breaking free from six decades of tyranny

If you want to see how something can grow and change over time, study Weight Watchers.

My first introduction was via a work friend’s roly-poly aunt. I was 18 and thinking I was plump. I worked at a typesetting job (sitting) for eight hours a day, with breaks to amble next door to the Jack in the Box [the original building that was indeed a box with a Jack coming out of the top]. After I started the Weight Watcher’s plan, I ordered my hamburger with mustard only and choked it down with a diet soda. Oh, and there was tuna salad with mustard only on cold lunch days. And, I believe, lots of carrots, celery and meat with no condiments, perhaps half-slices of bread, and very, very little fruit. I could be wrong about what the actual plan was, but that’s what I remember eating. I did not go to any meetings, and I dropped the (maybe) 15 pounds I wanted to lose pretty quickly. Whew! That was easy!

Fast forward to birth of first daughter. NOW I am not just thinking I am plump, I AM plump. Very plump. And I’m here to tell you that breastfeeding had the opposite effect on me than it apparently had on every other nursing mother I knew, read about, or imagined. I stayed plump. So when the baby was 15 months old [and well-weaned] I ambled back to Weight Watchers … but the right way: meetings, booklets, weigh-ins, pep talks, hints, sharing, cheering, food plans, can’t eats, must eats, should eats, food logs …

And I lost weight. And kept it off. Until daughter #2, when the whole thing repeated. Back to Weight Watchers and now there were Points, and a different food plan, with more can eats and a few less can’t eats, the same should eats, and a better organized exercise component. And I lost weight. And I kept it off.

Until son #1. A big strapping ninepoundfiveounce chunka boy that made me a chunka mom. I gave it the usual 15 months to see if the breastfeeding myth would reverse itself for me, sighed and headed back to WW [by now we were on nickname basis]. I already knew the drill: there would be new booklets, a new food plan, I’d have to relearn Points [got a special WW Points calculator this time], learn the new can eats, get out the food scale, weigh and measure, get weighed, get cheered on … and exercise.

Which I did. And I lost weight. And I kept it off. Until my final “baby”. I became a teacher. With three children at home, 25 more at school … and no time to weigh and measure and exercise.

I put on about 5 pounds per year while teaching. I taught for 22 years. If you do the math, you will see how I got to the very precipice of 200 pounds. H…E…double you know what … I WAS the freakin’ precipice!

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