She lost 83 pounds; that’s a lot. Everybody told her how great she looked, but Diane looked in the mirror and she didn’t see great. She saw not good enough.
“My thighs were huge,” she said to me, “they looked like I needed to lose 83 more pounds!”
Diane went on to describe her body and the words she used were not flattering.
“My belly still hangs over my waistband, my chin has chins, and my upper arms are enormous.”
Diane struggles with negative thought patterns. She believed being self-critical is essential in self-improvement.
“I’m supposedly at goal and I’m still a fat mess. How can you improve yourself if you’re satisfied with things as they are?” she asks.
While there appears to be much logic in her question, there is a problem. It’s too easy to become the self-critic who never sees, much less can celebrates the progress. We may always be looking for the next thing to criticize in a futile quest of perfection.
Diane maintained her goal for six weeks while she followed the maintenance adjustments to the Weight Watchers plan. At the end of the six-week period she earned Lifetime Membership and the privileges that go with it. One of the privileges is free Weight Watchers meetings as long as the first time she attended a meeting each month she weighed in at no more than two pounds over her goal.
For a month or two Diane kept coming to meetings every week for free. She was at goal but since her goal number didn’t give her the perfect body she sought, she struggled to lose more weight.
She cut back on her PointsPlus® (PP) values not just to fewer than her maintenance PP target, but far below even her weight loss target. She signed up for several weekly punishing classes at her gym. She was hungry and in pain most of the time, but weekly weigh-ins showed a distinct lack of progress. She had more gains than losses.
One week she didn’t show up for her weekly weigh-in and meeting. She didn’t come in the weeks and months that followed. About seven months later I ran into Diane at the mall. She looked more like the Diane whom I first met the day she joined Weight Watchers than the Diane who celebrated becoming a Lifetime Member less than a year ago. I wasn’t shocked, just saddened.
I saw her before she saw me. I didn’t want to cause embarrassment so I quickly became absorbed in the clearance rack. I heard my name being called. I looked up to see Diane smiling and waving as she called my name.
“Jackie! I can’t believe I ran into you today! It took a while, but I finally understand what you were talking about when you said we should celebrate our progress instead of trying to attain perfection. When it dawned on me I’d never be perfect, I just gave up. I’ve gained back a lot of the weight and I was going to come back to Weight Watchers Wednesday night.”
She did come back and she did get back to goal. Her outlook was entirely different. Her focus was on taking care of herself. She realized that deprivation set her up for out-of-control indulging. Painful workouts at the gym were often rewarded with much too much eating high-calorie foods.
Her new “self-care” focus changed everything. She worked occasional treats into her food plan. She decided she didn’t enjoy working out at the gym, but she was passionate about tennis, kayaking, and skiing (water and snow). She made sure she always had time for her passions.
She continued to attend as a free Lifetime Member at goal until she moved to a different state. We exchanged email addresses to stay in touch. I’m thrilled for her when I get her monthly email that simply says, “still at goal!”