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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost and (reluctantly) Found (Weekend Assignment #285)

Karen's Weekend Assignment this week is a timely one for me, since I'm actually trying to lose something I hadn't wanted to find again after losing it once before:

Weekend Assignment #285: Tell us about something important that you lost.

Extra Credit:
Tell us about something you found.

I lost weight. It stayed lost for a while, but I can no longer ignore the fact that I've found it again.

Just about six years ago, my sister and I joined Weight Watchers together. She'd recently had her second baby. I had no similar excuse for the gradual packing on of pounds that had sent my weight to the highest it had ever been (well in excess of my peak weight during my own pregnancy nearly twenty years earlier). I embraced the Weight Watchers Points Plan, and within six months - not long before my 40th birthday - I had successfully shed 25 pounds.

I've never been much of a joiner, but WW's mix of structure and flexibility, in addition to the accountability and group support, really worked for me. My motivations were a mix of health and vanity. I was having issues with my blood pressure and general fitness; also, I'd recently had to buy some clothing in a size 12. (I'm 4'8" tall - 25 pounds may not seem like a lot, but on my frame, it literally makes a big difference.) Given my lifestyle at the time - single, doing my own cooking and rarely dining out, and not really answering to anyone but my dog - adapting to the WW plan came pretty easily, and I didn't find it terribly difficult to lose the weight and keep it off. I knew that I'd have to stay attentive to food all the time, and that there were foods I was better off avoiding if I didn't want to deal with the consequences of indulging in them, but I was confident that I could do it.

After a successful six-week "maintenance" period after I reached my weight goal, I became a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. However, it turns out that a "lifetime" is a long time to maintain one's eating and activity discipline, and the pounds have slowly found their back to me. My lifestyle changed a year and a half later, and while I don't blame my husband for my own failings, becoming part of a couple changed some of my habits. I got lazy, in more ways than one. We dined out too often. Desserts became a daily routine again instead of a sometime treat. My walks with the dog got shorter. The fact that my husband can't stand cooked vegetables gave me an excuse not to make them, and let's be honest - salads just get boring sometimes. And I stopped going to Weight Watchers meetings - it was actually nice to get back that hour of my Saturday mornings.

So I wasn't surprised by what I learned when I recently tried out my family's Wii Fit for the first time: even though I was still (mostly) comfortably wearing a size 8, my weight wasn't too far below where it had been when I originally started on Weight Watchers, and my BMI was well up in the "overweight" region. (I know BMI's not particularly reliable for those at extremes of the height range, but still.) And once I actually know the facts about something, it's a lot tougher for me to ignore it.

I still don't really want to start going to WW meetings and tracking points again, so I'm starting by just trying to get back to the principles. I'm re-focused on eating more protein and fewer carbs. I seldom take second helpings, but I'm paying more attention to portion sizes (and using the smaller plates that fill up faster). I'm eating more salads, and going back to cooking vegetables - I'll have one or the other as part of dinner every night. (My husband doesn't have to take any of the cooked veggies, but it would be nice if the kids did.)  Desserts are not part of the daily routine anymore, but more physical activity is. Even if it means getting up earlier, I'm taking the dog for longer walks on weekend mornings again. And I'm finally joining the rest of my family on the Wii. I actually like the step-aerobics and yoga routines on the Wii Fit, and since I still refuse to keep a scale in the house, regular "body testing" by the Fit will help me track how I'm doing. (If you're "overweight," the Wii Fit plumps up your Mii avatar. It's not pleasant to watch.)

Since the Wii Fit wanted me to establish a goal, I'm shooting for losing 10% of my current body weight within 6 months. In pounds, that's only about half of my original loss six years ago, but I'm fine with a conservative start - and if I'm making progress, I can always become more ambitious. But if I can lose that weight again, I'm going to work harder to make sure it stays lost this time.

12 comments:

  1. I feel you pain! I did WW two years ago and lost 60+ lbs. I was maintaining it fairly well (although I really wanted to lose a few more) but then we moved and I have re-found about half of the weight. ::sigh:: I knew that moving depressed me and depression was one of my triggers and yet it happened anyway. Plus we ended up in a great neighborhood which turns out to be very social and social means yummy foods of which I ate entirely too much. It might now be "happy fat" but it sure isn't "pretty fat" and I must find a way to make it leave permanently this time. Good luck to you (and me too)!

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  2. Good luck! I've lost 23 pounds since starting the Game On Challenge/diet. Even if you don't do the challenge, the book does have some good advice about eating.

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  3. Kristen - I know just what you mean by "happy weight," because I'm pretty sure that's most of what caused my re-gain too. But it's not making me happy, so it's time to work on sending it away again - because I was pretty happy when it was gone :-)! Good luck to us both!

    Jill (Softdrink) - I picked up some tips when y'all were posting about the Challenge, and it did get me curious about the book. If I need some additional nudging, I may check it out.

    Are you a Sugar-free Diet Softdrink now :-D?

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  4. I lost 15 lbs when I was quite a bit younger - my mom literally dropped my 13 year old ass off at the local WW meeting - and I loved gaining control of SOMETHING (my home life was pretty out of control, so...). Since then, I've had to go back to the program about once each decade. Like, now.
    But I was really having trouble sticking to the program this time. That is: until this morning.
    I took a pic of myself using my new iPhone and, when I couldn't believe i looked that bad, I took another. And another. I couldn't recognize myself in any of them. And with that, I have recommitted to WW.
    I would love to know your progress, Florinda - knowing a sistah is doing it too will keep me dedicated to the "accountability" thing of writing down everything I eat and drink. Thanks for more inspiration, dude!

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  5. Good for you setting that goal! I'll be cheering you on. If you want/need help or encouragement, let me know. I lost my weight over a decade ago. If you want to know what I've been up to, http://FitLike.Us (If not, kindly ignore!).

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  6. Lucia - Yeah, I've had that epiphany with some recent photos myself...but it wasn't enough. What really helped nudge me this time is the fact that my husband has decided that HE really needs to get in better shape. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be using the Wii Fit if not for him.

    Let's try to help keep each other on the right path, OK :-)?

    Bridget (ShortWoman) - Thanks for the encouragement! I'm already seeing a tiny bit of progress, and I'll check out that link.

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  7. Sounds like a good plan, and kind of a fun way to go about it. Good luck!

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  8. Karen - I've pretty much avoided video games for years, so I'm quite surprised by how much I'm enjoying the Wii Fit. I hope it helps :-).

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  9. I can see how it would be much easier to follow a plan when making food for yourself. Though, I don't know if it would work for me. I don't think there are enough nutrients in M&M's to survive for long. :)

    Good luck!

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  10. Mike - I don't think you'd last long on M&M's, but it would be a short and happy life :-).

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  11. I've been on WW for 5 months and lost 20 pounds, but I do it online. The goal I set for myself is only 2 pounds away and I'm feeling good about it because I think it is a weight I can maintain. A small 8 I think. I hope when you lose the weight this time it doesn't find you again ;) I'm also hoping that for myself!

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  12. Stacy - Congrats and hang in there!

    I'm registered for WW online as well, and I've thought about using that before I go back to meetings. We'll see how it goes...

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