The Weight Watchers wagon.
Well, that's actually misleading. I didn't ever "fall off" of the Weight Watchers wagon. I rode it out and then got off when it was time. :) It's just that now, it's time to get back on again--hopefully only for a short ride this time.
Since I'm sure there are so many who can relate, and because I try to be as honest as possible (without going overboard), I'll share all the "weighty" details. This is sure to be lengthy. Where to start?
I honestly can't pinpoint the time in my life when my weight became an issue for me. Sadly, growing up, I always thought I was fat. I had a really petite best friend as a child, and another really skinny friend that we hung out with often. So between the three of us, I was always the biggest, and always felt that way. Now, when I look back on childhood pics, I can't believe how thin and healthy I actually was. I just never, ever felt that way. I guess even as a little girl, you still compare yourself to others--and the people I compared myself to were smaller than me. So I suppose that messed with my head, even at a young age.
Thanks to puberty, I started "filling out" in middle school. But I think my weight actually became a problem--meaning I crossed the threshold into the "overweight" category--when I was maybe 15. At my heaviest, I was between 170 and 180 lbs. (I'm 5'7"ish.)
The summer before my senior year of high school--I was 16, going on 17--I don't even remember, but I must have mentioned to my mom how uncomfortable I was with my body. Somehow, I found myself in an L.A. Weight Loss center with my mom, and was soon signed up for the program. I stuck with it for probably 6-7 months or so, and got myself down to about 150-155 lbs. The program was hard to stay on... no cheating, very specific things had to be eaten at every meal, certain combinations (pasta and beef, for instance) were off limits completely, etc.
Coming from someone who was 170-180 lbs. before, my new size felt pretty good. I felt as comfortable in my skin as I possibly could as a senior in high school. I graduated and went on to college. I remember being really paranoid about the "freshman 15," and was shocked when I weighed myself while home on my October break--I had actually lost weight. Something like 8 lbs., actually. I attributed it to being a picky eater (there were only certain things I would eat at the dining halls), and all of the extra walking around campus, to the bars, etc. Because lord knows I was practically drinking my weight in beer every weekend. ;)
I maintained my weight pretty well throughout college, despite eating what I wanted (for the most part) and the obligatory college drinking habit. I tried to make good choices when I could, but there was definitely a lot of late-night eating, and a once-a-week pizza and wings splurge that Michael and I never missed out on (oh, Lena's Pizza, how I miss you so--it was our favorite local pizza joint in our college town).
Three weeks after graduation, I started my first job (in June 2004). It was a desk job. Highly stressful, but also highly sedentary. Over the next couple of years, I started to grow more and more unhappy with my body. Despite going to the gym, I did not look good--I was still eating whatever I wanted.
In March 2006, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends from college. My friend Bethany (who is one of my bridesmaids) and I were always around the same size. On this visit, though, Bethany looked absolutely fantastic. She said she had started Weight Watchers, and she had lost a lot of weight. When I got home the next day, I looked into Weight Watchers on the internet, and I saw that they had an online version of the program. This sounded perfect to me--for one, I was never crazy about the idea of having to attend meetings and weigh-ins. Secondly, it was really affordable.
I registered that night, and the next day (March 20, 2006), the program began. My first weekly weigh in was that Monday morning--and I weighed in at 156.4 lbs. That was my starting weight. My first goal was just to get down to 140 lbs.
In the first week, I dropped 5 lbs. I was ecstatic. Obviously that slowed down, but still--it was a great start and a great motivator. I think I hit 140 lbs. sometime in May. I had done it with what felt like little effort. Sure, I had to follow the program, but I wasn't really exercising--just dieting--and I just never felt that Weight Watchers was that hard. I could still eat what I wanted, just within reason. I decided to keep going; I lowered my goal to 135 lbs. By July 2006, I got down to 136 lbs. And then my body just wouldn't budge anymore. We had a ton of weddings that summer, so I did a lot of "cheating"--but I still managed to not gain any weight back.
I figured once the weddings were over, I'd get back to the plan and follow it more strictly. I did, and still--my body did not want to budge below 136 lbs. In fact, most days, I'd hover right at 137-138 lbs. I stayed on Weight Watchers for another four months or so, trying to just get a couple. more. pounds. off, but to no avail. I figured my body was telling me something. It was comfortable at that weight. And really, two pounds? Was my body going to look that different if I lost another two pounds??
I put my goal at 137 lbs., and technically "met" it, so then I started maintenance. It was time to teach my body how to eat more normally again. I did another 3-4 months of that with Weight Watchers, and then I decided I trusted myself to do it "on my own." No more tracking points, no more paying for the online subscription. I cancelled my subscription with Weight Watchers almost exactly a year after I had begun.
Weight fluctuates. Anything can make it fluctuate. All throughout my time on Weight Watchers, I was a daily weigher. The people at WW like to tell you that it's not healthy--you shouldn't weigh more than once a week. But for me, it was what kept me on track. I wouldn't let the fluctuations upset me. It's just that if I was up one morning, I'd be extra diligent on drinking my water that day, getting in some exercise, and sticking to plan. If I was down, I could be just a little more lax. So on maintenance, and even before that, I'd see my weight fluctuate between 136 lbs. and 140 lbs. regularly. Most often, as I said before, I was at 137-138 lbs. I guess that was my "average," so to speak.
I went back to eating normally. I am very conscious of what I eat, and I still always have Weight Watchers philosophies in my head. If I know something is coming up, like a night out to eat, or a family party, etc., I try to "save up" during the week by being really good. That way, I can indulge at the party or at the restaurant and not worry about my weight so much. This, in large part, has worked for me. In the first few months officially off the Weight Watchers plan, my average weight crept up a little bit. I started seeing 140 lbs. on the scale more regularly. But since then? I've stayed right there. I figured having my average weight go up 3 lbs. and level off was not a big deal. I still don't think it's a big deal. Because again, I can pretty much eat what I want (and again, within reason) and my weight stays the same.
But now, with the wedding less than seven weeks away, I feel like I just want to give it another go. I'd like to try to get a few pounds off. Because really, my weight usually averages like 140-142 lbs. And that's about 5-6 lbs. more than I was at my lightest. And 5-6 lbs., although not a huge deal, does make a difference. Sure, my clothes still fit fine, but I can tell the difference. To be fair, I've become much more of an exerciser. In September, I started taking two high-intensity aerobics classes per week, and I also go to the gym both days on the weekend (when scheduling permits). So it's very possible that some of the weight really is muscle weight (and not just an excuse).
Honestly, I'm not even that concerned about how I look on the wedding day. It's a big dress, it hides a lot of flaws. I'm more concerned about the honeymoon and being in bathing suits and shorts! :)
When I was lying in bed last night, trying to sleep, I was thinking about maybe going back to Weight Watchers just to try to shed a few pounds before the wedding and honeymoon. This morning, I woke up and checked my BlackBerry--and oddly enough, I had an e-mail from Weight Watchers. I receive them every couple of months... special offers to get me to try to come back to them. And this e-mail was one such offer.
So today, I took them up on it.
This is going to be sooo fun. Not.