Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Weight Watchers is too restrictive

We met more than 11 years ago on the banks of the credit river at the Don Rowing Club. My friend has soft, curly, long, brown (occasionally blonde) hair, and a huge smile that shows off her high cheekbones.

We are both athletic in nature. We’d rather be training for a 5 or 10 K run or a rowing or dragon boating regatta than spending time on an elliptical machine in the gym. Over the years, we’ve laughed, cried and chatted about everything from boys and career plans to friends and family, to fitness and our mutual subject of obsession, weight.

Both of our waistlines have been expanding over the years. Up and down our weight has gone; through cycles of dieting and overeating; on or off Weight Watchers; training for an athletic event or lazing on the couch just talking about it. I’m a lot bigger than her (my weight gain exploded during my two pregnancies) but for both of us, traditional dieting had become increasingly difficult.

She was very interested when I talked to her about what I was learning about my eating issues in cognitive therapy. We talked about how restricting yourself on a diet damages the psychology of your eating; anxiety and how it triggers hunger; and how dieting, following the all or nothing rules, results in anxious and guilt-ridden feelings triggering binges and episodes of overeating. We talked how it made so much sense and she is one of my friends supporting my blog.

This spring, in a bid to lose weight again, she decided to register for the online Weight Watchers program. For a couple of months, she’s basically gained and lost the same 2 pounds. Finally, she talked to her therapist about it.

“Weight Watchers in too restrictive for you,” her therapist told her.

In order to change her relationship with food, she told her that she needs to want to make a change and she needs to believe in herself. Her therapist left her with a couple of to do’s: introduce off limit foods back into rotation (such as chips, chocolate and cookies) and develop self-trust by setting and completing daily tasks.

I asked her about what she meant about self-trust. Her therapist told her that she puts her trust into Weight Watchers rather than trusting herself to lose weight. I have to admit, that was a little a-ha moment for myself too, because even a year ago I would have told you that I absolutely, under no other circumstances, would I even attempt to lose weight without some sort of structured, traditional, weight loss program. There was no way I could lose weight without Weight Watchers. A year later, I’m doing it, I’m losing weight without Weight Watchers (albeit at a much slower pace) and the intense craving for junk food has decreased significantly.

So my dear friend, I think you are now well on your way to figuring out your own eating/food puzzle. I remember telling you that I sort of wished that I had lost weight on Weight Watchers and then figured out my eating issues with a cognitive therapist. But I think I would have run into the same dieting firewall as you. Dieting would be impossible, and like you, I would have gained and lost the same two pounds over and over again.


  1. I love your posts. I just sat and read every last one, haha. :) Just thought I'd share!

  2. Thanks so much Rae Rae! I actually have been working on an email to you today. I was worried about a comment from one of your readers, but I just read your ass-kickin' rant about the ignorant twitter post. Totally agree with you!! KLA

  3. After years of trying many, many methods for weight lose I have to say I find WW the least restrictive in terms of a structured diet. I think it is because they work on a point system and for the most part I don't feel deprived because I can use my "extra" points to satisfy a craving. With that said, I understand the frustration of your friend because recently I have been stagnating. I will gain a couple of pounds one week and then I am down three the next.

    I've decided to switch up my exercise regime and see if that helps in terms of tracking my hunger pangs, etc. Also - lots of water in this weather is mandatory and as you pointed out to me - I may be dehydrated. Anyway - I am giving the WW online version until the end of the year to see how I feel about it then.

    By they way - I totally agree with Rae Rae in that I LOVE your posts. You are a great writer and extremely helpful...


Thanks for your comments, I love to hear what you have to say. While you are here, why don't you follow my blog too.

Also: I'm starting to get spam, so I've made the decision to moderate comments (unfortunately).