I Am That Girl Now

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sweet oogly moogly

I was already dreading tomorrow.

Turns out that the friend who's the most (wrongly) opinionated on the subject of diet has had serious stress eating lately, gained weight, and is now back on WW "with a vengeance".

Hell. Any chance I had of being able to avoid food & exercise discussions tomorrow has pretty much gone out the window now. She's going to be on a tear, the rest of my friends will be willing to chatter about it with her, and I'm going to be very, very quiet, because if there's one surefire way to ruin an afternoon, it's to suggest to this woman that she might be going at something the wrong way.

Those cinnamon rolls from Ann Sathers are looking pretty good for tomorrow morning, I tell you.

The good news is that I've about to go to bed and I have officially made it through the day, even with watching Episode III. Didn't drink, eat popcorn, or eat ice cream. Which is the last of the things to deal with this week. Yay.


  • Oh, saying no to popcorn at the movies is a tough challenge - bravo!

    And I hope tomorrow isn't as bad as you're dreading...

    By Blogger kimba, at 12:50 AM  

  • I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on your friend's approach to dieting. I read your blog regularly (I've bookmarked it!), but have only found it recently, so I can't really expect what you might say. Care to elaborate?

    Btw, this is NOT baiting! ;) You've obviously had great success so I'm genuinely interested in your take on this woman's thinking... if you care to share. Good luck, in any event!

    By Blogger Wendy, at 9:54 AM  

  • Wendy, her approach to dieting is pretty much the standard WeightWatchers line-- where most of the stress is on the scale, not habits or measurements and CERTAINLY not on muscle or cardiovascular health. It's all about dealing with the intake, and they make mouth noises about exercise but it's almost always regarding cardio and "tone". Actually building muscle is not something they really talk about, and they REALLY don't talk about the fact that the people on their program are running a real risk of losing muscle mass (particularly if they've yo-yo dieted in the past and don't have much to begin with), which is a huge factor in causing people on maintenance to skyrocket back into weight gain.

    They end up with a lot of people who have weight in a normal range but have a high percentage of fat, and that not only makes it so that it's very easy for them to gain weight, physically, but mentally as well, because maintenance ends up being exactly like dieting. And when it doesn't work for them, instead of having the program shuttle them directly to the nearest gym, they tell them to tighten up the diet some more. Which, granted, is never a bad thing, but it's not the only thing.

    Case in point: you see WeightWatchers brand food everywhere in the grocery store. There is, however, no such thing as a WeightWatchers brand gym. And there should be, dammit. They're missing a huge market niche there, and Curves stepped right into it-- the comfortable teach-beginners-how-to-exericise niche.

    ...Anyway, that's half of it. The other half is that my friend is very stubborn, very noisy, and very difficult to deal with when one is espousing a different point of view. She is a poster child for the "everyone else's needs come before mine" female mentality (and lord, I know this one, I still have it half the time), which makes it so that she feels like she's taking bread from the mouths of her children if she takes time for herself. Add in the fact that it's taking time to exercise, which she's loathe to do anyway, and there is just no way to get her away from her "I can't exercise, I don't have the time" mentality. She figures she can get the same results by just restricting the hell out of her calories, and it's not possible. Apples and oranges: TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

    So this is going to be an interesting day. It's really bringing into focus how much things have changed for me in the past few months, because things really haven't changed for my friends at all. I'm really tempted to just not say anything until my first challenge is over, and if they ask how I did it, I'll tell them, and if they can't handle that, it's to their own detriment.

    Oy. I must be feeling defensive today; sorry that all came out in your direction! :-)

    By Blogger Meg, at 10:26 AM  

  • No problemo, chica! thanks for expounding!

    I know what you mean about WW, because goodness knows, I've done WW too! I ended up just totally freaking LOSING IT - probably nearly a psychotic break! ;P But as I've said, many, many times, WW breeds OCD, it totally BREEDS it, all the do is talk about food, and they want you to eat food that has been processed beyond all recognition to remove some of the fat or "sugar" (not really sugar, usually HFCS, seems similar but actually quite a different animal in the body's chemistry set).

    So I hear you. The other thing is, like you, I notice that they have all this WW brand crap, designed to keep you hooked on, or at least hooked into, the program. Put another way, it's almost designed to fail. They only way they can keep making money is if they fail at teaching you how to lose (and maintain lost) weight. This may seem a little paranoid, but consider if this were any other type of therapy; if it were designed to never release you from purchasing it, you would see right away how it is obviously, at least in part, a scam.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. Dumb me, I said I bookmarked your blog, that's true but I actually have a link to you on my site, too, duh! I was typing as I was having my coffee, before the caffeine activation hit!

    And for today? Maybe you just wanna be snarky... say something like, "oh, all's I did was cut out chocolate, and the weight just fell off." Something that will shut them down - and of course make them hate you on the weight loss biz and not talk to you about it anymore. or is that too bitchy? ;) have a good one!

    By Blogger Wendy, at 11:52 AM  

  • Last fall a woman in her late 40s stopped me at the gym to ask me what I had been doing to lose weight. When I joined, I was a fluffy 143 lbs and around 27% body fat. By the time this woman spoke to me I had dropped down to 130 or so, and 17% body fat.

    I told her it was BFL and glossed over the program a bit. I mentioned that I'd only lost 13 lbs but had dropped from a size 12 to a 4, and she basically looked at me in disbelief and said she had been on Weight Watchers for years and couldn't imagine sticking with a nutrition plan that was so strict. (Eh? BFL strict? So NOT true...)

    She had guessed my weight as 120 or so. Well, I explained the wonders of weight training, but I don't think she listened. I still see her at Gold's every once in a while on the treadmills or the bicycles hamstering along at a moderate pace, never going anywhere near the resistance machines or free weights.

    She doesn't look like she's made any progress at all. :(

    The problem seems to be that compared to boys, little girls aren't encouraged to be very active. They grow up trying to avoid getting sweaty and dirty and messing up their pretty clothes, and are praised for being attractive life-size dress up dolls who play quietly or do normal girly things like play with make up and dolls. Fast forward to their mid-twenties, and most of them are caught up either in careers or families, and don't even think to start working out except for a few haphazard attempts at doing Tae Bo or some other home video workout that soon moves to a back shelf where it will collect dust until the next garage sale. Gyms are intimidating. Weightlifting is intimidating. Exercise is hard, and it makes you sweat. Boohoo!


    If it hadn't been for that Army thing I did in my early 20s, I would still be one of those girls, so I know what it's like to have that attitude and fear. It's not limited to the wannabe Barbie types; nerdy geekettes are just as guilty of dreading the "E" word as any social climber.

    I know it's probably like beating your head against a wall of adamantium (Wolverine reference!), but I think it's important that your exercise-phobic WW friends know what you are doing now. They might not be ready to make the transition themselves at this time, but eventually, maybe one or two of them WILL get tired of spinning their wheels with calorie restriction and remember that you were doing something different to get your results and, gasp, come to you for some help or an introduction to weight training.

    Who knows? If my formerly effortlessly tiny, sedentary Asian mom could come around and start lifting and doing cardio after 54 years of inactivity, I bet some of your friends might, too.

    By Anonymous Maggie, at 2:11 PM  

  • Just $.02... most of the women I encounter on the message boards at WW online are doing 5-6 days of exercise a week, and many of them seem to be doing some form of strength training along with that. They appear to be utterly convinced that they couldn't lose weight without it. WW may not push it, but its customers do.

    Me, I lost my first 27 pounds without lifting a finger to exercise, but now I've finally seen the light and am working out 6 days a week (Couch to 5k and power walking) and beginning to lift some sad pathetic small weights. Your recent conversion to BFL makes me wonder: is there just One Right Program for everyone? If I don't choose BFL starting out, if I stay with WW for a while, am I cheating myself? Aieee!

    By the way, love the blog. I'm inspired, and making my maintenance plan now as a result, despite being 50 pounds away from goal.

    By Anonymous Jenny, at 5:21 PM  

  • I think it varies from WW group to WW group, and I'm not sure whether the online folks are a representative sample of WW's general membeship.

    I am currently attending their meetings in Jerusalem, blithely ignoring all their nutritional advice, not counting points, and just taking advantage of the supportive social aspects. It serves as a mental check-in for me. Not sure at this point if I will renew when the little vouchers run out.

    I know that I've startled a couple of my fellow attendees by eating before the morning weigh-in (gasp!) and not being rattled by what the scale says. If someone asks me directly as to what I'm doing I answer honestly, if they ask for more info I give them useful web links, but I don't take it personally if they don't use the info. They're on their road; I'm on mine...

    Main thing, do what works for you. When it stops working, try something else.

    And Jenny - no such thing as small pathetic sad weights - there's only starting weights, which soon become warm-up weights, and then fade into obscurity. :-)

    By Blogger Mich, at 6:59 AM  

  • Mich -- I think you might be right about the weights. I'm headed to Target to buy bigger ones today. :) Thanks!

    By Anonymous Jenny, at 10:21 AM  

  • Wow, fantastic post and even more fantastic follow-up comment. I'm just pissed that I didn't articulate it that well first! I lost my weight on WW, but all their WW-branded foods piss me right the hell off. Their WW bread isn't even whole grain! I was positively flabby when I made Lifetime back in February of 2004. I discovered weight training (via Firm videos) in May of 2004 and have since lost another pant size--but I'm about 2.5 pounds above my Lifetime weight. Perish the thought! I still carry my WW key fobs around with me to remind myself of what I accomplished, but I haven't been to a meeting in months and don't plan to go back anytime soon. When I journal food now, I actually keep track of calories, fat/sat fat, fiber, and protein grams--and I feel like my nutrition is better because of it. I also allow myself adequate calories--at my current weight, WW would allow me 1000-1250 calories per day to lose. At my current activity level, 100-1250 calories would guarantee muscle loss and I'd probably make myself sick.

    There isn't a WW gym, but there are WW workout videos. I have the "Fast Track" DVD, which has segments from the videos. They're not bad, but the intensity level is nowhere near where I need it.

    By Anonymous Julie, at 3:07 PM  

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