Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recommitting

I mentioned in one of my marathon diaries posts that I had put together a list of things I wanted to do after the marathon - things I neglected for a while that would fill my time while also preventing me from tailspinning into depression over the lack of sunlight, lack of biking weather and the post-marathon blues.

The most important thing to do on that list was to recommit to Weight Watchers.

It's no secret I haven't been at my goal weight since early 2011 - and that's because I haven't tracked (at all), haven't been to meetings and haven't made all of my healthy lifestyle changes a priority for a long time. Fortunately, I remained physically active, but my food choices and behaviors have been far from ideal. I've been aware of everything I was doing but I did it anyway.

When my meeting on Park Ave closed about 2 years ago (the one where I reached goal), I never found a new meeting that I stuck with. I tried a few but none were the right fit for me. I always said - because I know - that if I don't go to meetings, I don't stick with the program and am prone to gaining weight. Of course in theory I shouldn't 'need' the meetings. I "know" the program. I know what to do. But if I don't go to meetings, I just don't do it. I need that weekly meeting to hold me accountable and to refocus myself. I like the support aspect even though I don't talk much. I like to listen. I always get ideas from the leader or members, or hear something that helps or inspires me. When I don't go to meetings, many of my old unhealthy behaviors resurface, and I let them.

I know this pattern about me and I also know I do not want to ever go back to anywhere near my heaviest weight (or higher!). I know I don't want to undo all the physical, mental & emotional progress I've made over the years. And I don't want poor eating to affect my health.

I've known for a long time that I needed to get back on track. And last night I went to my first meeting since April.

As I was waiting to check in, I thought about how being in this particular meeting for the first time felt so different than other first times I've been to a Weight Watchers meeting. It didn't feel like I was rejoining and starting from scratch because I hadn't let myself gain back most or all of the weight as I did all the other times. It just felt like I was recommitting, which I was.

That made me think back to the very first time I joined Weight Watchers ever - in January 1989, on a Friday night, at the center in Cross County Mall in Yonkers (also now closed). My leader was Terri, a blonde woman. I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. I hadn't weighed myself in years and told the woman weighing me that I was "around 160". It was one of those old doctor scales with the sliding weight. I remember she kept sliding and sliding and sliding that thing until it reached 185 - a full 25 pounds more than I had convinced myself I weighed. I remember being shocked and disappointed that I weighed that much. I hadn't weighed that much since I was 13 years old (I was 180) and in 1985, I had managed to get down to 150 on my own (just by cutting out candy & soda, I was a vegetarian but didn't incorporate any sort of balance or healthy eating). Now it was 1989 and I was back at that weight.

Since 1989, I had been on and off program, rejoining probably 12 - 15 times.  At my lowest I was 140 in 1992 and at my heaviest I was 208 in 2004. And in the years between 1989 and 2005, I was up and down in that 68 pound range repeatedly.

In all those times at Weight Watchers, I never reached goal because I never really changed my thoughts or my behaviors. I just cut back on calories. I didn't change how I ate (I continued eating a lot of candy, garbage, processed foods - living on mostly empty calories). I didn't think differently. I didn't act differently. And one other thing was consistent: In all of those years on and off program - from 1989 to 2005 - I never once worked out. Not even one time. Not one minute. I absolutely totally stubbornly refused to even consider the dreaded E word. (Exercise)

Then in September of 2006, just 10 months after moving to Brooklyn, I found myself at 35 years old and 200 pounds again. Again!! I vowed it would never happen again! So I joined my first NYC meeting. I was thankful to be attending a whole new meeting in a whole new city where I didn't know ANYONE (as opposed to joining and rejoining at that same Yonkers Center for 15 years).

I remember walking into that church basement in Williamsburg so vividly - down to what I was wearing that night and the sweet older Italian lady who helped me find it (Josephine!). I remember weighing in at 196 that night (despite my own scale at home registering a 200 the day before). I remember feeling so tired of everything - tired of being so big, tired of being uncomfortable in my own body, tired that I was missing out on my life because of food. Of course that would be the first night of the time I truly changed my life - my behaviors, my thoughts, the food I ate and of course I began to exercise. That would be the beginning of the journey when I made it to goal for the first time in my life in July 2010.

I thought about both of those last night - my 2 strongest 'joining Weight Watchers' memories. And I thought about how I don't ever want to feel like I did on either of those nights.

I'm glad to say I didn't feel that way at the meeting last night. But also I know that if I waited any longer, I could have easily been back in that same situation where I was in 1989 or 2006. I don't ever want to get to that point again. I don't ever want to feel that way again. And fortunately I know I don't have to. I know it's all in my control and I'm finally ready to gain control again.

I know there will be a short adjustment period while I get used to eating properly again. I have to relearn Points+ values and start cooking again. But I'm actually looking forward to it. I miss how good I felt when I was eating right and I remember how that feeling spilled over into everything else, making every aspect of life more pleasant and more manageable. I'm looking forward to that. I know it takes about a week of eating well and being on plan for me to feel completely different. It's one of those feelings that are difficult to describe, but when you feel it, you don't ever want to not feel that way. And I want to feel that way again. I'm ready to feel that way again. And I will feel that way again soon.


34 comments:

  1. Yes you will feel that way again! I will never forget that day back in 2010. You are an amazing woman and I know you can do this! <3 Charmaine

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  2. Like you, I've probably joined WW at least 10-12 times over the years, but never made it to goal. My most successful time was about 10 years ago when I lost 138 pounds. Over the next several years, a divorce, a spinal fusion, etc., I gained about 100 pounds of that back. I finally decided a couple of years ago that enough was enough and I needed to work on me again. When I walked through the WW doors this time, I swore that this was the LAST time I would ever rejoin WW. Whether the number on the scale was good, bad, or ugly, I simply refused to quit. Even though I haven't lost much weight, I've stuck to that and haven't given up. There are times I'll be completely off plan for weeks at a time, but I still show up to my meeting each week. I know the time will come when things will "click" again for me like it did 10 years ago, so I'm just hanging in there until it does. Take it from me as someone who regained most of my weight, WTG on heading back to a meeting and nipping the weight creep in the bud!! I really wish I had made that decision when it was about 20 pounds regained instead of 100.

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  3. Welcome back, Sheryl. I loved your food posts and I learned SO much from them and was inspired by them. I hope to see more of them in the future. <3

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  4. Good for you, I know eating well makes me feel more in control in all aspects of my life. I've been thinking of rejoining again. I'm back up to my highest.

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  5. I just started back up tonight and understand completely where you are. I want to feel comfortable and sexy in my own skin again. I am looking forward to that...glow I had when I knew I was taking care of myself. Here we come.

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  6. Good for you for making the recommitment. I know it's hard to go back. I am a reoffending WW member. I was about 1.6 lbs away from goal and blew it. In the last year I have put back on about 50 lbs of the 86 I lost. I have still gone to every meeting. I am struggling to get back on track but I WILL get there and so will you :-)

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  7. It's actually inspiring to hear how even when you've hit goal, there is still a constant recommitment that has to take place. You have come a very long way in life and it is impressive that you are strong enough to recommit now before you lose all you've gained by gaining what you've lost.

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  8. Thanks for the post, Sheryl. I had been at goal for about three years when my mother became ill and was in a nursing home. Between work (7 days a week), visiting Mom, and the other demands on my time, I gradually fell away from my healthy eating habits. I've regained a large percentage of the weight I worked so hard to lose. This has inspired me to start back to WW. You're right, knowing what to do and doing it / being held accountable to it are two different things. I'm going to a meeting on Monday!

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  9. Hi Sheryl MARATHONER--Love this post so much. (And you! I love you!) I'm taking this gem away from your words: "I didn't think differently. I didn't act differently."

    I'm post-marathon too and picking up all the strands in my life I've let go off since June.

    I'm saying to myself: "I think healthy. I act healthy. I eat healthy. I am healthy" around and around it goes.

    Cheers to all of us!

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  10. AMEN.
    for me
    with EVERYTHING FROM FITNESS TO MARRIAGE!! I have to recommit each morning.

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  11. Good for you! I have kept going to meetings, but have been letting myself slide here and there. I needed a re-commitment recently too, which I got in part by sitting in on one of Melanie's meetings at 59th st last time I was in the city about a month ago. It definitely helped me so much!

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  12. Excellent blog describing your past and present moments….it is worth it….because you are worth it. xoxo

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  13. Good for you Sheryl. I've been toying with the idea myself (going back to meetings). I am EXACTLY the same way...I totally know how to lose the weight but unless there is someone at the end of the week to weigh me I just don't bother tracking. It really makes all the difference. Good luck! I think I will go online now and see where I can get to a meeting....:)

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  14. Bless you I felt your pain in this post.. You have made me want to go back and commit to get off the last 20.. well 30 I have gained 10 back.

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  15. You can do this! I think that you are an amazing person, and you are one of the ones who is responsible for my lifestyle change, and my losing 45 lbs in the process. I so miss your posts, and am in total awe of your marathon diaries...go Cheryl!

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  16. I'll join you as you re-start. I'm on day 4 of clean eating, and I started boot camp this past Monday. Looking forward to the upcoming progress posts.

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  17. wonderful, so glad you're recommitting and I KNOW you'll rock this, what else would my babs do!

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  18. I understand completely where you are, too. My Mom just passed this week and that was just the icing on a difficult cake-ful of hard events these past few months. I have lost my way a bit, too, but will be recommitting this Monday. So glad to have you along for the journey!

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  19. Awesome post! You're such an inspiration. You got there before. You can get there again.

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  20. That's the spirit, you go Sheryl!

    X

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  21. Good luck, not that you need it! I had great succes on the 123 program 15+ years ago.

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  22. I'm SO GLAD that you posted this!!! it so happens that I have also "recommitted" to WW this month too!! after nearly 2 years of meeting hopping i finally found a meeting I love with a leader whom I love and gives me SO MUCH support! I am just like you even though i know the propoints system by heart I just dont do it if I dont go to meetings. i've sort of realised now that some people have AA and I have WW, food is my issue that I need to deal with and stay accountable for!! well done on making the decision to get back on track and making healthy eating a priority again - I know you can do it girl you just ran the New York Marathon!!! if you can do that you can do ANYTHING coz you are totally BADASS! love Grace from London UK (AKA goodphat!)

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  23. You are so inspiring. I've tried WW several times and never stick it out past a few weeks.

    thelifeofcici.blogspot.com

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  24. Yep, you're so speaking to me right now! Have the same feelings. I don't want to be back near my heaviest weight, undo all the physical/mental progress, or let my health go. Yet, I continue to make poor choices. It appears it happens to the best of us though! Maybe sometimes we just need a break!?!? Good for you for going back though. Have to do what works! And thanks for sharing your stories!!!

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  25. Sheryl, When I read your blog it is like I could have written it, especially this particular one. At 41, I often cannot belive I continue with the same food issues that have plagued me for years. I too, have had to recommit and refocus this week, because I feared and felt depression lurking around the corner. Thank you for your honesty and making us all feel we are not alone in this. Hope to see you around Brooklyn! Marina :)

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  26. That is great! Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of your journey. You have come so far from where you were, and your exercise is amazing.

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  27. Nothings beats being accountable and committing to weekly meetings. We our fully responsible for our lives:)

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  28. Welcome back babydoll...MUAH!

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  29. You do think differently now, so you can do this. You have exercise and moving now, besides the eating habits. Well done. Keep going. Enjoy doing it, it's hard, but the journey is good, not just the destination.

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  30. I can so relate to this post. I'm now in my fifties and the only advice I have for you is to take the pounds off now. It's so much more difficult the closer you get to fifty. I only wish I had taken my own advice...now I'm forty pounds overweight rather than twenty, but the weight has shifted. Clothes don't fit the same, even if I lose five or ten. And, at your age, you can lose weight a lot more quickly. And never, ever stop exercising and even more importantly, stretching. Your post inspired me. I've been doing WW online for months and haven't even looked at my tracker. I will begin today. Thanks Sheryl...Lisa

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  31. I found your blog a couple of years ago, when I was about ready to give up halfway to my goal. I find you always--even when you needed to commit to silence--to be thoughtful and inspiring. I have been grappling with similar issues--I got to goal and was there for about a year, but now I seem to be maintaining at a different weight...not too much higher, but not at goal! So I have been trying to recommit, but I haven't really done it. I make up good stories to get myself through my poor choices. So I'm another reader who is right there with you, and I am going to move forward and try to really, truly recommit. You are strong and know how to do this--you are awesome!

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  32. so excited to follow your journey! I just went back to ww after being "above goal" for quite a while now :)

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  33. Thank you for your posts! You continue to inspire me!

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  34. I can't believe it's been 3 years! Faithful lurker, rare poster (lol). I made Lifetime about 10 years ago and my weight has come back over the last 5 years. I have tried to recommit a few times. I'm in a pretty rural area and only have 2 meetings to choose from unless I want to drive 45min-an hour, which really isn't an option. Online doesn't work for me, I really need that face-to-face. I've been ready to give the meetings close by another chance. I have a foodie site that just got signed with national advertisers and I'm wanting to give it an overhaul and make it light and lean, too.

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