Saturday, January 7, 2012

All in a meeting

A little while ago, I emailed a friend to ask her if she would mind me showing up as her member. You see, I am a Weight Watchers leader, and as everybody who works in the field at Weight Watchers, I'm also a member. I have always gone to meetings, until I became the assistant of the boss in my territory. Suddenly, I felt like everybody walked on eggshell around me. It's probably mostly in my head, but it's hard to feel at ease and welcome when you feel like people are wary of your being there. I do not hold that position anymore, so I thought it was time to get over it and get back in a meeting.

Fast forward to last week, I emailed my friend and she seemed to have no problem with it. There are those people with whom you instantly feel at ease and she is such a person.  I knew that she would be able to tell me anything that needs to be said. So after sleeping in the first week, I finally showed up this week. I felt so welcome when I came in! I knew a lot of the members already and everybody welcomed me with open arms. It was like coming home. 

I knew the topic of course, I presented it twice this week myself, but the discussion really helped me a lot. The funny thing is that it's not anything I hadn't heard before. Most, if not all, of what was discussed came up in my own meeting. This time instead of thinking "how can I use this to help the members", I was thinking "how does this relate to me? To what I am doing?". Two things really stuck with me: 

1- A fellow member decided to try circus training! There's a school here in the city, and really, I am seriously thinking about it! I did some gymnastic in high school and really enjoyed it. I am less flexible now, obviously, but I am stronger than I was back then. Who knows? I'm seriously thinking about it!

2- Another member talked about how she looks back to her old tracker for inspiration. Now that at first brought a "Not working for me" in my mind. 

You see, when I started this journey of building a better lifestyle for myself, I didn't know how to cook, I didn't know much about activity even if I had been very active.  I had always relied on coaches, trainers, and friends to put together a routine. I knew nothing much of nutrition either (that's an understatement!). Now after years of reading and educating myself I know more than the average person about both food and activity. My choices are educated, my portions are righteous and my workouts are carefully crafted. There is no way what I did before would work better than what I'm doing now.

Well, the flaw here is that back then I was thinner than I am now. That sorts of throws a wrench in my whole line of thinking doesn't it? Not only that, but I had fun then! I felt strong, powerful, motivated! Now I feel stressed, pressured, every choice, every workout, every meal is a big deal. 

It's sort of part two of my whole idea of focusing on the goals, not on the process I started in my first post of 2012: Here we are finally! The idea that maybe I shouldn't over think this. That I should keep things simple and set meaningful goals and take the steps needed to achieve them. No more, no less. 

You don't need a PhD in electrical engineering to turn on a light switch... you don't need a baseball bat either.

Over thinking things leads to paralysis. you spend so much time thinking and studying that you forget to do what you need to do to make things work. In the same line of idea, being active doesn't mean Olympic level training.

What did I do in my early years as a member that I really truly enjoyed? 

I made a lot of Shrimp and veggies lunches. I would grab shrimps at the store (or scallops) and veggies and sauteed the whole thing in a pan with whatever veggies I had around and whatever spices I could find. It was simple, quick and delicious! So when I left the meeting I stopped by whole foods, grabbed shrimps, 2 color of kale and garlic and brought that home and made a delicious, if simple, lunch for myself! It took minutes, literally, and I was completely satisfied. Who would have thought?

I did my 30 minutes of high intensity cardio on the elliptical 6 days/week every week. That was the base line of my activity, everything else was extra. On good weeks I'd add a few classes, weight training, walking a lot and on bad weeks I'd do 30 minutes 6 days/week. So Friday, I REALLY didn't feel like doing anything, still I went in and did my 30 minutes of cardio and that's all I really did. You know what? That's enough!

After my super lunch, and my late afternoon work out I felt motivated, righteous, I had done what I set out to do, and I didn't hurt myself or wear myself out in the process. All this because I had heard it at the meeting. It's not like I had never heard it before, it's because I thought about what I heard in terms of "this is for the members" forgetting that I am a member myself.

Mustering the courage to walk through those doors, and admit that you don't have all the answers, that you need help, that you need somebody to smile and say "Hey!! I'm so glad you came!"  can seem daunting. 

"I don't need a meeting, this is ridiculous, I don't need help, I can deal with this by myself". 

I don't know, what's more ridiculous really? To show up for a meeting and get the help, the support, the motivation (and accountability! HA!) that you need? or to stand alone in pride, feeling the ground slipping from under you? 

I made my choice, finally!

Be good n stuff!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lame or victorious?

January started GREAT! Sunday we did a long walk, I ate right, avoided temptation, a perfect first day! Monday I was up at 5:15, hit the gym, did Cardio like I had planned to, ate great! I'm on baby!

Then Tuesday I wake up at 5am and can't go back to sleep. Ok, when I up my activity routine, I have a hard  time sleeping at first. That's me, I know it, no worries. We hit the laundromat and while the clothes are washing, we have breakfast at a nearby cafe. Only, I'm sleepy (and grumpy) and instead of my usual hard boiled egg with a banana, I have a hard boiled egg with a bagel. Oooffaah, 11 P+ instead of 2... That's ok, we go for a 30 minutes walk while the clothes are drying, I'll hit the gym later, handled. The rest of the day goes rather well, I have a light soup for lunch, and a killer work out that afternoon (really... YAY ME!).

Then I work an evening meeting. Because of the gym, I get there later, so I don't have time for dinner before the meeting. A latte will have to do. By the time the meeting is done, I'm starving, my brain is just not functionning anymore. My poor coworker had to stand around while I dug for my phone, which was in my pocket. That's the kind of mindset (or lack of) I was in when I stopped by Molly Stone to grab dinner. I bought a small-ish miche of sourdough bread to make a sandwich with the leftover chicken I knew was in the fridge, thinking I would use the leftovers bread for dinner Wednesday night as we're always coming in late and hungry. HA!

Well, I DID manage to give my husband 1 slice of the bread, a thin one, but still... I weighed the bread I used, and the chicken, but when I got to the living room to eat, I decided not to track it because I did not want to know how many P+ I was scarfing down. I was tired, disgusted with myself, and frankly I had a big attack of "I don't give a falala!". After that I ate an English muffin with Canadian bacon, and WW BBQ pop chips not tracking any of it. It was not a glorious night.

It's dirty cause it's being used, so there!
This morning I slept in until well past 6, got up, decided not to hit the gym early, but go to Stonestown later today (I will!) but as I sat down trying to think up breakfast, my first thought was "With everything I had last night, doesn't really matter what I do this morning". Wait wait wait! January 4th and already I'm ready to throw the towel?????????? OH HELL NO!

So I sat down and tracked everything I ate yesterday after lunch (when I had stopped tracking) and counted the P+ for all of it. My day ended up at minus 24 P+, I ate almost double my target of 26 P+. Panic moment ensued, but then a light bulb flashed in my head: "Wait! I worked out yesterday!" so I calculated that, and I earned a total of 9 AP+ so I was down to minus 15! "Ooooooooooooooooh! I have 16 unused AP+ from my activity on Sunday and Monday!" That huge cleaning spree was useful in more than one way! So actually, I even ended the day with 1 AP+ leftover AND all of my WP+A for the rest of the week!

Actually I found an extra 2AP+ I had forgotten so these numbers are off by 2!
So it all works? Or am I fooling myself? Am I really a lame failure for having a miche of bread? Really? Or am I victorious for overcoming this cruel mind game I seem to be really good at playing on myself? Two things: "You don't get activity Points (+) for beating yourself up", and "Food is not a moral Issue". The two are close, but not the same. Beating myself up accomplishes nothing positive. The harder I am on myself, the  more obsessive I become, until I break and quit. It hurts much more than it helps. "Food is not a moral issue" ties to the fact that my value as a human being is not attached to what I eat. I'm not a "bad person" because I had a carb attack. It's not a reflection of my value but rather a lesson to be learned. If I start my day with a bagel, it will end with a miche. That's all there is to it.

Words to live by... not always easy!
Anti-climatic isn't it? It's sort of going from this big dramatic issue of "I had a good start and I screwed it up entirely, FML!" to "alright skippy, next time you have breakfast at Royal Ground, skip the bagel, it leads to trouble... oh and by the way, have a snack before an evening meeting cause you lose you control (thankfully not your memory) when you get too hungry". Now I feel like an idiot having made such a big deal of something so insignificant. 

Or was it really? Weight management is, in a huge part, a mind game. The challenge isn't the food itself I have never in my life been mugged by a muffin, the challenge is understanding what gets us to over eat, what keeps us from achieving our goals, and finding strategies to beat those challenges. My Mom will laugh if she ever reads this (and understand it) but a big part of my challenge is that I am really a perfectionist. I never ever feel like what I'm doing is good enough. Any side step becomes this huge issue of "There you go, I screwed up again! I knew there was no point in trying so hard, because I always find a way to make things fall apart." I made goal in May 2003, almost 9 years ago. I've been at a healthy weight since May 2003, almost 9 years ago. You'd think I'd have the mind games figured out. Nope, I have good phases, actually I have more good phases than I have bad phases now, but I still have those bad habits, those "bad tapes" that play in my head and threaten to throw away my achievements.

I have a weapon now though. I have learned that tracking keeps those mind games in check. If I write what I'm doing, how I feel, my plans, my discoveries, then I have a record that can show me: Nope, you didn't really screw up. You might have side-stepped here and there, you might have accidentally eaten a whole miche of bread, but overall you are actually doing pretty darnedly good!

Tracking isn't only a good mind game buster. It's a good reality check, and a map to success. I have a record that can tell me: Woah! slow down there chick! Your jeans aren't gonna like you anymore if you keep on swallowing them brownies! I have a detailed record of what I did when I was really successful. Summer of 2004 we did a lot of BBQs, we had a lot of fun, and I lost weight... Let's see how I did that. I also have a record of Summer 2011 I went home and came back 8 lbs heavier. WTH happened? Oh, next time I go NO NUTELLA!

May 5th 2012 I will have been at goal for 9 years. for over 9 years now I've followed the Weight Watchers program in one form or another. I have not always tracked Points or PointsPlus values, but I have always tracked... because it works.

I will not have my goals put on the side by a miche of bread or a bagel. I'm armed* and successful!

Be good n stuff!


  • WP+A: Weekly PointsPlus Allowance
  • AP+: Activity PointsPlus
  • P+: PointsPlus value (of a food)

*Armed with a tracker!! This girl doesn't believe in guns!