It’s been quite a week, one that flew by. So many times, I thought “I need to write a post about…” not because I felt obligated, but because the writing feels good and I was missing it.

An update on the supplements/shakes/cleanse:

It did not work for me. AT ALL. For several reasons:

1. It seems that I may have had some physical allergic reaction to the products.
2. I definitely had an emotional allergic reaction to the products + plan.
3. It wasn’t food-based, and felt like deprivation.
4. I got sick. A cold mixed with bronchitis mixed with some weird creeping-crud skin rash on my face.

By Monday of this week, I was over it. At the same time, I’d gotten phone calls, texts and emails from 5 different people all within 4 hours suggesting that I give Weight Watchers a try.

I’ve gone to Weight Watchers before.

Once, about 10 years ago. My experience consisted of signing up, weighing in, sitting in a meeting, and deciding that it wasn’t for me. I was turned off by the emphasis on artificial sweeteners, formulated frozen dinners and fat-free products. Weight Watchers wasn’t saying that I was limited to things like that, but that was all I could hear, and I needed an excuse. I wasn’t ready.

Once, a year ago. I was attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings. I was pretty into it. I was trying to find a way to eat that worked for me. I went to a Weight Watchers meeting thinking I needed some help figuring out what to eat, how much, and have some kind of plan. I thought it might be a good fit. I was in a desperate, impulsive place. My reaction: I panicked. I got angry. I felt trapped. I was so UNCOMFORTABLE. I hated the meeting, the leader, the other people in the room. The talk about artificial sweeteners, low-fat everything, Weight Watchers frozen meals, treats and snacks. I bolted from my chair, went out to the front desk, said in a very urgent, somewhat crazy… who am I kidding? …VERY crazy way: “This isn’t for me, I don’t belong here. I have a serious eating disorder, I can’t do this. I need to cancel my membership.” The women behind the desk looked at me, a little frightened, a little dumbfounded, and attempted to figure out how to issue a refund. They’d never issued a refund? They’d never dealt with anyone as crazy as I was? Maybe not. So I left, and soon after that, I found reasons to stop going to Overeaters Anonymous, finding fault with the program and my sponsor in so many ways. I wasn’t ready.

Being ready. It’s hard. Not just for me, I’m sure. Being ready is accepting that change can be hard. Changing for the positive is one of the scariest, most challenging things I’ve ever done. Pushing through and knowing that there’ll be days when it all falls apart. When I meet myself and I don’t like who I see, and then throw a monkey wrench into the works. Because I still don’t think I’m worth saving. Instead of saying “I ate that half-gallon of Mint Chocolate Chip, in one sitting, so it’s over… I might as well keep eating” I could say to myself “Okay, did that. Doesn’t mean I have to keep doing that.” That’s a first step. Knowing that if it falls apart, it doesn’t mean I’ve blown it forever. It just means I’ve met an obstacle along the way. That I have an opportunity to move through that obstacle, and go forward. That I need to renew my commitment every day, every hour, every mouthful. It’s not just a commitment to losing weight. It’s a comittment to being fully alive. Fully present.

11 years ago I was a pack a day smoker, for many, many years. I even smoked when I was a yoga teacher. I’d roll a cigarette, (organic tobacco, of course) before I left my house to go teach a class. I’d smoke my cigarette in the car with the window rolled down, drive into the parking lot, pop a mint in my mouth and think no one could smell it on me. What an ass. One morning, 11 years ago, I woke up and and said to myself “I’m done. I want to live.” I threw my smokes away, NEVER had a craving, NEVER went through withdrawal. I haven’t smoked since. It just fell away. I feel like I’m ready to do that with food. My therapist, a very wise woman, said to me recently “I guess you still don’t want to live” as we discussed my binges and my inability, no, MY unwillingness to stop. She’d said that to me before. But there was something about that moment that made me look deeper. To say that I do want to live. I want to have a healthy, vibrant dotage. I want to want to have sex again. As I’ve gotten fatter, I’ve stopped wanting to get close to anyone. I love sex. I miss it. I love to dance. I rarely dance anymore.

I started Weight Watchers on Monday. I signed up online for a 3 month plan. I began counting points. I went shopping. While I was in the market I walked over to the frozen food section. I didn’t look at the frozen dinners. I went to the ice cream section. Where they keep the Weight Watchers frozen desserts. I wondered if I could handle having them in my house. I decided to trust myself. I bought a box of Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream pops. I smiled to myself and laughed a bit, thinking about all my resistance the first times I went to WW. I’m ready.

Afternote: I went to my first meeting yesterday. I signed in with the woman I’d freaked out on a year ago. I don’t know if she remembered me. I hope not. She was kind and welcoming. Asked me to step on the scale. I said to her:

“I weighed myself this morning, but I guess that doesn’t count.”

“No, it doesn’t. It only counts here.” Smiling.

I stepped out of my shoes, stepped on to the scale. Looked at her, “Can I take off my clothes?”

“No, you cannot.” Smiling.

I looked over my shoulder to see the next woman in line removing her earrings. I said to her:

“You take your earrings off to weigh in?”

“Yes, and all my other jewelry, anything I can get away with.” We looked at each other and laughed. I felt like part of this community.

The woman behind the desk weighed me, handed me my stats for the week. 238.2 pounds. Fully clothed. I came home and threw my scale away. Weigh in. Once a week. At my meeting.

  • Naomi Bindman
    Posted at 18:48h, 10 November Reply

    Nan, this is an awesome, inspiring essay. I am so proud of you. So happy that you want to live–enough to embark on this scary, hard, monumental journey. You are a person of such courage. Everything I’ve read in this series of posts rings true. You ARE ready. And you are wise enough and have enough support to keep going even if you stumble. I love you and I think you are beautiful whatever size you are, but most of all I want you to be the size you want to be and want you to be able to do the things that bring you joy. I want you to be happy. Thank you for being you.

  • lila bacon
    Posted at 17:09h, 07 November Reply

    I can so relate to your dilemma, food can be a substitute, comfort, and used in so many ways, not related to stomach hunger. I just wanted you to know I understand, and have confidence in you. Just remember, you’ve made a lot of progress, and no one does it perfectly. Be gentle with your self

  • Eve Celsi
    Posted at 16:23h, 07 November Reply

    You began by building an online support community via this website, and building/discovering an “in the trenches” community is a great next step. This sounds like the opposite of the solitary deprivation and harshness of a fast/cleanse. Go you! Trying to make similar changes in my own life too. Feeling very inspired to make sautéed greens with garlic and roast delicata squash for dinner, instead of mac and cheese. Thank you.

    • thelifeofnan
      Posted at 17:14h, 07 November Reply

      I love mac and cheese. Also love sautéed greens and delicata squash!

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