Achieving Lifetime – Welcome to More of the Same

Lifetime

On Saturday, August 16th,  I achieved something I wasn’t certain I would ever achieve; Lifetime Status at Weight Watchers!  While it is a time for celebrating; it is a time for reflecting. I will admit, I was more excited to reach Lifetime than achieving my weight loss goal.  But this is not only a time to celebrate but a time to reflect.

Facing the Scale aka Reality Check

When my brand new digital scale arrived,  it was my time to confront and face the consequences of a few years of poor eating and not much body movement.  My facing the scale happened on January 23, 2013.  To say I was horrified would be an understatement. My thinking had been, avoid the scale and the problem doesn’t really exist.  I had guessed at my weight to create an online account on the Weight Watchers Website.  I found out what a poor guesser I really was!  (This is why weighing and  measuring food portions was crucial for me.)  I had under-guessed my weight by twenty-five pounds.  Talk about a shocker!  Seeing that incredibly huge number on the scale was a disheartening but unlike my past behavior I did not let those negative feelings of self-loathing, anger and disappointment drive me to the refrigerator and pantry for comfort!  Instead, I chose to use those negative feelings to ignite a fire of determination to propel me forward!  I let that awful feeling come back when I felt I was losing my laser-like focus or being tempted to eat/drink something that would not help me to achieve my goal of feeling better (getting healthy).

After 17 months and 12 days, I achieved my Weight Watcher Goal Weight.  In a way, it was anti-climatic. Sure I was happy and thrilled but then it hit me.  The realization that I wasn’t needing to be driven to lose more.  Now what?  Panic started to set in.  I seemed to only know how to lose weight or gain weight.  I didn’t know the “middle” ground of maintaining.  My weight had fluctuated all my life.  I was either up or down.  Now I was terrified of the “middle” the “average” the “same.”   Maintaining my weight is new territory for me.

Maintenance

In Weight Watchers Maintenance,after reaching your goal weight,  you are required to stay within 2 pounds of your goal weight for six weeks.  You have to weigh in within two pounds of your goal twice during the six weeks. The very week after I reached goal, I weighed in and lost 3.2 lbs.!  This loss put me under my goal weight by 4 pounds!  This caused another panic to set in.  it.   To get back within my two pounds of my goal weight, my mind had to change gears from not just maintaining weight but now gaining weight to make my maintenance weigh ins!  Talk about a switch up!

Another part of maintenance is to start increasing the amount of food you eat to reach a “balance.”   They suggest adding 2-6 points back to your allowance.  I had forgotten to add back points the first week.  The second week, I added 4 points plus per day back to my total which helped level things out.  The third week I added 2 more points plus to my day.    I am now eating six points additional a day and it seems to be working fairly well, I might have to “tweak” that number a bit.  Other Weight Watcher Life-timers have told me they flux between 30-36 points a day, depending on activity levels.  I will admit I love having the flexibility!

The head being set right is 99% of weight loss from what I can see now I have had to switch my head from weight loss, to weight maintaining to weight gaining all in the space of two weeks! At some points, I felt I didn’t know which way to turn!  I started allowing myself to have a good breakfast before the Weight Watchers meeting, and allowed myself start adding points back to my daily points allowance.  It was so right, but in some ways felt so wrong!   It worked and out of the six weigh ins I was within my goal weight range three of the six weeks!

Welcome to More of the Same

Something was said at that meeting where I reached goal which has proven to be so true!   “Welcome to more of the same!”  Reaching goal and Lifetime isn’t the end of the Weight Watchers Road; it is a milestone in a journey which continues.  A “logic” says but you reached your goal, you shouldn’t have to “count/track” anything anymore.  Really?  I have reflected, when in my life I did not count/track and what was the result?  I became extremely overweight and unhealthy!  The “real” logic says if I do not want to become morbidly obese and unhealthy again, I must continue to each properly, count/track everything, and keep my body moving!  Reaching your goal isn’t the end of the story.  Now it is the time for due diligence to “protect the loss.”

The Next Chapter, Protecting the Loss

One of my next personal goals, is to create my own list of ways I can keep on protecting the loss. How much differently will that list look from the weight loss mantras I have kept in my head for the past 17 months and counting?

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Steps to Accepting your Body and Improving your Body Image

We all have body image issues for many reasons.  We all have to find ways to accept and love our bodies no matter what shape they are in.  Here are some suggestions that might help you to get in touch with your body and become more self-accepting of your body as it is now.

Steps to accepting your body:

  • Start small. Look and find one thing, no matter how small, you like and appreciate about your body.
  • Appreciate your body and all it can do. Appreciate the changes as you age and change. Base your self-image and self-esteem to match current strengths not those of days gone past.
  • Remind yourself what “true” beauty is it is more than how you look!
  • Look at yourself as a whole person.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Shut down your negative thoughts and inaccurate thinking! Give yourself positive affirmations! Work to change thought patterns.  (self-put-downs, mistaking feelings for facts, jumping to negative conclusions, changing a positive into a negative, all or nothing thinking, seeing and dwelling on only the negatives)
  • Dress nicely. Wear clothes that make you feel good about your body.
  • View social and media messages through critical eyes. Write letters of protest to the advertiser. Reframe your thinking about what media communicates to you.  “Basically, you have the power to override what you see in the media and create your own image of what’s beautiful.  “Focus on health and fitness rather than aesthetics.”  Adam Farrah, certified trainer and cofounder of the “Strong is the New Skinny” social-media campaign.
  • Do something good for yourself. Reward yourself when you succeed.
  • Channel extra time and energy into helping others. Reaching out to others can help you feel better about yourself and help create positive change in the world. Take time to compliment other people.
  • Dance and Movement Therapy help one to develop a greater appreciate and trust of one’s body.
  • Practice good personal hygiene.
  • Practice good posture.
  • Work out regularly.
  • Sit in the front row.
  • Speak up.
  • Walk faster.
  • Set aside perfection and grab a hold of accomplishments and Mistakes. Learn from your failures and face your fears. Forgive yourself.
  • Explore yourself. Take a self-esteem inventory.  List 10 strengths on one side of a paper and 10 weaknesses on the other. Push and find all ten Strengths! Make a list of the top ten things you like about yourself that is not related to weight or physical appearance.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Become a better version of yourself. You are unique! Cherish your body’s uniqueness. Others lives might look greener but the reality can be totally different. “Only 2% of all the women in the world fall into the supermodel category.  That leaves a lot of room for the rest of us!”  Denise Martz, a clinical health psychologist.  “Seventy-eight percent of women survey said they wished they could wear a smaller size—even the ones who were already a size 8.”  Denise Martz  The Average fashion model is 5 feet 8 inches and measures 34-24-34 (women) and men are 6 feet or taller with a 40 inch chest and chiseled body.  99% of us we cannot obtain those measurements. “Celebrity life is not real life.” Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, Psychologist and Physical Therapist.
  • Culture can have a negative effect on a woman’s self-esteem. Women are doted on because of their looks as children whereas boys are touted for being smart and strong.

 

Test your body image from SparkPeople: HERE

How Healthy Is Your Body Image?

When you’re on good terms with your body, it shows. Here are some signs you’re on the right track: (I wish I could find where I found these!)

  1. When someone compliments you on your appearance or fitness, you’re gracious and accept the compliment as authentic.
  2. You prefer to wear clothes that highlight your form rather than hide it.
  3. It is not hard to find an outfit in which you feel comfortable and attractive.
  4. You rarely compare yourself with others. You recognize that you are unique.
  5. You can admire another person’s physique without silently criticizing or judging your own.
  6. When you pass by a mirror or storefront window, you don’t stop and nitpick your appearance; you might even give yourself an approving nod.
  7. You can name several parts of your body that you genuinely like and appreciate.
  8. If you put on (or lose) a little weight, you can note it matter-of-factly, without undue anxiety or stubborn denial.
  9. You are more focused on optimizing your health, fitness and confidence than on achieving a particular weight or “look.”
  10. You are not comparing yourself with others.

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