“We have some celebrations today. Where is Julie?”
I was in the front row sitting next to the other partially deaf overweight person in the room. Everyone else including Claudette, Robert, and the sweet, upbeat pudgy woman who wears a beret (she takes it off when she is weighed) and interrupts frequently with helpful (and useful) tips for us newcomers/lifetime losers (I predict I will be the beret lady in 20 years), sits in the outer semi-circle of lime green plastic chairs.
I raise my hand.
“You’ve lost five pounds!” she says with the excitement of someone who is five pounds away from a perfect body (unfortunately, five pounds later, she will be another five pounds away – just stop that girls). “Tell us what worked for you.”
“Well,” I start, knowing full well I am going to spill my guts, “I am a lifetime member (all Weight Watcher leaders know that lifetime member translates as chronically overweight), my first time with Weight Watchers, I lost over 100 pounds, this is my fifth or sixth time . . . I haven’t gained all the weight back, but whenever I get to this point, I come back. I’m realizing, I need the accountability to be successful. . . .” I continue until she glances at the clock and responds to my lengthy comment with the same sliding down the banister analogy that she used last week with the Sisters.
We have nuns in our group! Now you are imagining nuns sliding down a banister aren’t you? You have to picture them as very big nuns in brown habits and wearing running shoes.
She hands me a Five Pound star sticker, and I place it lovingly on my pass book.
Claudette gets a Five Pound star sticker, too. Her eyebrows are delighted and interested.
During season four of my personal Biggest Loser endeavor, I kept a journal (1997 –1998). During that particular season I went from 187 pounds to 139 pounds. I came up with ten weight loss tips over the course of the year. I still find them useful even though I have regained the weight twice since then (and have learned a thing or two in the process of putting the weight back on).
Ten Tips from my 37 year old self after losing 48 pounds:
1. Get unstuck from the pattern of living you have been going along with simply because that is how it has always been (Note from 2012 self – I see a new pattern developing).
2. Be precise in your behavior by thinking things all the way through and taking actions that will result in positive consequences for you (2012 – I have really let this girl down).
3. Slow down, take your time, savor every bite, make it last (2012 – very good advice).
4. Vent. Do it in a constructive way, do something that doesn’t involve food. Dance, jog, sing, see a therapist, pray. . . . (2012 – start a blog and definitely see a therapist).
5. Stop expecting perfection from yourself and ask for help when you need it (2012 – I have mastered this one).
6. Stick with it and remind yourself on a regular basis that you are worth the effort (2012 – see #2).
7. Nobody understands what it takes for you to stay in control and to stay on track. You will be tempted constantly, you are the only one who can decide what to put in your body or keep out of it. Claiming temporary insanity and blaming other people will not get you far, take responsibility for your actions, take responsibility for yourself. You are bound to make poor choices now and then, try not to betray yourself too often and start being good to yourself again as soon as possible (2012 – hmmm? This girl knows me well, and I’m now wondering if she was married to Claudette’s husband back in 1997; back when he didn’t have doctor’s orders to lose weight. I think I just came up with a solution for Claudette – take her husband to the doctor).
8. Realize that losing weight takes a long, long time. It will happen eventually when you commit yourself and your time to making it happen (2012 – a long, long, long time).
9. Don’t despair, given time, this will be tolerable. Once you get used to it, you may even find ways to enjoy it (2012 – ????? Honestly, what the heck are you talking about? I want pizza. Pizza is enjoyable – really, really good pizza like the pizza they make at Numero 28 in Greenwich Village or Bocce Bar in Sausalito . . . . ).
10. When you feel miserable, unsuccessful, or depressed, turn your back on the nasty habits and let those healthy habits that you have worked so hard to establish be a source of strength to get you back on track. Choose the positive path (2012 – another option is the menopause pill).
I just realized I am random grandmothering myself!
All kidding aside, that girl lost 48 pounds and I love reading her journal as she loses weight. She came to know the person living inside of her body; she learned she wasn’t a skinny weed of a person living in a fat body, she learned she was “powerful beyond measure.”
I haven’t lost sight of her regardless of how much I have buried her in flab again.
What I would add 15 years later:
11. “You give a little, and you take a little.” This was my father-in-law’s philosophy. I think it is a great philosophy to apply to life; to a simple conversation, a discussion on politics (or any topic one might disagree on), weight loss, marriage, parenting, friendship, business relationships, economics, foreign policy, investments, gambling (aka investments), government, even a blog . . . . Give and take, it works; balance works.
When I am giving too much, it is reflected in my weight. When I am taking too much, it is reflected in my weight. Balance works. Now I just have to figure out how to do that.