|While I was on WW|
alorie restriction, not a normal thing, is traumatic to the body, so I remember them as well as I do a knee replacement. And I will say again that when I stopped dieting, I stopped gaining weight. I wish it hadn't taken me this long to figure it out. I wasn't addicted to food, I was addicted to dieting.
I am not bashing Weight Watchers --it is as good as any weight loss program. Some people swear by it. It is my opinion that people with average metabolism who, for whatever reason, put on a few pounds can successfully take it off. However, obesity is a complicated issue and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to it. There are those with bodies ingrained to seek out and capture every calorie it can; for them no simple weight loss solution helps. There are those who have to diet for health reasons-- I would not dream of telling anyone to go against their doctors advice. This blog post is only my experience so take what you want from it.
At its inception Weight Watchers wasn't a tough diet, but by the time I used it in the 90's it had already adapted the nutritional guidelines, established by the US government, of low fat and low cholesterol foods. (Since these guidelines change from decade to decade I wonder what business our government has in dictating to us what we should eat,) The program itself was just an ordinary low calorie diet. What it is now I don't know. I don't care to find out.
Of all the diets I did, Weight Watchers was the most successful, meaning I took the most weight off and it took longer to put it back on. I think the reason for this was the weekly meetings and pep talks. I used every bit of my will power to do this program because I couldn't bear to be weighed in front of the whole group of people showing a weight gain. Seriously, I wouldn't eat or drink anything all afternoon of weigh day and I would skip dinner. I didn't want to be weighing the food I just ate-- only me. Diets make me a tad insane.. er.
One thing Weight Watchers didn't address was the hunger. Maybe normal people don't get as hungry as I did--maybe it was my calorie seeking body, but I was hungry all the time. I remember things I did to attempt to fight it. One was the "free" foods. We were allowed unlimited vegetables. I availed myself of this benefit. I lived in Arizona at the time where there are year-long farmer's markets and I bought day old slightly wilted veggies and re-hydrated them in a bowl of water in the fridge. (dieting is expensive.) While there is valid nutrition in these veggies they were only satisfying while I was eating them. After all, if you eat something that is only 10 calories it is not good for sustaining survival, it is only slightly better than drinking hot water. Today, while I am grateful I still like cooked veggies, I avoid raw ones, especially lettuce; when I go out to eat with others who carefully order "healthy" food, I order the cheeseburger and french fries. I will enjoy my meal and I won't be the one who is hungry in 10 minutes and guess what? EATING SALADS WON'T MAKE YOU SKINNY!!! I know this because have eaten enough roughage in my life to support a small truck farmer and it didn't make me skinny. It only made me hungry.
Another trick I used was hot chocolate. I can't sleep hungry. So I would save a bread and milk exchange for bedtime and have a slice of Weight Watchers bread in toast buttered with Weight Watchers margarine and cup of sugar free hot chocolate. To make the cocoa seem rich I only used a half a cup of water. It was barely enough, but it helped me to sleep. Today I have a cup of sleepy time tea before bed and maybe some cheese and always a few pieces of fruit I dried myself--which is my candy. When I make a cup of hot chocolate, like I am sipping now as I write, I put an extra scoop of the powder in my cup just for the principle of it.
Another thing Weight Watchers didn't address with the obsession--with food, exercise, fighting hunger. I remember our leader was obsessed. He took a trip to Israel and packed all the little Weight Watchers products to help him stay on his diet while he was gone and he was upset that customs took them all away from him and he had to eat normal food for a week or two. He was the one who taught us that if we wanted to eat more than the normal serving of peanut butter to mix it with tofu--I refused to try that. To diet we have to be aware of every calorie. We have to plan meals, count, weigh and measure everything that goes in our mouth.. Almost every waking thought was concentrated on food: planning meals, how to avoid fat and calories, how to burn it off, and how to keep the hunger away. Then if I slipped and ate something I shouldn't or skipped exercising for that day, I worried that it would wreck everything until I was weighed again. I finally came to the conclusion that I was better off not thinking about food at all. Today, I eat when I get hungry and eat something that will relieve hunger for hours. Now, except for special occasions, I don't plan meals. I eat something when I get up--I decide what when I walk into the kitchen. Sometime during the day I have lunch--I decide what a few minutes before I eat, and dinner I might think of an hour or two before because I might have to get something out of the freezer, but I am better off keeping my mind on something else other than food. I eat a lot less that way and I eat a lot less if I am not hungry.
Weight Watchers is not a permanent solution. Certainly they have a maintenance program, but it is still a diet. I stayed on the program long after I stopped going to meetings (we moved to an area with no group). I prepared two dinners every night (there was no way my skinny husband was going to eat what I ate) and after a time, life eroded away the success I gained and I was back where I started.
About 10 years later I did the food exchange program on my own, I did the plan for men (more food) which gave me moderate success and I wasn't as hungry. After a year of that I switched to Atkins which has very little hunger but after a few years I just stopped dieting altogether. The thought of doing it today makes a knot in my stomach. What I eat is pretty normal today. I don't buy "red-light' foods--food that trigger over-eating like cookies or chips, and I don't keep sweets in the house, otherwise I eat what I want, when I want. If I am out somewhere I am offered a piece of cake I accept it. One piece is enough, though, and I don't fantasize about eating the whole cake.
I exercise moderately, to be strong and healthy; I no longer lie to myself that sweating on a treadmill will make me skinny or that anything less than an hour of strenuous activity is cheating.
I have a lot of other dieting stories but this is enough for now. I think I'll have stir fry for supper only I will use plenty of olive oil, not chicken broth, and I will have a generous portion of white rice. I ain't gonna weigh measure or count anything. I will just enjoy my meal. I wish the same for y'all.