Packed away in a box marked “phone & camera packaging, WW info, old postcards” is a certificate, one that was presented on July 5, 1997, fifteen years ago today. I received it at a small ceremony held in a meeting room in Astoria, Queens, up a rickety flight of stairs over a home-décor shop. The ceremony itself took about five minutes, and none of my loved ones were in attendance—the audience consisted entirely of people like me, people who were hoping to get healthy with Weight Watchers.
Judy, the leader, said a few words, about how I’d been attending Saturday-morning meetings there for three solid years. How I’d spent nearly nine months stuck at the 75-pound mark, but kept coming until I finally broke through. That day, Weight Watchers recognized my accomplishment with a piece of cardstock: I’d lost 100 pounds. I’m quite sure I cried. For years that certificate hung on my bulletin board—it only got tucked away when I left Astoria to move in with Stephen in 2004, just before our wedding.
Obviously, a lot has happened in the intervening years: a second (this time happy) marriage, a child, a new career as a food writer and now a Weight Watchers blogger. For more than half that time my weight stayed steady at the 88-pounds-lost mark, which was fine by me—in order to maintain the full loss, I’d have to spend 8-10 hours a week at the gym, which I wasn’t willing to do long-term.
I’ve struggled to remain in spitting distance of that weight since Harry was born almost six years ago. Well, since the “no-baby” weight I gained during a stretch of infertility. I’ve been off-program and on-program, and I’m down 10 pounds from a scary high a few years ago. But these days I’m still about six pounds beyond my “standard” weight, and I’m not happy about it. Unhappy enough that I never even considered putting on a bathing suit to make that picture up there symmetrical. I dread hitting the pool that just opened down the street.
Lately I’ve been eating my way through the day, it feels. The excitement of publishing a cookbook has waned, my life hasn’t been magically transformed by the experience, and I’ve got a bit of a hole in my life. Apparently, I’m filling that hole with food.
I can feel myself sinking into sadness, even as I type this. That kind of thinking isn’t doing me any good. Instead of focusing on my jiggly arm-wings, my bundt cake-sized muffin-top, or my excessive thighflesh, I’ll put that certificate back on the bulletin board. I earned it. And I can earn it again.
Any advice for the “expert” who normally gives advice?