For years I have felt bad about starting and stopping diets. I have felt ashamed and discouraged, knowing the struggle before me and the missed opportunities. As someone who has been overweight most of her life, dieting has been a way of life and it has taken me a very long time to come to peace with dieting. It has taken me a long time to realize that I have to stop feeling bad for joining Weight Watchers again and instead need to feel proud, confident, determined, and focused. I have to stop justifying why I’ve started or stopped. It has taken me years to realize that it isn’t about single diet plans we follow or small windows of time, it’s about living a happy and healthy life long term.
Last year I walked away from any and all diet plans. I needed it. I needed to walk away, to allow myself to eat any and all foods, and to see how my body responded to a lifestyle that did not involve dieting. I learned a lot over the year and came to realize that it is going to take a long time for me to normalize food, to be more positive about my body, and to reach and maintain a healthy weight. I realized that it isn’t about a single diet, or 100 diets, it’s about creating a daily lifestyle, which in my case includes Weight Watchers, that can help me reach life long goals.
For years I have felt bad for joining Weight Watchers again. I’m sure a lot of y’all can relate in some form or fashion. You join a program, excited and confident that this is the one! This is the time everything is going to click and you’re going to be a success story. The first week if filled with excitement and you see a big loss on the scale. As you move into week 2, 3, 4, etc., life starts to get in the way. You celebrate your friend’s birthday at the Cheesecake Factory, you have to make a gazillion cookies for your kid’s school bake sale, you have an exhausting day and just don’t feel like cooking, you travel to see friends and family over the summer, the holidays arrive and instead of lasting 3 days they last 2 months. We’ve all been there and I’m here to tell you, stop feeling bad for joining Weight Watchers again (or for getting back on any plan you’re following). Stop feeling guilty, ashamed, and discouraged. Life happens and it’s not about following a plan perfectly, everyday, and if you don’t, you’re a failure. It’s about making small changes each day, to following a plan as best you can, and to seeing progress and movement slowly over time.
Yesterday my sister said something great that I had to share with y’all. How many times have you jumped on the scale (well, reluctantly tiptoed onto the scale) only to realize that you’ve gained 15 pounds in the past year (or 2 years). You think to yourself, “how the heck have I gained back the weight? Why was I so hard on myself when I weighed less? I looked great back then. What I wouldn’t give to look like that again.” Heck, I was just there a month ago. I look at the 15 pounds (or 30 some years) and think, “How did I let myself gain 30 pounds?”. Well the reality is, you didn’t gain 30 pounds in a few weeks. Most likely, you gained lowly, like a small leak on a faucet. If you take 30 pounds and divide it by 52 weeks, just as an example, you would have gained 0.58 pounds each week. That’s half a pound each week. Now granted, we can gain weight a lot quicker in some cases, like when on vacation or over the holidays when all activities revolve around food, but I’m mainly talking about the slow weight gain that can happen over time when we’re not looking. What my sister said that hit me, was that “why are we so hard on ourselves when we’re trying to lose weight and we’re discouraged about the half a pound loss each week? The reality is, we probably gained around the same rate. We shouldn’t have such a high expectation to lose 2+ pounds a week. That’s most likely not how it was gained, nor is it likely how we’ll lose it”. I just thought it was great insight and I’ve seen so many women get down on themselves for “only losing 4 pounds in a month” or “only losing 0.6 pounds in a week”. A loss, is a loss, is a loss.
My thoughts today come from my experience and I know we’re all different. I know not all of us follow Weight Watchers, nor am I trying to sell the program to y’all, I am just here today to encourage us all to stop being so hard on ourselves. Stop feeling bad for restarting. Stop feeling bad for going out to dinner with your friends and going off plan for a meal. Stop feeling bad for having realizations and ending a diet plan. Stop feeling bad for starting a diet over for the 10th time. The speed bumps and road blocks do make weight loss a lot harder than it could be, but I think for a lot of us, it’s our reality. Things are going to get in the way, but if we’re focused all other times, I truly believe we’ll see lifelong success and results.
What I’ve come to realize, for myself, is that I might be a Weight Watchers member for the rest of my life, and I’m ok with that. Obviously my hope is to reach a goal weight, to maintain that goal weight, and to have learned enough skills that my diet plan has just turned into a lifestyle. My reality is that I plan to have more children, which will obviously result in weight gain, and I’m thus in a holding pattern until we’re done having kids. In the end, I want to be healthy for all of my pregnancies, I want to watch my weight while I’m pregnant, and I want to return to a healthy weight after pregnancy. My “forever body”, as I’ve heard a number of people say, isn’t going to happen until after I’ve had kids, and I’m ok with that. For now, my goal is to lose weight before getting pregnant again and to have an extremely healthy pregnancy (at least for what’s in my control).
Today my plea is this, stop feeling bad for joining Weight Watchers again. Stop feeling bad to rejoining any diet plan again. Stop feeling bad for the speed bumps and road blocks that are inevitable in this life. Stop being so hard on yourself for “only losing a few pounds in a month”. Losing weight is not an easy task. It takes sacrifice and is as much a mental journey as it is a physical one. To me, it isn’t about losing the weight as fast as possible. To me, it is about losing weight over time and maintaining. No longer do I feel bad about joining Weight Watchers or for following a diet plan. I have realized that it is best for me and will help me to reach my goals over time. Stop feeling bad.