Continuing yesterday's musings …
I will begin collecting Social Security benefits in May. As I approach 62, I realize (as I do every time I get serious about my health/fitness) I should have started last year. Or the year before. Or maybe I shouldn't have quit doing what worked 20 years ago. Or 40, for that matter.
Forty years ago I joined Weight Watchers for the first of many times. MadAnne commented yesterday that WW makes her angry. I know what she means, although it doesn't make me angry, exactly. When I'm following the Weight Watcher plan I am obsessed with my next meal or snack. I can't not think about it. I have a similar problem with just tracking food in a journal, whether it be handwritten or electronic, but being part of the WW experience is somehow larger, more in-my-face, than something I do on my own.
I was successful in that early iteration of Weight Watchers. I got to my goal weight within a year (I lost 38 pounds altogether but was pregnant for the first seven months), and I then joined the organization as a meeting leader. I stopped working for them after about three years, when I needed to find full-time employment. And, of course, without that accountability sword hanging over my head, I began a long, slow climb to an unhealthy weight. Again.
Back then, WW didn't require any kind of physical activity. The food was rigidly prescribed. We didn't count calories or points, we just ate what Jean Nidetch said we should eat and we got to our goal weight. It's rather amazing, looking back at it from this vantage point, that eating that food in those amounts without sweating actually worked. All the studies and research that have been done between then and now would suggest otherwise.
Twenty years ago I took up a low-fat diet, along with every other fat person I knew. Fat-free lunch meat was fine, as were fat-free bagels, but skip the mayo and butter. I had also stopped eating sugar a couple years earlier, resulting in one of the most unbalanced and least healthy diets I've ever been on.
But I lost weight. I was also working out like a maniac (two hours a day in a gym) and running a lot, so it's hard to say which element resulted in the weight loss. I also developed extremely dry skin, my hair became dull and lifeless and started falling out and I was cold All. The. Time.
When I moved here to the Middle of Nowhere to be with my now-husband, I was just about the thinnest I'd ever been as an adult. (I weighed 135; at one point during the low-fat phase, I weighed 128 for about five minutes.) I started eating sugar again and began cooking regular meals for the first time in a long time. There was no gym here at that time, but we had a rowing machine and a Stairmaster and a weight bench and hills to climb.
Honestly, though, the weight began creeping back on. And on. AND ON. And I now find myself at nearly my highest weight ever. Again. And I've followed plans and worked out and not lost weight so many times in the last 10 years that it's hard to get psyched about doing it again.
And so I will not get psyched. I will just soldier on, one day at a time, eating reasonable portions of healthful foods with an occasional (once a week) treat. I'm going to eat about 1500 calories a day, which satisfies my appetite and fulfills my nutritional needs.
Yesterday went well. According to LoseIt!, I was 83 calories shy of my goal, but I wasn't hungry and didn't feel like I had to eat more. I found a beginner dumbbell routine on YouTube and did one set; I intend to work my way up to three sets. I watched 30 minutes of a recorded episode of SNL while I worked out on the elliptical.
I didn't agonize over any of this. I just put one foot in front of the other and did what I said I would do. I'll do it again today. My hope is that each successful day will encourage me to have another one. Rational, matter of fact, steady … that's the goal.