Weight Watchers – a Hard Habit to Break (thank God!)

So in my Weight Watchers meeting we celebrated our three year anniversary. Yes, three of my dear friends and I started attending Weight Watchers meeting 3 years ago today!! Very cool. We were all there to acknowledge this and celebrate our persistence in this regard. We are all lifetime members and have had our own triumphs and challenges. One thing we have in common is that we keep coming back. No matter what. I started thinking about it this afternoon. I kept thinking about these questions in my head. Why is it that I keep going to Weight Watchers ALMOST every week (even Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve this year!). I mean they say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit, but 3 years?!! And reflecting back on three years ago, how is my life different than it was before??

Okay, first question first. Why, do I still go to meetings? I’ll list it in top 10 format just for grins and giggles:

10. To keep myself accountable on and off of the scale
9. To be inspired by my friends – old and new
8. For the Panera bagel, peanut butter, and coffee (they charge for peanut butter now, can you believe it??)
7. Because I have nothing better to do at 6:30 on Saturday mornings?
7. To get Bravo stickers on occasion which keeps me motivated! It is all about the stickers…still.
6. Because I like to be able to start over occasionally and the meeting is a great way to do that – it is like a bookend to my week.
5. To be able to hear new ideas and share some of my own.
4. To be reminded yet again, that I am not alone in this journey.
3. Because it works, folks!!
2. Because our leader, Nancy, is the bomb!
1. Because sometimes I need a meeting – and sometimes a meeting needs me!

And now for the second question. So, how is my life different than 3 years ago before Weight Watchers?

10. I sweat a lot more often now – usually 6 times a week. Basically, my day really doesn’t feel right unless I have a sweaty sports bra in the dirty clothes.
9. I have purchased more pairs of Nike Pegasus shoes in the last three years than I probably have any athletic shoe in my entire life.
8. I now feel comfortable saying words like vinyasa, shevasana and hip opener on a regular basis.
7. I have rediscovered fruits and vegetables that are now just a part of my every day.
6. My favorite Christmas gift was a watch, but it didn’t come from Jared’s!
5. I now have this blog where I can write and share my experiences!
4. I cook tons more now and like to be creative and try new things.
3. I enjoy good food more now and don’t waste time or points on gross or bad tasting food (including gross chocolate!)
2. I don’t buy pop often and stay away from processed food as much as possible.
1. I love to talk about running, yoga, nutrition and like to encourage others to make changes in their lives to reach their goals!

So raise your water glass to good and healthy habits! Thanks, Weight Watchers! Cheers to many more years together!!

Warped Logic

So today in the locker room, I overheard this woman talking about losing weight and the struggle it has been for her. She was quite overweight was sharing with her friend that she did something last night that was counter-intuitive. She said they had a batch of fudge in the house and she just ate it all. “That way it would be gone and I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore!” she said. Now, yes, I too have thought these same thoughts in the not so distant past, but hearing someone say it outloud and be okay with it, highlighted just how absurd that statement really is. I mean, I certainly understand wanting to “get rid” of it in order for it not to be tempting, but there are other strategies to use for this. Like give it away to a friend or a neighbor. Or even (gasp) throw it away!!! Just shoving it down your gullet in some ways is really an act of violence against your body, I think. I mean, in what world does this even work? Let me mindlessly shove this all in my stomach so I won’t be tempted by it later. She deserves better! We all do. I wanted to take her aside and tell her this, but it was not the time or place. Plus I remembered that I had some fudge at home as well…LOL!!!

>Acknowledging the Binge

>Okay, so we’ve all done it, right? Even those of us who seem to have a good handle on our eating habits most of the time, can have a moment where the wheels fall off and we eat something we didn’t really didn’t want to. Oh, we thought we did – in the moment. But after the fact, not so much. Let’s see, what are the eating mistakes we can make. We can either eat too much, plain and simple – that old portion control thing. Or we can eat too much of the wrong thing. Or we can eat when we are really not hungry – ya know, that emotional eating thing.

And if you are like me, after you have these moments, you just want to forget about it, move past it and start over – back on program or back on target with the next meal, right? Right! Now, that is all well and good. We definitely should not be berating ourselves for making these choices. It is good to move past it. However, I’m here to propose that we do something additional when this happens. Acknowledge the binge. Now, what exactly do I mean by this? I’m referring to not simply ignoring it. After you are in a better place than in the middle of it, I ask you to consider it… analyze it and try to figure out what made you grab that food to begin with. What were you feeling? What were you trying to not feel? Had you starved yourself and you were just desperate? Did you feel like you are being deprived? What was at the heart of what you were feeling before you binged? The way I figure it, I am better off it I can learn something from this situation and get some good from it. Plus, if I’m able to pick it apart, perhaps I will deal with that situation differently if, or really when, it happens again.

Now this advice is just for us Weight Watcher peeps: I even advocate calculating the points of the binge and recording it. You might be surprised at the number of points you really consumed. It could be way more than you thought or way less. But either way, it is the truth – the truth that your body already knows whether you write it down or not.

So yeah, acknowledge your binge – own it so it does not own you!

>The Intimidation Factor

>I went to Vertical Runner to buy two new pairs of shoes last night. I got to talking with the woman who was helping me and I found out she had run 11 miles earlier that day. I asked her if she was training for something and she mentioned some short race this weekend, but then added, “but I do have a 50K in April. I guess I need to get on that. I probably should run 20 tomorrow…or actually 25.”

I just looked at her and blinked. Color me impressed/intimidated. All I could really say is “that is really awesome”. I suddenly felt like the nerdy kid talking to the popular girl. Clearly I was totally out of her league. What was I even doing in a running store anyways??!! She was very nice and helpful. My feelings of being intimidated and feeling out of place were clearly mine and I own that. I later found out that she had only been running for 10 years (she was probably in her mid to late 40’s I would guess) and she has worked her way up to where she is now. She assured me that it was just a “different kind of running.” So I finally relaxed a bit, but I still felt uneasy in the store and was anxious to bug out. This is so weird. It is like I didn’t feel like I deserved to shop there…that it is only for hard-core runners. Like, is there a store just for the beginners? That is where I need to be!

>Sensitivity Training

>Happily I was down 2.2 pounds at the scale this morning!! Granted, I still had to pay my $11 because I’m still more than two pounds above my goal, but who cares! The important part is that I’m moving in the right direction, as I had to remind the clerk this morning who rudely announced that I needed to pay BEFORE acknowledging that I was down. Now, I don’t need cartwheels, hoots and hollers, noisemakers, and flowers, from her, but come on…let’s lead with the fact that I’m going the right direction, rather than that I have to still pay, shall we??!! Most of the time I have had excellent experience with the staff at WW, but his morning I was disappointed. But hey, maybe she was just having an off day. We’ve all had those! So, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and see what happens when I’m down again next week!!!

>A Radical Goal

>John Carroll is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011 so there are lots of celebrations going on during the year. One of the priests who is really into running has put a challenge out to the community to see if we can get 125 people to run the Cleveland marathon, 1/2 marathon or 10K on May 15. So, I’ve happily joined this group. We are getting jerseys and there is a small fund raising part too. It is a neat thing. The priest who is organizing this sends us weekly motivational things to keep us training and inspired to keep going. I just got one this morning and I was blown away by it and I just wanted to share it. The priest had asked this hard-core runner guy to write a little bit about his running journey and I’ll share part of it here…

He is currently a 54-year-old man, but he began his running journey on his 36th birthday feeling overweight. He decided to run 3 miles during lunch. He only made it for running for one mile and ran a 10:12 pace and then walked the other two. He continued running over the next three years during lunch for 3 miles and ended up losing 30 pounds. He started increasing his distance running with others for 4-6 miles outside. He ran his first marathon in Cleveland in 1999 and has run 52 others since. No, that is not a typo – I said fifty-two. Here are his current race totals: 53 marathons, 3-50K’s and 2-50 milers. Oh, in addition in 2008 and 2009 combined he ran a total of 20 marathons. OMG.

What makes this story so unbelievable in addition to the sheer number of miles this man has run, is that he doesn’t look at all like a “typical runner”. He is a little stocky and you would never guess just by looking at him that he is a hard core runner.

I never thought I would or could run a 5K and now I’m training for 1/2 marathon. Now, some of us will never run a marathon or maybe even a mile or maybe don’t even want to. But, my question is, what goal do you have that is just out of the realm of possibility for you? What is just so radical that would make you say right now, “no way, I could never do that”? Really think about it. Now, let me say to you…I double-dog-dare you…

>God Bless the Broken Road

>I was so flattered to be asked by a new friend for a WW pep talk of sorts yesterday. She just needed to talk a bit and get some advice from someone who has traveled a little further on this weight loss road than she. I enjoyed talking with her and hopefully she was able to take a few nuggets from our conversation to help her.

What I found so amazing from this interaction is just how different we all are. As I was listening to her story and making some suggestions, it just reinforced how we are all indeed on our own weight loss or weight maintenance journey. While suggestions are helpful, it is so true that what works for one person may not work for another. The same is also true for the same person – one time it will work and one time it won’t! This is a blessing and a curse, I think. I’m glad the road is not straight, but filled with delightful opportunities for us to learn more about ourselves, our habits, and our idiosyncrasies and therefore grow (on the inside – not bigger!!). So, God bless the broken road that has led me to learn more about me and meet SO many wonderful new friends.

>Down Finally!

>Finally, finally, after like 6 weeks, today the scale was my friend! I was down 0.8 lbs from last week. I was kinda disappointed at first. I mean what part of running 12 miles, doing a boot camp class and a spinning class all in one week equals losing 0.8 lbs???? That is sorta ridiculous. And, I’m staying within my points…I promise! One silver lining in all this is that this is the week I would normally be up a little (monthly deal) and I was down in spite of that so that is good. Some say it is muscle gain, but I don’t buy it. I think maybe it is just my body adjusting to all of this. We’ll go with that. My running amount is only going to increase as the weeks go on so it should even out eventually – I hope! Cuz I hate paying every friggin week!!!! But, that is the way I hold myself accountable…its okay. My success is not totally controlled by that scale – I mean I ran 5 friggin’ miles this morning, come on!

>What you do in private, you wear in public!

>Ha, ha! I just love this saying that I heard this morning at Weight Watchers. We talked a lot about sayings and mantras to use as anchors this morning and this one in particular really hit home with me. I gained again at the scale this week and I was defeated and started blaming the new program again in my mind. That damn new program. What the hell – I’m eating all this friggin’ fruit – what am I doing wrong?! I mean, if you look at my 3-month journal, it looks like everything is great – on paper. But if I really think about it and get honest with myself I have snacked extra and not tracked it. For some reason I still have not completely learned the lesson that this saying alludes to – MY BODY IS RECORDING EVERYTHING I EAT EVEN IF I DON’T WRITE IT DOWN!! It is so logical, but for some reason in the moment I choose to forget this. Or perhaps I’m eating for a different reason than hunger – in response to some feeling I don’t want to feel. So maybe to combat this I need to actually feel the feeling and just move on. Give myself the 10 minutes to feel it and then deal with it. Why is that so hard to do sometimes?! I guess I’m a slow learner, but thank God there isn’t a grade for all of this. There is no Weight Watcher’s police that is going to arrest me because I still haven’t learned some of the basics. I think it is really just a re-learning that needs to happen periodically. I rest on my laurels (or my butt, if you will) and get lax and that is when those bad habits start to creep back in. But, I don’t have to be perfect – far from it. This is still a journey – and always will be. And boy is this about so much more than weight loss!!! I have to share some words of wisdom and perspective that Zachary, my 9-year-old said to me this morning after I came home and shared that I was up again at the scale. He said, “Mommy, its okay, because this body (and he pointed to me) is so much better than the way it used to be!” Out of the mouths of babes I tell you. Yes, it is, Zach…yes, it is!

>Eat Dead & Dying Things

>Okay, a little gross, I admit. But I had this realization at lunch today that a really good rule of thumb in terms of eating healthy is to eat things that are dying, used to be alive and/or will eventually go bad. Morbid and a bit yucky to think about I admit, but think about it. All the good stuff, the filling foods, the super foods, whatever you want to call it this week – all of that stuff has a shelf life that is not too long. I mean I have heard people joke about how they can’t seem to keep vegetables in the fridge, but that’s just it – they aren’t meant to be “kept” there, but eaten! Today for lunch I made a big salad from assorted veggies, some artizan lettuces and I threw some turkey on for protein. I also had a cup of lentil soup, from a can – Progresso. Yes, technically it is processed, but it is still good protein!! But I digress.. So, here is the exception – beans! Beans can be shelved for awhile, but I’m not sure how long?? For the most part this rule still holds true…peaches, yes-they go bad; twinkies -not so much; salmon – was once alive; cookies – not so much. See how that works?? Am I a genius or what??!! Don’t answer that. Just grab some milk…but check the date first!!!!