Earlier this week I posted that I recently lost forty pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 6/8. My plans for installing one of those airport people movers in between our family room couch and our refrigerator have now been put on permanent hiatus. That enormous sob of relief you hear is Nate who, apparently, was lying when he said Sure honey, I’ll gut and remodel the family room for easy access to your triple brownie fudge ice cream! BECAUSE I PROMISED TO LOVE YOU IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH AND IN IMMENSE GIRTH.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things that worked for me during the ten months it took for me to get to the point where I could bend over and see my toes without asphyxiating myself. Today, I’ll talk about the program I used and in Part 2, I’ll talk about the food I ate and the exercise I learned not to despise. However, I feel the need to preface what I’m about to say with a few disclaimers:
- This is stuff that worked for me and I’m about the farthest thing from a nutrition, fitness and/or health expert you can possibly find. In fact, I find it hard to even type those words on this blog without laughing hysterically and if you know anything about me, you know that when I laugh, I lose all motor control of my thumbs and tthhheeeen it’sss harrrdddd ttoooooo tyypppppee.
- I am not a spokesperson for any product I mention. No one pays me or compensates me in any way to say anything about anything. That being said, Nate is open to any and all offers to get me to shut the hell up. Send your proposals to nathan@remindmewhyImarriedyouagain.com.
I’ve already described in excruciating detail my first obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive ride on the Weight Watchers merry go round from seven years ago so I won’t rehash that here. You’re welcome. Suffice it to say that this time around, I reigned in my OCD tendencies and approached the program with a good degree of moderation. As I did last time, I attend meetings, not because I discover anything earth shattering at any of them since I don’t, although I do occasionally learn something new, be it a recipe, a food, a different strategy, etc. No, I attend the meetings because (1) my ass needs to be removed from my office chair and see daylight every once in awhile; (2) it makes me feel like I’m getting every penny’s worth of the $400 I’ve spent on this program thus far; (3) getting weighed by someone other than myself holds me accountable for my choices and if I’m up, chances are I’m much less likely to punch a stranger in the face than I am myself; (4) I can celebrate a loss or commiserate a gain with people who know exactly how hard it was for me to eat just one piece of lasagna instead of gobbling down the entire pan after everyone went to bed; and finally, (5) sometimes, I simply need to sit in a room full of people who are bigger than me, because losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.
I work the program this way: I eat what I want, when I want. This includes creamy sauces, stuff made out of gooey chocolate and things that have seven layers of cheese. I bought one Weight Watcher’s cookbook and was unimpressed. Instead, I make the same meals that I’ve always made for my family – I just make them healthier, substituting lower fat and/or healthier options when possible. Probably the single most important thing I do is pay attention to portion control, weighing and measuring when needed. As for eating out … I’m not about to go to a restaurant and pay $16.95 for a grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies because steamed veggies are gross and make me gag and if I’m going to be grossed out and gag, I might as well do it at home at a fraction of the cost. When I go out to eat, I want something that I’m not about to cook myself. So I order what I want, be it chicken marsala or pasta bolognese or whatever. But I will eat only half of it and take the remainder home for another meal. I also try to eat only one piece of bread instead of all the baskets within reach and I try to share a dessert instead of inhaling mine and both the kids’. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes the kids go home hungry. It’s a crap shoot, really.
Some weeks I gained, some weeks I stayed the same and still other weeks, I only lost .2 pounds and I’ll admit that my first instinct was to stomp out the door screaming I DID JILLIAN MICHAEL’S 30 DAY SHRED IN ONE WEEK AND FOR WHAT? .2 POUNDS AND A HERNIA? SCREW YOU AND THE SCALE YOU RODE IN ON. WHERE’S THE FRIGGIN’ CHEESECAKE? But then I calmed down and tried to remember that every new day was a fresh start. A do-over. With every morning, I got another chance to get it right. And anytime I exceeded my daily points, I tried to go with the flow and let me tell you, coming from someone who folds her towels with straight edge, this was not an easy thing to do. But I was determined not to let this program govern my life as it had the first time around and much to my surprise, God did not, in fact, reach down from Heaven and bitch slap me for eating a cupcake. Or three.
I also learned that the scale is not the be all and end all when it comes to measuring success. There are other ways to determine your progress. Do your clothes fit better? Can you get down the driveway without calling a cab? Can you look in the mirror without heaving up lunch? Can you get out of your car without using the Jaws of Life? How about your bra?
As for plateaus … I hit several of them and I found that the only thing that booted my chubby ass off one and back into the game was to eat something insanely high in points, fat, cholesterol, sugar or some kind of combination thereof. Eating three huge pieces of gooey pizza and washing it down with four or five thick brownies was kind of like having the Incredible Hulk perform CPR on my metabolism. Again, this worked for me. I have no idea if it would work for you so please, no emails with I DID WHAT YOU SAID AND GAINED FIVE POUNDS THIS WEEK. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME, YOU MISERABLE HAG in the subject line, OK?
I found the Weight Watchers points calculator invaluable. Even if I’m alive, you usually have to pry money out of my cold dead hand with a pair of vice grips so buying a gadget like this was big for me. But it was worth it. Mine isn’t the newest version pictured here, but it does the same thing. I found it so much more convenient than using that cardboard slider thing, especially while grocery shopping. It fits right in my purse, turns off automatically and I no longer have to stand in the pasta aisle of Wegmans shouting I LOST MY SLIDER! DID YOU SEE MY SLIDER? WHO’S GOT MY SLIDER? SOMEONE CALL SECURITY.
I bought the Biggest Loser food scale for our kitchen. It’s small and lacks the bells and whistles of most food scales out there but it does what I need it to do and for $20, I couldn’t exactly expect Jillian or Bob to come prepackaged with it.
Damn it all to hell.
I hate tracking my points. HATE IT WITH THE HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS. And even if I was tech savvy enough to use the Weight Watchers app for it, I have nothing into which I can download the app. I am app-less. So instead, I track my points the old fashioned way, with pen and paper and this works well for me. But … I don’t use those dinky little weekly paper trackers that Weight Watchers gives you at weigh-in because damn, they’re small! How can I fit all my snacks on that one tiny little page? I prefer to use a pretty journal. It makes the whole tediously mundane task of tracking not so God hideously awful. Again, losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.
I think there are great things about Weight Watchers, like being able to eat normal food you find at any grocery store, and I think there are not-so-great things about this program, like having to stay within two pounds of goal weight to maintain free, lifetime status. Speaking as a premenopausal woman who can retain more water than the Hoover Dam simply by glancing at a donut, I personally think this particular rule sucks sweaty, rancid orangutan balls through a skinny straw. But that’s just my opinion.
And probably why no one pays me to offer it.