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The Weight Watcher Challenge

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The SparkPeople blogosphere is awash with fall challenges and with the cooler weather every single one of my Spark Friends seems to be gearing up for the holidays and rocking out a challenge to kick of the start of this crazy season.

So I want in. But I'm not going to do the WTF Challenge. I wanted to create my very own challenge that is very near and dear to my heart and very personal.

Before SparkPeople for me, there was Weight Watchers, and WW, and WW, and WW - over and over and over again. I have joined and quit at least 6 different times since I was about 8 years old. And for me - WW always yielded the same results - slow - if any - weight loss, starvation, fatigue and yoyo-ing on the scales until eventually I would get tired of it and give up. Clearly the program was not for me. The first time I joined I was counting food exchanges, then Points, then eating as much as I wanted as long as it was on the Core list. Nothing ever clicked - except that I hated Weight Watchers. I hated the meetings. I hated the system. I hated the food. But most of all I hated everyone else who had any amount of success doing the one thing that I seemed completely incapable of doing - losing weight.

Thankfully, Weight Watchers DID bring me one very valuable thing - a friend named Paz who exuded confidence and success. She had lost her weight on the program and was happy to take me under her wing and talk to me personally after meetings. I looked up to her, I idolized her, I wanted to be her. But I still didn't understand how she made the program work for her. Until one day I found out her real secret. I was talking to her about how unhappy I was and how depressed I was with my eating habits - and like I had no real control over what I was doing to myself. She nodded, and I saw the empathy in her eyes. She REALLY knew what I was talking about. And then she referred me to a place called The Awakening Center - a group of therapists that work specifically with eating disorders. She gave me the name and number of her therapist and said I should check it out, even if I only went to the group sessions, it would be a valuable experience. It took me three weeks to work up the nerve to call the number. But after I did, my life changed forever. I credit her, and Weight Watchers, and myself and all of my failed attempts for the person I am today. Happy accident maybe - but thank God it happened.

Fast forward through 5 years of therapy and I realize now that Weight Watchers was not to blame. Were I to do the program again now with everything I know, I'd likely be successful at it. Alas - I'm never going back - lifetime status or not. The WW logo will always be a scar on the face of my weight-loss efforts and for me, it would just be more symbolic of my current efforts and breakthroughs to wash the big "WW" from my life completely.

So that's what I'm going to do. One by one, I'm going to work through my old WW weigh-in books, and one by one I'm going to destroy them so I never have to look at them or at the person I was then ever again. I actually found my weigh-in book from when I was 13 years old. On the inside, under "Personal Goals" it says: To look better in my clothes so that people won't tease me. Oh my god - I just want to take that 13 year old me and hug her and tell her that it's all going to be ok. I remember the pain. I remember what I was going through at that point in my life. It was horrible. And now - I can't erase the past, I can't erase the pain, but I can get rid of those damn books and I can lose the weight that I was attempting to lose at that time, but FOR GOOD this time.

So that's the challenge. Lose the weight - destroy the WW weigh-in book.

Here's the first one:

This book spans the period in my life when I had just moved to Chicago, was having bad marital problems with my ex-husband, was still unable to work because of my Visa status in the U.S. and when, finally, thankfully, I met Paz. 25 of the most tumultuous weeks in my life. I'm so ready to say good-bye to them for good! My starting weight was 265.4 - exactly what I weigh right now. The lowest weight achieved over 25 weeks was 249.2. I still can't get over that I yoyo-ed like this for 25 weeks. Wow. This time, I'm going to give myself not even HALF of that time. I want to see 249.2 by the time I visit the scientist in Germany at the end of November. 9 weeks - 16.2 pounds. That's just under 2 pounds a week. I can totally do this. I have to. I've got 3 more books to go and a lifetime ahead of me to live WW free!

Disclaimer * I do not want to offend anyone who swears by Weight Watchers for their weight loss. To each their own. I respect WW and their programming. But if you're interested in having more of a conversation with me about why I don't like the program, I'm up for a good debate :) I'm a SparkPerson now - and as far as I'm concerned, this is where everyone needs to be. I'm also very open to talking about my therapy and about the Awakening Center and receiving counseling catered towards eating disorders. It has honestly changed my life. And it's an arguable first step for anyone who has issues with their weight and food.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ANDREA963
    Funny I just came across my book yesterday. I don't know why I'm holding on to it! I'm so happy I found Spark!

    2757 days ago
    I am in the same boat w/ WW....start...stop...I've tried it several times but could never get passed yoyoing between about 5 lbs....get frustrated and quit. I'm not one to watch "points". Sparking has hit a spot w/ me and I've been able to stick with it. Maybe b/c it teaches you the balance of food...portions...and is about living a new healthy life...not dieting. Reading through you destroying your WW books....has given me the courage to do the same! I've been holding onto all those damn books for the "what if" "someday". Being honest w/ myself....WW never again...get rid of them and unclutter my life :-) !!!!
    2757 days ago
  • WYND10
    I missed this blog, I have no idea can do this! I think destroying those books will be very cathartic for you. Moving onward and downward ;).


    2757 days ago
    I often think back to those late-night WW meetings with my mom and how much of a failure I always felt like I was. I never once thought it was possible to change my life the way they wanted me to, but I tried because my mother wanted it for me. Sometimes it just takes time, distance and better understanding and sometimes it takes a completely different path than the one you laid before yourself time and again. Have a freeing purge! Do I smell a fall bonfire?? ;)
    2759 days ago
    I am curious about what you think doesn't work about WW. I've never done it, but my intution tells me that learning about "points" does not help you as much when you have to make real life choices without knowing points- and does WW give you goals for protein and carbs and such? If it doesn't then you could end up making choices that are good on points but not so good on actually getting a complete diet..
    2759 days ago
    Sounds like a good idea! It's tough to relive the events that scared our lives but I am glad you are dealing with them AND moving forward! It is a huge step for you I am sure and I applaud you. Keep up the good work! Oh and I am so dead jealous that you're going to Germany soon! I miss it there!
    2759 days ago
    Great blog. I think this is a wonderful thing you'll be doing for yourself.
    2759 days ago
    I think that is a wonderful idea!! I think it will be very therapeutic and a great way to move past that in your life. I wish you all the luck in the world and I know you will succeed!! You have it in you and now you have the tools to achieve it!!
    2759 days ago
  • TES5061
    Goodness! You have been through so much! I completely understand though. I pictured myself as I was reading your blog. I did weight watchers off and on for about three years now. I would always start out, get to about 190lbs and stop. I would get depressed, hungry, lethargic, and continue to exercise harder and harder only to see the scale stay the same. I would get so tired of it, I would stop. I would then start again, weighing even more than I did the first time I started. I also saved my attempts, but they are currently in a storage unit along with all of our other things (living with my in-laws). I hope all of this works out for you! You'll have to keep us all updated! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2760 days ago
    Good For you!! I agree with you 100% WW may work for some and not others! I am s Sparkperson 100% as well!!
    2760 days ago
    I completely understand the purge. I did something similar over a year ago - I got rid of the monster in my closet. It felt fabulous and freeing.
    I too attended WW but only twice. First time it worked as I had not yet damaged my metabolism but I gained back the weight when I stopped paying attention. The second time I joined it didn't work at all, no fault of WW or mine at that point. Anyway, I know what you mean about never returning (and hating the meetings) - I too am a SP person now.
    So, with all that being said, I would love to hear more about the Awakening Center and your experience there, send me a private email - if you like.

    2760 days ago
    Good for you! I'm glad you have a goal that is personal to you. One of my own goals this October is to write once a week. It has nothing to do with weight loss, but it is personal to me. Those are the most important achievements and the ones you are most motivated to accomplish. If that is what you need to lay the past to rest, so much the better for you. I wish you luck.

    2760 days ago
    emoticon I was you at 13, I can really relate to this, Jenn!!!!!!!!!!! I love that you're destroying the evidence and you are moving on to a new chapter in your life book. emoticon
    2760 days ago
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