The Most Critical Concept I Learned from Weight Watchers

Six months ago I joined Weight Watchers for the second time.  Always a competitor, I’d become a lifetime member (being within 2 pounds of my goal weight) almost 15 years earlier and let it go to pot over a decade and a half.  I was back up to 207.4 pounds, a good 57 pounds over my ideal weight.

(Well, maybe not my ideal weight, I consider that 118 pounds, the size I was as a senior in high school wearing my short cheerleading skirt and eating Cheetos and pizza to my hearts content.)

It was time to tackle the monster.  I didn’t want to.

Jennifer Hudson was singing Believe all over the television and flaunting her 80 pound weight loss and her svelte body.  Then, I ran across a personal fitness trainer named Drew who had gained 75 pounds so that he could know what it felt like to be fat.  His clients were always saying to him “you don’t know what it’s like.”  He didn’t.  He lost all 75 pounds in typical personal trainer fashion.  (See his story at  Jared was still eating Subways and staying thin.

It was my time.

I knew Weight Watchers worked.  My daughter had lost 36 pounds.   I had two acquaintances who were both nearing the 90 pound weight loss number.  I could do this.

So I started.  I was lazy.  I didn’t count points.  I didn’t make Weight Watchers recipes except for Veggie Stew.  But I was losing weight, anywhere from .6 pounds to 2.7 pounds a week.

It’s 6 months later.  I’m down 24 pounds.  I’ve lost 4 inches off my boobs, 4.5 inches off my waist and 2.5 inches off my hips.  Each of my legs is an inch and a half smaller.

I walk 30 minutes a day on the treadmill, 6 days a week, typically averaging about 12 miles a week.

It’s working.

But what I like to do best is analyze.  It’s my personal occupation.  I analyze everything.  What’s working.  What’s not.  Why is it working.  What can I do better.  Why is my friend losing faster than I am.  (I know the answer to that one…because she’s more disciplined.)

So is weight loss about discipline?  No.  Is weight loss about willpower?  No.  Can you only eat certain foods and be successful?  No.

People are more successful at Weight Watchers than any other weight loss program because of one thing:  Accountability

It’s stepping on that dang scale once a week and having the lady show me what my ‘new’ weight is.  Up or down.  Even though it’s private, it’s public.  The lady knows.  And I know.  No one else knows (unless I tell them) but it doesn’t really matter.  One person is enough. 

AND, they print it out in writing and sticker it to your program book.  It’s documented accountability which is even better.

Accountability keeps me moving forward.  Accountability makes me think twice before I eat the candy bar.  Accountability is what keeps me from driving through McDonald’s any ole time I want to. 

There are other great perks of Weight Watchers…new recipes and amazing camaraderie.   Heavily researched weight loss tips and their Points Plus program.  Stickers for every 5 pounds you lose (kinda like kindergarten).  Having a place to show up that takes your money.  (I find it amazing that we pay to lose weight.)

But it all comes back to good old accountability. 

What other areas of our life could we apply this to?  Finances?  Career?  Friendship?  Marriage?  What could we accomplish if we were accountable to someone (or something) in the other areas.

I still have around 30 pounds to go.  It’s slow, but steady unlike how I like to do most things in my life (fast and furious).  And after much contemplation, I think I can attribute my weight loss success to the lady weighing me in every week on that darn scale.

(The quote at the top of the post can be found at



5 Really Good Things To Do When You’re Angry

Last weekend Dennis and I had one of those fights that came out of nowhere and blindsided us both.   It was Sunday afternoon and we were taking a leisurely drive talking about our goals when suddenly everything went south.  (I’m sure it had something to do with money, but now 4 days later even that important detail of what the fight was really about escapes me.)

You know the kind of south I’m talking about.  The kind that makes you want to screech the tires and slam doors.  The kind of mad that makes you want to get away from the person causing you pain as fast as possible.

I was driving.

As our argument got more heated, I headed the car for home.   We continued the tit for tat groveling into the house.  The decibel of the fighting got worse and Dennis (who never does this, it’s only the 2nd time in 30 years of marriage), said “I’m gonna leave.” He grabbed his car keys and headed out the door.

I was glad.  I couldn’t wait for him to get out the door.

Stunned, and not sure what had really just happened, I loaded the dishwasher and slowly wiped the counter.

Then, I loaded the washer.

I switched on my Adele CD and joined in her croon “I Could’ve Had It All.”

I grabbed my Pledge and dustrag and violently attacked the furniture.

I wiped down window shades filled with dust that hadn’t been hit in 6 months.

I pumped the Windex onto the TV’s that were covered with an invisible black film.

I wrangled with the sheets and made the bed.

Nothing could stop me.  I was like a mad woman attacking my anger like some housecleaner Hercules.

That lasted for about 15 minutes.

With my back to the bedroom door, I didn’t even hear Dennis re-enter the house and then the bedroom.  I was too busy letting the tears stream down my face as I sprayed more Windex and mopped gunk off the bedroom TV.  He was within 1 foot of me and the TV when I finally noticed his presence.  And then I turned around, locked eyes with him and fell into his arms.

We embraced for what seemed like a very long time.  Adele kept on singing her lusty soul tunes.

We kissed.  Said I’m sorry.  Made-up.  (I’ll let you fill in the details on this one.)

And for that, I’m very, very glad.

When you’re in love, fighting is inevitable.  I don’t advocate fighting nor do we do very much of it. 

But sometimes a good fight is the cleansing agent that paves the way to greater understanding.

It’s what you do with your anger that counts.  Holding it inside is the absolute worst thing you can do.  It’s toxic.

It’s okay to get mad.  It’s okay to be furious.  And occasionally, it’s even okay to leave to just put some space between the anger and yourselves.

There are good things to do with anger, and there are some very bad things.  Here’s 5 really good things to do when you’re angry.  They may seem silly, but they provide a good bridge until you can get to the other side again.

5 Really Good Things To Do When You’re Angry

#1.  Clean the house.   Turn yourself into a whirlwind.  Attack the toilet.  Scrub holes in the kitchen floor if you have to.

#2.  Hop on the treadmill.  Pound it out.  Increase the level or the speed and put your fight into the machine, not each other.  The other alternative to this is taking a walk.

#3.  Sob it out in the shower.  Cry yourself dry.  Then, with your hair still wrapped in the towel, take a nap.

#4.  Call a friend and rant to your heart’s content.  Do not, I repeat, do not call your family.  Friends can usually get over your spouse’s supposed shortcomings, family cannot. 

#5.  Organize just about anything.  Your closet.  Your junk drawer.  The entire garage or house if you’ve got that much anger.  Then just make sure to get rid of the stuff you’ve purged immediately before you can cool entirely down.

Hopping on the treadmill and taking a walk are two different things.  Dennis is a take-a-walk kind of guy.  He actually went out to sit by the lake while we were fighting and didn’t really ever leave at all.  I’m more of a hop on the treadmill kind of woman.  I can pound out my frustration on the machine.

But the best thing of all to do when you’re angry is this…make-up.  Mingle your tears and hug it out.  Say you’re sorry.  Begin again.  Because of all the things worth fighting for in this crazy mixed-up world…love is the most important thing of all.