Monthly Archives: March 2013

Confessions of a Cheater

shhhhh

“This Weight Watcher’s point-tracking app is great,” my husband said three days after he’d joined. He walked into the kitchen with his nose buried in his Smartphone. “It even has a scanner.”

“To scan what?” I snorted. “Your weight?”

“No.” He didn’t look up. “Points. On the food packing you can scan the bar codes and get the points.”

“Hmmm. Cool.”

His high interest in tracking and commitment to weight loss made me worry. I’d been on and off the popular plan for close to thirty years. What if he got all skinny and joined Jennifer Hudson as the new spokesperson while I squandered in the background cheating my way through life?

Yes. I’m a cheater. Not the kind who sneaks around with other men, but the kind who lies to herself about what she’s been eating.

In my twenties, I could get away with the lies and still lose weight. My metabolism pumped with the vigor of Jack LaLanne on steroids. To lose weight, all I had to do was eat a little less, crank up the Jane Fonda workout video and “feel the burn.”

The “unrecorded” slice of turkey breast casually popped into my mouth while weighing two ounces, extra knife-dip in the peanut butter jar after carefully measuring a level teaspoon and untracked donut holes from the office break room didn’t sabotage my efforts one bit. For the record, I ate those donut holes as a public service. They’re like broken cookies, right? Why throw them out?

Yet conventional wisdom told me that with age, weight loss would be harder.  And never has that been more obvious to me now, at the age of fifty-three.

Three months ago, I rejoined Weight Watchers again after putting on a few pounds. I again followed my loosey-goosey tracking system. Worked in the past, right?

The results were eye-opening and worse than I’d ever imagined. Not only didn’t I lose anything…I gained. YIKES!

Seemed my old methods of tracking — if you can even call it that — had failed me. What would it take for me to start some honest record keeping?

My husband becoming a member, that’s what.

Shame and a little healthy competition sent me straight to my Smartphone. I immediately downloaded the apps. By the end of day one, I’d learned something. These tools were more fun than tracking on paper.

The first week, I didn’t stress about following the diet plan. But I did track my food. REALLY tracked my food. Donut holes and all. The result: Mindfulness settled in with the hard-core facts. I must’ve eaten less because I dropped half a pound.

The second week I got serious. I tried to stay within my daily food range, give or take a growling stomach moment or two. Going to bed hungry wasn’t an option, but if I went over my daily allowance, I tracked it. The result: Down another 1 ½ pounds.

It’s the end of week four. I’m down about 5 pounds. Not Guinness World Records book weight loss, but better than I was doing before. In the thirty odd years I’ve been in and out of Weight Watchers, the truth is I’ve never tracked my food intake for an entire month straight.

Over all the years that I’ve attended Weight Watchers meetings, one remark heard time and time again from the real “losers” is how they religiously write down what they eat. I failed to understand why it worked, but now I do. I record it, I own it. Guilt disappears, perspective is gained. Indulging in more bad choices doesn’t happen when the actual damage is obvious…and not as bad as I’d thought.

I’m no longer feeling like the adulterous of diets. Hank Williams may have sung that “your cheating heart will make you weep,” but my cheating heart will no longer overeat. But if it does, it’ll make sure to write it down.

Any other tales of cheating out there? What motivates you to eat healthy and exercise?