March 07, 2004

time for a change

Iím leaving Weight Watchers. Why does it feel so much like breaking up with a needy boyfriend? I know theyíll try to woo me back with cards and letters, guilt inducing ďyou canít go it alone, weíre meant for each otherĒ messages. Theyíd call and leave pathetic voice mail, Iím sure, complete with sniffles and forlorn tones, but they donít have my phone number. Thank god for that.

Iím leaving Weight Watchers and Iím a little nervous about it. Not sure if itís the right thing to do. Itís been a kind of security blanket, a weekly reminder that Iím so serious about this, Iím paying money so someone else can write down my weight. And itís been good to me. Very good. Itís gotten me past that ten-pounds-down stuff-your-face-now wall Iíve faced too many times in the past. The ritual of the meetings, the discipline involved in weighing and measuring every bite, writing it all down in a little book and toting up the totals, all of that has been crucial, I think.

But Iíve been spinning my wheels since early November. I cycled up and down (and up and down) through the same two pounds for the two last months of 2003, then managed to slip down two for real in January/February and now am cycling through that new set of numbers, seeing them repeat and repeat and repeat on the scale. And I'm staying on the program, writing down my points and staying within the range and exercising regularly. And yet. Hello scale, my dearest enemy.

Somethingís off. I know weight loss slows as you get closer to your goal, and right now Iím around fifteen pounds or so from mine but still. This is unbelievably frustrating. I go to weigh-ins and lo! Iíve lost an ounce! (And they reassure me, ďhey, at least youíre maintainingĒ Ė gee, thanks.) Or I go and Iím down a whole pound and a half (last week Ė and woo fucking hoo, half of that was weight Iíd lost the previous week that simply didnít show up on that morning and the other half was dehydration). Or I go and Iím up a pound (yesterday, and the woman gave me a sad sort of look as I shrugged and tried to look nonchalant) but I know because I weigh myself every morning that the up-a-pound is as false as the down-a-pound-and-a-half.

And then if I stay for the meeting, people are saying the same things that were interesting six months ago but not so much now, and the topics are the same as they were back then, and I recognize only a few people in the room now, and I no longer feel part of that isn't-this-great? community.

Donít get me wrong. I think Weight Watchers rocks. I just think itís time for a break. Maybe a permanent break, but I donít know that for sure.

What I do know is that I donít want to take a break from losing weight. This is too important to me for a myriad of reasons, emotional and health-related. But Iíve been able to lose ten pounds at a time in the past without any outside help, no specific structure. I was never as rigorous about the dieting part but I was more intensive with the workouts. So this month Iíll try my damnedest to exercise six times a week (three times cardio, ie: Nordic Track and three times weightlifting/ab crunches/pushups) and work to maintain my smaller portion sizes and healthy/lowfat snacking habits and also make a point of, yíknow, COOKING. From Weight Watchers cookbooks (and any others I can dig up Ė feel free to recommend some). Healthy, low calorie/fat/points food. I haven't been so good about that. Eating low points, yes, but cooking real meals? Not so much. Who has time? But if it's important enough, I can find the time. And it's important enough. If I feel well fed, I can stick with this.

Yes, Iím nervous about this change. Oh yes. But itís not like it's a forever commitment. If Iíve gained even as much as two pounds by the end of March, back I go to the weigh ins and the half hour meetings. But maybe Ė just maybe Ė I need to do this, to shake things up and try this on my own and see whether it still works. Or even works better.

Posted by Tamar at March 7, 2004 09:50 PM

Tamar, has anyone suggested to you to *increase* your food intake, to reset your metabolism? I was under the impression that WW leaders were aware that increasing to the tune of 3-5 points per day for a couple of weeks was the best advise to give to someone in your predicament.

Posted by: Dreama at March 8, 2004 03:37 AM

Word. Just substitute eDiets for Weight Watchers and I'm at the exact same spot. I was about to suggest we establish a joint challenge, to each trek across the country and meet (virtually) half way. But then I saw that it would still be almost 1400 miles each. That's a lot of walking/biking/norditracking.

5 miles a day to meet by January 1. Think we could do it?

Posted by: Kat at March 8, 2004 07:18 AM

I highly recommend "The Low-Fat Living Cookbook." Can't remember the author at the moment, but it's got some really great recipes for yummy food of all kinds (snacks, meals, baked treats). The recipes are easy to follow & tend not to require hard-to-find items. They also give nutritional breakdowns per serving & a break-down of both prep & hands-on time. I've used several recipes frequently (with minor adaptations in the spices or seasonings), and they've all been great, especially the roasted red-pepper hummus (though I leave out the garlic & tahini...) and the baked pita chips. Positively addictive!!!

Posted by: jms at March 8, 2004 07:50 AM

Tamar, I completely agree about increasing your point intake. Someone told me to google "leptin" and "refeeding" and I did, and it explains a little bit about why indulging one day a week helps your body. It's also known as "cheat night" or "the Wendie plan" in some circles, but anecdotal evidence suggests it might work!

I quit going to meetings a while ago and quit weighing myself, too! Now I am back to weighing myself but still don't feel compelled to pay the $10 to get my weight written in a little book. I hope I can do it on my own; I really feel like the training wheels are coming off and I am still wobbly and frightened.

Posted by: mo pie at March 8, 2004 04:27 PM

Mo and Dreama, that's excellent advice, only I'm already following it! I've done the leptin refeed cheat night thing since the getgo and mixing up my points on different days and all that. And I ate more over the holidays and then cut back after. I did lose a bit after, so maybe it did work some, but not enough.

I think the bigger issue right now is that I slacked off with the exercise when I actually needed to up the pace. So I am. Quitting WW is because I'm tired of counting points. I'd rather see if I can trust my body to tell me how much to eat. At least for now...

Thanks for the cookbook recommend, JMS. I'll give it a try. Yum.

Kat, I'd love to virtually meet you halfway, only... I can't measure my distance on the Nordic Track anymore. Damian played with the cord going to the monitor/counter thingie (technical jargon, yo) and now I'm swishing in the dark. I guess I could try to dig one up on Ebay. (I should anyway.) When I do, I'll let you know, 'kay? Where would we meet? Somewhere in Kansas?

Posted by: Tamar at March 8, 2004 09:41 PM

Just pick up a cheap pedometer and wear it all day long! According to Google, Houston is midpoint between New York and LA, but that seems awfully far from me and a little too close to you... Methinks a bit more research is in order.

Posted by: Kat at March 9, 2004 04:42 AM

Tamar, as a lifetime member from way back, let me assure that unless things have really changed. (And that's possible, of course.) You won't get any notes, phone calls, etc. You'll just stay away as long as you want, and show up again when and if you want.

As for increasing food -- that's the WW secret plateau buster. When people are plateaued, the leaders are supposed to give them a top secret program that actually is increasing your intake for a short period of time.

Good luck, whatever you end up doing!

Posted by: pooks at March 11, 2004 12:01 PM

Pooks, I know for a fact that I'll be getting a card in the mail, at least. I saw the card already addressed to me in my file. I asked about it. Apparently these days they write it out the moment you skip ONE meeting. That pissed me off, honestly. One meeting. That's how much leeway you have before getting a "we miss you!" card?

I'll try the food increase (within reason) though as I said, I already have in the past. But what the hey, right?

Posted by: Tamar at March 11, 2004 10:08 PM

Did you ask them about the plateau? I don't know what their program is, just that it does mean increasing food. It might be worth getting the plateau plan before you bail.

Posted by: pooks at March 12, 2004 05:18 AM