2007 –2009 were slow but defining years for me.
I was still working for WW part time, working my full time job, and I was doing grad school part time.
I had lost a few pounds from the 10 I gained back, but was still hovering in the same place.
I had finally tried enough things to get rid of most of the bad habits I’d had regarding eating.
But working full time, part time, and doing school part time with homework was just too much.
In 2008, I stepped back from WW and the meetings I was working so I could concentrate on finishing school. They got people to fill the meetings, and I now haven’t worked a meeting in over a year.
My name was still on the employee list for subbing, and I was still sending my weight in each month, but nothing ever opened up that I could work once I was done with school.
I was still following what used to be called the Core plan on WW, where most of the healthy foods (whole grains, low fat dairy/proteins, veggies, fruits, healthy fats) didn’t need to be counted and you had a certain number of points each week to cover anything not on that list.
I had fallen in love with the program right after it came out because I didn’t have to count for EVERYTHING I ate or drank. Having that list of things I didn’t “need” to count kept me making better choices for myself. I tried a lot of new foods, especially whole grains, and started to really love cooking and finding new foods and recipes. And following this got me back to my goal weight, finally. Those 10 pounds took a lot of work, but I did it and I was actually maintaining.
In 2008, I also found and started reading a few food/healthy living blogs. Seeing these people living their lives, eating healthy and balanced most of the time, and maintaining their weight gave me hope that maybe I could do the same on my own.
It’s not that WW wasn’t working for me or that it’s not a good program…I was just getting tired of having to think about it. I’d been maintaining my weight for over 3 years (give or take 5 lbs) and was ready to just LIVE.
The other thing I wanted to change was my focus on the scale. That is what I went by for 5 years. The only thing.
If it was a “good number” (whatever that means), I was happy. If it was higher than I wanted, it put me in a bad mood. I know everyone’s weight fluctuates every day and that that is totally normal.
I just put too much emphasis on that number – I let it have power over me.
I know that the scale is one good way to measure progress, but it is not the only way. I wanted to be more focused on my health, my happiness, and how I felt rather than that number.
I had finally overcome my bad eating habits, lost the 10 pounds I had gained a few years earlier after my initial weight loss, but stopping the program? This terrified me.
What would happen if I wasn’t doing WW?
Could I do this on my own?
If I didn’t count for a week or two and just tried to eat for ME, for FUEL, for HEALTH…would I just gain back what I’ve lost and worked hard to maintain?
The last time I WASN’T on WW…I was 30 pounds heavier. And it scared me to think that I could end up back where I was.
But the only thing I could do was try, right?
And try I did.
In May of this year, I decided to try not writing everything down that I ate. I talked a lot about this with my friend, Christie, and she was always there with good advice and encouragement. I don’t know if I would have really tried it without those emails.
I went a few months where I would only write down those weekly points I was using, but I was trying to not base what I ate on the points I had left like I normally did. I just tried to eat healthy and balanced and what I wanted – and then I figured up the points later.
This worked for a while, but I was still pretty much doing the program. For the past 2 months or so, I’ve kind of been keeping track of those weekly points in my head, but not exactly. I would still go through the days of the week and try to figure out what I “would have used” if I had still been following it, just to see where I would be for the week.
I’m not sure exactly when things changed, but I had a pretty big breakthrough just a few weeks ago.
I was sitting in my office one day, thinking about the lunch and snack I brought with me and I tried to do the “figure up in my head where I was, points wise” – and I had no idea.
I couldn’t come up with a number.
I just didn’t know. I hadn’t been thinking about it.
And I couldn’t believe it. After doing a program for almost 5 years, this had pretty much become habit for me – my mind just thinks about that stuff automatically now.
But something changed.
That same week, I actually stopped working for WW. I talked with my manager, and it just seemed to be the best option for right now. I haven’t worked in a year and nothing is opening up anyways, so I don’t have to send in my weight every month now.
It’s crazy how long it takes a change to happen…but then so many things can happen at once.
So, what does this mean for me?
I still don’t know some days :)
No day will ever be perfect, and that’s the beauty of life. Some days will be amazing and some days I may have ice cream for dinner. But it doesn’t matter, and it all balances out because my only goal now is to make the best choices I can each day.
Does that mean I will only eat salads? No.
Does it mean I’m going to dive head first into that tub of ice cream? Not likely.
I just want to make whatever best choice I have – some days, those choices will be better, but as long as I’m making an effort, I can’t ask for anymore.
I just know that now I am enjoying everything. I love the foods that I eat. I do eat pretty balanced and healthy most of the time because I know that’s what keeps me satisfied. But there is always room for dessert.
It’s been a tough couple of months trying to figure this out and doubting myself every day of whether I could really do this on my own. I’m happy to say that I’m still maintaining my weight, my clothes still fit, and I’m just happy.
Besides trusting myself, I think the biggest part of this was just finding my own balance. I needed to figure out what I needed to do to keep myself healthy and sane – without those two things, it’s not worth doing. And, for now, I think I’ve got it.
That’s not to say that things won’t change in a few years or after I have kids or when I hit 30 or 40 or 50. Our bodies are always changing, shifting, adjusting, and I just have to be ready to do that, as well. And after this….I think I am.
As for that scale? I’ll admit – I do still weigh myself about once a week or so, mostly out of habit, but it’s not the same.
Thanks to stepping out on this ledge and finding the power within myself, it doesn’t have a hold over me anymore.
And just like Caitlin said the other day, that “fat talk” still creeps into my head. It may not ever go away completely.
The only difference now is that I talk back.
Don’t forget to vote for me! I know I’m way behind in these, but I do appreciate every one who is voting – it’s worth a shot!