Friday, September 22, 2006

Things change over time

A few weeks ago when the blood pressure went sky high, my doctor basically said that it was time for me to get more serious about weight loss. She knows about the gradual loss I've been working on but let me know that it was time to take it up several more levels. We discussed bariatric surgery, but to be honest, it scares me. I've known several people who've had serious recurrent problems afterwards. I know the technology has changed but still. I also know several people who regained most of their weight. I know a couple who have managed to keep their weight off, but like me, they have either a financial or medical issue that makes cosmetic surgery unlikely. (I would have to have both.) They both have so much loose skin that I honestly think they looked better fat. One agrees with me and regrets the surgery. The other has no vanity whatsoever and just enjoys feeling much lighter. That option is still on the table, but it's going to be further down the road before I really consider it.

My doctor also let me know that my insurance plan now covers Weight Watchers and pretty much told me to go. She has this nasty habit of wanting her patients to be as serious about their health as she is. Well, I wasn't thrilled. I got sent to Weight Watchers when I was ten by my parents, and it's pretty much always had a very negative connotation of restriction and separation for me. The official diet when I was a kid was an extra chore to my mother who pretty much had to cook a separate meal just for me. It made me feel even more different from the rest of the world. Back then, the Weight Watchers program required that pretty much every bite of food from a very restricted list be weighed, measured and recorded, and that was just a burden. Being a kid, I also couldn't take responsibility for what I was eating. At least in my house, you ate what you were served. You ate all of it. You didn't dare say a word if you didn't like it, and leaving the dinner table without thanking mom for preparing the meal was unheard of. We also didn't leave the table without permission, and then we had to do the dishes.

It was a bad early experience with official diets, and it has affected the way I do a lot of things. I firmly believe that kids don't need to be put on diets. It needs to be a family effort where everyone eats healthy foods and participates in some physical activity. Kids need support, and they need to learn proper food and exercise behaviors from seeing them in practice, and they don't need to be made to feel like freaks because they're overweight. They get enough of that everywhere else. Home should be a safe haven, not another place that emphasizes the differences in the world. Childhood obesity is serious, and I won't minimize its problems, but parents also have to accept that children's bodies change and go through phases. A kid who eats decent food can still go through a few chubby years, and parents don't need to over-react. Keep up a healthy menu, encourage physical activity in non-annoying ways, and let kid's bodies grow as they're supposed to. As an obese woman and the mother of a daughter who's healthily recovering from eating disorders, I know that I didn't practice this well.

My bad taste about Weight Watchers aside, I signed up last week and was seriously impressed with the changes in the program. I can break out the scales and measure ounces if I want, but I can also use common sense measurements like "would it fit in the palm of my hand." I can write down everything or not. There are a lot of choices, and here's a biggie for me. Eating fish five times a week is no longer required. I love fresh seafood, but I live hundreds of miles away from salt water, and frozen or canned fish just doesn't cut it. I haven't gone hungry, and I even had a real chocolate bar last night without breaking the diet. I do have to think about what I eat, but I was doing that anyway, just in a different way. Tonight I went to my second meeting, and I had lost seven pounds. That feels pretty good.

I can't think too much about how much I need to lose. In fact, I'm trying not to think too much about losing weight period. That's dangerous ground for me. I'll get overwhelmed. I'll get defeated or obsessive. Instead, I'm trying to think about what I enjoy that's good, nutritious and filling. Tomorrow for breakfast, I think I'll have half a bagel with cream cheese, a couple of clementines and a cappucino. I can look forward to that. I don't resent that. I don't have to worry about that. In fact, I can feel good.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

With me, you are preaching to the choir about Weight Watchers. It is a great program, it works, and you don't have to starve yourself. Husband and I lost almost an entire human being between the two of us on WW.

I have gained 5 lbs since I took on the cafe, no time to buy or eat the foods I need to. And I MISS IT. Told husband the other day: I'm tired of eating like this...I want to go back to the WW program. I felt SOOOO much better then.

Good luck on WW. I hope it works as well for you as it did for us. :-]

September 22, 2006 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to be there as well. I re-joined WW a couple of years ago and, like you, was amazed at the changes and how easily the weight comes off. Unfortunately I got tired of forking over the bucks for what I "should know," thinking I could do it on my own... with predictable results (read: keep/gain weight). I'll join again in a heartbeat when I have the money.

I wish you all the best... in every aspect of your life.
Sheila in Ohio
Good luck with

September 22, 2006 6:16 AM  
Blogger Shelina said...

Good luck to you on your weight loss. I too work on five pounds at a time, or one bad habit at a time, rather than coming up with a final goal weight. I think it would be easier to make lifelong changes one step at a time.
Plus I think the skin would better be able to adapt if the change is slow rather than overnight.
You're right, healthy eating is a family thing, and singling out a person is not effective.
There are many positive effects of losing weight - feeling better about yourself, easier to buy pretty clothes, having more energy since you are carrying less weight around, having more money to spend since you aren't buying as much food, less time cooking and cleaning the kitchen.

September 22, 2006 6:16 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I'm blessed by the fact that my husband appreciates my helping him eat the proper things, so we're in this thing together. In the past 10 months, together we've lost over 90 pounds. In the middle of that, he had open heard surgery, which made us REALLY get serious. The rewards are worth it! Oh, and since I've cut down on salt and caffeine around here, and since we're exercising regularly, my blood pressure numbers have dropped 15-20 points.

September 22, 2006 6:33 AM  
Blogger AlbGlinka said...

Cynthia: Hiya!, thanks for the recent comment. :-) Best of luck on the Weight Watchers plan-- it sounds like we both like very tasty food, which can certainly be an issue! I would be afraid of those drastic surgeries too, I think.

Does Weight Watchers encourage people to get active, at least walking, as much as the food plans? I seriously believe that everyone needs to walk more! (This is coming from someone who lives in a city and doesn't own a car)

September 22, 2006 12:39 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

My 2 sister-in-laws are both on WW with great success. It does seem to be a changed program from when I did it about 10 years ago.

Wish you well.

September 22, 2006 4:18 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Sounds like you and I had some similar childhood experiences. I started getting "chubby" when I hit puberty. My mother freaked out about my new curves (and having to buy me new clothes on a regular basis to keep up with my growth spurt). When I hit a size 14, she dragged me to a nutritionist and I had to go be weighed in once a week at the doctor's office. In later years she pushed me to join WW with a friend of hers (I guess she thought I'd do better with a I remember WW being just like you described from your first experience. It was too hard for an undisciplined college kid like I was then. I tried Nutri-System, but I ended up getting very sick (mal nourished). My skin was grey and pasty and I was losing my hair. I've had several people in recent years tell me that WW is way better now. Maybe I'll give it another shot... but I've been real tempted by this other idea. Home delivery of Zone Diet meals. All I have to do is pop something into the micro for me. No extra thought required. It's tempting. But then I'd be making 3 different meals 3 times a day. Son is picky and husband doesn't need to diet. LOL I'm scared of bariatric surgery too. I have one friend it helped with a few complications, but she can't afford plastic surgery. Another who had major complications. If I had more health problems associated with my obesity, I'd consider it more. But only my cholesterol is high. BP is fine. Heart is fine. No diabetes. I just have no stamina and hate walking. lol I did really well with Curves a while back. I need to get back to that. It really helped my energy levels (and the huffing and puffing up the stairs).

September 23, 2006 3:58 AM  
Blogger Virginia said...

I have had to go through a complete transition in my relation to food this past year with the diabetes, esp. since I want to avoid for as long as I possibly can, taking any medication. Before this, just being a vegetarian posed its own challenges any time I was away from home and needed to eat. However I always managed to find something. Unfortunately, the things I managed to find are now foods that won't fit on a diabetic diet too. Its been a real struggle.

The result is that instead of looking forward to the best and most delicous food options, I look for just any food option at all. As long as I can make the starving feeling go away, I have fed myself one more meal and I am then ok for the next few hours. In addition, any new food I add to my safe list now need testing, and I have a glucose testing kit at work and at home so that I can always know what my blood glucose levels are. Not only do I have to test after eating, but many times I test before I eat too, to make sure that its ok to start eating. If the numbers are too high, I have to wait.

Food is no longer a reward, my entertainment is no longer associated with eating, socializing isn't centered on food for me anymore. Its been a huge change in more than just what I eat. Its a change in many of my life activities.

I can't say its fun, but it means I will live to see another day.

The best I can do for myself is to "reward" or "spoil" myself with things other than food.

Peace, Virginia

September 23, 2006 7:33 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Oh, I'm back. I realized I failed to mention one of the best free programs on the Net: Check it out, Cliff and I love it!

September 24, 2006 7:15 AM  

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