Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pull up a chair...

Yes, it's me! I'm back. It has been awhile, but I've been kind of busy with life. I had a son that went to prom....



and a reunion with spectacular high school friends.

So life has been kinda hectic. In a fun way.

As most of you know, I've been dutifully reporting for weigh-ins on Sunday mornings at my local Weight Watchers. Since you likely have never been to a WW meeting, I thought I'd invite you to join me, inside my own head (where I'm guilty sometimes of spending WAY too much time) to pull up a chair and take it all in, from my perspective. Admit it, you've wondered what goes on behind that store front.

First off, just to give you the idea of the setting, this is my local Weight Watchers. For me, a necessary evil.



This, however, is completely UNNECESSARY and very evil.



What commercial real estate broker thought it would be ironically funny to rent out space to a BAKERY, right next to Weight Watchers? Someone who apparently never struggled with their weight. I'm not even going to show you the 180 degree view of this location. I will tell you that it includes a bistro, Chinese take-out, an Italian restaurant, McDonald's, Chili's and Taco Bell. Not that I've really ever noticed.

So upon arrival, you are greeted by three smiling ladies, eager to grab your $12 and have you hop on the scale. They have conveniently placed chairs next to each scale, because disrobing is not at all unusual. Ladies are peeling off their jackets, shoes, keys from pockets, emptying loose change. I even saw one lady pluck her eyebrows before weighing in. From someone who has, in all honesty, considered a pre-meeting enema on many occasions, I'm not here to judge.

Your representative will scan your record book as you step on the scale. This is right about the time I start hearing the Jeopardy theme music playing in my head. I look at her face and try to read her expression. Wait, why is she furrowing her brow? Great. Now she's squinting. I gained. I know it. But last week's topic was "Stop the Negative Self-Talk", so I need to get positive here....and QUICK.

Hold on, now her eyes just got kinda bulgy. Either she has the new onset of a thyroid condition or I have just set a Weight Watchers World Record! GO. ME. I TOTALLY kicked butt and lost like 18 pounds in a week, didn't I? I knew it! I am a Weight Watchers MAS-TAH'. Go ahead, hit me with the digits lady, cause I've got some random dance moves to celebrate that you will NOT believe. Okay, why is she still clicking that mouse? I bet she's deleting my weight loss! Because she'd have to give me a free box of Smoothie Mix for my efforts and she just doesn't want to put out! She absolutely is! UN-REAL. I knew this place sucked. It always has. I'm quitting...I'm quitting as soon as ....

WHAT? I lost 4.3 pounds? Oh. Em. Gee. No way! I ask to jump the counter and hug her. She giggles, but politely declines. That's okay. I'm not letting that Gloomy Gus bring me down. I mean, who doesn't like a free hug from a skinnier person? (Skinnier being a relative term.) I get my book back, put my pants, shirt, and undergarments back on, and head on into the meeting room, my head held high. And really, I don't mean to brag, but I SO don't need to stay for the meeting. Obviously, I've got it completely figured out. Hello? 4.3 pounds! But since the leader has gone to all the trouble of planning and gathering materials, I guess I'll hang. Plus I know that all the kids at home right now are probably yelling out their breakfast orders, so Mamma's gonna stay put.

The leader goes to the front of the room and begins her topic. She often has a chart or some information to share. Luckily, I really LOVE this leader. She's got a great sense of humor which, to me, is CRUCIAL. I mean, she could be 850 pounds and gaining, and I'd still consider her to be a great leader if she made me laugh. And frankly, I see nothing wrong with that.

As she proceeds into her presentation, she'll often make open-ended remarks, waiting for a response from the group. As hard as this may be to imagine, 99% of the time, I say nothing. I'm actually quite shy when it comes to public speaking of any sort. I'd rather be the listener. Plus, I usually have so much witty banter going on between the voices in my own head, I need to keep my mouth shut so I can focus.

I've noticed there are others, however, who are BIG TIME into sharing. I know the philosophy is that we learn from others, but there comes a point when I just don't want to hear from you anymore. That may sound harsh, but I also know that all of you have been in a meeting at work or elsewhere where the "teacher's pet" insists on over-sharing. Like, they have no filter. They don't even realize that the rest of us are sitting there because it is ALL about them.

There is one over-sharing lady in my group who was there the last time I joined Weight Watchers...THREE YEARS AGO. Yep, she's still showing up. By my calculations, she has paid $5,250 to lose 11 pounds. While she may get high marks for persistence, three years into it, do you REALLY think it's wise to tell everyone how you ONLY eat steamed vegetables and you hike 5 miles every single day? I mean, I'm not saying you're lying. But you are. Because if you really did that, you'd be rockin' the size 6, sister.

Then you have the men. I happen to love the men that go to meetings. All three of them. One is an older man who is a truck drivin', motorcycle ridin', lifetime WW member. He's usually quiet, but when he does have a remark, it's STELLAR. It's like he saves up his wit and then just smacks us with it. He's still struggling, but he's still attending. I like that about him. I also like that I saw him at Panera after one of our meetings.

I'm not trying to rob the men of their accomplishments, but we all know that men lose weight differently than women. Obviously Weight Watchers knows it too, because they give them a free 8 points just for having a third leg. What the hell? That doesn't seem fair to me. I mean, I'm carrying around two somewhat heavier breasts (well, maybe not heavier than the fella in the third row, but still) AND a uterus that bore four human beings. Shouldn't that count for something? A point maybe? Come ON.

My adoration for these metrosexuals who are manly enough to join WW ends, however, when they decide to raise their hands and share. "Hi, everyone. I'm Jim and I only lost 7 pounds this week, but I'm not giving up!" (insert unenthusiastic clapping from one participant, who I think may be drunk, and the leader.) Okay, did he just say SEVEN pounds in one week? And I did NOT just hear him say "ONLY". Well, guess what, JIMMY...I only lost 1.2 pounds last week. And I was proud of it until you opened your pie hole and had to announce your so-called failure. So, you know what buddy? Bite me. Isn't there some fishing show you could be at home watching? And by the way, I hope you lost that ENTIRE 7 pounds, and a few inches, in the only place a man doesn't want to.

Believe it or not, some of these men are accompanied by their wives. This is a strange, strange phenomenon to me. Part of me thinks it's kinda cute. But most of me thinks it's sick and delusional. And are you ready for this? Last week I even saw a woman open her book, turn to the page with her weight, and VOLUNTARILY show it to her husband. What kind of dysfunctional relationship is THAT? I'd rather be kidnapped and held hostage in a dirty hotel room by terrorists than to have my husband know my weight and put it on a missing poster. But if that kind of closeness, sharing, emotional support, and kindness works for them, WHAT-EVER.

Last, but certainly not least, is the "I've got an excuse" member. There's one in every group, except for Sundays when there are about four. If I sucked at WW that week and ate an entire sleeve of Oreos in my car on the way to work because I was PMS'ing, I would keep that to myself. I mean, is that something you want to broadcast? For some, apparently yes. Shortly after that confession, she throws in how she can't help that she went over her points because a pregnant coworker had a baby shower, and then her Uncle had his bunions removed and she had to visit him in the hospital and all she could eat was from a vending machine and...(just about now is where the excuse-maker's voice morphs into the voice of the teacher on Charlie Brown). I mean, when the group starts pilfering their purses for some high calorie contraband, it may be time to end your story. If not then, how about when you hear the sticky name tag labels being peeled from shirts and the lights are being turned off? Either one.

The meetings end with the leader grabbing her little tray of "rewards" and asking who needs recognition. I understand the concept of positive reinforcement, and certainly we all like to get credit for our hard work from time-to-time. Like maybe when you lose 5% or 10% of your body weight, or when you've hit a 25 or 50 pound milestone. But when she says, "Who needs a bravo because they are just happy to be here?" I think you need to slither on out the door quietly. As a grown woman, do you REALLY need a little green star sticker for putting your tush in the car and hauling it to a 30 minute meeting? Really? Cause that's a bit much. And a bit ridiculous. Move along.

Since I hate to end on a sarcastic, biting note (well, not really but the peace and harmony part of me who is trying to be a better person is bringing on the guilt), I will say that even with the cast of characters, and the over-priced crappy snacks they peddle, Weight Watchers IS working for me. I've shed 24 pounds thus far and I'm still motivated to melt away more. I know it's not for everyone. But for me it's accountability, it's educational, it's motivational and, above all, it's entertainment for all those voices in my head.

10 comments:

Misti said...

Way to go on the 24 pounds! Love this post! I'm a WW member (again), but haven't been in a few weeks. I enjoyed your step by step of the meeting & wouldn't you know... it's that way at mine too! LOL Keep up the good work!

mcscraps5 said...

Great post today! Loved it!!

mcscraps5 said...

Great post! Loved it !!

rockspringmama said...

Damn, girl!! Suddenly I'm not sure I should sit next to you at WW anymore! At least I'll keep my mouth shut :)

Seriously, you are rockin' the program. CONGRATS!!! I'm still plugging along...and yes, I always have some "fun" excuse...after reading this I think you should just come over here and kick my butt! Oh well, I'll get there in my own time. See ya' Sunday.

Kerry said...

I so love reading your posts! And you LOOKED GREAT last weekend! And you looked like you "gelt" great too!!
Thanks so much for sharing Steph!!

Krys72599 said...

Oh my, I found you after Cathy Zielski tweeted about your blog, and I must say, I'm a new fan!
I will be catching up and visiting on a regular basis.
I, too, am a WW-er. And I, too, have thought some of the same thoughts you have, but I must admit, I spewed my diet Dr. Pepper all over my keyboard at the following mentions: the bakery next to the WW center, wanting to stay for the meeting when you've lost your 4.3 pounds (but not when you haven't, which, btw, is when you need to!), the voices in your own head, the Panera mention (there's a group of us who goes to Panera after WW EVERY.SINGLE.SATURDAY.MORNING), that man's third leg and your somewhat heavier breasts, and finally not showing your husband your WW book and allowing him to put your weight on a missing poster (especially since I weigh 20-30 pounds heavier than my too healthy husband!).
Oh, wait a minute, that's your whole entire post!
Okay, I'm a new fan!

Wendy said...

I adore your blog. We have 2 WW meetings a week inour lil town, and they are both on Thursday. You'd think that the 10 am class were on bighugfe family, Scary, really. And I've joined, went 2 weeks, skipped two weeks, and um, well I'm proud to say I DID NOT GAIN A POUND!
Gotta start counting those point!

Niki said...

Great job - keep it up.
BTW, i totally have running commentary in my head, too, so it is nice to hear that i'm not alone.

Quilted Cupcake said...

GIRL! CZ be tweeting about you? No Way! Where have I been? That's so cool. Congrats on your WW success - and another fine blog post!
Jean

CIE said...

hi! would you be willing to let me use the photo of the ww next to the bakery? I will of course credit your blog. thanks!!
annie