Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Precision is Key

Precision is key. I’m pouring the fluid into a measuring cup, my concentration absolute. Slowly the liquid reaches the 2 ounce mark…then the 4 ounce mark…then the 8 ounce mark. Perfect. I transfer the cup’s contents into a cup. Now I know that that vessel holds exactly 8 ounces.

Is the liquid medicine? Is it a highly-concentrated explosive? Nope. It’s a $5 bottle of wine. But I’m on Weight Watchers. And every thing I put in my body counts.

On the current Weight Watchers program, nourishment is given a point value based on calories, fat, and fiber. Anything I eat and drink needs to be accounted for (basically, “if I nibble, I’ve got to scribble”). I’ve been told that if I eat a certain amount of points per day, I’ll lose weight. So for me to have this 8 ounce glass of wine, I’ve had to allocate 4 of my very precious points toward this moment. It would be the same if it was fruit or cake or a tiny piece of chocolate. All things are allowed and all things must be counted.

It is anal? Yes. Is it a royal pain? Completely. But it works.

Years ago I lost 80 pounds on Weight Watchers. 80! Granted I was much younger and that was before I had give birth to a child. Also, I’ve been on this program five times since and after losing maybe ten pounds, just didn’t have the desire to stay on it. But this time I am. I have to. My life depends on it.

My 50th birthday is coming up and I know that if I’m going to live long enough to see my youngest child grow up (she’s five), I have to lose weight. I’ve been unhealthy long enough. Doritos and cheesecake are divine, but eating them will rob me of the precious time I have left.

Weight Watchers doesn’t deny me anything. Again, it’s all about accountability and being responsible for what I put into my body. It’s about breaking the mindless eating habit. And it’s giving me power over the child in my head who wants to eat everything in sight because of stress, or boredom, or both.

I’m really mad that I’m on the program…again. I wish I could eat like a “normal” person (or what I perceive as a “normal” person) and not gain weight. I wish I didn’t have to think about fat and calories and portion control. I wish I hadn’t let myself get this heavy in the first place. I wish I wasn’t turning 50. Reality says otherwise.

Interestingly enough, now that food has a limit, I savor it. I’m eating more fruits and vegetables and, shockingly, liking them. Because I can’t rely on fast pre-processed food (unless I buy the Weight Watchers frozen stuff which, although perhaps lower in calories, is still chock full of salt) I’m having to cook more and it’s kind of fun. I’ve become addicted to sautéed mushrooms with a small sprinkle of seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs. And red peppers! Who knew that roasted red peppers were so amazing! My husband says I’m more fun to eat with because I take such pleasure in what’s before me.

How has this affected the kids? Well outside of the first week or two when Mom was… especially ornery (I don’t change habits gracefully), the kids are now used to my being on the program. They’ll ask “Mom, how many points are…” before they grab a snack after school. My daughter has become adept at making fruit salads and reminding me of the veggies we need. Tonight’s drawing of a cardboard cake was “two Weight Watchers points, Mommy.” And my son (age 10), because he’s being exposed to healthier foods, actually tried his first piece vegetable EVER (thanks Birds Eye Asian Medley) and liked it. I guess I didn’t have to wait for Hades to freeze over to get the kid to eat broccoli. I just had to get more of it in the house.

So sure, I’ll keep measuring and counting. As tedious as Weight Watchers is, if it saves my life and makes my family healthier, it’s completely worth it.

Note:  This article first appeared on the website http://technorati.com/lifestyle/family/article/precision-is-key/

No comments: