Friday, February 5, 2010

Sucking in My Stomach While Stepping on the Scale and Other Dirty Secrets

So, by now you must all be hanging by a thread, wondering what happened after my BGU Epiphany. It's not every day my synapses fire properly so I needed to act quickly. My dear friend Mark was having his own revelations about his weight so we decided to join Weight Watchers together. He felt he needed to lose anywhere from 30-40 lbs and me, well, I just wanted to say bye bye to the BGUs once and for all. We knew Weight Watchers was a safe and effective way to lose weight so we took advantage of the free registration.
The First Meeting and the Dreaded Weigh-In
Piece of advice: Join in the summertime when you can wear as little clothing as possible; not because you want everyone to see your rolls, but because you will weigh less. However, keep in mind that once winter comes, you are going to have to layer big time and disrobe in front of everyone. (Actually, no one seems to care, you gotta do what you gotta do.) When you approach the counter at WW, there is a little scale in front of you that really just looks like a "stepper", remember that phase? Well, I stepped on it and the WW lady behind the counter says to me, rather harshly, "You don't need to look down, you know". Well, where else am I supposed to look? My scale at home makes me look down. And little does SHE know that I also suck in my stomach when I weigh myself...yes, I even did it when I was pregnant, don't ask how this is even possible when you are ready to pop. I guess it's a reflex. Somehow, sucking in the gut offers me some hope.

Other Useful Tricks of the Weigh-In
Going #1 and/or #2 just before, drinking lemon water, not wearing any jewelry, makeup, or eyeglasses; shaving your legs, and getting a haircut also help (unless you are Sinead O'Connor). I also like to take a very, very, very deep cleansing breath out and I don't breathe in until the weigh-in is complete.

So, it turned out that I needed to lose about 15 lbs according to the charts. I had never embarked on a weight loss program before so this was going to be interesting for someone who considers chocolate a food group (what, it's not?).

The Meeting
Then we sat down at our first meeting. The room was...full. Our leader entered with a screaming rubber chicken and a clapper. Ok, is this some type of cult? Are the chickens being sacrificed in the back when members aren't meeting their goals? Mark and I were getting giddy, to say the least. Thank God he was with me that day, and every Saturday thereafter. I think that having a "buddy" on your weight loss journey is so vital!

Our dear leader was in her early 70s and told us that she had joined WW over 20 times before she finally "got it". Huh? She was on a constant roller coaster (a good thing for Mark to hear since he loves amusement parks). Anyway, her point was that 99% of the battle is well, mental. I totally clicked with her and agree with this thought process. You have to look at yourself square in the eye, be honest, and stop feeding your pain with food. Stop kidding yourself. Once I became self-aware, the rest was truly a piece of cake (and yes, I still enjoyed my cake.) We heard some different perspectives at this meeting. Who didn't have time to exercise or cook, who wasn't counting their points, who didn't think that taking a jelly donut to a meeting would look a little strange...

Then there were the really inspiring stories...the ones who were now Lifetime members and had achieved their goals: Some losing in excess of 100 lbs and still going to weekly meetings to keep their motivation high and their consumption in check.

Did it Work?
As hard as I thought losing weight would be, it was the opposite. You see, I don't smoke, I don't drink alcohol, I don't gamble, or even have a shopping addiction. My thing was (and to some degree, continues to be) food. It has always provided me comfort, especially as a kid. My mother LOVED to feed us. You just don't ever say "no" to an Italian mother!! But...and that big butt is always getting in the way, at some point you have to ask yourself, "Do I want to wear a housecoat from Woolworth's for the rest of my life to cover up all the calzones and canolis?" Uh, no!

So, given 21 points per day, I took it day by day. In Weight Watchers they say, "If you bite it, you write it, if you nibble it, you scribble it." I wrote down every single thing I ate every single day. I also exercised, mostly every day. My form of exercise was simply, walking. I walked with Mark, I walked without Mark. I did it when I felt like it and when I didn't feel like it.

If you are looking for the magic formula to how I lost the 16 lbs, you have already read it folks. The math is simple. Less calories and better food choices combined with exercise. I kept telling myself that EXERCISE IS NON-NEGOTIABLE if I wanted this to work. I lost weight every week, even if it was a 1/2 lb here or there, overall, it took me about 16 weeks.

One more thing and it's super important. I think it is the silver bullet to anyone trying to accomplish anything in life. You know how you tell yourself bad things? Like...I can't do it, I'm not strong enough, I'm too tired, I'm fat, etc. Well, sooner or later you have convinced yourself that you are some fat, lazy, tired person. I decided to tell myself the OPPOSITE (the wisdom of George Costanza's Law of Opposite Actions). I kept telling myself, I am strong, I am energetic, I am getting healthier every day. Yes, it's all very "Stuart Smalley", but you know, the subconscious is a powerful tool. It will believe what you tell it. For me, that was the biggest obstacle. I convinced myself I could do it and you know, the weight disappeared.

I am proud to say that I have been a Weight Watchers Lifetime member for 5 months now!



Wow! Congratulations Becky!

Ginny said...

Good for you, Beck!! You look wonderful and nobody would guess your real age.