Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Key to the City

I've been totally strict with myself and my eating this week. I've been petrified that I would gain 1.6 pounds this week, which would take me over my 136 pound "top end". Terrified that I would gain just enough weight to guarantee that I'd have to start maintenance over again... that it would take me 14 weeks to get to lifetime. Or 21. Or another year.

I get so afraid, sometimes, of screwing things up at the worst possible moment. It would be ok (all right, so it's me and it wouldn't be ok to botch things totally in the very beginning, but at least it would be understandable...) to get it out of the way early...

But no, my tendency is to make a hash of things right at the very end. Usually in full view of everyone and everything under the sun.

Of course, I know it's not really like that. In real life, when you bump into a waiter at the country club who's carrying pasta and he spills marinara sauce all down your white jeans, all the rich people in the club don't actually all whirl on their heels to point and laugh at you.1 In real life, most people pretend you don't exist when something completely embarrassing happens to you. (Well, unless they've got a cellphone camera with them, in which case you might end up with your picture on YouTube or People of Walmart)

And 95% of your friends won't continually nag you about your failures either, no matter what they might be thinking. And since you've got no idea what they're thinking (No, you can't interpret their looks, or silences, or read between the lines in an email. I swear to you... you wouldn't worry so much about what other people thought of you if you knew how infrequently they actually do.) you should just take them at their word. The other 4% will be charmingly funny about your failures, and will be a great source of comfort if you let them, by placing your mistakes in a light in which they actually make sense. (Foul ups are FUNNY... if you let them be. And once they're funny, they can be forgotten...)2 1% of the people you know will viciously remind you of your mistakes, be complete pains in the ass about it, act like they never make mistakes themselves and you should prove to them that they do by promptly shoving them the hell out of your life.

I'm working really hard on believing this.

Failure is how we learn. It doesn't mean we're substandard. Or stupid.

Last night, I made Lifetime with Weight Watchers. Since January 2007, I have lost 87 pounds. (Gone from 219 to 132) I have dropped 10 pants sizes. (size 24 to 4) I have increased my stamina. (From getting tired walking around the block to being tired walking 24 miles). 21 months.

It's taken me 21 months to lose the weight. (yes, it still annoys me that my husband managed to lose an additional 3 pounds - he's at -90 - in about half the time...)

It's been a long time coming. I've learned a lot. I'm feeling pretty confident and comfortable with my lifestyle choices.

Last night, I got a tiny little plastic key to go with my keychain. 3

Gaining lifetime isn't the end. Far from it. Gaining lifetime is just one step - admittedly, a pretty BIG step - on this journey.

But I've got the key to the gate; and now I can move on. I've been in the city of Weight Loss for so long; now I can open the gate and see what else is out there.

1 - Karate Kid reference. I used to adore this movie. I probably still do, except I don't always like to admit it. Maybe I should go watch it again, just for giggles.

2 - Go ahead... try to think back on the last time you had a really good laugh about something someone said. Can you remember why you were laughing? What exactly you were talking about? Unless it was yesterday, probably not... you just remember having a good time with so-and-so. We're genetically wired to remember failures and bad experiences because those are where we learn.

3 I wonder, sometimes, what it says that while the "weight block" keychains are metal - for the 25 pounds, 50 pounds, and 75 pounds markers - the lifetime key is plastic....

Monday, September 14, 2009


As if I needed more reasons to hate my body, I got two pieces of information this week that in turns disgust and amuse me.

First, I apparently have no ass.

Second, my thighs aren't big enough.

I went jeans shopping this past week with my friend Leslie. Shopping with Leslie is nothing like shopping with my other girlfriends. While my other girlfriends tend to tell me things are cute, Leslie spent most of her time criticizing. Not so much criticizing me, exactly, but the quality of the clothing, the fit, the color, the prices. She blames this on having a very picky father who insisted on absolutely the best, followed by years of being married to someone who - while he himself might not have had tons of cash, was at least the spoiled child of people with a lot of cash.

So... she's fussy about clothing.

And while I'm an apple, Leslie is a pear. (Well, a pear with an enormous chest.) I don't have a waist, so to speak. And I have absolutely no butt whatsoever. Any jeans that closed around my middle were baggy in the butt.

I had, actually, never noticed this. For me, what's always been more important about jeans fit was how well they reduced the look of my protruding stomach. One of the big problems I've had with my appearance, post weight-loss, is that I don't look thin. I am weighing in around 129-131 pounds (first thing in the morning) and yet I look like a smaller fat person.

"Well, that's unattractive," says Leslie, as I walk out of the fitting room in a pair of Old Navy sweetheart jeans. They're a size 4. SIZE. 4. Damnit.

"What is?" I turn around in the mirror.

"Your jeans... you bag in the butt. And believe me, in jeans, that's the place where you never, ever want to be baggy."

"What are you talking about?" The jeans were pretty damn snug, actually. They fit tight over my stomach and yet didn't spill muffin over the top.

Leslie walked over to the mirror and turned me until I could look at my butt. "Here."

She was right. Just under where my ass would be (if I had one) were a series of creases. I tried on another pair of jeans. And another. And we went to two more shops.

They all do it. Every. Single pair of jeans. Including the ones I was wearing.

I finally ended up getting two pairs of 4s at TJ Maxx anyway... they still bag in the butt, and yet it doesn't seem like there's anything I can do about it. If the jeans fit in the butt, I can't snap them closed (or if I can suck it in hard enough to zip them up, I get terrible muffin top.)

I'd feel even worse about this if it weren't for one consoling factor. Leslie's jeans might be stretched tight across her butt and thighs, but they gap terribly in the waist. No one ever has to wonder what kind of undies she's wearing...

So, I'm not unique, even if I am the only apple in my group of friends. At least my jeans are comfortable, rather than being stretched here and there, and making me worried that someone's going to feel tempted to drop an ice cube down the back of my pants.

Jeans are just Not Made for Women.

On the other hand, there's nothing I can do about my thighs. I already walk so much as to be ridiculous, and having lost 85 pounds, my thighs are measuring in around 18.5 inches at the moment. When I started the whole weight loss thing, my thighs were 27 inches around. I think I'll go ahead and stay in the higher risk category, ok? Ok.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not So Much

Maintenance is, quite frankly, boring.

I have two more weeks to go until I'm Lifetime (free meetings for as long as I maintain my weight below 136 pounds...)

Technically, I think I'm not supposed to get below 132 pounds, either, but I think most leaders don't enforce that.

I'm not currently very happy with Weight Watcher's web site. If you're familiar with the site, you've probably already heard these complaints, but I'm going to reiterate them anyway.

I enter my weight on Tuesday morning, even tho my meetings are on Monday nights, since the day you enter your weight is when the site resets the weekly points meter. As far as I've ever been able to determine, there's no way to change this setting. Reality-wise speaking, it doesn't (or shouldn't) really matter when my points reset, and yet as we all know, losing weight is at least 75% a head game. The tricks we learn to help us cope with the fact that (and I still doubt this assertion) "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels," for the most part, we'd all rather be eating. (Especially me. Technically, I'm "thin". Or, at least, normal... and I don't feel it. I don't feel good about myself, I don't catch glimpses in the mirror and think "oh, wow, look at me." I look in the mirror and say "Jaysus! How can I have lost 85 pounds and still look like I should have Goodyear tattooed on my ass?" Believe me, chocolate cake tastes a LOT better than how I feel most days.)

So... my meetings are Monday night, and I enter my weight first thing Tuesday morning. (This also keeps the site from yelling at me all day Monday about not weighing in when my meeting isn't until 5:30pm anyway!)

I declared goal at 134 pounds. I actually weighed 133.4.

The next two weeks (weeks 1 and 2 of my six week maintenance period) I had no changes. That was pretty impressive, actually... week three, last week, I lost .4 pounds, which took me to 133 flat.

When I entered that weight in the site, I got the following (quoted from memory, so it might be slightly inaccurate) "Don't forget, you are supposed to be maintaining your weight. You might want to increase your points intake!"

Ok, look. I'm one pound BELOW my goal weight. This is not cause for alarm. Weight does, shockingly enough, fluctuate. Even a completely healthy person's weight can vary by up to 5 pounds in a single day just from intake, salt, chemical changes, etc.

This week, I gained a pound. I am now exactly on my goal weight, exactly 134 pounds.

And guess what?

If you said "I bet the site provided negative feedback again," you would be exactly correct!

"Oh! You gained a pound! Well, that's normal in maintenance. You might want to consider going back to what you did to lose weight in the first place."

I mean, talk about a contradictory message. Is it "normal" or is it "going back to what I was doing that made me lose weight."?

What's wrong with "You are still exactly in your range for maintenance. Good job!"


In two weeks, I should hopefully be lifetime. And I'm seriously considering whether or not I want to continue to use the eTools, since they're currently "free" with my monthly pass, but if I want to keep using them after I am lifetime, I will have to pay the monthly fee. There isn't even a discount for Lifetime members, and the site is NOT what you'd call cheap. Hell, my Warcraft monthly fee is less than Weight Watchers. And believe me, I spend a LOT more of my time there.

So... the fact that the eTools feedback tends to be negative... well, it bugs me.

(While I was losing weight, it bugged me as well, so it's not like this is a new complaint. As I went along, entering my weights, I found that unless I lost over 1 pound but less than 2 pounds, I did NOT get encouraging feedback... what I often got was snarky feedback. "You lost .4 pounds. Are you happy with your weight loss? If not, see your leader for ideas on how you can increase your loss!")

Now, don't get me wrong, I get a lot out of the Weight Watcher's site, not the least of which is a slew of recipes that I use regularly.

But still... I'm wondering.

Do I really want to pay for something that frustrates me on a weekly basis?

(Addendum: It is possible, with Thomas's work "Health Initiatives" that we might be able to be reimbursed for the eTools... since he's also a lifetime member, if he signs back up for eTools after I make lifetime, I can use the tools to get my recipes and whatnot, ignore the tracker, and not deal with the snarky feedback. His company pays up to $250 a year for health initiatives - in addition to, I might add, paying his entry fee for the 5K he's running in October - and provided I can find some way of printing a reciept for the eTools, we can get it reimbursed to us. A year's worth of eTools is $192... so... I think we will go that route.)