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December 11, 2011

Joining Weight Watchers and getting inspired by Esther Crawford, fellow CA10 alum

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.

  1. December 11, 2011 12:24

    Congratulations! It sounds like you’re doing everything right.

    Love seeing Esther’s smiling face there🙂

    • December 11, 2011 16:00

      Isn’t she the cutest? Having that poster there makes me feel so comfy.

  2. December 11, 2011 13:05

    It’s the changes you make for health-related reasons that tend to stick, which I guess means that people aren’t as vain as you would expect (or that, like me, selective blindness kicks in when looking in the mirror). I’ve never really dieted because at worst I’ve only been a little overweight and also I am weak and undisciplined. However, last spring I mostly stopped eating sweets when my blood sugar level became slightly elevated. Considering that I used to drink two regular Cokes and eat candy every day, this was a big deal, and I did much loud and piteous suffering about it but only for about ten days and then realized I didn’t miss it so much. It took a few months, but my blood sugar went back to normal and as a side benefit, I dropped 11 pounds. Since you’re going into this for good reasons, and seem less sloth-like than I am, I’m sure you’ll do well.

    • December 11, 2011 16:01

      I also want to be more capable. I skipped a couple hikes in Costa Rica because I was so out of shape, and I don’t want to have to live like that – missing out because I am so lame.

  3. December 11, 2011 18:21

    I am sitting here, literally, grinning from ear to ear. You get it! And because of that, you will succeed. Best of luck to you and your friend. I’ll be cheering you both on every step of the way!

    • December 11, 2011 20:32

      See, you’re ALREADY a leader. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. December 11, 2011 18:22

    Ummm, that’s me, Christina. Weird.

    • December 11, 2011 20:32

      I kinda like the fiddlefaddle nickname….

  5. December 12, 2011 06:33

    Good for you! I’ve been dieting for a month, doing fine with that, but I need to exercise more. I’m envious of your walking challenge with your friend. Buddies make everything easier. I hate thinking of the number of pounds I need to lose, it depresses me. So I now think of it in comparison to my dog Sophie. She weighs 14 pounds. I carry her a lot, so I’m quite familiar with what 14 pounds feels like. I’m sure it sounds crazy to think of the poundage like that, but I have to do something to prevent frustration. I’ve lost the equivalent of one Sophie so far and I’m thrilled! Seems like a bunch when I think of it that way! If I could just choose where the weight fell off of, I’d be even happier… One Sophie off my rear end would be preferred.

  6. December 12, 2011 12:41

    Way to go. I was doing great this summer – running 4 days a week and eating well on a metabolic reset eating plan. And then I started traveling for work. I kept running, but the temptations of “I can’t get this at home, so I’m going to a indulge” over and over caught up with me. Then having minor heart surgery last month has me sidelined for at least another month.

    Thanks for inspiring me to do what I can now.

  7. December 14, 2011 11:31

    Glad you clarified about that number. I was going to be simultaneously amazed and frightened if it was in lbs. I had slow, steady success with the Big WW a few years ago. I am trying to find my balance for maintenance still but believe in the program. Glad you’re having fun with it!

  8. mar permalink
    December 21, 2011 12:59

    Oh how I wish I could find some willpower. I’m 25lbs above my goal weight. What I weighed a mere 3 years ago. 10lbs has been because of the 6 months+ of prednisone that is torture, but the other 15 has crept up on me the last 2-3 years. Now that I’m busting out of all my work clothes, I really feel like a failure. It’s when I get home that I lose it. S doesn’t help with his whole, let’s get pizza or whatever for dinner. He loves me just the way I am, but I don’t particularly love me right now.
    I do work out all the time, but eating. Gah, my downfall. I just love food. I really don’t know what to do about my stunning lack of willpower.

    • December 21, 2011 13:29

      I’m not a big dieter, but the only way I have ever lost weight is to food journal. It’s a pain in the rear (a little) but it does give me a very clear idea of how much I eat, and I find myself avoiding eating unnecessary things simply because I don’t want to write them down.

      That being said, I know that there is no way to lose weight before you’re ready. It’s gotta be mental before it ever gets to being physical. Seeing my BP so high was the thing that flipped my switch.

      • mar permalink
        December 22, 2011 06:23

        Best of luck to you; I know you can do it!
        Maybe having a physical notebook would help me. I do the Spark or Daily Plate food recording, but always end up slacking off when it comes to “just one piece of candy” or a couple chips. Therein lies my downfall, especially at home.

        • December 26, 2011 16:29

          My mom spent a good long time trying to convince me to eat “just one small piece” of the candy my sis sent for Christmas. No. Not going there. I know where “one small piece” ends up.

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