Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Wednesday, September 03, 2003  


You’ve been warned.

Last May when I joined Weight Watchers, I was not only ambivalent about what I wanted, but both nervous and shy about such a public exposure of what I considered a flaw in my selfness. Forgive the word coining, but it was not just a weakness in my “will”, “determination” and “integrity” I feared exposing, but also a flawed DNA, as if I were some sort of medieval cripple who had to wear identifying clothing. That frantic sound is my voice when I am having a bad day. It doesn’t happen all that often. In truth, even at my heaviest, I could forget about the body thing most of the time. I also own a magic mirror that instantly takes off 20 lbs when you look into it. When asked “Who’s the fairest of them all?” it always answers “You dahlink and haven’t you dropped a few?”. What a way to start the day. And if you feel great, who cares what you look like?

But then some dear loving friend, wanting to compliment me on the photo the newspaper ran on the New Library would say “You looked so matronly.” Talk about being completely crushed. Worse yet, all the love in his voice and face told me he thought he was praising me to the skies. I reminded him of his mother!!! And he’s 20 years older than I!!! SMACK Reality hits you in the face.

Anyway, to WW I trotted, clutching beloved H’s hand tightly. I am still wondering what in the world took me so darn long. The nutritional advice is sound, and in fact, nothing I didn’t already know. Nobody who has struggled with weight most of her life is ignorant about nutrition. She may be unmotivated, she may be avoiding reality, but she's not ignorant. Like all those “get your life organized, take control of your time and money” books, there’s little new in the literature. Just that - you slip a little here, forget a little there, and the next thing you know, you’re Matronly looking. The structural part of it - the procedures -- meetings, weekly weigh-ins, little notebooks for writing down what you eat, little slide rule thingys to help you figure out how much of a good thing you can eat and still lose weight, the little booklets with behavioral modification tips - all that stuff was extremely comforting and cocooning for me. I felt wrapped in this sort of motherly embrace. “Don’t worry, sugar, we’ll take care of it all for you”. The only thing missing was a personal chef in the kitchen arranging everything in a nouvelle quisine display.

Best of all, the lbs are coming off at a steady pace. Fast enough to drop out of one size in about 5 weeks and to reach a fairly substantial goal before all the new fall clothes are sold out. But slow enough to feel like it’s really happening - and to avoid creepy stuff like sucking calcium out of my teeth! Also slow enough to actually read all the materials, begin using all the little tips and techniques, even to proselytize to innocent friends and family members!

So - when something this nice is happening to you, what do you expect the fickle finger of fate to do?

Yep. WW brought out their “new” Flex Points last week. RatsRatsRatsRatsRats. You know I had to be stomping around saying that. Why change a good thing - fix something that isn’t broken - that’s actually performing in a stellar fashion? What in the ????? Fer Cryin’ Out Loud!

I follow the on-line discussion boards so I had a good idea what the changes were going to be. I knew the method of writing down what you eat was going to be altered - though I didn’t know it was going to become a debit sort of tracking system. I was NOT a happy camper - in spite of the little streak that is woven into the fabric of my psyche that likes random change, enjoys adapting to outside influences, takes pride in my flexibility. And I did like the idea of getting more little booklets to read, since I had reached the end of the old ones. I can’t get enough talisman-like stuff about the food/diet/nutrition/body issue. I’m a little obsessed with the process and success of weight loss right now.

So I grumbled, balked, and then thought about it a little and decided I ought to give the new program a try. I set my beloved journal aside and took up the new Points Tracker. To be completely honest, that was the only real change in what I did, other than to beef up my workouts a bit.

I really feared the additional amount of food allowed someone my weight. I wasn’t sure I’d like subtracting points throughout the day. I rather enjoyed constructing a day of healthy eating on each page of a journal. I am one of those wordy talkers who adore journaling. I’ve never missed a day in 14 weeks. The debit way of looking at things was depressing for me. Made me feel like I do towards the end of the pay period - "ACK running out!!" There was no escaping your excesses, either. With the old journal, if there was a bad day, why - I just turned the page on it and began anew.

Funny thing - I never had any doubts about the quality of the nutritional advice. I had utter faith in WW’s basic information. I knew that all the changes were there to help people get a handle on things or to give a boost to folk who had been doing the program a long time and had either plateaued out or just had so far to go they needed a shake-up.

I went a couple of days without needing the flex points. Then I went out to lunch with my parents, eating what looked like a low point meal, but what turned out to be 16 points worth of food. None of it was unhealthy. None of it was thoughtless or extravigant, but it was all restaurant sized. The half a turkey sandwich was as big as any whole turkey sandwich I could have made with either store bought or home-made bread in my own kitchen. That extra little baguette of bread was an extra 2 points. The cup and a half of bean soup was 4 points. The iced coffee with skim milk was 2 more points. Add it all to my 5 point breakfast and I was 1 point away from the target. And I was hungry at dinner time!

This is not rocket science stuff. The portions are just too darn big. I should have had a salad.

So - after a week I find:

I like the points target a little better than a points range. I guess I’ve been pretty focused as a WW gal and aiming for something specific is actually soothing for me.

I like the flex points, though I was still aghast about the number. In fact, I crossed out 14 points last Wed. morn without eating them. I worked with 21 points which made my total average daily points max out at 25. I think making all your “extra” points available whenever you need them is a better way than having to save them up just in case.

I hate the weekly journal format. Skimpy lines, no way of telling one day at a glance, the glue in the center was crooked so I lost a couple of lines. It was almost impossible for me to keep track of fruits & vegetables. I had to read over things just to be sure I got them all in. I couldn’t flip back to a day I remembered as having a good recipe. I kept putting the debit stuff in the credit column. And the pages grew hideously crumpled in my purse. (of course the old journal did too - but I bought their little notebook version) gripe gripe gripe

So I bought the notebook format of the tracker and it has more lines, no sloppy glue (it’s spiral bound), is the same size as my old journal, and has a better system for monitoring fruits and veggies. I still think building up a healthy day is more positive way for me to record things. But hey - who says I can’t do that using the tracker. Basically I need a date, a line to identify my food, and a place to put its points. I can still add instead of subtract using the tracker.

And what was the real proof? Did I lose anything? Yes. 1.8 lbs. But I had lost 1.8 lbs last week on the old program, so that was pretty much a wash. But it also proves that the basic WW program is still there, no matter how it’s tallied up and presented. and it is also proof that I am beginning to incorporate it into my daily life. It’s loosing more of the “diet” stigma and becoming the lifestyle I dream of.

I’ve hit the -25 lb. point and last weekend I tucked my blouse into my waistband for the first time since 1992. This is about as good as it gets.

posted by Bess | 5:57 AM