I mention this because there are a bunch of people at work who have recently started a Weight Watchers program, and I listen to them talk about what they've been eating, and nothing sounds like what you see on that plate -- 4 ounces of strip steak, marinated in Worcestershire sauce, with ¾ cup of roasted Dutch yellow baby potatoes and 1 cup of fresh steamed green beans, both with lemon vinaigrette.
No, what I am hearing from the WW crowd is stuff like "brown rice" and "plain broiled chicken" and "no dressing" and "cabbage soup" and "popcorn" and "rice cakes." And I wonder to myself, every time I hear certain buzzwords, "WHY? Who eats THAT?" Who can get excited about a menu that doesn't sound like it tastes very good? I mean, I love microwave popcorn as much as the next person, and I even go through phases where I am borderline obsessed with it, but I don't think I have ever once eaten it for breakfast because it's a "filling food."
That is not to say that I am opposed to WW, or that I think it is bad, or anything like that, because believe me, I am an old-timer. I have been around the block a time or two. Like most women my age, I have spent a good portion of my adult like on some kind of weight-loss plan, and WW is one that works for a whole lot of people. WW worked for me at one point -- more than once, actually. It's a good program, based on very solid, very important ideas that have been proven to be effective in many, many cases. My co-workers are already having some success following the WW plan.
It's just that it isn't what I want to do right now. Right now, ten-and-a-half weeks into a diet that I "developed" myself but that references several important WW concepts, like drinking lots of water and getting maximum volume for minimum calories, right now I can't imagine going back to eating that way. Because I remember doing WW, and I don't remember ever feeling so satisfied, ever, as I did after eating my dinner last night.
When I started this diet, it wasn't supposed to be a weight-loss plan, or at least not immediately. I said back in May, when I implemented this "12-Week 12-Step Plan": "I do not really have a goal here, beyond the generic 'eating better and being healthier.' ... I am more interested in making positive changes and sticking to them than I am in hitting a specific target." The "12-Step" part of the plan was kind of a giveaway -- I didn't explicitly mention it then, but I was very concerned about my caffeine consumption, which was one of the big triggers for starting in the first place.
I also had other concerns that I did not mention at the time, which were big driving forces behind the plan I put together (i.e., small changes, one week at a time, adding up to what amounted to a really significant reduction in calories). I worry about high-fructose corn syrup, and genetically-modified foods, and artificial sweeteners, and salt. I didn't want to go jumping with both feet into a diet that was equally-but-differently as bad for me as what I started with.
But mostly, I am cheap and lazy and didn't want to have to buy or plan or cook anything "special." I didn't want to fill the fridge with stuff I don't want my kid to eat. And I certainly didn't want someone to look at my lunch bag in the office fridge and immediately say: "This is diet food." I just wanted it to look like I was just trying to save money by packing a lunch. In the beginning, I was pretty quiet about my goals. I didn’t announce that I was on a diet. I just … stopped snacking and drinking so much Mountain Dew.
Whether it was conscious or subconscious, I wanted to prove to myself that given enough time and enough discipline, it was totally possible to lose weight while eating, every day, the same stuff that I was always eating, all along. I just recently started actually tracking calories so that I can keep making changes and reductions, to keep up the slow-but-steady pace. That's kind of what WW is all about, but I feel more proud of what I have already done because I did it "my" way, and I didn't have to do any fancy math, or learn any secret tricks, or ever feel that I was suffering or sacrificing anything. And I definitely didn't ever have to eat a frickin' rice cake.
This morning, when I got dressed, I put on a pair of pants that were shoved in the way-back recesses of my closet. I can't remember when the last time was that I wore these pants, but I'm pretty sure they got phased out of the regular rotation because they were too tight and uncomfortable. They're not my "skinny pants," or anything remotely like them, but they're a size smaller than what I was wearing when I started, and these are going to be too big soon. Maybe not for another month or so, but soon enough.
And it might be kind of hard to believe, but I'll be able to keep this up for a lot while longer (my goal is to lose another 100+ lbs. before I stop) because I have a very different idea of what constitutes diet food than other people I know.