Wellbeing

Me at 52 (a farewell)

By Debbie Koenig

I wrote my first blog post for WW in May of 2012. Six hundred–plus posts later, it’s time to sign off. In general I don’t consider myself a nostalgic person, but if ever an event called for some reflection, this would be it.

WW has been part of my life since childhood, when I’d accompany my mom to meetings. I joined myself for the first time before my bat mitzvah—so I’ve been a member on and off for 40 years. Way back when, the plan felt restrictive. There were far more things I couldn’t eat than were allowed, which didn’t exactly work for a kid. I cheated every chance I got before giving up, only to rejoin the next year. This continued through college—it felt like I’d never stop gaining, honestly.

After graduation I stopped trying to lose weight. The idea of a “set point” was floating around, suggesting that our bodies naturally want to weigh a certain amount and there was no point in fighting it. Sure enough, my weight stayed constant at 260 pounds. I wasn’t torturing myself trying to slim down, but I wasn’t happy, either.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been a Lifetime Member for 20 years—half the time I’ve spent with WW. So what made the difference? Therapy, and WW itself. Those restrictions that drove me to cheat all those years ago no longer exist. I can eat anything I want, as long as I figure it into my day.

Life as a 52-year-old provides a whole different set of challenges to life than as an adolescent, or even a 30-something. Today is my son’s 12th birthday, and we’ll be baking a cake together when I finish writing this post. I’m not just planning my own eating. I’m cooking for our family, which (again, if you’ve been reading along, you already know) includes one of the pickiest eaters on the planet, who pairs that pickiness with a formidable sweet tooth.

Just as the early WW restrictions drove me to cheat, keeping our home temptation-light on my account drives him to gorge on sweets whenever he can. For this morning’s birthday breakfast he begged for those refrigerated cinnamon rolls, the ones with all the chemicals, and I consented. Soon after breakfast, I walked into the kitchen to find him standing in front of the open freezer door, spooning ice cream into his face. I’d bought his favorite flavor to accompany his cake, another birthday request. Honestly, I’m a little flummoxed by all this. I can’t seem to find the right balance between letting him learn for himself what feels good for his body, and keeping my own needs in mind. It’s a tricky thing, mothering when you have a messed-up relationship with food.

But (you knew there’d be a but, right?) here’s the thing: WW has helped me find a way to live with myself, an understanding of how my body responds to food. It took me a while to see that, and I imagine the same thing is happening with my son. It may take some time, but we’ll figure it out—he has to do the bulk of the work, with me there supporting him. And I will.

Thanks for reading along with me for the past six years. I hope my experiences have helped you in some way. Good luck, and don’t give up!

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig​

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