Friday, March 3, 2017

Why I'm a Quitter...and a Loser...and Proud of it!

Back in July of 2015, I published an intimate post about my personal struggle with weight, and my progression to a more active and healthy lifestyle. Click HERE to read the whole piece about My Fitness Journey. It was emotionally testing to write, but all the love, support, and positive feedback I received from you guys made every sentence worth it.

Fast forward to the present, and I’m staring blankly at the white rectangle of a new word doc., surrounded by an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. I think by now I’ve begun typing, then immediately backspaced at least a dozen times. That’s how it always is though when I want to talk about weight or body image. It can be SUCH a sensitive topic, even when derived from a place of self-love and confidence. But like many of my posts, I write with the hope that someone, somewhere, is having similar thoughts run through their head. That after reading this, they realize; “Oh hey! That’s what I’m going through too!”.

So, let’s jump in, shall we?
Before explaining why I’m a quitter, we need to back it up even further to the Summer of 2011. I had just gotten engaged, landed my first real-world job, moved to Cincinnati, and was the heaviest I’d ever been. With the bonus of an actual income, plus the motivation to fit into a wedding dress, I used my first paycheck to join Weight Watchers. That moment was a key stepping stone to my journey towards a healthy routine, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the program. WW gave me the information I needed to make crucial changes to my diet, and taught me how to live a nutritious lifestyle.

That’s why I quit.

*cue screeching tires*

Let me explain. I’ve been going to meetings, tracking food, counting points, and weighing myself since day one. That’s SIX YEARS I’ve faced the scale week by week, crying in the bathroom at the bad, and jumping for joy at the good. I watched other members come and go...and some even come back again. But I walked into WW with a certain goal-weight in mind, and damn it I was going to get there no matter how long it took. The first year was consistent, and I lost almost 25 pounds. Year two was a little slower, but my grand total finally added up to 30 lbs. During years three and four I found the true definition of a “plateau”, and by year five I had to accept that maybe this weight is just where I’m meant to be.

Around that same year-five-time frame, I noticed my personal goals shifting too. No longer was my focus solely on the scale number, it was more on how I was feeling overall. Was I happy? Did I get my workout in today? Have I been drinking enough water? The importance of exercise, building muscle, giving my body nutrients, THAT was where my attention was.

At the beginning of 2017, I joined a 24-Day Challenge with my gym, to help lose some of that extra holiday padding. During that time, I started using the app MyFitnessPal to keep a better eye on my macros (protein, carbs, and fat), calories burned, and water intake. I had never tracked calories, just points, so the whole experience was new and exciting. MFP helped me realize that for the type of workouts I was doing, my body required a LOT more protein, and I wasn’t consuming enough healthy fats either. I also needed to cut back on fruit, since (while still healthy) they have a decent amount of sugar. Fruit was always zero points in Weight Watchers, and I ate it all the time, so this was a HUGE eye opener for me.
My "bootyful" team at the end of our 24-Day Challenge
After the challenge ended, I continued using MFP and the habits I’d picked up during those 24 days. It wasn’t until the end of February, when I realized I hadn’t opened my WW app in almost two months.


That’s when it hit me, it was time to let go. 

For me, Weight Watchers had become that worn out recording of an old familiar song. And although I wasn't getting lost in the rain (or a pina colada...), I WAS getting tired of walking into my meeting each week, and not accomplishing much in return. needed a new system to measure my successes, because the amount of muscle I was gaining, acted against me on the scale. My fat percentages were going down, but not my weight. I had outgrown the program, and their goals no longer matched my own.

To say I didn't cry a little, after telling my WW leader I was leaving, would be a lie. For almost six years I'd invested so much time and emotion, it felt like a giant ordeal to be walking away. But what put my mind at ease, was that ever-growing fire of confidence, that the program lit inside me long ago. 

So as of March 1st, 2017, I am officially a quitter. I am a quitter because Weight Watchers made me a loser. A loser of weight, but a gainer of knowledge to continue living a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.

And THAT is something to be proud of.