My Weight Watchers leader told me to eat pizza…

In 2007, already overweight and dissatisfied with a recent additional 40 pound weight gain, I decided to bite the bullet, wrap my arms around my family history of fatness and attend a Weight Watchers meeting. I took a major hit to my pride–always a fiercely independent person, I never wanted to believe that I’d have to join a support group in order to drop some pounds. But clearly I wasn’t doing it on my own, so I considered that the accountability of weekly weigh ins might work. Especially if I was paying for it.
I actually dieted on my own in the weeks prior to joining Weight Watchers in hopes of having a less traumatic number on the little cardboard weight tracker they provide members to keep in their purse. I suppose the theory is that if you hold a little cardstock folder (carefully trifolded and protected in its special little plastic envelope) in your purse at all times, it will eventually weigh on you, and you’ll start to make smart food choices out of fear that if you ever get into a car accident, the EMTs, searching for emergency contact information, might stumble upon your weight tracker and decide your fatness doesn’t deserve life-saving medical intervention. It’s worse than forgetting to wear clean underwear. On the other hand, perhaps if they see you are making an effort, maybe they’ll treat you a little better and give you an extra dose of happy drugs.

Everyone at the Weight Watchers meeting was fresh off their New Year’s proclamation to “lose weight,” “become fit,” and “be healthier.” The Oprah Magazine reading, Suze Orman believing followers vowed to “Become A Better Me.” Of course, in the weeks preceding their first weigh in, they were bingeing on holiday treats of latkes, pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies, roasts, glass after glass of wine and eggnog. They talked about their indulgences as they stood in line to weigh in, like newly recovering alcoholics milling about the coffee pot at an AA meeting, reminiscing about their last bender before getting sober.
Since I had been dieting (or more accurately “trying like hell not to pork out further”), I had avoided those holiday indulgences, so it should have been no surprise that while my Weight Watcher peers dropped 5-10 pounds after week one, simply from trading Super Size Pepsis for cans of Diet Coke, I lost all of two pounds. It got worse after that: I became known as the half pound girl after losing a half pound a week for two straight months. It got to be a game. One week, I would exercise excessively, saving up (and not spending) Activity Points like a Depression-era grandparent stuffing hundred dollar bills under the mattress. The next week, I’d avoid carbs. Then I’d give up and go to Happy Hour with friends, downing cheese fries and beers like an Eagles fan on game day. Every week–even the indulgent one–I lost eight freakin’ ounces.
Finally, I consulted with my Weight Watchers Leader–a sassy, smartly dressed high school history teacher who lost 30 pounds on “the program” and talked vaguely about how she knew how hard it was to lose “a lot” of weight. Although I thought adding 30 pounds to her slender frame would barely push her into the overweight category, I liked her. She was funny and witty, keeping the group laughing for 30 minutes each Monday evening.
She reviewed my meal planners, calculating my points, double checking it with the special Weight Watchers Point chart and determining my activity level.
“You’re not eating enough!” she exclaimed. In fact, much of what she said was loud and punctuated by exclamation marks. Evidence of a twenty-year teaching career. “You’re putting your body in starvation mode.”
I protested. Since when do weight loss consultants advocate for more food? When that didn’t work, I told her I couldn’t possibly eat any more. I was already eating three meals and two snacks a day, filling my body with more veggies in a week than an elementary school serves during lunchtime.
“Then have a slice of pizza,” she said. “Enjoy it while you can, girl! You won’t always be big enough to allow yourself the extra calories.”  

One response to “My Weight Watchers leader told me to eat pizza…

  1. Love this entry. Maybe I find it so entertaining because I had the same experience with WW. Sure, I thought, eat more. But it actually worked and I did lose so my leader wasn’t deliberately trying to sabotage my efforts after all.

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