The number that finally got me to go to Weight Watchers was 134. Not my weight – I think I passed that mark some time in high school. Not my desired weight – I think that, at age 50, no matter how hard I try, I will end up above that number.
Nope. Systolic blood pressure. I have always had low blood pressure – first number was always between 90 and 100. About a year ago, it hit 110 for the first time. I went to the doctor a month ago and it was 134. I freaked out.
“It’s not that bad compared to the other people who’ve been in here today,” the doc-in-the-box nursing assistant said.
Exactly. Compared to other people with health issues. Not compared to healthy people.
I knew it was coming. I had gradually been gaining weight, mostly because I used eating as a hobby, as a reward, and as a comfort. I often ate mindlessly, surprising myself when I reached the bottom of a bag of baked not fried chips. But guess what? A bag of baked chips still has 1000+ calories.
I joined Weight Watchers that afternoon. I hate the idea of a diet, because I have a rebellious streak, and people telling me what to do is the first step in me not doing those things.
But I had met a few people in real life, like Esther Crawford and virtually, like Christina Snortum Shaver, who had great success with Weight Watchers. Esther became a spokesperson, and Christina is becoming a leader.
Hearing about their experiences made it seem less like a rah-rah cult and more like something I could do. It didn’t hurt that my work, bless them, pays for the program if I attend for a certain period of time. We also have meetings at work, but there was no way in hell I was going to go talk about weight loss with people I see at work every day.
So on a dark winter afternoon, I headed to my first meeting. I was so nervous I got the time wrong and got there an hour early.
When I walked in, my heart was instantly warmed by a large green poster with Esther’s picture on it. I know it sounds silly, but seeing her face and the slogan “You Can Do This!” made me feel like I could.
And I can. It has been pretty easy. I just have the feeling like “I am doing this,” not maybe, or I should, or I’ll try. I am doing it. It’s not a diet, either. It’s about a way to live life.
After three weeks, I’m down 8 lbs, with dozens more to go. A long road ahead.
Even if I weren’t losing weight, I’d still have to thank Weight Watchers for giving me a new, better way to eat. Massive amounts of vegetables. Some fruit. Practically no sugar. Low fat. Whole grains. Portion control. All things I knew, I just didn’t do.
The other part of this adventure is that I bought my BFF CC a Fitbit pedometer. I already had one. My boss gets them by the case and hands them out – he’s a real evangelist (have I ever mentioned that I love my boss?). I had used mine at first, then fallen off the wagon.
Meanwhile, CC always complained about never getting exercise. I knew she was crazy competitive, so I designed a plan – a bet. Three months. Weekly check-in. Whoever is less active that week owes $10 to a jar. At the end of three months, the overall most active person gets the $130.
Week one – I edged her because in addition to walking, I was also weight lifting and going to aqua class. She was shocked when I told her the results, because she had been walking a lot.
Week two – I’m afraid, people. I’m very afraid. Yesterday she did 24,000 steps. There are about 2,000 steps in a mile. I managed 17,000 steps, only because I walked downtown and all over the place, then did some vigorous salsa dancing last night. She is kicking my butt.
The good part about this competition is that we both win. We’re driving each other crazy in the process, but at least we’ll be in good shape when they haul us off.