My Breakup with Weight Watchers

I’ve been contemplating for a long time how to begin and work through this post. Weight Watchers has been a part of my life since I began my journey in 2007. I had a dedicated section to weight loss on my blog, I then moved it to a separate tumblr fitblr, and now it’s virtually nonexistent on my current blog. Sure, I talk about Yoga, and I take photos of myself, and post my food, but I don’t talk about weight so much anymore. Or, at least I’m trying not to. I guess I’ll start at the beginning of this turbulent break-up and what lead me to the lifestyle I’m trying to live now.

That's me, right now, taken five minutes before publishing this post. I don't know what I weigh currently.

That’s me, right now, taken five minutes before publishing this post. I don’t know what I weigh currently, but I do know that these jeans tell me I’m a 6 whereas my favorite pair of black dress pants in my closet tell me I’m a 10, and my go-to shorts from Hollister tell me I’m a 7.

It started with me attending my regular Weight Watcher meeting in May of this year. My best friend Kathleen took me out for lunch and I enjoyed Olive Garden soup, salad, and breadsticks. I ate two and wanted more, but I didn’t allow myself to have anymore because I had to weigh in. The next day I gained when I weighed in. I typically weighed in on Saturday mornings, but that meant I had to plan my dinner on Friday nights. If we went out to eat on a Friday night I would choose a salad, eat half, and go to sleep hungry. If I lost the next morning, it was because I was “good.” If I gained, it was my fault. As I continued to have to eat dinner later because of a new job, I started obsessing about my meals and I was sick of it! I was sick of having to go somewhere and dictate what I ate when based on an arbitrarily chosen weigh-in day, but what drove me to break it off was a leader who embarrassed me.

She was NOT my regular leader, and she asked the group about our “goal” for the week, since the new program boasts goal setting for each week of the month. I raised my hand and explained that I am working on the same goal this week (it was to not snack at work). She replied with, “well, if you keep working on the same goal and FAILING, shouldn’t you choose something else?” I snarked back and asked her why she assumed I was failing instead of reaffirming, and she was quiet, but I was hurt. Once a golden child of the WW meeting room, I was thrown down a peg as I watched others get rewarded for “being aware of their over eating and gaining” for the FOURTH WEEK IN A ROW. I was done.

My good friend broke it off with WW and I soon followed suit and stopped weighing myself, going to meetings, and tracking every little thing I put in my mouth. Am I the “happy” little 135 I was last summer? No, but I’m also a different person. I’m now a nonsmoking runner and yogini who spent the last couple of months buying a home and, now, moving in. I don’t have TIME to track everything I eat because I’m now LIVING MY LIFE based on the principles I learned at WW, but I am no longer dependent on them. Was this easy? No. It’s still a battle every day, but I’m learning to prioritize. At 20 years old and 187 pounds, I needed WW to be my priority. Now, at 26, and at “some healthy weight”, I have other priorities, and one is to be good to myself. Unlike my 20 year old self, I know how to eat to live and how to use food for fuel and those skills from WW are truly indispensable.

I have a myfitnesspal app on my phone that I sometimes use, but I try not to freak if I don’t use it. I still have a scale, but haven’t stepped on it in about three weeks which is a record for me. And though I’m not the “happy weight” I used to be, I try to be happy for other reasons and try to see myself as a whole person with goals and ambitions other than maintaining a weight based on one day out of the week. Rebecca Seed, a Yoga teacher and writer on mindbodygreen inspired me with her post “So Long, Scale” and though, like her, I have a doctor’s appointment coming up where I will be weighed, I am planning on asking for the nurse to not tell me the number and to just let me have my peace of mind as I continue on yet another mind/body journey.

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7 thoughts on “My Breakup with Weight Watchers

  1. I think weight is not really an important number because you can weigh the same as someone else and not be healthy even if they are. I never weigh myself, expect when I play on my Wii Fit. I can tell if I have gained weight and need to do something about it. It’s visible on my body. I don’t need a number to tell me that I need to start exercising.

  2. The last time I went on a traditional, do-not-eat diet to look good was in middle school, which meant I decided to count my calories and whatnot. Needless to say, it didn’t work out [pun intended] because I LOVED eating. So instead of strictly counting calories, I actually used my love for food as an incentive to work out. This was an effective diet I used to undo the effects of Freshmen 15 [more like 30 xD]. What really helped was the fact that I spent a semester abroad in Italy where the used public transportation. To get to places, I had to walk a lot even after getting off at the closest stop. I naturally got hungry and ate more food to refuel myself, but the workout I got from just that really stimulated my weight loss. Now, ~2 years later, I’m back to my high school weight. Only difference is, I’m much fitter than I was [despite the identical # on the scale]. I think just having that motivation to get moving and acting on that motivation really helped. Keep in mind, I’m not a big fan of going to gym simply because I’d get bored way too easily.

    TL;DR Version: It’s all about the mentality. You start off with the “I can do it” approach. REWARD yourself for the hard work. Do not count calories strictly. It’s too…prohibitive and almost punishing. Such can negatively impact your attitude as well. I think you made the right choice in not being tied down by numbers. Do what you feel is right. :)

  3. I’ve dealt with an eating disorder since I was 13, so weight has been a major thing in my life. I haven’t been on a scale in about three months – which is really good for me. But now I go to just going off how I look in the mirror – that also has a problem, meaning what I see and what someone else sees are two totally different things.

    The pant size thing is something that always hits me. One jean company I can wear a two, Another jean company I have to wear a zero…and other companies I can’t wear any of their adult jeans, I have to go to the kids section. Then in the kids section some jeans I can wear size 12 and most of the others I have to wear a size 10…it’s SO confusing!

    And the sub-leader should honestly be ashamed of herself! I know a lot of people who have the same goal for a long running time – weather it be to not drink, or to not curse – if you’ve reached that goal and keep it the same it just means you’re working to the point where you don’t need it as a goal, you do it without thinking.

  4. A lot of my friends are on these ‘diets’ nowadays, and it’s really hard to have fun eating out with them. They have calorie counters and always talk about what kind of foods have high calories etc. I get that being healthy is crucial, and like you said, watching what you eat every time and constantly worrying about it is not the way to go in life. Especially if your weight/body is healthy. I agree, you are passed the point where Weight Watchers should be your priority. And that leader was so rude and condescending. Honestly, consistency is the key to most goals. What’s the point of reaching a goal if you’re not going to keep it? I just love food, and it makes me happy and I’m content with my weight. I could never go on a strict diet.

  5. Wow, this is something I need to do. I haven’t been to WW since the beginning of June, but I haven’t fully said goodbye yet. I keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll go back, I’ll go back.” But the longer the time is, the surer I feel that I will not return. I LOVE this post. Thank you.

  6. Tracking things obsessively is not a good plan for long term success in living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a great way to start and get the hang of things but in the long run, you have to get out of that obsessive behaviour because it can really damage your mental well-being!

    Weight is just a number and does no tindicuate how fit you are. I weigh almost the same as I did when I was at my heaviest but my measurements are smaller and I look a lot smaller and leaner because I’m more muscular and have less body fat.

    I’m glad you got out of WW! I’m sure you got some good out of it too like an idea of how much calories are in what so you can continue that lifestyle but without he obsessive behaviour and tracking everything! I can imagine how stressful that is and stress = cortisol = weight gain!

    1. OMG. It was a nasty “breakup” but I just knew it wasn’t for me anymore. I’m trying to eat without tracking anything and have been for a while. I get a little nervous every now and then especially since moving (and not eating properly), but now we’re cooking regular meals and I’m back to running so I’m feeling confident and motivated!

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