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Back to WW School February 25, 2010

Last week I attended a one-day training for Weight Watchers, a followup to my initial training last fall. It was awesome.

When I first took this job, I told myself (and others) that if at any time I felt like this company was not good, or I was not benefiting from it, that I would quit. The pay certainly isn’t worth it. But I have found that the deeper I go in, the more time and experience I have, the more impressed I am with this company. They really do want their members to succeed, and they are constantly searching for ways to better help them. It’s so good, really.

The theme of the training was “Facilitating Change” and while I can’t go into the teeny details of it, I will say that it was really so thoughtful and fantastic. I feel like my meetings this week really have benefited from that experience, and hopefully will continue to improve.

At one point during the training, they asked us to describe a moment when we felt like we really made a Difference in someone’s life. A lot of people (other leaders) had some pretty moving stories to tell. I felt okay about my little story, but it felt kinda … I dunno, not a big deal. But then LAST night I was at my regular meeting, and a member came up to me and said she’d had a GREAT week, had made a real change in her habits and it was because of something I’d said. And she thought about what I’d said, during her week, and it made a difference.

I swear. It brought tears to my eyes. It made me so happy. Because honestly, so often I doubt myself, and think, who am I to be doing this. How am I helping anybody. AM I helping anybody? Sometimes I am not sure. And I think I’m just standing up there going blah blah blah.

We learned that WE are supposed to talk a minimal amount, and really the meeting should be comprised of the majority of members talking, sharing, etc most of the time. I am very guilty of letting my mouth run and I have to do all sorts of things to SHUT MYSELF UP. (I am a solo performer, remember? LOL)

One funny tool we learned was to WAIT, and let members speak. And WAIT stands for: Why Am I Talking? Ha ha ha. I thought of this several times last night, and I used the physical reminder of putting my hand on my chin. (one, to assume the “thinking” pose, and two, to hold my jabbering jaw STILL!) I think it went well.

We also recently had a district-wide training on the Science of Weight Loss. Again, super impressive. I feel so lucky to be soaking in all of this great information and am eager to pass it on.

 

Fake it till you make it. December 11, 2009

Woo! I’m back in game. Wow, I had a weird psych-out week, workout wise. (how’s that for some alliteration?)

Wednesday was my first workout back with my trainer since I’d gotten sick. I think, objectively I DID okay, and he was like, yeah, you’re doing great, this is awesome, BUT I was emotionally shaky. I do these sideways running hurdle things, two sets of ten. Usually I just do them. They feel good. On Wednesday, during the second set, when I was on #7, I felt myself looking anxiously at the clock, and wondering if I could actually make it. I did, but it brought up this crazy anxiety and grief about Not Being Able To Do something. Or having it hurt or feel hard. I know, I’ve been down this road before. But it’s my particular Achilles heel.

I think one of the reasons I really despised that girl Amanda on Biggest Loser is that I saw her as this big whinemuffin. Which is how I was much of my life. I hated myself for it, and I hated that this is how I was. And if things got hard, I’d be whimpering and moaning like a big baby. (she started doing this high pitched whining during her marathon and I just had to TURN IT OFF, it upset me so much) And I felt my whinemuffin self starting to rear its whiney little head on Wednesday. And I couldn’t stand it. I left the gym feeling really anxious and pissed off, and thought, this better change SOON.

On Thursday (yesterday) I sort of dragged myself to a Nia class. Most of the people there were like 75 years old, so it was not really this big consolation that I was able to get through the class without whining. In fact I felt rather pathetic. Also, I got there late because I was dragging my feet so much. I missed the first 15 minutes. I told myself that the consequence I was giving myself for being tardy was that I was going to take the class AFTER Nia, which is called something like Turbo Toning.  It’s filled with very buff college students (no senior citizens). I always see them chomping at the bit, waiting to get in as we are finishing up our Nia. (which I’m sure looks super lame to them) It’s only a half hour class. I figured I could do it.

Well, I did it. But it was hecka hard. We used 3 and 5 lb weights for endless (it felt like) repetitions. There were a lot of variations of pushups, which I hate. So I did it. I felt a little more virtuous, but still, I did not feel happy or good because I REALLY felt like whining during that class.

This morning, I trudged back to the gym. I had a little heart-to-heart with my trainer during my stretching and warmup session. I poured out all my whiney neurosis and he listened, like the great guy that he is.  He also had a bit of a devilish twinkle in his eye. He let me express all of my doubt, anxiety and whininess and then he put on my favorite Slumdog Millionaire workout mix, and we got down to it. Some of the things he had me do, I was like, you must be joking. But he was not joking, and I DID IT, and I BROUGHT IT, and it felt….. WHOOOOOOO!!

What I did today:

I did that whole circuit 2 times through. When I was done I felt like a million bucks. I loudly sang holiday tunes along with the radio all the way home.  I was so pumped.

It was interesting how my head really messed me up this week. And how it turned around. Just… interesting, this mind-body connection.

 

We’re All On Our Own Journeys December 10, 2009

I’m discovering that one of the pitfalls of being a WW leader is being too heavily (no pun intended) invested in our members’ progress. I now have four regular meetings a week.  At one of them, I am “only” a receptionist which I am realizing has become my “relaxing” meeting. I enjoy the members, I like them, but I don’t feel like they are MY RESPONSIBILITY. In the other meetings, I feel uber responsible. I fret if people don’t come. I fret if they don’t lose weight or if they are frustrated. This is all part of my own learning journey, I realize. It’s definitely a pitfall of being a borderline (?) codependent, caregiving, invested kind of person.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing my WW leaders over the past 15 years did not take ME personally, because if they had, they would’ve gone out back and shot themselves. I missed a lot of meetings. I had plateaus that went on for months. Then I quit. Then I rejoined. With a bad attitude. I came to the meetings but sat there with a sucking-lemon face. I did not really listen to what the leaders said. I played games on my cell phone. I rolled my eyes.

Holy toledo. Is this… karma coming back to bite me in the butt? Ha ha ha ha. Maybe it is.

So, in all my meetings, I’d say some members are doing spectacularly well. Others are doing so-so and some are really struggling. Which I guess is probably par for the course. But since *I* am so newly enamored of this program, and feel it works so well for me, I sometimes don’t know what to do when everyone is not on the same page. Or even reading the same book. Or even in the same universe.

I DO feel that I can empathize with their frustration, their disappointment and disgust (with themselves as well as with the program). I can honestly say, I’ve been there. But what would have made a difference to me, during all that time when I was in that place? Anything??

Truly, I had so much of my OWN crap that I was grappling with at the time, I don’t know if any leader could have made a difference. I will say that none of them tried. Nobody reached out to me when I was falling away, when I was missing tons of meetings. When I disappeared (for years). Nobody asked me, what’s going on? Again, I have no idea if it would have made a difference.

I think a lot of it had to do with motivation. I often joined but was not motivated. I didn’t really care. I felt like I was there because someone ELSE thought I should be there. (as untrue as that may have been, it was the way I perceived it) And when someone is in that place, it is really hard to reach them.

But I do notice when people don’t come. I notice when they don’t see what they want on the scale, and then they vanish. How familiar is that? Very familiar.

It’s a humbling experience for me, being on this side of things. I’m learning so much, about myself, about other people, and again and again how we are all connected. Or not. I have to remind myself to breathe, and to just offer what I have to offer. And if people are in a place where they really want to make these changes, they will. And if they’re not, well, maybe they’ll come around again in 5 or 10 years.

 

“I Wish My Doctor Would Make Me Lose Weight” June 25, 2009

Filed under: diabetes,health,weight loss — Susan @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

No, I didn’t say that.  But a friend of mine did, when we got together recently. We were WW buddies for a long time, many years ago and on and off.  We both started together fifteen years ago, and we’ve seen each other during many ups and downs.   She recently saw her doctor, who was thrilled at her low blood pressure, her stellar cholesterol and triglyceride levels and her perfectly normal blood sugar.  She’s also at a weight that’s very high for her, but her doctor wasn’t concerned and said only, “Lose weight if you want to, but you’re perfectly healthy.” My friend felt really disappointed at not being admonished to lose weight, and feels like she doesn’t feel motivated the way I do, because for me, it’s much more of a health mandate.

So. Should she just relax and not worry about losing weight? But she’s not happy at her weight. Is it difficult for her to lose weight, and harder to find motivation, if it’s not about being healthy? Personally, I feel like being healthy=being fit and being able to move about easily without a thought: climbing stairs, going on hikes, taking walks wherever without a second thought, etc etc. Not to mention more challenging things like sports, boating, etc.

It also makes me really believe that getting diagnosed with diabetes was a true gift to me. Because it DID wake me up, big time, and made me motivated like nothing else has. But I’ve heard that 75% of diabetics are NOT compliant and do NOT lose weight even when it’s recommended. I guess it takes different things for different people.

At this point I feel like I would never, ever, ever go Back to where I was. Now that I am here, I realize that I am truly a happier person when I am feeling healthy and fit and not constantly wrestling with food issues.  Someone commented not too long ago that everything is not solved when we lose weight, and I agree with that. BUT. I truly am overall in a much happier place than I used to be. It used to be that if I had a happy moment, it was a BIG DEAL. They might come once a week or even once a month sometimes. But now, I honestly can say that I feel happy for the large part of every day. I get totally giddy when I hear my favorite songs on the radio (current super happy song: “Strange Overtones” by David Byrne, it cracks me up NO END), I am filled with happy endorphins when I work out, I love my friends and my family. I have a great and meaningful job. It’s all very, very good.

Would I be in this place right now if I hadn’t been scared into it by diabetes? I do not know.

 

Thinking of Quitting… April 10, 2009

Filed under: diet — Susan @ 12:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

Weight Watchers, that is. I realize that the high point of my attending meetings is getting on the scale and getting my little star sticker or whatever. I’m about 6 lbs away from my 10% goal AT WW (I already reached my at-home 10% and more) and for that I will get … a key ring!! OH BOY!!

The little “class” part of the meeting is not particularly inspiring me. I feel like I can get 100% better tips and ideas just by reading the blogs on my blogroll, and following people on Twitter. (my Tweet people are GREAT at inspiring!) And I’m feeling like probably 70% of the people at WW are SO not into it, are just coming back week after week because they don’t know what else to do. The level of conversation at these meetings feels like it is so dumbed-down that it’s frustrating.

I’m not counting points anymore. If anything, I’m counting carbs and watching my blood glucose meter, and I’m still losing weight. So that’s not particularly useful for me right now either.

Even at the discounted rate, it’s $9/week. Couldn’t I find something better to do with $36/month? I think so. Like – how about some new clothes?? :-)

I’ll probably go to the meeting tomorrow (why? Because I’m anticipating reaching my 10-lb mark there and I want my sticker, dammit!). :-)  But then I’m going to seriously consider stopping.

I’ve joined WW many times in the past before. And I’ve quit many times, too – because I’ve gained weight, given up and thrown in the towel. That isn’t what this is about this time – I’m not giving up on losing weight or my health in any way – I’m maybe giving up on something that I’m not sure has anything to offer me anymore.

Just thinkin’ on it right now.

 

Why Do I Want To Lose Weight? March 3, 2009

Along with a friend of mine, I decided to actually write out my specific reasons for wanting to lose weight. I’ve been mulling this in my head for the past month, and it occurs to me that it is very, very different from other times. In the past, I’ve wanted to… just because.  But it was very mushy thinking. The only time I was ever really successful with a food plan was when I was pregnant with my daughter and had gestational diabetes. My food intake was impeccable during that period. There was NOTHING I was going to do to put that baby at risk.

So here I am again, only it’s me this time. I’m the one who is at risk. And I’m finding it an excellent, excellent motivator. And here are my Reasons. (not necessarily in order of importance, just as they come into my head)

  • I don’t want to have diabetes. I don’t want to have to take medication or insulin to keep it under control.
  • I want to be a healthy role model for my daughters. I feel like I have a lot of karma to work off for the years of being an unhealthy one.
  • I don’t want my physician husband to have to feel “concerned” about me and my health because I am overweight.
  • I’d love to be able to randomly order clothes from a catalog or at a store and feel pretty confident that they will fit and/or look good on me.
  • I want physical activity to feel good, not to feel like torture.
  • I want to have energy, not feel like a couch potato.
  • I know I will die someday, but when I do, I want to feel that I did not contribute to my death by having unhealthy habits. I used to have a recurring dread nightmare that I would die of a stroke or heart attack, and when they did an autopsy they would find that my heart was encased in fat like a big butterball.  And people would shake their heads and say, She brought this on herself. I want to feel that I truly did all I could do to keep myself healthy.
  • I feel a lot bouncier overall when I weigh less  – physically and emotionally.
  • I want to find better ways of dealing with my emotions other than eating stuff.
  • I want to not be disgusted with myself.

The Beck book recommends making multiple copies of your list and keeping it in one’s wallet, coat pocket, computer screen and whatnot.

Can I just say, I love my reasons. I think they are good reasons and I think they will help me get where I want to go. In the past, I had either very nonspecific reasons, or dumb, temporary reasons like “high school reunion.” (did that, 10 years ago, promptly put it all back on right after) I feel like these reasons are going to stay with me for a long time. Or at least that is my hope. They’re not reasons that can “wear off.”

What are your reasons?

 

Exercise Motivator: Get Really Cold March 2, 2009

Today I spent about four hours standing outside in cold rain, watching my daughter’s crew race. (she was colder than I was!) When I got home, I was really chilled to the bone; my shoes had soaked through, my feet were freezing and I could not warm up. I figure I had three alternatives: crank the heat to 80 (nix that one!), take a hot bath or shower, or I could exercise! I decided to erg for 20 minutes, since I had not done this in a few days. It heated me up and quick!! I was happy to say that I brought my average time (“split”) down another five seconds, to 2:45.8. (last time was 2:50) It is so nice to see real tangible, objective progress. And I was dripping hot after those 20 minutes. Plus I had the image of all those young rowers out on the water to inspire me. All good.

This afternoon I met up with a diet buddy who has already read the Beck book and is dipping her toe in for a go at it. We both promised to write up our Motivating Reasons and email them to each other. I have read this entire book and gotten great things from it, but have not yet DONE any of the suggested exercises. So this is a start.

Also: Went to my one-week weigh in at Weight Watchers this morning, and according to them, lost 3 lbs since last week! I think this may have been a bit of a fudge since my clothes were lighter I think, but I do think I lost between 2-3 lbs. Yay. This was the shakeup I was looking for.

I also bought one of their food scales. I have never in my life weighed a speck of food, and frankly have been afraid of doing so. It has seemed like a really over-the-top thing to do. Like, REALLY? But I realized that I am actually curious about the difference in my eyeball “guestimates” and what food actually weighs/is.  So I’m going to give it a try.  Also, I’ve been looking at the recipes at Biggest Diabetic Loser’s blog and think, how on earth does she lose weight eating this stuff? Some of it just seems too… decadent. But then I think it may have to do with food amounts. She is pretty meticulous about weighing her food. So… we shall see. Something new.

 

 
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