One year, y’all. 365 days. 8,766 hours. 525,960 minutes.
One year ago, I was so desperate. Desperate for change, desperate for happiness, desperate for anything to make sense. I thought, “If only I was skinny, things will be better. That’s what I need.” I don’t remember how I heard about it, but I got a book called The Fast Metabolism Diet. The diet’s supposed to jump start your metabolism and help you burn lots of fat, losing up to 20 pounds in the first month. That was exactly what I was looking for! Without going into too much detail, it’s a 28-day cycle that’s extremely restrictive and limiting, and I think I threw in the towel on day 25 when I stepped on the scale and hadn’t even lost 5 pounds. It was all my fault and I hated myself for not even being able to do this diet right and it was all obviously because I messed up somewhere along the way–I must have eaten the wrong type of fruit on the wrong day or something.
The next day I drove to a drug store on my lunch break and they still had Easter candy on clearance; I bought Cadbury eggs and Reese’s eggs and Russell Stover eggs and Lindor truffles and proceeded to eat all of it in my car in the parking lot of my office.
And then I cried. I cried and cried and cried until my shoulders shook and my head hurt and I could hardly breathe. I wanted to stop eating, I did, but I couldn’t. I shoveled every piece of chocolate into my mouth as fast as could, desperate for the pain to go away, to numb the hurt, to forget how much I hated myself at that very moment. I just wanted. it. to end.
I pulled myself together and walked into my building. I saw down at my desk and stared at my computer screen for a few minutes.
And then I joined Weight Watchers.
Just like that, things started to change. It was like a disturbance in the Force.
I walked into my first meeting on May 10, 2014, and things… I… have never been the same.
- My determination. Before, I always looked for outside motivation; how can YOU help ME lose weight? I would look to people or upcoming events to motivate me. I never saw my own ability, my own strength, my own determination to lose the weight. Yes, motivation is a good boost; however, I think determination is really the key.
- My headspace. My focus isn’t solely on the scale anymore. In the past, every time my weight loss stalled, I’d fall off the wagon, roll down the embankment, and over the waterfall. Now, when my weight loss stalls, I hold on tighter to the wagon and ride it out (though, I occasionally do fall off–but I always get back on!).
- Weight Watchers itself is different. The last time I joined, it was much more focused on the scale and all the tricks and tools of the trade–100 calorie snack packs were just becoming a thing, and I lived off of those. Now, Weight Watchers focuses more on the whole person, and the number on the scale has taken a backseat. Now we talk more about how we feel rather than how we look; our meetings present strategies for dealing with situations that might trigger unhealthy food choices.
- My meeting leader. My leader is incredibly engaging and dynamic, and she’s lost a large amount of weight and has maintained it for 30+ years. This, to me, is huge, because I can relate to her and she can relate to my struggles. I’ve had leaders in the past who were nice enough, but it was a lot harder for me to connect with someone who just didn’t have this lifelong struggle.
- My meeting members. My Saturday 8am group is so unlike any of the other meetings I’ve attended. There’s such a variety of ages and lifestyles, yet I feel like I could easily talk to just about anybody in there. I feel comfortable sharing the down and dirty aspects of my journey with the group, and I’ve managed to make a few friends. In meetings past, I’ve never really been able to connect with anyone, and also they had such a revolving door of members that it was hard to really get to know anyone.
- The receptionists. I love the receptionists at my meeting! They know my name, they encourage me when I’m down, and they have never ever made me feel bad about a gain.
So, you see, all of these things have played an important role in my life this past year, and are still playing important roles. I realize now that this journey will never end; there’s no magical ending where suddenly the stars align and I no longer have issues with food. I will always have issues with food–but now I have the knowledge and tools and support to continue in a positive way. I’m fairly certain that I’m going to be a lifelong Weight Watcher, and you know what? I’m okay with that.