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.

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