Ending the Vicious Cycle

Gail after
Gail before
 I realized that the most difficult part of losing weight is relearning eating habits. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Gail lost weight with a prior Weight Watchers program

After several months of maintaining her weight-loss, Gail regained a few pounds. She used the tools that she discovered through Weight Watchers to right her course.

There are many implications of not being in the appropriate weight range, but for me the most pressing was feeling self-consciousness. I was in a vicious cycle: My negative feelings and overeating made it harder to exercise and lose weight. My feelings about my weight made me feel bad about myself, and so I ate.

It was a classic New Year's resolution that turned my life around. January 1, 2006. I knew that my son was going to turn 18 that year, and I wanted to be able to take lots of pictures of and with him — and I wanted to look good in those pictures.

I decided to subscribe to Weight Watchers Online and started following the POINTS® Weight-Loss System so I could check back frequently for tips, not worry about missing meetings and manage my weight-loss strategies myself.

Following Weight Watchers, I felt a freedom that allowed me to find peace in my weight loss. Many of the high-density food items I was directed to through the Plan left me feeling full so I didn't feel deprived at meals. As a family we dine out a lot. I discovered that finding Plan-friendly items as entrées was not difficult at all. That, plus simply pushing the bread-basket aside and skipping dessert, worked for me.

As time went by, I realized that the most difficult part of losing weight is relearning eating habits. I ate to be social. I ate for comfort. I ate because I was nervous or bored. I ate just because the food was there. I learned to step back and say, "OK, I won't eat for those reasons, but I will eat for the one reason I should: when I'm hungry!"

Once into maintenance, it wasn't that I was no longer anxious or in need of comfort, but I began to deliberately make better choices. That's hard, as the underlying triggers for overeating don't change; you just learn to manage them.

Slippery slope
The impossible piece of weight loss is the slippery slope of weight gain. Several months into maintenance I started to put on pounds. All due to emotional eating! The son who originally inspired me to look good for his 18th birthday left for his freshman year at college. My daughter had her 13th birthday a few weeks later. (Lose one teenager, gain another, can you say mini midlife crisis?) Throw in a six-hour road trip with bad rest stop food to deliver the freshman to college, teen birthday celebrations (more than one!) and school and athletic schedules. Suddenly, working out seemed like a chore, and at the very same time wise eating choices were falling apart.

Being an "After" means that you force yourself to look at the scale to rein it back in before weight loss becomes a marathon again. It was tough to make myself look at a scale; I was so disappointed in myself. I had to wallow in a bit of self-pity first, but then I got back to the plan.

The happy ending is that the Weight Watchers plan has the tools, resources and knowledge to correct the weight gain. Self-control starts and ends with me.

Gail's Tips
  • My original promise was that I only had to work out 20 minutes a day because I knew that every day I had 20 minutes that I was wasting in front of the TV, time that could be traded for walking or using my elliptical trainer.
  • I often use Weight Watchers English Muffins as a dessert with tea at night. I spread sugar-free applesauce on them and it replaces cake or pie — for a low POINTS value.
  • Be mentally ready. I'm convinced that you have to want to do it for yourself, mostly by yourself and have a clear reason why. If you have not psyched yourself up for a weight-loss marathon, you might initially — and briefly — sprint, but not cross the finish line.
  • Brothers All Natural Fuji Apple Crisps are freeze dried, with nothing added to them — no preservatives, no sugar — and the bag is only 39 calories. The crispy texture beats potato chips, and the convenience beats having an apple sitting in your glove compartment for a quick snack on the go.
  • Reinforce your resolve by using the online Weight Tracker and checking the weight-loss graphs online to see that you are heading in the right direction.