Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Have You Noticed Ads for Weight Loss Programs Lately?

Woman on a treadmillIt’s only January 2nd and I’m already sick of the constant ads and TV programs on weight loss, exercise and diets.  They do this every year so I don’t know why I’m always surprised and turned off.  Oh, I know why they run:  it’s the start of the new year, people make resolutions to eat healthy, lose weight and exercise – so the media blanket the airwaves with ads for Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, bariatric surgery, an assortment of weight-loss pills, exercise equipment, gyms, etc.  Bravo ran a marathon of The Biggest Loser on New Years Day as an alternative to watching football.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that people are motivated and it’s the perfect time to grab their attention.  But with so many different products and plans all pushing the same points, it’s hard to keep track of the options in a reasoned way.  Which is entirely the point, I suspect.  Get the watcher to jump off the chair and sign up on the spot.

But all plans are not equal and neither are gyms and exercise programs.   If you’re just getting started on your resolutions, don’t jump for the flashiest ad or cheapest price.  Research the contents and figure out what will work best for you in your lifestyle.  Are you looking for a quick loss or long term change?  Do you want to count calories, carbs, fat grams, points?   Do you like and have time to cook or do you want easy pre-packaged foods?    If you’re looking at exercise programs, do you want to take classes, use weight and strength training equipment, or dip into a pool?  Do you want a personal trainer?  How does pricing work?  What about fitness tapes you can do in your own home?

The bottom line solution is to eat less food, eat healthier options (more protein and less processed foods), and move more.   There are many ways to do that but you don’t need to pick something flashy.  Write down what you eat every day so you know what you’re doing.  Identify things you can cut or swap out.  Start taking short walks and build up.  What matters is starting.

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Taking Stock

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the knee and WLS decisions, about my body and the stresses that I’ve put it through, and the emotional stress of trying to live up to some physical ideal that I will never meet. And I’m discovering that my priorities have changed.

I want to look prettier, to be able to wear clothes that are flattering and not just the things that will cover me. But mostly I want to be healthier and to reduce the strain on my knees. The only way to do this is to lose weight. It’s not about vanity, it’s about health.

The only way for me to do this is to get back into Weight Watchers, where I’m held accountable for showing up and weighing in every week. Nothing else has worked well for me. I know how to work the program and know that when I actually do it, I lose weight and feel better.

So I’ve stocked the fridge with healthy things, blocked out food choices for the week, and am going to a new WW meeting tomorrow. And it’s a relief to know that I’m starting fresh again there, too, paying the initiation fee and starting over at Week 1 with a new tracking book. Instead of being constantly aware that I’ve gained from my lowest WW weight, I will be starting clean and aiming again for the goal of 10% of my weight.

Thanks for being my support.


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Putting Meat on Her Bones

ScaleNo doctor has ever told me that I need to gain weight. Usually I wait in dread for the newest medical slice into my non-compliance so clearly seen welded to my hips and tummy.

My mother has never heard it, either, and she weighs exactly what she did when she was married 56 years ago (size 10, 120 lbs). That changed with her flirtation with abdominal infection and surgery. She lost 10 lbs while in the hospital and the surgeon told her that she needed to put some meat on her bones to help her heal.

So while I was visiting we were looking for ways to increase her calorie intake and get lots of protein into her to help the wound heal. It was kind of fun because Dad and I would go to the store and think about what stuff we knew we were supposed to eat (non-fat plain yogurt) and then look for the high-calorie high-fat kind instead. We didn’t go buy bags of chocolate candy and instead stocked up on raisin bread and high-fat peanut butter instead of the reduced-fat kind in the pantry, and picked up a high-power protein drink that she calls her chocolate sludge.

While we were out and about in the car, Dad and I had The Weight Talk. He also has battled his weight all his life so he understands that there isn’t an easy fix, so really this talk was about his concern for my health so I can live a long and happy life. Given what he’s been through in the last month, I couldn’t get upset with his caring. And then he took me out for an ice cream cone and we agreed we wouldn’t mention it to Mom.

Mom is doing better and realizing how sick she actually was. She’s weak as a kitten and the wound is going to need another 6 weeks to heal. Tho maybe all those high cal and high protein food will help speed that up.

We had a good visit and the flights home were uneventful and on time. Although those double-seats were expensive, I was comfortable and didn’t feel self-conscious because, well, sometimes there are empty seats so no one knew that I paid for the one next to me. Tessie was very happy to see me and meowed and sat on my tummy in the night, kneading my chin with her paws. I hope she remembers next time that I do come back.


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New Year, New Start

Weight Watcher ChickensThe line would have been out the door except that it was bitter cold outside, so instead it snaked around the small reception area until it was clogged. Can we say, the first day of Weight Watchers meetings for 2008? I thought we could.

The receptionists recited the spiel over and over – here’s a clipboard with the registration form, there are different programs, how do you want to pay, here are your materials, how weekly registration works, are you staying for the meeting? They kept running out of clipboards and soon most of the chairs were taken.

I have to admit that I felt pretty smug since I knew the ropes, was there exactly when the center opened so I didn’t have to wait long in line (which I hate doing), and even had a small weight loss this week. The new folks were nervous and excited, anxious to hear about successes and how the program would almost magically make the weight fall off. Well, it doesn’t work quite like that.

But people joining WW – or any other weight loss program on January 2 – bring a commitment to really work the program as it was written, and not as it was modified over weeks and months and years by sometimes blasse dieters. Yeah, yeah, I know this is a food plan and not a diet, but it still is a diet. We lose track of portions, journaling, better food choices. We get complacent.

Our WW leader had us come up with one thing we want to accomplish by the end of 2008 and then one thing we will do this week to help us get closer to that goal. There are 52 weeks in the year, lots of time to accomplish big things, a little at a time. I’m not going to say what my goal is because I don’t want to jinx it.