The day I hit my Weight Watchers goal I was handed a key chain.
What they said: “Congratulations Hannah! You look amazing! Let this key chain serve as a reminder of all of the hard work and dedication it took to reach your goal! Now we get to focus on the next part of your weight loss journey – maintenance. And don’t be fooled – this part is a lot harder than it sounds. See you next week!”
What I heard: “Congratulations Hannah! This is a magical key chain that allows you to eat as much of whatever you want and never ever have to worry about gaining a single pound again! You’ve worked so hard that you deserve to go hog-ass wild for the rest of your life and always look as amazing as you do today! Now go hit the drive-through and never come back, you little minx!”
For sixteen weeks I had starved and slaved and starved again, losing a total of twenty three pounds. I was so hungry, but also terrified of slipping up. The nights before my weigh-ins I had horrible nightmares that I was standing before a Chinese buffet shoving as much food as possible into my mouth. I would wake up in a cold sweat and whisper, “Someday… someday.” to my starving, gurgling stomach.
The only way I was able to make it through those god forsaken days was promising myself that there would soon be an end to the misery; once I hit my goal I would once again fast food binge like the old days.
Stepping on the scale that glorious morning I teared up a little and the entire room erupted in clapping and cheering. An old woman tried to carry me around on her shoulders. Okay maybe it was just me clapping and cheering as I chased an old woman around the strip mall but it was still glorious. I could finally eat again.
“Thanks for the magical key chain,” I yelled over my shoulder as I skipped out the door.
Like an addict going straight from rehab to the crack house, after my final weigh-in I made a beeline for the nearest Taco Bell. What was intended as a little indulgence, a reward for my weeks of food restriction and cardio, became a doorway to Mexican hell.
As you might imagine, sixteen weeks with minimal processed food meant that my stomach was super pissed when I dumped a butt load of D-grade meat and artificial queso dip on it. Nearly everything was voided immediately.
I’d like to say that the weight I’ve gained since my victory day crept on little by little. A bacon cheeseburger here, half of a wedding cake there. But no, it pretty much latched on the first week and doesn’t show any signs of leaving soon. Last week the hangy down part of my stomach asked me if I wanted to get a cat together.
At first I convinced myself it was just water weight.
“Wow… I must really be PMS-ing,” I have thought to myself every morning for two years as I struggle with my pants button.
“Geez, this meat must be really super tough,” I murmur as I get out of breath slicing the salami for my hoagie.
But now, two years later, two years of trying every quick trick, gimmicky cleanses, wraps, online tracker apps, exposure shaming therapies in the book… I know what I have to do.
Last Wednesday was my first official weigh-in as a Weight Watchers return customer.
Trust me… I would rather hit myself in the teeth with a hammer than go through this torture again. The hunger. Tracking every bite I take. The sweat. The Chinese food nightmares.
The one bright spot in all of this is that I truly do look forward to going to the meetings. The ones I attend are on Tuesday mornings, when the only people with nothing better to do than go sit around and listen to other people talk about their weight are 85-year-old women. And me. And usually one 85-year-old man looking to play the odds.
I am the youngest person in there by about 50 years, and it is such a different scene than the monotony of the boring, everyday stay-at-home mom dynamics that I really find it interesting. Honestly I don’t think that most of those women are even Weight Watchers members – I believe they think it’s a nice senior center that hands out free samples of honey mustard pretzels after a half hour of catching up on the latest grandkid gossip.
The group leader starts off by talking about whatever that week’s topic is – it can be anything from tips to packing a healthy lunch to what to do if you are at a party and suddenly find your self high as a kite and surrounded by spinach artichoke dip – when someone will interrupt her and pipe up, “Oh hey, I mean to ask you – I haven’t been able to figure out the computer thingy this week either,” and the room will suddenly erupt into a buzz of side conversations and nodding grey heads as everyone takes out their Nokia flip phones and compares technology notes.
So, if nothing else, I’ll get to see who of my little Weight Watchers buddies is still alive, and yell at the instructor that the magic key chain they gave me doesn’t work for shit.