Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Success with Weight Watchers

By Guest Blogger Marie-Nicole Ryan

All my life I’ve had a weight problem. Either I was skinny as a rail growing up and wishing I had a few curves, or later I was on the verge of dieting, dieting, or falling off the wagon. On top of everything else, I’m short and small-boned and I don’t carry my weight well. I’m a pear as opposed to the apple. Now healthwise, the pear shape (big butt and thighs) is better than the apple (big belly). But once you cross the obesity boundary, it’s ALL BIG and there’s no hiding it or escaping the health consequences.

I’ve had the greatest success with Weight Watchers. And it has taken more than one membership to finally get it through my thick head that I can’t do it on my own. I’m a control freak kind of person, and it really gripes me to have to admit that I need the support of other people who’ve gone this route. It should be obvious, but I’m a stubborn person (not always a bad thing when directed in the right way).

In adulthood I’ve weighed everything from 103 to 238—with ups and downs many, many times.
I rejoined Weight Watchers for the third time February 2, 2008 and continue until now. This time I’ve lost 57 pounds from a maximum of 223.8 to 167 pounds. Now that’s not stellar success because I haven’t embraced the *ahem* physical activity portion of the plan. (Now it’s on the ‘Net, I’m afraid the WW police will hunt me down and make me exercise.) I hate exercise purely and simply, but I know I would already be at my goal weight right now if I were walking regularly. So I still have more work to do on myself.

Am I tired of going to meetings every week? Yes, and sometimes I go every other week, but if I don’t go for my fattitude adjustment, I start thinking like a fat person and wanting to eat like one, too.

I drink the 48 ounces of water and I track what I eat every day…still. It’s more than learning about portion control and healthy foods, and low “Point” snacks. There’s a camaraderie between members, and watching one young woman who has already lost over 160 lbs and is getting close to her goal weight is inspiring in a major way. A great deal of education takes place about our mental attitudes about ourselves and how we experience the world and temptations of that world. There are techniques to deal with the holidays and our families who may not always be supportive of our efforts.

Perhaps the second best benefit (other than the obvious health and emotional benefits) is that my sister and her niece have joined and both have lost 30 pounds at least. I encouraged my niece and she “encouraged” my sister who had to be dragged kicking and crying to her first meeting.

So the upshot of it is: I have to keep going for my health. While it’s true, each of us has her own journey, I’m the big sister and I’ve set the example and intend to keep setting it.

Today's progress:

Calorie intake: 1,026.83

Exercise: Lots of running errands, which added to the step count. Nothing outside out of that.

Steps: 11,869

I'm going to be out of town until Monday, so I won't be checking in each day. I will, however, be keeping track of my calories, exercise and steps and will give a full report when I return.


Anonymous said...

That's so awesome, and so inspirational. Congrats on your success so far! :)

My mom tried weight watchers years ago and my cousin has as well. My cousin, the rockstar that she is, lost almost 100 pounds and she looked awesome on her wedding day. I'm so proud of her.

I think the thing about Weight Watchers though, is that in order for it to work, you have to go. It doesn't seem like anyone I've ever met kept their weight down or lost more after they left the program.

I use to track my diet, weight, and workouts. I also use which has a water meter. The best thing I've found to lose weight is riding my bike. Three or four hours of riding on a Saturday will drop a pound by the next day. And there is nothing cooler than stepping on the scale that next morning and seeing that smaller number.

My goal this month is to start counting my steps daily. For being a writer and artist, I'm actually sort of a numbers person and I think it'll be neat to see how much I actually walk.


lucia on September 3, 2009 at 9:36 AM said...

Congrats on your successful weight loss - that's fantastic! Yes, Marie- Nicole, the WW police has found you!! LOL
I too, went thru WW about 6 years ago and reached my goal after losing 30 lbs. Keep in
mind that I am short :) I am now a lifetime member and also moonlight as a WW Leader. Since I am a "picky" eater this was the only way I could stay with a program long-term ( for the rest of my life). I strongly believe that WW is the healthiest and easiest way to lose! Walking is "cheap mental therapy" for me and is the simplest way to help keep the weight off.
You cannot "leave the program" because it is for the rest of your life......
Lucia Carr

Marie-Nicole Ryan on September 3, 2009 at 9:38 AM said...

Hi Ally. Great that your mom and cousin had a great success with the WW program. It's not the program that doesn't work, it's the sad fact that we are human, and if we aren't focused on doing what's right for ourselves, we lose our way and regain the weight. One of the things WW does is offer the emotional support that so many of us emotional eaters need. We hear the successes and share our good and bad days.

I've maintained weight losses as long as two years, but them "something" would come up--like my father's having a stroke, like my mother's broken hip. If I'm not attending regular meetings, I tend to slip into old habits, in spite of the fact I've developed new ones over the last eighteen months.

There are so many stressors in daily life and so many temptations. Learning new techniques, especially making it through the holidays, are all a part of relearning how to eat, why we eat, and how we use food as a tranquilizer. I'm the poster child for telling you losing weight once, no matter how you do it, isn't a one time cure. How I wish it were!

And an even sadder fact is the older you are the more difficult it is. Wah!

Marie-Nicole Ryan on September 3, 2009 at 9:40 AM said...

Hi, Lucia!

I can identify with "picky eater". I'm also the poster child for that condition. In other words, I never met a potato I didn't like. I'm still a picky eater, and using the WW points system is the only way I can keep control over what goes into my mouth.

Michelle on September 3, 2009 at 10:19 AM said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences! It's inspiring - particularly that you've been able to stay in WW for a year and a half.

So much of this is mental, isn't it? It does seem like once you've learned to use overeating as a coping mechanism that instinct may always be there - a bad habit waiting for you to let your guard down. Being mindful of that can make a difference. I am trying to replace that instinct with one for exercise, but it's very much a work in progress.

Michelle on September 3, 2009 at 10:28 AM said...

I just reread your post for extra motivation.

First, losing 60 pounds is STELLAR SUCCESS. No asteric is needed. It is stellar. Perhaps you feel like you can do better, and you can in the future - perhaps even try some exercise, but losing that much weight is stellar. Go you!

I also love how you've inspired others. I was inspired by two friends who each lost more than 50 pounds in 08, and I, in turn, have inspired others this year to try to make some healthy changes in their lives. Isn't that great? And, the fact that I see the folks I've inspired often inspires me even more to keep going.

lucia on September 3, 2009 at 10:32 AM said...

Even after 5 and 1/2 years as a lifetime member, I am still a "work in progress". Have to work hard to drink any water (used to have an IV hooked from my arm to the 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke!). Also, I have a daughter who loves to eat Pizza - and that is a "trigger" food for me. Just remember we are creatures of habit and it definitely takes time to change our habits !
Hang in there.....

Anonymous said...

Yes, "work in progress" is definitely how I describe it. It's a journey. It helps that I've inspired my sister and my niece, and now they inspire me to keep going until I lose the final 23 lbs to reach goal.

Mm, Diet Coke. I still drink 2-3 cans of the stuff a day, BUT I make sure I still drink my 48 oz of water as well. What can I say: I pee a lot!

My biggest fault is I still don't exercise, and that's a major part of the program--please don't tell Rosemary K. I'm sure I would be at goal if my treadmill motor hadn't died from lack of use.

Thanks to both of your for encouraging today! I'm heading for my water now.

BTW,"Mary" is Marie-Nicole in real life. Currently I'm signed in to Google as my real self.

KELLY FITZPATRICK on September 3, 2009 at 2:44 PM said...

I like the buddy system.


Marie-Nicole Ryan on September 3, 2009 at 3:05 PM said...

It definitely helps to have a buddy. I started out with one in Feb 2008, but she didn't continue.

Annie Solomon on September 4, 2009 at 8:23 AM said...

I've seen the results myself, and they are awesome. Now all you need is a walking mate. That's what I wish I had. Too bad we don't live close to each other! But hey--look what you've accomplished without one. No small feat, if you ask me...

Marie-Nicole Ryan on September 5, 2009 at 5:52 PM said...

Wouldn't it be great if we could walk together! That would be so much fun and not like exercise at all.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on September 8, 2009 at 11:13 AM said...

I agree that this is a wonderfully inspiring post. Yours and Michelle's success is what inspired me. Though I'm not doing WW, I'm having some success. I still have a long way to go, but I'm feeling good about what's happened so far.

And yes, it's such a mental game to stick to the healthy eating and exercise habits.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on September 8, 2009 at 11:15 AM said...

The buddy system is imperative, I think. That's why I started this blog -- that whole being accountable to report to others.

I don't have a walking mate either -- well, not a human one. I really like putting on my iPod and listening to podcasts or writing workshops while I'm walking.

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