If you're familiar with Weight Watchers, you know that you have a daily allotment of Points (every food has a Points value. And usually the word "Points" is followed by that little "TM" sign, but I don't have it on the keyboard, so I'm just going to Capitalize it and let you know that that word has been trademarked by Weight Watchers. So I don't get in trouble.) You also have a weekly allotment of extra points that can be used however you see fit, and you can rack up Activity Points by, well, doing activities. Like working out.
I have been borrowing A LOT of points. And I need to cut down. Because the things I have been borrowing Points for are not always the most beneficial. Yes, a treat now and then is, I believe, absolutely necessary, but do I REALLY need (or WANT) a sugar-free caramel brulee latte from Starbucks 5 days a week?
No. I REALLY don't.
Granted, the Points value is low, but still.
The fact is, I don't like them all that much.
And I don't like the effect of all that artificial sweetener on my body.
I'd rather blow those points on pizza night with my family, or on a really good dessert, than on the fake stuff.
Yesterday I decided to not only cut down on the amount of sugar I eat, but also fake sugar. The stuff I already know is bad for me, but has been hard to let go of. I'd already decided to declare diet soda as a once-in-the-while thing, easing towards cutting it out completely, because not only does it have zero nutrition, it may also lead to a STROKE!!!!!!! At least according to a report that came out about 3 weeks ago.
So I have 1 cup of coffee in the morning, and then some unsweetened ice tea later. Lots of water. And I've been hitting the blogosphere for good, healthy recipes: THANK YOU, Heather Eats Almond Butter, Chocolate Covered Katie, Meals & Moves, Carrots-n-Cake, Diet, Dessert, & Dogs, Girl Heroes, Smoothie Girl Eats Too, The Body of a Mother, and SO MANY others!!!!!!!
The great thing is that while I have done WW before, this time I feel different. I'm not exercising simply to accrue more points, or eating crappy, processed diet food, or obsessing endlessly over my numbers. I find myself gravitating towards the things that make me feel good; the whole foods, a nice glass of ice water, recording my activity points AFTER I've done the activity, so I don't fall back into over-exercising.
Yes, the sugar-free gelatin is low in points. But do I really want it? Ugh! No! Eating it takes me right back to being 10 years old and having intestinal flu, when gelatin and Nilla wafers were all I could keep down.
My weight loss has been slow, and fairly steady. Which is good. Sure, there are times when I want to yell at the scale to hurry up and move faster, but I gently remind myself that the number on the scale is simply that; a number. And I think if I didn't have to weight myself as part of the program, I'd ditch the scale entirely.
The funny thing is, I don't panic about it like I used to. The scale is not my enemy. I don't weigh myself daily, and certainly not multiple times a day like I used to while in the throes of my ED. I don't give myself a time limit for when the weight has to be off, or even a goal weight. Because I am stronger and more toned now, and healthier. It's not about how much I weigh, it's about getting rid of the excess baggage, both physical and psychical.
As I go through this, I am working, very slowly, through Marianne Williamson's "A Course in Weight Loss." I wrote about it before, when I was just starting. I'm working my way through a long, involved section dealing with my emotions. It's slow-going, and it's invaluable.
It also makes me think about the speed at which we live our lives. We want, and get, just about everything right away. Sometimes fast can be good: when you're looking at a mini-Everest of Laundry, getting it done as quickly as possible can be a good thing. But there are some things that need time. And when we race through the day trying to finish our to-do list, I think we miss an awful lot.
Yesterday I was in the car driving to work, and being endlessly tailgaited (as you know, one of my pet peeves). One car after another, until they'd give up and switch lanes. Because I was in the slow lane, behind a long line of cars. People were honking and cutting each other off and making rude gestures at each other, and I wondered: does EVERYONE on this freeway have to be somewhere RIGHT NOW? Is it a matter of LIFE AND DEATH? Or are we just impatient? And doesn't it speak volumes about the way we go through life? If the car in the lane next to us signals that it wants to move into our lane, how do we react? Usually by speeding up and making them fight to get in behind us. But what would it cost us to let the car in IN FRONT of us? 10 seconds of time? Yet we act as if they are trying to take something from us, as if there's only so much freeway and not everyone will be able to get on. Driving has become a fiercely competitive sport.
What would happen if we all decided to give ourselves a break and take things slowly? If everyone took our time getting to work ('cause, really, are they gonna fire ALL of us on the same day?), stood patiently in line at Starbucks, focused on one task at a time, were polite, ate slowly, walked more slowly (as long as the weather allowed for it!), gave our full attention when someone spoke to us?
Would we be healthier? Calmer? Less afraid? Our culture seems to be to be based on fear right now: fear of the economy, of losing our jobs, our homes, what is rightfully OURS. And these ARE real, genuine fears. But when we live in a constant state of anxiety, we become unhealthy. Just look at studies in the area of anxiety disorder: constant anxiety produces stress hormones, creating more adrenaline, which keeps us awake at night and gives us, believe it or not, belly fat. So if we can't calm ourselves down for the sake of our health, can we do it for the sake of vanity, at least?
There are many people who benefit from our stress. The diet industry, the pharmaceutical industry, yes, but also politicians and pundits. If they can keep us believing that "the other side" wants to take away our freedom, we will stay fearful and keep watching/ electing them. If we were to cut through the partisan noise, we might just find out that we all have a lot in common and that we all want many of the same things, and the fear would lessen.
That would be bad for ratings.
But maybe, just maybe, the politicians would focus less on pleasing those pundits and work more toward finding solutions.
I'm not holding my breath.
I AM, however, fighting the good fight in my own life. There's not a lot I can do to change the political tone in the country, or control the way others drive, but I can control how I REACT to it all. I can do what is best for me and for my kids. I can try and be compassionate when someone is being a jerk, because they are coming from their own experience and, yes, their own fear.
And I can be compassionate with myself when I forget and screech at the idiot who just cut me off on the freeway.