Weigh-in: Anchors Away

ist2_4762716-anchor-iconMy weigh-in last night showed a 3.6-lb loss for the past week, putting me just under the 200-lb mark again! So I guess I’m doing something right.

The meeting was meh. My regular meeting schedule will be the Sunday afternoon meeting, and I’m glad. The leader last night kept asking questions and then staring expectantly at the group, and during the awkward pauses I could hear “Bueller? Bueller?” echoing in my head. And then inevitably the same two women would bray their opinions. A couple of times a few other hesitant souls would venture a guess to the leader’s Socratic-style questions and I swear to God that on at least one of these occasions, they were made to feel as if their answer were somehow wrong. Oh, please! This is a Weight Watchers meeting, not law school!

The topic of the meeting: Anchors for the holiday season. Touchstones to keep you grounded and focused despite the madness swirling all around in the form of consumerism, family which you may or may not be pleased to see, and baked goods. One of the women who was basically shot down mentioned that the anchor could be something like a piece of clothing you want to fit into, but when the leader gave her a vaguely disapproving hawklike stare, she mumbled, “Maybe it’s a little materialistic.”

Well, we can’t all be Joan of Arc after all, and I’m totally planning to go the materialistic anchor route! I’m currently in the market for a little bracelet or something to wear every day that I can touch or look down at to re-center myself and recommit to my plan. How about you? Do you have an anchor that reminds you of your goals and helps to keep you resolved even when things get mental in your life?


My First Week on Weight Watchers

I’ll be heading to my first weigh-in straight from work this evening, and right now I can honestly say I’m strangely relaxed about it. In previous Weight Watching incarnations, I was fraught with tension pre-weigh-in because I felt that if I hadn’t lost a certain amount of weight that week, it meant the whole effort was pointless.

I have followed the Points system quite well this first week; my main problem was not always getting in the 5 daily fruits and vegetables that are part of the WW healthy guidelines. This week I will do a little better in that area. I haven’t really created a regular exercise schedule yet, and that’s also on tap for this week. Exercise tends to make a lot of difference in my weight-loss progress. I don’t want to overdo it, but I would like to get out there and walk 5 days a week. Who’s with me?

Ever since I decided it was okay if the weight came off slowly, I’ve been feeling a lot better about life in general and getting in shape in particular. Once I decided to focus on two goals for the coming year (improving my mental health and getting out of the obese category), I felt quite a bit of tension subside. If you are stressing out right now about life and can postpone a few of your goals in order to focus on the one or two most important ones and devote a full year to these, I highly recommend it.

Did anyone else watch Ruby last night? What did you think? I will definitely be tuning in for the next episode. My boyfriend and I watched it together and both agreed that a lot of interesting and important points came up in the show. And as one person on the Ruby message boards commented, “it’s a REAL reality show,” if you know what I mean. No host, no zany challenges, just a very large woman facing her beast.

Hair and There

As demonstrated in Wednesday’s post, it had become painfully obvious that I needed a haircut. This morning, as one of my small steps toward fitness I decided to walk down to Birds Barbershop, which is only a little over a mile away. Still, I never would have thought of walking there even a week ago—despite the beautiful weather. It just wouldn’t have entered my mind. Non-scale victory, turtle progress!

All Tidied Up!

All Tidied Up!

I’ll be watching Ruby tonight on the Style Network. It’s about dramatic weight-loss, to be sure—a 500-pound woman is the eponymous star of the show—but somehow it sounds as though it will be less of a circus than Biggest Loser. Ruby sounds like the sort of person most of us would love to hang with and the show’s site is awesome with lots of goodies to discover. I’m hoping to compare notes on this one with some of you guys tomorrow!

On Weight Watchers? Join the WWtweeters!

This is just a quick post to invite any and all interested Weight Watchers to join the awesome Twitter group WWtweets created by Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat!

For people having trouble inserting the WWtweets badge into their blog, I messed with the code a bit and got it to work on mine: Click HERE, copy the code that appears at the top of the page, and then paste it into the appropriate place on your blog.

Just FYI, on Twitter I’m Lizdrops; feel free to follow me and I’ll return the favor :).

Mini to the Max!

The Turtle visits the Minimax

The Turtle visits the Minimax

Earlier today, my boyfriend and I rode our bikes to the Minimax to pick up a select few groceries (milk, apples, pears . . . um, chips?). The Minimax is probably one of the last of the small independent grocery stores left in the town. I love it, despite the fact that the aisles don’t go on for miles and you can’t find your more “exotic” (read: hummus and pita) items on the shelves there.

One of the best things about the Minimax is its proximity to our house: Only a little over a mile away, it’s a brisk bike ride there and back. There’s nothing like going to a smaller, non-crowded grocery store on a beautiful Saturday, picking up those essentials you were running low on, and then heading back out into the cool blue sunshine, groceries packed into your backpack or your front basket.

Dieting Stockholm Syndrome?

stockholm-syndromeWhy do people return time after time to a weight-loss program that they have not had long-term success with in the past? And why do some of us passionately defend these fall-back plans, despite the fact that we are paying the companies our hard-earned cash over and over again again? And again—this time for good, of course.

I have one possible answer! Stockholm Syndrome. The term originates from an ordeal which occurred during a robbery in the 1970s when hostages were taken at a bank in Stockholm, held captive for almost a week, and then finally released . . . only to defend their captors. “Stockholm Syndrome” is now shorthand for identifying with someone who is victimizing you, even to the point of sticking up for them. Ever heard of Patty Hearst?

Anyways. I have been a member of Weight Watchers at least . . . seven different times now. SEVEN. I pay them $40 a month currently. Now, I may be a little unhinged, but I’m not completely insane. So what gives?

My primary conscious reason for attending the meetings: I once had success losing over 25 lbs with Weight Watchers. Losing it. Not sustaining the loss though, or losing the full amount of weight I needed to drop. The other times I joined, I lasted maybe 5 or 10 lbs before cracking. Sometimes less.

It could be argued that this was all a personal failure on my part. And frankly, I have always accepted that blame. But have you ever noticed, those of you current or former Weight Watchers, how many people in the meetings are re-joiners?  Nevertheless, WW is something I know and trust, for whatever reason.  Stockholm Syndrome?

I’ve offered my own behavior as an example of perhaps-illogical loyalty. Have any of you guys ever experienced dieting Stockholm Syndrome?

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You know in Fight Club, when Ed Norton is a raging insomniac and keeps attending all these support groups for diseases he doesn’t have because the crying and hugging helps him sleep? And how at one of them he has a vision of his Power Animal, which turns out to be a penguin that is all cute and probably in the imagery of the film totally symbolizes being a slave to the Man? Well, I have identified my own power animal.

I discovered this while visualizing a deep well in my body. But wait. Let me explain.

I experienced three-pronged distress meltdown last night, which burst to the surface of my consciousness around 9:30 PM CST:

Prong 1: My new therapist? Has not impressed at all me thus far. (Although I guess I should thank her for inadvertently introducing me to my power animal.) I pinned all my hopes on this particular therapy working for me (I have tried so many, many times before) and although I haven’t said much about it, I have been feeling pretty upset about how things are going.

Prong 2: I’m supposed to be taking the GRE in a week and a half. At some point this weekend I realized that it wasn’t going to happen and it was all my fault because I was too paralyzed to even begin studying the Math. I am all over the Words. But the Math is but a fleeting high-school memory to my now 31-year-old brain. I got psyched out, blew off studying, and now I need to cancel my test appointment because I refuse to bomb the thing. What this means, in terms of my cognitively distorted mind: I will never ever go to graduate school. Big fail.

Prong 3: The diet. Ahhhhh, the diet. Saw this one coming, didn’t you? Yes, I’ve been sticking like glue to my new Weight Watchers food plan, which I initiated on Monday. But I am not sold on everything WW teaches. I never have been. A lot of the guidelines are very sound common sense. But I . . . I think we should be eating more food. Or at least I should. Last night I fell into the merciless deprivation mindset. It’s like having a screaming, Banshee-wailing two-year-old lying on the floor kicking and red-faced . . . in your BRAIN. Get out get out get out!! I hate that kid.

As I snifflingly discussed these various dilemmas last night, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I need to slow down and take on fewer demons at a time. Slowly.

Slowly? To me a thing isn’t worth doing unless it can be done in a blur of procrastination-induced hyperactivity!

Slowly. That word. It reminded me of the one not-totally-disappointing part of my last meeting with my therapist: the mindfulness exercise. It’s not worth paying $110 a week for, but it did involve the counselor hitting a metal bowl, gong-style, and me picturing a deep well inside of me. Evidently this well is where my Wise Mind resides. Because I had to picture hanging out in this well for a good 5 minutes, and I got kind of tired of looking at the wall of the well and the water and all, I decided I wanted company in the well, and that the company would be a turtle. MY POWER ANIMAL, REVEALED!

I was very pleased to have the turtle in my wise-mind well with me, although I started to get worried that he would drown if he couldn’t go up for air soon, a concern that put a slight dent in me communing with my awareness of the moment.

The turtle is a common metaphor for sensible weight loss. But the truth is I have always had an affinity for turtles. Maybe because they resemble my zodiac sign, the delightful and pinchy crab, in that they have a safe shell to retreat to in times of trouble. I even had a pet turtle for several years in my early 20s. She was liberated on Cinco de Mayo, 2001, on the same day a man flashed me and my roommate in Central Park, but that’s a whole other story.

That being said, at some point during a conversation last night, I realized that it is perfectly okay for me to lose weight slowly. Like, even at a glacially slow pace. If I eat more (relatively healthful) food, it may actually be a great thing for my metabolism and the weight-loss will zip right along. Or it may very well be that I lose less than a pound a week. It could take me two years to lose the weight. Is this okay?

Deep breath. Yes. Yes, it is. Turtles are stubborn, and slow, and tough, and so am I.

This year I will not worry about graduate school or career (non)goals. This year I will not worry about finally saving some money; as long as I stay out of debt that’s acceptable. A car can wait. So can the advanced degree.

What can’t wait is working on my mental and physical health, making those the priority while at the same time being patient and compassionate with myself during the process. I’m going to visit a new therapist next week. I’m going to stick with a (modified, Liz-personalized) version of Weight Watchers (take what works and leave the rest) and keep attending the group meetings. The rest can wait. Tiny turtle knows this is all good, and so do I.