A Quest for Change

So, I wasn’t planning on sharing this with the world until I felt more confident, but I changed my mind. Showing weakness can sometimes be a strength, right?

Here’s the deal. Last week I joined Weight Watchers. I didn’t really want many people to know about it in case this turns out to be a completely failed attempt to lose weight. But I’m beginning to think that if I can write out my frustrations and a few details about this journey I’ll feel a lot better about the whole thing.

I’ve never been on a diet before. So for those of you that have, you may think I’m being a total wimp when I say this is incredibly hard. Maybe one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I thought it was going to be relatively easy and I had a very rude awakening. This past week has been difficult in so many ways and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to make it through my three month trial and still manage to stay on track. Especially considering those three months include at least three birthday celebrations (including my own), a mini vacation, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the beginning of the holiday baking season. The whole thing is stressing me out so much and I’ve only just begun!

I never wanted to be one of those women. The women that are constantly agonizing over what they put in their mouth AND always talking about it. The women that never seem to really enjoy what they’re eating because they have to exercise such restraint. I like food. And I absolutely love baking. So I am always mildly offended when people make comments about how my food looked too good to eat or simply skip it all together because it was clearly too fattening. And it probably was. I always prided myself on the fact that I made my delicious desserts using only the best of ingredients – butter, cream cheese, whole milk, heavy cream, etc. I never tried to cut corners making things healthier because I knew everything would taste better the real way and I refused to cater to the people that turn down that food.

Finally, in the past few months when I started gaining more weight, I realized that as much as those women annoy me, I need to be one of them. I need to change. I am 27 years old and very quickly heading down a path that will be nearly impossible to reverse. I can’t keep eating whatever I want, whenever I want it. I hope to keep baking, but I can’t bake new things every day, especially since I’m usually the only one that eats what I make. I need to seriously start considering what I put in my mouth and if it’ll have a positive or a negative effect on my body. It was time for a serious change.

I began trying to turn things around a few months ago by forcing myself to exercise every day. Granted it’s usually only a short pilates or aerobics video, but it’s better than nothing. I’ve also been biking a lot more now that the weather is cooled off. I thought with all the extra exercise I’d start seeing improvements. But I didn’t. So I looked at my options and realized that I’m never going to be able to do this on my own. I simply don’t have the willpower to push myself. I did a little research on various exercise programs, detoxes, diet pills, etc. And I decided that Weight Watchers was the way to go. I’ve known a handful of people who have used this before and have always seen success so it seemed like my safest bet to actually shed the weight.

I began last Thursday. That day was pure torture. For those of you that don’t know, on Weight Watchers each food is assigned a point value and each person is allotted a certain number of points to use during each day. You’re also given extra points to use during the week for splurges – like a dessert here and there or if you go to a party or restaurant and eat foods with higher point values. You can also earn activity points which can be converted into extra food points if you use up all your points for the week and need more. Anyway, it’s a very simple system to use. There are tons of foods in their database and if you can’t find what you’re looking for you can enter in the nutrition facts (fat, carbs, fiber, and protein) or if you’re making something at home you can enter all the ingredients in a recipe and you’ll find your point value. I figured that the only guaranteed way to lose weight was to stick within my daily target and try to use very few of my extra points each week.

After a week, I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Those extra points are built in for me to use and I should still lose weight even if I use them all. But I want to be careful. I’m constantly stressing about what I can eat each day, thinking days in advance. I think about food and their point values all day long. I dream about them all night long. And I hate it! It’s an awesome system that really does give you a lot of freedom as long as you’re careful about portion sizes, etc. But I feel like at the moment I’m a total slave to food. This is really bothering me about the whole thing right now. Should I really be agonizing over what I’m going to be able to eat at Caden’s birthday party a month away?? Should I be saying no to get-togethers because I’m not going to be able to control the food available to me? I don’t think so. But I can’t help myself!

In this past week I’ve learned so much about myself and my eating habits. Things that I really needed to know. For example, there are so many times during the day where I normally would have grabbed a quick and easy (and probably not so healthy) snack. Not even because I was hungry – just because I didn’t have anything better to do. Now I have to seriously evaluate if I’m actually hungry and if I choose junk food it’ll severely limit what I’m able to eat for the rest of the day. The good news is that fruits and most vegetables are 0 points, so I can eat as much of that as I want. The bad news is that fruit never seems to fill me up and I really don’t like many vegetables. I ate a salad almost every day this past week and by the end I was gagging. I am so not a salad person. I never have been, unless it’s loaded with extras like cheese, croutons, and dressing. All of those things totally defeat the purpose of the salad. I also love my chocolate and it’s been really hard to give up. The first few days I went crazy and bought a bunch of Fiber One bars hoping to satisfy my need for chocolate, but after the first bar of each flavor, I had had enough. I know it’s only been a week, but I think it’ll continually be hard for me to find a good variety of foods that are healthy, but will sufficiently fill me up as well.

I’m not sure how the next eleven (or more!) weeks of this journey will go. I’m feeling motivated at the moment because after my weekly weigh in this morning I’ve already lost 3.2 pounds! But I’ve also been an emotional wreck this past week and I’m not sure I want to continue like that. I usually spend half my day pretty happy with myself and this new resolve to actually lose weight. But then that six hour span between lunch and dinner occurs and I get so crabby and angry because I’m starving and I can’t eat anything but fruit if I want to eat dinner. From about 1:00 on I’m feeling lousy and depressed about how hard this whole thing is. I hope it will get easier. I assume it will once I start automatically making better choices. But right now it still feels so, so difficult.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the beginning of this journey. I’m sure it’ll come up once in awhile the next few months. It’ll also mean fewer baking posts (a fact I am severely mourning – a future without baking feels so bleak). But I’m determined to push on. Partly because I already paid for three months of the program. And partly because I really want to see how much weight I can lose. It’s a quest for change and I hope I can find myself where I want to be at the end!

3 thoughts on “A Quest for Change”

  1. Amy – Good for you! I, too, am currently doing Weight Watchers (and have in the past). I understand completely how you are feeling about stressing over points, and I will say it does get easier. Once you figure out the foods you HAVE to have and the ones you want if you have points left over…when I first started, I don't think I ate, because I was so afraid of not having any points left. Don't feel like you cannot have something, just have a smaller portion of it. The 49 points are there for you, so yes use them. Maybe you can still bake, but then drop them off at a church for their services or a nursing home maybe. The trick is to find things you like with lower point values. Did you know that the Laughing Cow Light Spreadable cheese is only 1 point per wedge? I use this on my sandwiches at lunch instead of sliced cheese. For bread I use a half pita pocket. The one I found is only 1.5 points and then usually 2 oz of lunch meat is 1 or 2 points. I load it up with tomatoes and lettuce and it is a pretty good sandwich for only 3-4 points 🙂 Good luck…let me know if you find any good point value snacks. Feel free to facebook me if you have any questions or need suggestions!

  2. Thanks, Jami! I think it would really help if I could find a way to make a low point sandwich or something. I was thrilled this week when I realized that my "healthful" 2 point bread was actually nutrition facts for TWO slices of bread! I bought some of those laughing cow cheeses the other day too, but I never thought to put them on the sandwich – good tip! Mostly this past week I've just been eating a handful of grapes every time I start to feel hungry and that usually really helps. But I'm sure that'll get old after awhile too.

  3. I just want to say congrats Amy! This is a huge step and it's a lot of work. I struggled a LOT during my first few weeks of weight loss. I got so hung up on the things I "couldn't have" that it made the process that much harder to work through. I'm not on WW right now, but I did do their old program and had success.
    I found two things helpful for me personally and would like to share them with you but obviously you don't have to use them.

    1.) Don't think of it as a diet. Diet is a 4 letter word which so are a lot of swear words 😉 Try thinking of it as a change, as your blog title says, or an improvement.

    2.) Use your cheerleaders. I found in my journey (which I will be restarting after this little froggy comes along 🙂 ) that support was the key I needed to getting any measurable progress. Be it a suggestion for a new recipe, a different way of making something, someone else's inspirational story, someone telling me "Yes, it is tough, yes it is hard, but you can do it!" etc.
    So I think I speak for Jami and myself here when I say we're here to support, encourage, and listen as you work towards shaping the you that you want. As you work at it, it will get easier. We're human, we're not perfect, but we can do amazing things when we keep trying 🙂

    (Ha! Wow, that sounds like a weight-loss commercial. Sorry! It's the honest truth though.)

    Congrats again and good luck!

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