Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I Bought a Scale and Quit Weight Watchers

I want to preface this post by stating that even though I am writing about my decision to quit weight watchers, I in no way want to imply that I am anti-Weight Watchers- I still think it is a sound program, was instrumental in my success this year, and would recommend it to anyone looking to start a weight loss journey.

Around February I started feeling like I was “done” with weight watchers, but for the next six weeks I kept pushing that nagging feeling aside  and would go weekly to at least “weigh in” (up to this point I was adamant about not having a scale at my house because I did not want to become obsessed with the scale or be weighing myself constantly).  Being the analytical lawyer that I am, I decided to lay out the pros and cons of ending my $40/month WW membership.  I started with the list of reasons for quitting WW:
  •  I was no longer really getting any new information from attending the meetings so I was only going to WW for the weekly weigh-in.  While the leaders and staff were friendly and excited about my progress, my true support was coming from Lexy and my friend Sarah and also from the accountability I had by posting weekly updates on facebook.
  • I was not using the weight watchers “points plus” system or using their “etools” to track my food anymore. While the points system was good for me originally, along the way I had switched to counting calories/nutrition info and tracking that information on myfitnesspal since WW only allowed you to track ‘points’ on their website. I wanted to be able to determine the health value of what I was eating without relying on having to convert the nutritional information to a point system.  Particularly as I became an athlete and started increasing my mileage, I needed to make sure that I was getting the proper “fuel” for my body, which I did not feel like the point system was providing. 
  • I started eating non-processed, organic, real food- while weight watchers stressed good nutrition, they also focused a lot on trying to sell their own products and low-point value diet food- which I disagreed with. A 32 oz diet Coke may be 0 points, but it is still terrible for you!
  • I did not want to have to pick a goal weight.  To achieve lifetime membership in weight watchers you have to pick a goal weigh which is under your BMI (for me that was under 150) and to keep your lifetime membership status you  have to stay within 2 lbs of that goal weight.  While I have no desire to stress my body out and try to get to a size 2, on the other hand I really have no idea where my body will plateau since I never remember being this small as an adult and I do not want to sell myself short by picking a goal weight right under my BMI and immediately starting maintenance. Instead of setting a goal weight, I want to listen to my body and see where it naturally stops.  
As I started to list out the reasons to NOT quit weight watchers, I realized there was really only one reason that was preventing me from moving on: I was afraid I would eventually gain the weight back. The truth was that I was like a scared child, who even though she knows she can ride her bike on her own, there is something comforting about having the training wheels still on the bike. 

I sent all of this in an email to Lexy and she sent the following reply: “You know how to run, work out, eat the right foods. You don’t need to sit in a circle and have someone tell you to eat more fruit or take the stairs. You got that! Stopping weight watchers does not  make you a failure or a quitter!! A quitter doesn’t lose over 100 lbs and keep going.”

 And you know what? Lexy is absolutely right. It is easy to get so paralyzed by potential failure that you don’t even envision that success might be an option.  While WW was a tool that I used along my journey, it was not weight watchers that made me lose 114 lbs over the past 16 months- I did that.  I lost that weight by deciding I wanted to change my life, summoning up every ounce of courage that I had to take the first step, being vulnerable and allowing others to help me, through determination, commitment and dedication, and by finally deciding that I was worth it.  I am not saying that I expect maintenance to be easy or that I never expect the scale to move up an ounce; it is just that I am choosing to believe that I am strong enough to face and overcome those obstacles. I am going to trust that I have accomplished what so few people are able to do, which is that I have actually made a life change versus just successfully completed a diet.

So I bought a scale for my house, because this journey has taught me that I am more than a number on a scale anyway and the scale just provides information, it does not dictate my worth.

And I quit weight watchers. Because I was ready to move on.