My journey with Weight Watchers and my personal weight loss technically began in September 2010. As I mention some here, prior to this time I has struggled with my weight. I tried losing weight with a few other programs without luck. I just didn’t mesh well with the hardcore, restricted diet plans. I inevitably would begin to feel so deprived that I would overindulge and negate any progress I had made.
This was when I discovered Weight Watchers (hereby referred to as WW, because I’m a lazy typer), my mother-in-law was almost (or at, I don’t remember) her goal. She had lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 pounds, talk about a positive role model!
So I joined WW Online, going to meetings just seemed like too much of a commitment for me and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go to each meeting.
Over the last year I have learned many things about myself and my body, some I expected, some I didn’t.
Left: Christmas 2009. Right: August 2011
Left: Christmas/Graduation 2009. Right: August 2011. This was the best full body before shot I could find. Fact: when you’re unhappy with your body, you hide it in pictures.
What I’ve Learned….
The longer the weight has been there, the harder it will fight to stay there
The first 10-15 pounds came off somewhat quickly, I hesitate to say it was quick because in reality it wasn’t. It took about 6 weeks for the first 10 pounds, which is in the healthy range of 0.5 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week, with the first week being somewhat higher as your body adjusts.
This was the most recent weight gain, which is one reason it wasn’t too difficult to get rid of. The next 10 was a similar situation, by the beginning of the year I had lost a total of 20 pounds. 20 pounds! That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. At this point I was at the weight I had been hovering around for about the last 2 years or so. This is where it gets tricky.
After that first 20 pound loss, nothing moved for a while. I was at a plateau for about 5 months, I would lose a pound, gain it back, lose it, gain it back. During this time we hit a rough patch in our finances and I cancelled my WW subscription to save money. My thinking was that I would just lose the rest of the weight on my own. Boy, was I naive. You can probably see where this story is going right? I didn’t lose any weight. None. Nada. This is when I learned that I need to track my food with some kind of set program, I’m not good at winging things. I cheat.
I went without my WW subscription for about 2 months before Josh very gently encouraged me to start back up. He was in no way saying I needed to lose weight. From the very beginning of my weight loss journey he always said he loves me no matter what I look like, he just wants me to be happy. He knew I was frustrated and wanted to lose more weight, he knows me so well I don’t have to tell him what I need sometimes, he just knows.
It takes time to overcome the reasons the weight came on in the first place
I am an emotional eater, I’m also a social eater. But the majority of my weight gain was the product of giving in to my emotions through food. Especially during my last semester of college, the stress of impending graduation and knowing I had to pass my classes (even though I’d never had a problem with that) lead me to candy bars, fast and unhealthy meals and snacking, lots of snacking.
A few months into my weight loss I discovered something: losing weight isn’t just about limiting calories and increasing exercise. It’s about dealing with why I gained that weight, why I have an unhealthy relationship with food. Emotional eating is something I still deal with, although less often than during my period of weight gain.
When I start to feel stressed, unhappy or frustrated I try to make a conscious effort to evaluate what I’m feeling and take actions to deal with those feelings without food. I snuggle with a book, take a walk, call a friend, pray, or talk things out with Josh.
I’m not going to lie. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. I still find myself in situations where I give in to my emotions through eating. This is something that cannot be overcome in a matter of months, because it took longer than months (more in the neighborhood of 20 years) to develop.
My body is smarter than me
God gave us amazing bodies that can adapt and conform to the situations we place then in and the fuel we give them. The first thing that struck me when I began to lose weight was the way I felt physically. I felt good. I felt strong, in control and more energetic than I had in months, if not years. It was because I was giving my body the right kind of fuel: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
In addition to healthy eating I was walking and/or practicing yoga 3-5 times per week. Moving is good, but sometimes your body needs a rest. This one was hard for me to grasp for awhile. I wanted to lose weight, therefore I had to move more. But my body is smarter than me. I finally took a day off when my body just didn’t feel like working out, I realized then that rest days (especially unplanned ones) help my body to work better.
Taking one unscheduled day off whenever my body isn’t feeling top notch (usually once a month or so) gives me more strength and endurance. This also works on the flip side, if I’ve had a crazy week and haven’t been able to fit in so much as a 30 minute yoga session my body begins to react. I feel grumpy, agitated and exhausted. But insert a good walk and I’m as good as new; I feel refreshed, happy and uplifted.
Our bodies crave good fuel and exercise, I have learned over the last year that when I deprive my body of what it craves, it gets upset with me and lashes out to get my attention. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when my body is upset with me.
God gave me this body, it is a temple as well as a gift. When I treat my body with respect and care, I honor God and the plans He has for me. This is one of the most important things I have learned, my body and my life are not just about me. I was put here and now for a purpose, and taking care of my body will only help me to fulfill that purpose.
Weight loss isn’t just about the number on the scale
Yes, the number on the scale is important, especially for me. I need the weekly accountability of weighing in. But weight loss isn’t just about the scale, sometimes the scale lies. Some weeks I may gain more muscle while still losing fat, but since muscle weighs more than fat I will see a gain that week. Does that mean I failed at weight loss? Absolutely not, I succeeded by not only losing fat but gaining muscle.
So how do I evaluate a weight gain week? Measurements that’s how! I tend to do measurements about once a month, more often if I am experiencing a consistent plateau or gain without ‘feeling’ heavier. Measurements and progress pictures help me see changes in my body other than the number on the scale.
Weight lost: 30 pounds
Weight left to lose: 10 pounds
I would really like to lose those pesky 10 pounds by September, but I’m trying not too put too much stress on myself to achieve that. Mostly because I know if I don’t meet that goal, I will beat myself up about it.
Thighs: 3.5 inches
Hips: 3 inches
Waist: 2.5 inches
Bust: 2 inches (I went from a C cup to a B)
Biceps: 1 inch
Dress sizes: 2 (size 12 to size 8 )
My weight loss has definitely been a journey, one I am still on and learning from. I would love to hear your stories and advice!