Maintenance is HARD

uphill-roadAfter living in “maintenance world” for almost four years now, I can verify that losing weight was easy and maintaining is damn hard.

OK … I guess it’s not too hard or I’d have gained all my weight back (not just 10-12), but my point is, it’s still not an easy feat and not one I take lightly.

I’ve said it before that when I joined Weight Watchers in April 2004, it was my first attempt at losing weight and worked like a charm. (Probably because I had never tried to lose weight before — even just skipping my daily sugary, whipped mint mochas was enough to cut calories back then).

In 2004 when I began, everything was beautiful. Magical. I loved the feeling of my clothes being loose, needing safety pins and then a new wardrobe, the attention from friends, co-workers, family, strangers … The way my body changed and with it, my brain. (Before the disordered eating behaviors and thoughts began, that is).

But keeping it off requires thought, preparation. Just like when losing — only magnified like twenty-fold. Continue reading “Maintenance is HARD”

Upcoming: Weight Watchers Unveiling New Program Sunday

From what I’m hearing through the grapevine (as I’m an online-only member) on December 7, Weight Watchers will unveil its (much-hyped but unknown-as-of-now) new program.

Each December, the company tweaks its current programs, and then every two years or so, the brains behind the program come up with an entirely new plan, often disbanding an existing plan in favor of a new one.

Some people stick to what they love and have had success with; others embrace the new plan with gusto.

Let’s be honest … after Thanksgiving and before Christmas/New Year’s, many people are desperate to try anything.

In no way do I know what this new plan will be. But I have to admit, I’m excited to see what it has to offer. I like to see how the program has evolved since I began WW in 2004. Continue reading “Upcoming: Weight Watchers Unveiling New Program Sunday”

Loving Leftovers

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Image credit: farm4.static.flickr.com
When I was little and I’d ask, “What’s for dinner?” and my mom would say “We’re having leftovers,” I just about would throw a tantrum.

“Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” I’d shriek in that whiny-brat voice.

I hated leftovers, hated the idea of eating the same food again. Ew.

Don’t get me wrong; I grew up fortunate. My mom always cooked delicious, balanced meals. There was no reason not to enjoy them the next day, or a week later.

We ate our dinners with milk. We could have seconds if we wanted them. And we sat down as a family as often as we could, even as our scheduled became jammed with cheerleading, dance, karate, etc.

But sometimes life got hectic, and my mom (bless her!) just wanted us to eat leftovers so they’d go away (especially if the freezer was stocked). Continue reading “Loving Leftovers”

Screw the Scale … for Today at Least.

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“Treat your body like a friend and your scale like a machine.”

What a great quote.

How often do we, as women, treat our bodies like enemies, berating them and chastising them … and then treating our scales — stupid machines!–like friends?

You know the drill: If we see a “good” number we’re happy. A “bad” number and we want to hit something or assume we got “fat” overnight or will gain it all back (we didn’t; we won’t).

Rational me says it’s just a moment frozen in time. Yet irrational me says it feels so monumental. It’s like the angel and devil on my shoulder, duking it out each day.

Believe it or not, but I had never owned a scale until I joined Weight Watchers. Really. A woman in her twenties did not own a scale and had no idea how much she weighed. (Is she for real?!)
Continue reading “Screw the Scale … for Today at Least.”

Diet: A Dirty Four-Letter Word

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There are many words in the English language that I don’t like.

Topping the list is the word “diet.”

In its truest form, “diet” simply refers to what we eat.

From the Webster’s: diet –noun 1. food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet.

2. a particular selection of food, esp. as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease: a diet low in sugar.

I know I use the word in both those ways.

However, one could also argue I also use it in the third sense of the word: 3. such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight. Continue reading “Diet: A Dirty Four-Letter Word”

“Happy” Weight Vs. “Fighting Weight”

Call it the weight loss/maintenance limbo: “How low are you willing to go?”

A couple months ago, SELF magazine had an article/quiz about finding your “happy” weight.

I had to laugh when it said my “happy weight” was 135, which ironically, had been my original WW goal.

HA.

Their idea of a “happy weight” is my idea of a “fighting weight,” a weight that I might not reach without serious deprivation or over-exercising … and even if I got there, it wouldn’t necessarily be maintainable in the long-term.

How do I know this? Well, the truth is (shhhh!!!), the lowest I ever got on Weight Watchers (on my old scale) was 138.4 (Note: on my new scale I never saw below 144).

I saw that “beautiful 138.4” twice, and nearly cried for joy seeing a “3” in my stats (though in reality it was probably not accurate).

And you know what? Both times I shot up to 142 the following week. At the time, I didn’t understand it. Until then, I’d been losing steadily, so why did I hit that wall? Continue reading ““Happy” Weight Vs. “Fighting Weight””

Intuitive Eating

Though I am still not through The Four-Day Win by Martha Beck, I’d been wanting to read Intuitive Eating for a long time now.

I finally bit the bullet this weekend when it became available through my library’s inter-library exchange program. (Beware: long blog entry ahead!)

Within the first few pages, I realized I am a restrictive eater, even when trying not to be.

I also realized that my “thesis” that dieting led to my disordered eating was proven, granting me a strange sense of validation. In fact, there’s even a whole chapter in this second edition book titled “Intuitive Eating: The Ultimate Path Toward Healing from Eating Disorders,” which I found compelling and timely.

Though “eating disorders” are mostly described, they do also use the expression “disordered eating” several times. And in nearly every case study they offer, it was dieting and the subsequent euphoria/confidence from it that compelled these subjects to, in time, engage in self-destructive behaviors.

I know in my heart of hearts that I didn’t have a problem with eating before dieting and finding success with Weight Watchers.

And though I can’t blame my disordered eating habits solely on food issues–I understand now that it’s a coping mechanism for anxiety–I know that I still do not have a healthy, “normal” relationship with food or exercise. Continue reading “Intuitive Eating”

Our Own Worst Enemy

“Behavior is the key – changing it is the lock,” said a wise Weight Watcher recently on the Core message board.

She is so right; we are our own worst enemies. We have the power to unlock our potential and make positive changes in our lives, and often we don’t, or feel like we can’t … inadvertently holding ourselves back from reaching our goals.

And though she was referring to weight loss, the quote can be applied to virtually anything in life. For example, you can’t expect to ace your final exam if you haven’t studied the material all semester. You can’t dance in a recital if you don’t practice your routine. And you can’t write a novel if you don’t dedicate time to your craft.

I lost weight the old fashioned way–practicing eating less and exercising more until it became an ingrained habit. And because I changed my behavior by becoming a much cleaner eater and keeping up my exercise routine, most of the weight has stayed off. Continue reading “Our Own Worst Enemy”

A “Healthy” Obsession?

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Sometimes I think my obsession with food and exercise isn’t such a big deal.

Yes, I realize this is my blog about disordered eating, which in most people’s minds equals “bad,” but let me explain.

(I’m searching for the “gray” here, trying to avoid black and white terms.)

See, although it’s caused me a lot of internal strife, it seems as though my obsession has almost worked in my favor, in the sense that I’ve not allowed myself to gain more than a couple pounds from my lowest, attained in 2004.

True, I’m not “at goal” at the moment (teetering about 5-7 lbs from it still depending on that time of the month) but it’s attainable, and I am working on changing some unhealthy behaviors associated with disordered eating that drain me.

I really think the reason I haven’t gained more (or “let myself” gain more) is because even under the most stressful of situations (and I’ve had many over the years), I’m naturally hard-wired to be regimented, at all costs. So I still ate well and exercised–two surefire ways for keeping the weight off.

And in spite of the ugly behaviors that began since losing weight, I’ve still been able to maintain a healthy weight–and now I just want to do it in a healthier, happier way. Continue reading “A “Healthy” Obsession?”