Losing Weight Isn’t a Do-It-Yourself Project

I spent more than half of my life trying to lose weight on my own.

Logic told me I didn’t need help getting fat, so why would I pay to get thin?

Turns out my logic was faulty.

I know there are people who are very thin and struggle to gain weight. I also know there are more people like me for whom weight gain is easy and often, and unfortunately, fun! No, the physical changes and associated discomforts are not fun at all; the eating is fun!

I happen to love food. I am not an emotional eater and never have been. I temporarily lose interest in food in response to emotions. When things return to an even keel, however, watch out! My appetite comes back bigger than ever.

I have never felt any guilt about my food choices. I eat doughnuts, sundaes, hand cut fried potatoes without even a tiny bit of remorse. I have cake for breakfast if I feel like it and a piece of pie for dinner.

Here is my old idea of a great, balanced meal! All the food groups are represented -cheese, meat and vegetables (pizza sauce and potatoes!)

Here is my old idea of a great, balanced meal! All the food groups are represented -cheese, meat and vegetables (pizza sauce, mushrooms and potatoes!)

I love fruit and vegetables and I’d eat them too if they’re available, but I often didn’t buy them because they’re so unpredictable. Get a bunch of grapes and it’s a crap shoot. Just because one was sweet, crisp and juicy the next twenty may be limp and sour or even tasteless.

My point is I had a good time gaining every pound. One would think that somebody who could eat without guilt or remorse should be able to put some guidelines around her eating habits.

If I didn’t need food for comfort why then would I have any trouble creating a caloric deficit so that I could lose weight?

I experienced brief and extended periods when I did manage the deficit. I would lose weight, reach my goal, and then go back to my weight-gaining ways. I had a “switch with only two positions – lose weight or gain weight. It couldn’t be adjusted to maintain a weight goal.

The day I realized I needed to actually get professional weight loss help was the day my five-year-old daughter questioned my weight loss methods.

I was trying to lose the weight I gained after the birth of her second sister. It was the same way I took off pregnancy weight from having her and her other sister. First two times around she was too young to notice the double standard of the healthy eating habits I was trying to instill in her, and my personal very unhealthy eating habits.

"Do as I say, not as I DO!"

                                                    “Do as I say, not as I DO!”

I did what I never, ever wanted to do because of my little girl asking me, “Why don’t you ever eat dinner with us?”

I joined Weight Watchers.

I wasn’t looking forward to any part of the ordeal – not the signing up process, not the weekly payments, not the “healthy food plan,” and most of all, not the weekly group support meetings. Ugh!

I never thought I’d be grateful that my daughter made me aware that I was a poor role model for my family. I learned more about myself than I expected.

I learned more about how to love to eat and eat the food I love and reach and maintain a healthy weight all together and simultaneously! I learned that those things need not be mutually exclusive.

Before I joined Weight Watchers I never thought I could have it all. Weight loss always meant sacrifices and deprivation.

I paid to lose weight and I got more than my money’s worth.

I wasn't looking forward to giving up precious time to attend group support weight loss meetings until I discovered how precious those meetings were to my weight control success!

I wasn’t looking forward to giving up precious time to attend group support weight loss meetings until I discovered how precious those meetings were to my weight control success!

I sat in group support meetings with people sort of like me and people who couldn’t have been more different from me and I learned things from everybody. I discovered things about myself and my character that went beyond simple weight loss. I got strong by accepting help and giving help from the other members.

I could have gotten ahold of a bootlegged copy of the Weight Watchers food plan for free. I could have followed the program at home and on my own for free. I would have followed it until I reached goal. Upon getting back to the magic number I would have shifted that “weight loss lever in my mind” from “lose” back to its “gain” position!

I finally realized after more than 20 years of “going it alone weight loss” attempts that there was a behavioral cognitive piece I was missing.

I realized that there were answers I needed about incorporating lasting changes into my lifestyle that I wasn’t finding on my own. I realized how much my thinking could disable me and how a simple new thought brought about incredible strength and powers I didn’t know I had.

At Weight Watchers I got all the answers to the weight management questions I never even knew I should be asking!

At Weight Watchers I got all the answers to the weight management questions I never even knew I should be asking!

Weight Watchers meetings turned out to give me more answers for questions for which I didn’t even knew I had. It changed my life and the life of my family for the better; so much better!

Paying to lose weight turned out to be the cheapest, most important education and best-spent money of my life!

If you have struggled with your weight and are not getting anywhere (or finding a way to stay where you get) and you’re trying to do it on your own, give yourself a break. I’m not saying Weight Watchers meetings is the only solution. I’m saying explore the options. Do-it-yourself weight management may have worked for you in the past, but if it’s not working anymore don’t give up, and don’t accept failure.

Seeking and paying for professional weight loss help could be the best thing you ever do for yourself and the people you love!

 

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.