I had been screwing up my courage for weeks to go back. Probably months. I started looking at the Weight Watchers ads in October and almost joined twice but convinced myself I could get a better deal later. I was really just too ashamed to go step on the scale and have someone see the number. I had managed to avoid stepping on the scale since September. Last year, I used to get on it once a week.
This month, they ran a great deal on monthly passes so I joined. It took me a whole week to walk to the meeting in the building next to mine. I tried not to cry the whole walk there. I arrived early so no one would accidentally spy the numbers that popped up on the scale. The friendly check-in lady asked me if I was a lifetime member. I said, rather hopelessly, “I used to be.” It was worse than I expected. I had an estimate in mind, and I topped it by almost 10 pounds. I took my booklets and selected a seat at the back of the room and started to cry. I had no control over it. I stared down at my iPhone and frantically pecked out a request for prayer to three of my girlfriends in hopes they would talk me out of running for the door. I wanted a rock, extra-large, to hide under.
Then the Weight Watchers leader came over with a name tag. She’s known me since 2005 when I first joined the downtown Weight Watchers. From 2005 to 2006, I lost nearly 30 pounds. I kept it off for a bit, but then it started creeping back on. Backsliding combined with fertility treatments landed me back at Square 1, and I re-joined in 2008. Over that next year, I lost almost 20 pounds and only stopped because I got pregnant with the triplets. After I finished breastfeeding, I re-joined a third time in 2010 and weighed less than I did on my wedding day last May on my five-year wedding anniversary. She’s known me through it all, and I was embarrassed and depressed that here I was, back for round 4. She is such an encourager. It’s the reason all her meetings are filled to overflowing. She told me that it was okay, that we all have set backs, but that I HAVE to come back. That I could not be too embarrassed to walk in. Even if I didn’t see results at first, she urged, I had to keep coming. That’s the only way the program worked.
How did I let this happen is all I kept asking myself. I knew in April when I had to have a skirt let out for an important lunch that I was long overdue to get back on the program. I have no delusions that I am one of those girls that can skip the exercise and eat the cupcake and not feel massive consequences. As the weight crept on, I started hiding from the implications and just bought a bigger pair of pants. I made excuses. I work full-time and have kids and am writing a book and running a charity lunch and on and on and on. But there are no excuses. Someone commented, “it’s not your fault.” Let me be clear, in this culture where abdicating responsibility is de rigueur, It Is My Fault. I ate the second helping. I turned off my alarm instead of working out. It is my fault, but it is not the final verdict.
So I’m back. Counting points. Working out on a used elliptical machine my darling husband approved in our budget. I won’t be healthy and slim again in a month. It will take a year. And it should. The longer it takes, hopefully the more ingrained those healthy routines will be. I have three young kids. I have to be healthy for them. They need not only to see us having healthy habits in our home, but they also need to have a mom that race them and bike with them and generally keep up. This is not about a number on a scale. I do need to weigh less. But this about being healthy. Eating right. Exercising. Taking care of the only body that God gave me (I Corinthians). If He took the time to knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139), then I am responsible to take care of what He designed. So I am sad and disappointed, but I going to go back to work. One day at a time.
(Postscript Note – I lost four pounds my first weigh in back. Encouraged.)