know that is crazy, but it's true.  The funny thing is that knowing the number on the scale doesn't usually alter my behavior.  It just allows me to beat myself up for being "bad". 

Luckily, I have college basketball to distract me.  I'll feel MUCH better after I run tomorrow.  I know I will.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Journey - Day 2 to give up Obsession

Okay, so it's not as hard as I thought today.  I am at the beach so maybe being out of my "normal" environment makes it easier.  I did not step on the scale this morning.  I'm going to try and go 40 days without weighing.  One down.  Today is not over yet!

I know it sounds like an easy thing to do, but for me, it's not.  I have a "love/hate" relationship with the scale.  I love it when it tells me good news.  If I don't like the number, it can ruin my day. 

I need to look at other indicators of good health.  My weight is within the healthy range for my height.  My clothes fit nicely.  I am fit.

I watch what I eat.  Of course, I have the occasional treat, but for the most part, I'm a model for heatlhy eating.  I eat fruits, veggies, drink tons of water, very little red meat, etc. 

I need to break the scale addiction.  Here's hoping that I can.  If I don't weigh for 40 days, that should do it.  I think I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to make or break a habit.  We shall see.

Today, I feel a little stressed.  It is absolutely pouring out and I don't have access to a treadmill so there will be no run for me today (at least it doesn't look like it).  I don't have a good way to get any meaningful exercise so I need to adjust my eating.  I need to realize that just because I skip one day of planned exercise, it doesn't undo all of the good work that I have done for weeks.  I need to be reasonable with myself and tell myself what I would tell someone else.  Why is that so hard?

I think I am going to learn a lot during this 40 day exercise. 

Until then, I'll watch some college basketball.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Lenten Journey - To give up Obsession

I just got back from Pilates Reformer class and feel awesome.

Okay, so Lent starts today and it's a period of reflection and sometime deprivation. I thought about doing stuff like giving up Diet Pepsi or sugar, but decided on something MUCH more difficult for me.

I'm going to give up obsessing over my weight.

Okay. That doesn't mean I'm going to give up exercise and hit the All You Can Eat Buffet. What it means is that I am going to eat a healthy and balanced diet with correct portion sizes. I'm going to continue to run 12-15 miles per week and do my Pilates.

What it means is that I am not going to spend every waking hour worrying about the number on the scale. I may not even weigh the whole 40 days. Wonder if I could do that? Hmmmmm. Food for thought.

Right now, I'm sitting around 160, BUT, I put on a pair of pants that didn't fit last fall and they were loose. I wore a racer back tank to pilates today (everything else was in the washer) and the instructor complimented me on my upper body. Why do I only see the # on the scale and beat myself up????

I need to focus on feeling good about myself and not have my whole day either be either "good or bad" by what number I see.

I wonder how this will feel? Freeing or down right scary? I need to re-read "Women, Food and God" because that is the approach the Geneen Roth takes. Give your body what it needs (good food and exercise) and everything else will take care of itself.

Maybe I should have just given up "facebook" for Lent!