Unhealthy Weight or Unhealthy Habits?

I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I haven’t spent my life studying or researching this. No doctor, no research scientist, just a wife/mother/grandmother and I suspect I’m smart enough (I like to think that anyway) to have been one of the aforementioned occupations if I were interested enough to follow through.

The point is, I don’t have any advanced degrees after my name, so what I’m about to present in this blog is nothing more than my opinion and theory.

Now you’ve read the disclaimer up front; let me say that I don’t think health and weight are interdependent. Weight doesn’t make one healthy or unhealthy. Overweight, fat or obese isn’t always unhealthy and thin is certainly not always a sign of good health!

I joined Weight Watchers because I wanted to lose weight. I was fat and I was very healthy. I wasn’t happy being fat. I didn’t like the way my shorts got bunched up between my thighs when I walked. Picking them out of my butt was a tricky maneuver in public! I didn’t like the feeling of standing back from the sink when I brushed my teeth, but my stomach stuck out far enough in front of me to rest on the countertop. I was overweight because of my habits.

Simply put, I ate too much and moved too little. The food I typically chose was higher in calories than nutrients. If given the choice between bowling or going to the movies – I chose the movies. I grew up loving fruit and vegetables but as an adult days would go by and I would not eat any foods from either food group. When I did eat vegetables they usually had gone through a transformation that removed their vegetable goodness – deep fried and perhaps battered before going into the frialator.

I ate a lot of saturated fat in the forms of red meat, cheese, butter, and ice cream. We’re talking about the good old days, the deep fried food I enjoy was fried in lard, because lard made fried food taste better than vegetable oil. I liked to read and watch TV when I wasn’t engaged in the activities that a young mother does when caring for four kids.

If it wasn’t for those little girls I would have been 95% sedentary. I think that it was because of caring for them that my weight didn’t go into the medical/scientific classification of “morbid obesity.” Let me add that I hate that term and even if I did reach a BMI of more than 33 I still cannot buy that my weight would put me at risk of death.

The day I walked into the church basement in South Gorham to join Weight Watchers I was very healthy and quite fat. I wasn’t interested in “getting healthy.” I certainly gave no thought to “eating healthy” because that phrase wasn’t widely used in 1987 and even if it were, it would be as uninteresting to me then as it is today. I believe if I hadn’t changed my habits so that I could lose weight I might have jeopardized my future health.

The weight wouldn’t be what put me at risk for a metabolic disease but the habits might have. I started eating more vegetables after joining Weight Watchers because there were a whole list of them I could eat anytime I wanted and I didn’t have to count them. I like vegetables but I’d gotten out of the habit of eating them. I got back into the habit and I enjoyed it.

I looked at food differently. No! I didn’t start categorizing it by good or bad, healthy or junkfood, or fattening and diet. I just started to track what I ate. Some foods I ate in smaller servings and some foods I ate less often. I continued to enjoy every food I loved before I joined Weight Watchers. I didn’t start eating anything I didn’t like because it was “good for my diet” or “a healthy choice.” I paid attention to the sum total of what I ate in the course of several days and didn’t get overly hung up on each individual food choice.

Healthy and fat! If my shorts didn't ride up and bunch uncomfortably between my thighs with each step i probably would have not wanted to lose weight.

Healthy and fat! If my shorts didn’t ride up and bunch uncomfortably between my thighs with each step i probably would have not wanted to lose weight.

I joined Weight Watchers when I was 33. I’m 60! I’m still following the maintenance program which has gone through almost as many changes as the years I’ve been living the program. I weigh less than when I joined. I don’t consider my weight healthy or unhealthy, but I do think that the habits that got me to my current weight and keep me here are definitely healthier!

I am more comfortable weighing less, but I stay motivated to maintain my healthier habits that keep me at goal because I want to enjoy being a grandmother and eventually  a great grandmother!My fashion style hasn't changed much over the years!

I am more comfortable weighing less, but I stay motivated to maintain my healthier habits that keep me at goal because I want to enjoy being a grandmother and eventually a great grandmother!My fashion style hasn’t changed much over the years!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.