Yesterday I had the opportunity to share my Weight Watcher experience at an open house. It was interesting timing as it came at a time when I've been reflecting on the past almost three years.
I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting on March 26, 2010 weighing 226 pounds. I was unhappy with the way I looked. I hated seeing photos of myself and seeing what I had become. I had started to get out of breath just walking up the stairs in our condo. My back hurt all the time. In short, I was miserable with myself.
I had recently had the "ah-ha moment" of realizing that I had either been "on a diet" or completely out of control for my whole life. I became obese as a child and began dieting when I was 11 or 12 years old. Now I was 52 years old and still obese in spite of all the diets I had tried. And let me tell you, I tried some pretty crazy diets looking for that magic fix.
I walked into that first meeting having made two commitments to myself. The first was that I was DONE dieting. I was going to use Weight Watchers as a tool to help me to begin a lifestyle change. The second was that I was committed to sticking it out. I was determined to trust the plan and go to meetings no matter how I was doing. I was determined to change my life and work through the issues that had caused me to turn to food over and over again, for comfort, for companionship, for entertainment, for whatever.
That first eight months was almost magical. I worked the plan. I tracked my food. I stuck to it religiously. And on November 26, 2010 I hit 40 pounds lost.
Then it got hard. I can't tell you exactly what the dynamic was/is that happened in my head. But I started feeling like I looked pretty good. I could fit into clothes that I hadn't been able to wear for a long time. I could see a big difference in photographs of myself. People were complimenting me on how good I looked. Getting the weight off became not such an urgent thing in my mind. I began to give myself permission to have this or that because I "was doing pretty good." And I could always get "back on track" next week.
My weigh ins showed my lack of consistency in eating right and tracking. I would be down one week and up the next. Up and down, over and over again for the next 2 years. During that time I managed to take off another 7 pounds, for a total loss so far of 47 pounds.
The crazy thing is that I don't think of these past two years as a failure. On the contrary, these past two years have been victorious ones! Because, here's the thing...all this time I've been learning about myself, about my motivations for eating, for staying on plan or not and learning strategies to overcome these things. I have walked into my Friday morning meetings every single week and stepped on that scale without fear or regret or self loathing.
Sometime the past two years I started running. I can't tell you exactly when I started but I can tell you when I got serious about it. It was in January of this year when I signed up to run the Disneyland Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend. I remember telling my Weight Watcher group that I was going to run a half marathon and one sweet gentleman asked, "You do know that's 13 miles, don't you?" I chuckle when I think about that!
There was one day, shortly after I started running, when I was sitting at a stop light in my car, listening to a song by Mary Mary called "Shackles." the song has these words :
In the corners of mind
I just can't seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
'Cause you see I have been down for so long
Feel like the hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise You through my circumstance
Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains, now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise You
I'm gonna praise You
As I sat at that light, listening and singing along with those words, they suddenly became a prayer and I found myself with tears streaming down my face, crying out to God to help me to be free. Free to view food in a healthy way, free to dance and run and rejoice in the person He created me to be. It was a moment in time but it was a profound few minutes for me. That song is now part of the playlist I listen to when I run and it always takes me back to that moment when I realized how shackled I was by my issues and reminds me of how far I've come...by the grace of God and hard work!
I feel like I'm finally in a place to really begin to lose this 30ish pounds I still need to lose. I am tracking and working on my habits. The big one I'm working on right now is night time snacking...eliminating it.
I finished the half marathon on September 2. My pace was 14.59, slow but steady. Crossing that finish line was one of the most empowering things ever in my life. When my feet ran across that line I knew that I can do anything I decide to do.
The past two years have shown a loss on the scale of 7 pounds...but the change in my life, in how I see myself is huge. I am not the same person I was when I walked into that Weight Watcher meeting two and a half years ago. My life has been, and continues to be, a life transformed.
God's mercy and grace, some hard work on my part, and Weight Watchers have changed my life.