Extra Credit: Tell us about something you found.
I lost weight. It stayed lost for a while, but I can no longer ignore the fact that I’ve found it again.
Just about six years ago, my sister and I joined Weight Watchers together. She’d recently had her second baby. I had no similar excuse for the gradual packing on of pounds that had sent my weight to the highest it had ever been (well in excess of my peak weight during my own pregnancy nearly twenty years earlier). I embraced the Weight Watchers Points Plan, and within six months – not long before my 40th birthday – I had successfully shed 25 pounds.
I’ve never been much of a joiner, but WW’s mix of structure and flexibility, in addition to the accountability and group support, really worked for me. My motivations were a mix of health and vanity. I was having issues with my blood pressure and general fitness; also, I’d recently had to buy some clothing in a size 12. (I’m 4’8″ tall – 25 pounds may not seem like a lot, but on my frame, it literally makes a big difference.) Given my lifestyle at the time – single, doing my own cooking and rarely dining out, and not really answering to anyone but my dog – adapting to the WW plan came pretty easily, and I didn’t find it terribly difficult to lose the weight and keep it off. I knew that I’d have to stay attentive to food all the time, and that there were foods I was better off avoiding if I didn’t want to deal with the consequences of indulging in them, but I was confident that I could do it.
After a successful six-week “maintenance” period after I reached my weight goal, I became a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. However, it turns out that a “lifetime” is a long time to maintain one’s eating and activity discipline, and the pounds have slowly found their back to me. My lifestyle changed a year and a half later, and while I don’t blame my husband for my own failings, becoming part of a couple changed some of my habits. I got lazy, in more ways than one. We dined out too often. Desserts became a daily routine again instead of a sometime treat. My walks with the dog got shorter. The fact that my husband can’t stand cooked vegetables gave me an excuse not to make them, and let’s be honest – salads just get boring sometimes. And I stopped going to Weight Watchers meetings – it was actually nice to get back that hour of my Saturday mornings.
So I wasn’t surprised by what I learned when I recently tried out my family’s Wii Fit for the first time: even though I was still (mostly) comfortably wearing a size 8, my weight wasn’t too far below where it had been when I originally started on Weight Watchers, and my BMI was well up in the “overweight” region. (I know BMI’s not particularly reliable for those at extremes of the height range, but still.) And once I actually know the facts about something, it’s a lot tougher for me to ignore it.
I still don’t really want to start going to WW meetings and tracking points again, so I’m starting by just trying to get back to the principles. I’m re-focused on eating more protein and fewer carbs. I seldom take second helpings, but I’m paying more attention to portion sizes (and using the smaller plates that fill up faster). I’m eating more salads, and going back to cooking vegetables – I’ll have one or the other as part of dinner every night. (My husband doesn’t have to take any of the cooked veggies, but it would be nice if the kids did.) Desserts are not part of the daily routine anymore, but more physical activity is. Even if it means getting up earlier, I’m taking the dog for longer walks on weekend mornings again. And I’m finally joining the rest of my family on the Wii. I actually like the step-aerobics and yoga routines on the Wii Fit, and since I still refuse to keep a scale in the house, regular “body testing” by the Fit will help me track how I’m doing. (If you’re “overweight,” the Wii Fit plumps up your Mii avatar. It’s not pleasant to watch.)
Since the Wii Fit wanted me to establish a goal, I’m shooting for losing 10% of my current body weight within 6 months. In pounds, that’s only about half of my original loss six years ago, but I’m fine with a conservative start – and if I’m making progress, I can always become more ambitious. But if I can lose that weight again, I’m going to work harder to make sure it stays lost this time.