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I started going to Weight Watchers meetings last May. It worked beautifully for me, and I not only hit my weight goal, but I maintained it for six weeks and thus had bestowed upon my head a Lifetime Membership. So long as I go to a meeting a month, it’s all free for me, including the delightful tracking app, which is a huge part of the reason I was able to lose the weight.

Another huge part of the reason I was able to lose the weight was my incredible meeting leader. She is a tiny burst of sunshine with a drop of sarcasm and a great big heart. She’s a major proponent of “You do this for YOU,” which is the only way it can work.

She was on vacation during the meeting I attended this month, though, and our sub was a new gal. Very sweet. Very excited. You can tell she was eager and wanted to be helpful.

However, she kept saying something that absolutely grated on me, and she knew it wasn’t the right thing to say, but she never changed her tune.

She lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers. She has kids and a husband. She’s nearing menopause, and she figured, better to lose the weight NOW and focus on herself NOW than after menopause kicks in, when it’s supposed to be so much harder to lose weight.

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Then she kept using that effing word I hate: That it made her selfish to focus on herself.

“Well, not selfish, that’s not what I mean … ”

“But I decided to be selfish. That’s probably not the right word …”

“It was time for me to be selfish.”

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

IT IS NOT SELFISH FOR A WOMAN TO MAKE HER HEALTH A PRIORITY.

IT IS NOT SELFISH FOR A WOMAN TO MAKE ANYTHING ABOUT HERSELF A PRIORITY.

It is not “almost the right word.” It is not “close to the right word.” It is not “not exactly what I mean, but close enough.”

People who go to Weight Watchers are often in a vulnerable state. It’s not comfortable to sit around a group of strangers and discuss body image. It can become comfortable, if you get yourself a good group and as your confidence grows. But if you go to Weight Watchers, it’s because you’re unhappy with an aspect about yourself. And to even imply that caring about your physical health is selfish to this group of women? Totally unacceptable.

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Now, most of the people in my group have been together since May 2016, so we are comfortable with one another. But everyone is in a different stage of weight loss: I only had 23 pounds to lose, and I did I hit that goal in November. Another woman is only six pounds away from losing 50; she doesn’t need to lose those six pounds, but she wants to be able to say “Holy shit, I lost 50 pounds.” Some women look drastically different. Some look basically the same. Some look a little different, but they’re so happy about it that they probably experienced the biggest boost in confidence of anyone.

Plus, we’re used to the message from our typical leader: That it’s not about the weight loss. That, yes, that might be the goal, but it’s about eating right and feeling good about it. It’s about becoming healthier so we can enjoy our lives more. She knows how important it is to put ourselves first before we can be any kind of a successful caretaker for anyone else.

It’s a point that’s lost on a lot of people. Like our leader stand-in.

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