Did… finished… Warrior Dash this weekend. Kicked its ass. Surprised myself. So there was that.
I plan on making a more substantive post about the Dash later this week, but there’s something else on my radar today.
Today I rejoined Weight Watchers.
Several months ago I ended my Weight Watchers online subscription after losing 80 pounds on the program in a year. Then I got stuck on a plateau for eight months. 176 pounds, every week, no matter what I did. My average weight loss or gain during that time was 0.0 pounds.
Now THAT is a plateau.
I stopped tracking my food and then stopped logging in at all. After months of inactivity I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I knew that quitting WW was a bad thing to do at the time. I knew that as soon as I stopped tracking–and as soon as I quit–that I’d end up gaining weight.
This plateau is when a lot of people on the program quit or backslide. This is well-documented and everybody knows it. With full knowledge, I quit and became a WW backslider.
There are good and bad things about WW. Its focus on weight loss–the number–isn’t the healthiest way to track a journey to physical fitness, because of the obvious “muscle weighs more and you need to gain muscle, so while you’re gaining muscle to burn more fat your weight loss might plateau or actually reverse” conundrum. With this knowledge, I still knew that I needed the structure in order to control my food addiction. Weight Watchers knows that managing a food addiction is a huge step toward weight loss and a healthy lifestyle and it has developed an incredible system for this purpose.
Left to my own devices, I was fine for a while and then slowly, bad eating habits crept back into my life. Secret eating, snacking, bingeing, ordering delicious full-fat meals when we went out to eat.
Making recipes off Pinterest without regard for their caloric content.
Fucking Pinterest, man.
I watched a few pounds creep up on me, here and there, and ignored it. But in the doctor’s office last week I learned my weight for the first time in two months. I’d gained 20 pounds since my plateau last summer. I am nearly 200 pounds again.
I’ve talked about “moments” here before. When nothing else will motivate you, you’ll get that spark of motivation, sometimes unexpected–your inspirational moment when you realize something has to change. When I saw 196 on the scale, it hit me hard. It wasn’t as much guilt as it was acceptance of what I knew I’d been doing and the predictable results.
Food addiction is heartbreaking, agonizing, and omnipresent. I hate it when I see people comment on news stories about obesity and say things like, “Eat less and exercise more.” Usually a little more blunt, like “Get off your fat ass and stop shoving cheeseburgers in your mouth” or “Control yourself! It’s not that hard!”
This is partially true. I freely admit that my self control is lacking at times. But in many cases, definitely in mine, there’s the psychology of addiction that lies behind one’s obesity. There’s a reason why Overeaters Anonymous uses the AA 12-step program, changing all references to “alcohol” to “food”. I’ve been to one meeting. Intense. Made me cry. Too religious. But damn… truth.
Being addicted to food is like being addicted to alcohol or drugs, except unlike alcohol or drugs, you need food to live. It’s like telling an alcoholic that in order to live, he or she has to drink one-half serving per day of an alcohol of his or her choice, no more and no less.
Other kinds of addicts backslide too. Every addiction is strong and coping with them is painful. But unlike food addicts, they don’t have to deal with balancing their addiction with their needs. They can eliminate that substance from their life–as terribly hard as that is–and stay clean.
I can’t get clean from food. Food is always there. I need my drug to exist. The potential for abuse is always there.
As an alcoholic, nobody lines up shots of alcohol at work and leaves them out there all day. Nobody walks by your cube and tells you how much she enjoyed her shot and how she will have another one later on.
Today somebody brought in lemon crunch bundt cake and triple chocolate frosted bundt cake and today I have to say no. I have to walk by it to get my yogurt and healthy lunch, try not to look at these cakes (someone just called the chocolate one “UNBELIEVABLE”), try not to smell them. I get to hear everyone rave about it. This is the first step I need to take to get back on the program.
Control myself indeed.
So this is why I need structure, much like someone needs to go to his or her AA meetings every night. I need something telling me how to eat, how to be active. I don’t want to admit that I’m going to need this the rest of my life but I probably will. I know I will.
As negative as this entry may sound, I’m looking forward to going back on the program. I can feel the added weight on my body and I don’t feel healthy. I miss the body I had last summer and I wasn’t even at my goal weight. I’m excited to get back on track but understandably nervous about what will happen when that plateau comes. I could pass it by, I could get stuck again.
We’ll see how it goes.
For now, I’ve got 21 more points for the day and some walking to do.