Do you know why my blog is called Losing It? It's not only because this life is such a wild and crazy busy ride that I often feel like I'm losing my marbles, although that's a convenient coincidence as it turns out.
Many of you likely don't remember, but way back in May 2006 when I started this blog, it was called "An Urban Mom's Weight Loss Diary". On the day I started my blog, I tipped the scales at a scary 217.2 pounds, and over the course of my very successful journey with Weight Watchers, I lost slightly more than fifty pounds and managed to keep most of it off for several years before dropping out of the program just a few pounds shy of my goal weight.
But this is not the pretty kind of before and after story. Maybe it should actually be a before and after and before again kinda story:
BEFORE: At my heaviest, about 18 months after the birth of my second daughter.
AFTER: At my thinnest, in 2008.
BEFORE AGAIN: December 2012
The truth is, I'm an emotional eater. And in the past four years, I've run the gamut of negative emotions - I sat helplessly by as my mother died of cancer, and then discovered that losing your mother isn't in fact the worst pain a person can endure as I agonized and fought to save both my marriage and myself. In the end, only one of us would survive that fight, and I came out on the other side to face alone the struggles of single motherhood and the serious and ongoing illness of a child.
So yes. I've eaten my way out of more than one depression, thank you very much. And just as the stretchmarks on my belly are the battle scars of motherhood, the extra pounds on my body are the battle scars of other struggles, just as intense and ultimately rewarding. Still: they're not a badge I wear with honour, but one I'd rather do without, thank you very much.
Now, unlike many women I know, I am quite comfortable with my self as a larger woman, and I don't obsess (anymore) about being model-skinny. I don't work out like crazy and I don't beat myself up over the odd dietary indulgence or glass of wine. I actually think I have a pretty balanced perspective.
I know I'm very, very happy in the 175-185 range and that 185 pounds is my upper limit for comfort and happiness, and yet I can't even see 185 in the rearview mirror. I slowly crept towards and past that limit and although I'm still a good 20 pounds shy of my heaviest weight (the first before picture), I'm also well above my personal "healthy and happy" range. I feel gross and sluggish and ugly. And I don't like that.
So what's a gal to do? If you cared to go back and read every blog entry I've written since May 2006, you'd see that I've tried a lot of different approaches to weight loss. But here's what it comes back to for me. The one that worked, the one that clicked, the one that was most right for me? That was Weight Watchers. So get ready 2013, because I'll be kicking it old school with some brand new research to back me up in the next phase of my weight loss journey.
You know where I said I'm an emotional eater? Yeah, that. Well Weight Watchers has done a lot of research recently on the concept of "hedonic hunger", (or eating for pleasure). This explains why, in the words of Karen Miller-Kovach, Chief Scientific Officer, Weight Watchers International, "it's human nature for you to eat a healthy and satisfying meal, but then not be able to resist that piece of chocolate cake."
Unbelievably, a study has shown that food is so easily accessible that the average person makes over 200 food-related decisions every day, but is only aware of approximately 15 of them. Because we are biologically-programmed to choose fattier, saltier or sweeter foods, and are inundated with so many choices, we are actually pre-disposed to making unhealthy decisions.
So how will this help me? Well, it turns out that - like all humans - I'm prone to hedonic hunger. These folks indicated that weekday evenings are when they desire unhealthy foods the most, listing potato chips and chocolate as the foods they find most tempting. Forty-one per cent cited "I like the taste" as the main reason for eating unhealthy foods. Well, obviously. Why else would I eat Salt & Vinegar chips? I'm not an idiot - I know they're terrible for me in pretty much every way - and yet I still reach for them over and over again. It's like I have NO. WILLPOWER.
But here's the thing, according to Weight Watchers, willpower is a myth. I know, right? All these years I've been beating myself up for not having it, and the thing turns out to be a myth! So anyway, Weight Watchers plans to debunk the willpower myth and tackle hedonic hunger head on. How? They have a
new program for 2013: the 360° program. It builds on the PointsPlus® plan I had such great success with, but also includes new strategies and tools to help establish healthy habits.
So there you have it - I'll be starting off the new year on the right footing, putting this new research on hedonics to the test and getting myself back to where I like to be - in my happy range.
You gonna come along on the journey with me?