I’ve been on Weight Watchers for a full month now, and have had measurable success. I’ve lost almost ten pounds and have a better idea of the nutritional and caloric impact of the foods I eat. There have been many days when I’ve marveled at what I can eat while “dieting”. In fact, what I like about Weight Watcher’s program is that there are no forbidden foods. However, every food does carry a certain “point” value, calculated based on its fat, carbohydrate, fiber and protein content. So if you choose to indulge in something decadent, you must compensate by choosing lower-calorie foods for the rest of the day, so as not to exceed to daily/weekly allotment of points.
For the most part it has been relatively easy, and I’ve actually been proud of my ability to make better food choices. Turns out I do have some measure of self-discipline buried deep inside. Apparently, it’s just been kept in a sugar and fat induced coma for the past 30 years.
Today, however, I fell off the proverbial bandwagon. I don’t know what it was, but I woke up around 8am, a bit cranky and out of sorts. I didn’t sleep well and all my joints were achy. I had an online exam for my critical thinking class scheduled for 10am (which should have been scheduled much later in the day if I’d been thinking critically about it). I wasn’t waking up very quickly, so I made myself a cup of vanilla cappuccino from a sugar-free mix I’d just bought, and added some sugar free caramel syrup. 3 points. It didn’t suck… but I did have a funny aftertaste every time I burped, which it caused me to do for about 20 minutes after finishing it.
I put myself together and did a bit of pre-test studying, but I was cranky with the dogs – they were rolling through the house like two tumbleweed, growling, wrestling and playing with each other – making what I perceived to be a god-awful racket. And of course they wanted me to join in, but instead I was just cross and sniped at them. Eventually, hubby put them outside and firmly closed my office door, but not before shooting me a look, eyebrows raised, that said what is your problem??
Thankfully I passed the test with flying colors, and immediately apologized to hubby and the puppies and resolved to be in a better mood. I hadn’t yet eaten, so I went to find something and ended up heating leftovers from the night before (shredded Mexican chicken w/corn and beans). I placed the mixture in a low carb tortilla, and added low-fat cheese and fat free sour cream. It tasted terrible. Not sure if it was the leftovers or the tortilla, but I took two bites then put the rest down the garbage disposal. Next, I tried reheating some taco meat and trying for a taco salad. Awful. I think the meat may have been a few days past its prime. Down the disposal it went.
Hubby and I had some errands to run, so we agreed to lunch at Chili’s. I was still cranky, irritated by everything he did or said and we sniped back and forth until we arrived at the restaurant. I referenced my handy Weight Watchers app on my phone to see what the points value would be for various menu items. Of course it was out of date, and the only things that really sounded good were no longer on the menu. Sigh. Still, I persisted, and opted for a grilled chicken sandwich with steamed broccoli. It didn’t suck. In fact, it tasted surprisingly good for being the low-fat, low-cal option. But it wasn’t what I wanted. What I wanted was a damn cheeseburger. With fries. And maybe a milkshake. I wanted to eat until I was uncomfortably full, because for some reason I find that sensation to be.. well, comforting.
We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and I still had my cranky on. There was a table set up with wine demos and hubby encouraged me to try a sample. To his credit, he didn’t even blink when I put a bottle in the cart. After picking up some ground turkey, lean ground beef, apples and stir-fry veggies, we headed toward the checkout when the demon possessed me and I took a turn down the candy aisle. I was having a sudden, uncontrollable craving for chocolate. Dark chocolate. With almonds. I hemmed and hawed and agonized over the options, wrestling with my conscience and ultimately throwing a bar of Dove dark chocolate with almonds into the cart.
I had the candy unwrapped before we left the parking lot.
I ate a third of the bar before we got home.
Once home, I poured myself a glass of wine, grabbed the chocolate and my Kindle, and sequestered myself in my office.
As I write this post, I’m still nursing that same glass of wine, but the chocolate is long gone. I may also have eaten a few Lean Cuisine Thai Spring Rolls (amazing). I was harboring guilty feelings, but I let those go. Tomorrow I will return to dutifully logging my points and choosing leaner, more nutritious meal and snack options 90 percent of the time. But every once in awhile I have to indulge. Otherwise I do become hangry, and that’s just not a pretty thing.
Also, I think it’s important for me to remember that my goal is not to be thin. In fact, I’ve never been thin (well, not since I was 6), and I can’t even imagine it – the idea is foreign for me. Like many people, I’d like to look and feel like I did in high school (which for me, equated to a number that was still higher than the damn chart in the Doctor’s office advised).
Still, my goals are not tied to numbers and I don’t want to fall into the trap of feeling like I have to find and maintain some magic spot on the scale to feel good about myself. That’s really hard though, because like most women, I look in the mirror and I’m not at all pleased with what I see. However, I am determined to make a meaningful change. It’s just that my goals are more lifestyle related.
I want to be able to climb the stairs at work without looking or sounding like I’m about to stroke out. I want to move more. I have zero love for working out, and don’t see myself ever embracing a life at the gym, but I could walk my dogs more often, go for more walks on my own, spend more time on vacation hiking in the woods or strolling on the beach, instead of holed up reading books.
I truly just want to be a healthier version of myself at the end of this journey. And I do want there to be an end to this – I don’t want to be on a diet forever. Perish the thought. Instead, I’d like to get to the point where my subconscious and my body are in tune with each other and I can easily choose foods and portions which are appropriate.
Thankfully, my husband has never been attracted to skinny women, much less skinny, cranky women, which is what I’d be if I pushed for such a radical change. Instead, I’m shooting for more of a gently curved appearance that can be maintained with periodic indulgences that help keep me a good-humored woman. That feels attainable.
In parting, I’d like to offer this up to anyone who has been present during previous hangry moments..