I, like many other women in this world, have an ongoing struggle with my weight.
About five years ago, I decided I'd had enough of my weight's constant climb and the associated bad feelings that nagged at me. So at a friend's suggestion I joined Weight Watchers. I was reluctant at first, because I thought it was fad dieting and people get too obsessed with the program, but I knew I needed to do something -- something to refer to every week, weigh myself and hold myself accountable to -- so I did it.
It wasn't easy, especially because if you knew me you'd know that I am an extremely limited (read: picky) eater which greatly limits my options. And at first I was that person obsessed with talking about food and points and staying on track -- because it's hard to think about anything else -- but eventually you adapt or you don't. I was fortunate because I did; I stuck with it and showed up to weigh myself every week. I didn't really have a "goal" except to lose and feel good about myself. I'd never successfully lost weight before, only gained and at that point (my early 20s) I thought that losing even 10 pounds would make me feel better about myself. Eventually, after doing the Weight Watchers program for about one and a half years, I'd lost 45 lbs. At that time I parted ways with Weight Watchers because I was leaving the country for a month and was told I'd have to re-register and pay the fees all over again when I returned.
When I left the program I was worried, I was really scared that one day I would put the weight back on. After all, putting it back on seems a million times easier than losing it. Unsure what else to do to curb this possibility, I began to weigh myself almost every morning of every day. I managed to keep the majority of the weight I'd lost off, and usually I'd get on the scale and wouldn't mind the numbers I would see there.
Recently, the numbers on the scale have started to increase again. It started to ruin my days. I'd get up in the morning and see that increase I hadn't seen in years and would be upset. I'd get angry at myself that I was going to be back where I was, when I'd worked so hard and kept it off for so long.
But as the scale started to creep up into scary numbers, despite my dedication to the gym, I knew there were other factors. I stopped using the point system when I left Weight Watchers years ago and for a while I managed to take it easy on the junk food, but oftentimes my love for chocolate or cheeseburgers would win out -- too often. So I made a decision. I re-joined Weight Watchers.
I noticed back in January they were promoting a deal for using their services online. Never a fan of the meetings and going to the weigh in check points, I decided to try it and if it didn't work, I'd at least only paid a scaled back cost. Just shy of two months into it, I've lost over 10 lbs. and am continuing forward. But oftentimes I ask myself, what weight, what number would make me happy with my body now? Would any number achieve that?
I thought if I lost whatever weight I ended up losing the first time, I'd be happy with my body. But are women ever satisfied with the weight they've lost or their bodies how they are? It seems, so far for me, the answer is no.
Recently, I read Portia de Rossi's book, Unbearable Lightness. I don't really know why, I had heard of her weight struggles in the media and I always find autobiographies very interesting, so I picked it up. To say it was brutally honest is an understatement; it's gritty and just plain sad to read at times. But it got me thinking about the emphasis I'd been putting on numbers and how I was letting it make me feel. I've always been ashamed of my body, never proud or even just content. Of course with Weight Watchers, the scale does play a part, but maybe I don't need to put so much pressure on myself. There's no rush, there's no deadline -- I can keep trying each week and hope for the best. It got me thinking, maybe I need to relax on the scale and stop letting it define me. Maybe I can find some love for myself and how far I've come if I eliminate the math and just look at me.