The other day Bill asked me what goes on at a Weight Watchers meeting. I honestly believe he thought it was like an AA meeting, where I would stand up and say, “Hi, I’m Heidi, and I’m a brownieholic.” The entire group would then chime in and brightly say, “Hi, Heidi,” before I began telling the story of my descent into chocolate. But the meetings aren’t like this. Not at all. They provide much-needed support, and the occasional helpful hint, that propels one forward on a weight-loss journey.
I am in no way mocking a true 12-step meeting because I know how serious addictions are. I am also not poking fun at true eating disorders. I know how horrible anorexia and bulimia can be. What I am saying is that if I were to make up the rules of a 12-step meeting, my own personal 12-step meeting, these would be my steps:
1. Don’t miss a meeting unless you are on vacation. I tried doing the plan on my own and even though I have a solitary personality and don’t like groups, the meetings provide me with encouragement I need.
2. Don’t starve yourself. When I do this even the soles of my old Birkenstocks look like snack food.
3. Get creative. I tend to eat the same things every day, but I find my creativity coming out when I alter old recipes to make them healthier and fit better into the plan.
4. Drink the stupid water. I hate this part because I work in a basement and the bathroom is not close to me, but I know it’s important. I still hate it.
5. Wear the same clothes to every meeting. I have multiple pairs of the same L.L. Bean pants and multiple colors of the same Lands’ End tee shirts and I wear a variation of this outfit to every meeting. I will never use my clothes to excuse a gain or explain a loss.
6. Eat what you love. I will never lose an ounce if you tell me that kale will have to be part of my life. Never.
7. Keep tracking. I have to keep track of everything I eat. It’s a pain but less so than it used to be. I used to write everything down and I still have all of the trackers from when I lost 125 pounds on Weight Watchers between 2006 and 2007. So if you want to know what I had for dinner on March 13, 2007, I can tell you. Sick. But now, like the rest of the world, Weight Watchers has an app, so keeping track of what I eat is a couple of taps on my phone.
8. Try not to be such a laser beam. Yes, I lost a lot of weight when I attended Weight Watchers in 2006, but I did so by focusing my life so intensely that I was a laser beam of weight loss. I was too focused, too insanely determined to not eat even one thing I thought was not good for me. Then when the laser beam began to lose its power, the weight returned. Not good.
9. Don’t ever feel like this is punishment. I berate myself constantly for having regained the amount of weight I have. This does not help, and it must end.
10. Life is short. Eat the brownie if you want it. Enjoy every bite, then count the points and move on. It’s only one brownie. As long as it doesn’t become fifteen, it’s okay.
11. Stop obsessing. About everything. My weight in this case, but also why I’m in so much pain every day, why my cat is so fearful of life, why my hair is being so difficult today. Just stop already.
12. Ever onward. Keep going. To the meetings. To the healthy food. To a mindset that tells me I can do this.
Today at 4:30 I will attend my Weight Watchers meeting, step on that scale, and see how successful, in terms of my weight, my 12 steps have been this week. Next week I will go again, and the week after, and the week after that. Ever onward toward a healthier weight, one at which I will again feel at home in my own body.