Wait, Watch Her

If you’ve ever been to a Weight Watchers meeting then you know how weird they can get. I’ll be the first to say that I am impressed and inspired by people who have faced their addiction (or in my case, their boredom) and overcome this weight demon. I truly respect the effort put forward and how important a sense of community is to any challenge. I cry at Extreme Weight Loss Challenge – I get it.

What I don’t get is the melodrama.

I re-joined Weight Watchers this week and yesterday was my first meeting. I know you’re all thinking I must have some sort of eating disorder because I appear thin.

Well, you’re right.

I think about food ALL THE TIME. From the moment I get up until I go to bed, if I’m not eating, I’m thinking about eating. And the organic berries topping the all natural yogurt with homemade granola I have in the morning? Yeah, that’s just to appease the Angel on my shoulder when I reach for the Doritos ten minutes later and hand them to the Devil. And that bitch can eat.

Although I am currently at an average weight, it is not average for me. The last time I weighed this much, I was pregnant.

I think that bears repeating.

I was growing a human the last time I saw this number. Awesome.

Plus it really isn’t about the scale. It’s about arresting this bad new habit before it gets out of control. I’ve gained 10 pounds in two months! That is not okay. After my dad died last year, I comforted myself with food all year. I allowed it to assuage my fear and sadness.

But, now it is time to reconnect with the old Lena. She was active. She ate smart. Her ass was perky. Most of all, she was happy and funny. This one, not so much. Cranky and gassy mostly.

So, I weigh in last night and as expected everyone is looking at me with a furrowed brow like I’m Nicole Richie in the donut shop with her bag of carrots. For this reason, I stay pretty silent during the meeting. I figure I don’t need to explain myself. I know I have a problem and just because I’m not “as big as” doesn’t change that.

Well, the consultant kicks off the discussion by congratulating people on things they thought about.

Consultant: “Now we have someone who did something very special. Jennnnniiieee! What forces did you put in motion this week with your adjusted behavior?”

Jennie: “Well, (pause for effect) I woke up one morning and realized I hadn’t written down the baked chips I had the night before. They were only one point, but I went back and wrote them down.”

We applauded this. Yes. Then Jennie got a sticker.

What the hell?

Don’t get mad. I do understand that you should encourage yourself with the little things and take it one day at a time, but I guarantee that by the looks of Jennie, baked chips are not what got her where she is today. The reality is that where a major overhaul is needed, tiny baby steps are just going to frustrate you and prolong the process.

Don’t condescend Jennie, or me, by celebrating every damn thing we do. That only takes away from the real achievements. Like refraining from licking the frosting off of every single leftover cupcake after (or during) your daughter’s party, or shouting your Starbucks order from across the room in order to avoid the sample tray. Those are accomplishments.

Something just tells me that if Jennie doesn’t get real, she will one night soon end up on the floor in front of her fridge surrounded by “two point bar” wrappers, face covered in chocolate and pound cake, rocking back and forth mumbling “four plus the five at lunch minus two, carry the one, add the six…”.

The Weight Watchers program, the point system, all of it, are guidelines. They are to be incorporated into your real life to help you change your habits. Not replace your real life.

So, at the end of the meeting when the consultant got out a Tupperware dish and said “I brought you all something” and then opened it to reveal magnets, I leaned over to the lady next to me and said “Oh, I thought they’d be cookies.”

Then I laughed quietly to myself. Apparently, cookies are not something to joke about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


It was the picturing all of us naked that inspired you, wasn't it? ;-)Being a pudgy girl (see any recent photos of me on my site? Uh. NO.), the only people I judge are the emaciated ones. (Did I say "judge"? I meant "worry about".) Now, you know that we, your adoring public, think you are gorgeous. But whatever it takes for you to be comfortable, you go, grrrrl. Just don't let me be seein' any toothpick ankles. :-*

Posted by: Teri M. | 05/02/2006 at 11:39 AM

I can relate somewhat. I used to be much thinner than I am today after having 2 kids. I beat myself up every day for not being as skinny as I was (while at the same time wanting to eat all the time too), and yet I too am really an average size when it comes right down to it. People who are very overweight do not want to hear that I am unhappy about MY weight. But, like you said, this is not an average weight for ME, I am not used to being average. I wish I didn't care so much, but I do. So, if this is something that will help you get to feeling better again, I am happy for you and cheering you on (although seriously, you look awesome already!)

Posted by: Courtney | 05/02/2006 at 11:57 AM

Lena you know I feel you. I'm not considered fat by "normal" people and standards and yet I "feel" fat. NOT just because I used to be thinner but because I think about eating and the fact that I shouldn't eat which leads me to WANT to eat, all the time.Is it normal to go to the store by a half dozen box of donuts and proceed to eat them before I get home? Did I mention I live less then 5 minutes away? I'm so with you. I feel for people that are "bigger" and have issues that need to be addressed and fixed but I also feel a need to be able to complain and have support too. I'm fortunate now because I try to work out and I'm still young enough that my body's metabolism kicks some ass but what happens in the future is anybody guess.Oh and as a sugar love cookies really aren't JOKE material. ~sigh~

Posted by: Virenda | 05/02/2006 at 12:09 PM

I'm developing an awful relationship with food too, but I don't know if WW will help. My problem is most of my meals are scraps. Whatever my kids don't eat, I eat it like a garbage disposal. I'm too tired to fix myself a plate and eat a balanced meal (most of the time anyway) because even if I did, the kids wouldn't let me eat. Either they would want to try some, or they will create a disaster that needs immediate cleanup, and by the time I'm done cleaning it I don't even feel like eating anymore. I think as a result my metabolism slowed down, because it's used to surviving on scraps.

Posted by: Chic Mommy | 05/02/2006 at 12:13 PM

oh can i say I LOVE LENA, BIG! oh, no, no, no. i didn't mean you're big. i meant...uh-oh, did i just ruin the moment?:)i just adore your writing style so much. i think i cannot say that enough. yup, even when you "can't" seem to do it right, you stick rock at it.yes, you definitely should start getting paid for it! i know funny people who get gazillion dollars for it so why not our dear cheeky gal, yes?!?

Posted by: iKat | 05/02/2006 at 01:16 PM

I don't even want to talk about it.Just know, I understand.

Posted by: Jessica | 05/02/2006 at 01:40 PM

I laughed my ass of (I wish)at this post. I know exactly how you feel. I know I'm a happier girl when I'm not quite so soft. You are a better person than me. I could never sit through a Weight Watchers meeting.

Posted by: C.ELLA | 05/02/2006 at 02:47 PM

I've never been to a weight watchers meeting. So how is it that I want to go with you?

Posted by: Kelly | 05/02/2006 at 03:58 PM

I beat myself up over the 10lbs that I've gained over the past year...Maybe I'll look to you for support and guidance because I'm trying to lose weight this summer...we'll see what happens.

Posted by: unforgiving b*tch | 05/02/2006 at 05:57 PM

"I thought they'd be cookies"--love it! It's good that you're doing something about this before your problem with food becomes more permanent. And I don't think weight is just about averages, but what you are comfortable with and how you feel healthiest. It sounds like you don't feel your best right now, physically and emotionally, and that's enough cause to do something about it even if others think you look fine and are, in fact, jealous. Good luck!

Posted by: Caryn | 05/02/2006 at 09:03 PM

i laughed ALL THE WAY through that. (i've gained 7 pounds of chocolate. i know exactly what you're talkin' about!)

Posted by: HolyMama! | 05/02/2006 at 11:09 PM

I have been reminded why I no longer attend these meetings!!! I got the books and shit and now I am on my way to a Kate Moss body (minus the cocaine). Oh and I totally count the baked chips!

Posted by: Bridgermama | 05/02/2006 at 11:30 PM

Uh huh.. LOL that's what I said a LOT reading youf thoughts. I can relate. I'm obsessive about my weight. We'll talk more after this next baby ;) LOLAnd I thought the cookie comment was funny. People really need to get a grip.

Posted by: Kdubs | 05/03/2006 at 03:48 AM

well, at first I laughed. Cause I went to two of those meetings and had the same reaction as you. I realized that My motivators were not "their" motivators.And, at the risk of giving assvice, I have found that when my seratonin levels are off - I eat to boost them. It's one of the ways I recognize a depression coming on - I start to CRAVE sugar and bread. Like stop on the way home at night to buy and eat a package of Chocolate filled Croissants.....I've found that adjusting my prozac ( and adding wellbutrin) did amazing things for my chemistry...

Posted by: Dawn | 05/03/2006 at 04:07 AM

I totally would have laughed at the cookie comment. You crack me up.Good luck with the WW. I really enjoyed it and had some good success the first time I did it. The second time, not so much. I think the big difference was that the first time I really latched onto the idea of taking care of myself in ways that didn't involve eating, whereas the second time I just obsessed about points and food. Who knows.Hope everything goes well for you.

Posted by: Heather | 05/03/2006 at 06:14 AM

Great visual on Jennie and her 2-point candy bar breakdown.I would've thought they were cookies, too.

Posted by: TheIdleReceptionist | 05/03/2006 at 06:31 AM

Like you I am not grossly over weight. Just need to carve off 10 lbs or so and a bit of toning wouldn't be bad. I have thought about joining WW because my mom did when she struggled but I know it wouldn't last. Mind over all is the hard part. I know I need to become one with my tread mill and ignore the call of the cookie mix I keep in the fridge. I feel with you and I do understand.

Posted by: Reverberate58 | 05/03/2006 at 07:15 AM

"Oh, I thought it would be cookies", that was great! I would have laughed right along with you! I can completely identify with your healthy/crappy way of eating. I am not officially on the Weight Watchers plan right now, but I have some of the books, and try and use is as a guideline.Yesterday, I was wondering just how many points a fist full of smarties was......and then proceded to eat 4 more fistfuls, to make sure it was a nice round number.You are going to kick those 10 lbs in no go!

Posted by: Angela | 05/03/2006 at 08:16 AM

I am so with you on this; I too have gained about 10 pounds in the last few months and I'm not happy about it. I think about food all the time, too; as a matter of fact, I was eating while I read this. Sure they were prunes, but they still count as FOOD. And I loved your cookie comment. I want to hang out with you, dammit!PS: LOVE the clever title!

Posted by: Jess Riley | 05/03/2006 at 08:46 AM

I can totally relate. I look healthy, but do I eat many veggies??? Or fruit? Nope.If there is chocolate in the house, I eat it, all of it. Or any junkfood for that matter. I control my eating by not having the stuff around.I have absolutely no willpower.Oh, who talked about the the donut thing? I have bought donuts for my kids too at the grocery store, and commenced to eat them before they came home from school. I hate it when I do that. :(

Posted by: Slacker Mom | 05/03/2006 at 09:29 AM

I'm currently being tormented by about 5 lbs. My friends think its ridiculous. If it were spread out over my whole body I could live with it, but all 5 lbs are perched around my waistline in the form of a life-raft! EEK.Good luck with WW. Worked well for me after baby #2!

Posted by: Hello Kitty | 05/03/2006 at 07:00 PM

I recently rejoined Weight Watchers to help me lose this last 40 pounds, and I wrote about how "Cheesy" the meetings can get. ( I think it's great to be positive and encouraging, but I think some leaders take it too far.

mmmmmm cookies.

Posted by: Y | 05/26/2006 at 10

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