Monday, January 7, 2008

All the Things They Don't Tell Ya...

I'm just a cynic at heart. Down where it counts. No matter how many times I get told what a nice person I am, or that I'm friendly, or a good listener... or whatever. I'm a cynic. Not that I don't believe that people are sincere in their compliments. Just, I have a really good editor between my brain and my mouth.

At the heart of the matter, I'm all about the "yeah, right."

The cynic in me, which is usually imprisoned within a tiny cage of tact, good manners, and a great deal of snarky mental comments, has gotten loose since we started this healthy lifestyle. I don't always know what he does in his little cage, but right now he's going through all these Weight Watchers books with a lot of "Hmmph, haven't noticed that," (I had more energy after just a few days....) and "What planet is this idjit from?" (I countered that cookie craving with a walk around the block...) and "What the FUCK does 'typical' mean?" (Sarah Jane lost 140 lbs in 16 months. Results not typical...) and "You have GOT to be kidding me" (I never felt deprived. In fact, I was astonished by all the food I was supposed to eat...)

I haven't noticed having more energy. Physically, I'm tired all the time. I have a low-grade headache. All the time. I am sleeping harder, though, which I guess is a good thing. I'm not waking up four times in the middle of the night. I am also going to the bathroom ALL the time... probably every thirty to forty-five minutes. Also, all the skin on my face is drying out. I used moisturizer last night before bed and it actually stung, my face was that dry.

I noticed that all the testimonials don't talk about that sort of thing... they don't emphasize at all that this is hard and iritating. That might hurt sales, I guess. Typical people - of which I have never been one - don't want to be told that something is hard, that it's aggravating, that it's (god forbid!) work. Doctor: You'll feel a little pinch. Little pinch my ass. It hurts, and fuck it all, I want to KNOW that. A healthy lifestyle is WORK. I'm HUNGRY, dammit. Stop saying how easy it is, or how satisfied you are with your cup of carrot sticks. It's not, and I'm not.

It's the cheese that's getting to me. I can live without chocolate. I've never eaten much chocolate. My friends even joke with me about how I'll open a box of chocolates and eat so few of them that they go bad before I finish the box. It takes chocolates a long time to go bad, you know... but I've always had a cake-and-eat-it problem with chocolates. If I eat the chocolates, then I won't have any for later. It's cheese. I love cheese. I add cheese to things that don't come with it (tomato soup, for instance, is lovely with some grated cheddar in it) and 90% of the dishes I make for dinner have cheese of one sort or another in them. And points-wise, cheese is sooooo expensive. 2 points for 1/4 cup.

I'd love to know what "typical" means, according to Weight Watchers. I think I'll ask at my next meeting. Because the motivational stories have these little * next to them... And it doesn't matter if the person lost 33 pounds or 78 pounds. * Results not typical. So, what's typical? I mean, obviously they track everyone's weigh-ins and weight loss and continued meeting attendance. So they must have SOME idea of what "typical" is. Is "typical" that people lost 5-10 pounds and stopped going to meetings? That 75% of their clients quit after six weeks? That 50% of their clients actually gained weight? I daresay, no one's going to actually tell me that. But I'd love to see what spin they try to put on the answer.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Ooh ooh, me! I know!

The reason those success stories are not "typical" is because they are above what Weight Watchers actually recommends as a healthy rate of weight loss. Let's play math games, shall we?

16 months at 4 weeks per month is 64 weeks. 140 pounds divided over 64 weeks assumes approximately 2 and a quarter pounds lost each week.

Compare that to what your meeting leader will tell you is the recommended rate of weight loss: an *average* of 1-2 pounds a week. Which means, when you get to maintenance and you aren't trying to lose anymore, if you take the total you lost and divide it by the number of weeks it took to lose it, it'll be about 1-2 pounds.

That doesn't mean you should expect to lose 1-2 pounds every single week, not even if you follow the plan to the letter. Some weeks you might lose more, some you might lose less, some you might not lose any, and some weeks you might even gain a little. As you might imagine, that last is the most frustrating. The fact is, a human being's body weight just naturally fluctuates by a pound or two on a weekly, and sometimes even daily, basis. But overall, if you track your weight on a graph, there should be a definite downward trend.

So that's why the disclaimer on the success stories. Because there are people that will take the 140 pounds in 16 months as gospel, and quit after the first couple times they maintain or gain.

It'd be nice if they did show some of the success stories of people who did it the recommended way. I'm not sure why they don't. Perhaps the marketing company they hired is full of those skinny little size 0 hummingbirds that never feel a need to eat anything but protein bars and water, so they just go for the big impressive numbers.

There are studies out there that show that, as diet plans go, Weight Watchers is one of (if not the top) the most successful plans in terms of people losing the weight and keeping it off. Because of the whole "it's a lifestyle change" thing. Breeds good habits and all that.

But yeah, until the habits get changed? It's hard as all get out.