I injured my shoulder a while ago playing ping-pong. You are probably thinking “How in the world can you injure your shoulder playing a harmless game of a ping-pong?” If you have a couple of cocktails and swing too hard, that’s how. I finally dragged myself to the doctor and found out that I cannot lift weights for about 6-8 months after I am finished with physical therapy.
Not being able to lift weights was the worst news I could possibly expect. I got so upset about it that I stopped going to the gym. If you remember from my previous post, I hate cardio. So, pounding endless miles on the treadmill was not really an option for me. In a couple of weeks of not working out, I started gaining weight at a fast and steady rate. I went back to the gym and worked out like crazy on elliptical without reducing any body fat I accumulated over the weeks of self-pity. A cold realization hit me – my dietary habits required a very thorough and close re-evaluation.
So what is a girl to do if she doesn’t want to work out but wants to shed some pounds? Diet! I don’t believe in diets because they limit consumption of certain nutrients (protein, carbs) or food groups. Diets seems to fight against what your body needs to function most efficiently. Also, I believe that diets cause a loss of lean muscle and ultimately reduce our metabolism. Did you notice how fast people put their weight back after they are done dieting?
I contemplated all of this and decided that I need to have a better accountability of what I eat and what portions I consume. So, I signed up with Weight Watchers. I liked the idea of Weight Watchers because the program lets you eat anything you want, it makes you think about your food quality, portion size, and it teaches you to prioritize your food choices. Immediately I learned that I am used to overeating, especially if I eat something delicious. You know how difficult it is to stop eating when something tastes so good, and it seems that you can eat, and eat, and eat … until your belly almost bursts.
We shop for food responsibly and selectively, trying to buy nutritious, quality food. As it appeared after one day of starvation trying to follow the Weight Watchers prescribed 22 points a day, our refrigerator at home did not contain any filling foods such as almonds, carrots, grapes, whole-grain crackers, hummus and low fat cheese. I ran to the store and got carrots instead of my usual Luna snack bar.
On day 3 of my Weight Watchers ordeal I ate a cup of cereal and a toast of wheat bread with a sprinkle of peanut butter for breakfast. On the way to work I was craving a latte and since I am not a very strong person when it comes to food cravings, I gave in to my desire. The latte kept me going for a couple of hours but by ten o’clock I was starving and feeling weak. I ate a bunch of carrots that were supposed to be a satisfying food. Unfortunately for me the carrots did not fill me up. I was still feeling weak. So, I ate six crackers that my co-worker generously gave me after seeing my desperate and hungry eyes.
By lunch time I was dreaming about a rib-eye, French fries and a slice of chocolate cake. Just before I got a chicken pot pie and a piece of apple pie from the cafeteria at work, I cancelled my Weight Watchers membership.
I never was obsessed with food until I signed up with Weight Watchers. Constant point counting and thinking about food made me feel awkward and hungry. The Weight Watchers helped me realized that sometimes we eat too much and not the healthiest foods. But I also realized that if you reduce your food intake, count carrots, crackers and grapes, sooner or later you will start obsessing about food.
The obsession that you will develop will not be about good, nutritious, healthy food. You will start noticing pastries, donuts, bagels everywhere. You will stare at happy people eating juicy hamburgers on benches in the park. You will inhale the delicious smell of your co-worker’s lunch and wish it would be yours.
I know people who love Weight Watchers. The program worked for them in the best possible way: they lost weight, they learned all the right eating habits, and they figured out how to prioritize their food choices. However, I have yet to meet a Weight Watcher who didn’t gain any weight back after finishing the program. If you are depriving yourself from things that you like, sooner than later you will attempt to catch up with all the lost opportunities and voilà – you will be back to the Weight Watchers losing weight. Again.
As far as my life goes, I am back to the gym.