If you’ve been reading my blog for a while and following my journey with Weight Watchers, then you’ll know that since July, I’ve been following their programme and using their app to track what I eat, drink as well as logging my weight and exercise each week.
I got an offer which lasted for 6 months but the first 3 months were free. Meaning that I’d be able to use the app and all its features, for free, until September. I was thinking I’d use it for that time and see whether I wanted to continue on with it or not. As it turned out, I used the app until 4th December and in total lost over 2 stone.
It came to a natural end, I hadn’t been tracking my food or exercise for a couple of weeks and so began to think that perhaps it was time to stop paying for an app I wasn’t using! Plus I was beginning to find it difficult using a diet app whilst being surrounded by the anti-diet culture profiles I had chosen to follow on social media.
It wasn’t because I felt pressured by them to leave Weight Watchers, it was more that I felt the two worlds couldn’t exist together. I had previously joined WW several years ago where I successfully lost 2.5stone, so when I was considering joining them again and taking advantage of the offer of 3 months free with the app, I knew that I could lose the ‘lockdown pounds’ fairly easily – especially when combined with running.
When I went to Weight Watchers the first time around (with my sister after she got back from Australia) I was obsessed with the numbers on the scales each week, doing everything possible to get a good result. Looking back now I can see how entrenched in diet culture I had become.
My mood was dictated by the numbers on the scale at weigh in. Wondering what I did wrong to gain or maintain instead of lose. Becoming fixated on going down a clothes size and not being happy upon reaching a size 12 (a size now I can only dream of!) and instead wanting to see if I could fit into a size 10.
This time around, I was less concerned with numbers and instead wanting to lose weight to be healthier – and no, I didn’t lose the ‘lockdown pounds’ because the government told me it would help me fight Coronavirus ! NEWSFLASH: I caught Coronavirus anyway despite being double vaccinated!!!
When I was setting up the app, I chose my own goal weight and went for my old one of 11st 6lb – not really knowing what I should choose this time around. It’s *unfortunately* STILL based on the much outdated and archaic BMI scale so even though I’ve done brilliantly to lose over 2 stone, I’m still classed as overweight – despite being much fitter/healthier!! (This is a shit scale on which to base yourself on so please never do this – or as it goes by the number in the back of your jeans! - how you feel in your body is a much better metric on which to base your health!)
Being vegan didn’t make it any easier or harder to use the search function within the app, if I couldn’t find anything I could just add it in providing I had the nutritional information for it. Or I could ask a coach for the points of a particular food/drink item and add it in as a ‘quick add’.
The more I used the app the easier it was to track certain foods because I was having the same breakfast each day for instance. I could just click on that food item to track it. I had a certain number of points for each day and I could get more daily points if I tracked my water intake and exercise for instance.
I tried not to get too caught up in attaching points to foods – if I wanted food that had a higher points value, then I would have it. Probably the wrong idea to have whilst dieting, but like I’ve said previously, I was trying to have a different mindset this time around and not be so caught up in diet culture.
I’d just choose a lower-value food for my next meal or snack. I did find one fault with the app, I couldn’t track wine! I didn’t mind this, but as I have wine quite often with dinner, perhaps if I’d been able to I could have kept a better eye on calorie intake, but I could track gin, which I also drink quite often.
Viewing My Body As A Machine
Throughout the 4 months I used the Weight Watchers app, I have undertaken a 10K running race as well as a 5K Race For Life for Cancer Research UK. With my body getting smaller the running became easier, but my mind was still telling me I couldn’t complete the 10K race, due to the fact I had only recently completed the Couch to 5K in April (I started in February).
My mind however, was determined to make me doubt myself. There was a cut off point halfway round the 10K race where you could be withdrawn because you wouldn’t make it around within the 1 hour 45 minutes time limit. Up until that point, I hadn’t actually completed a 10K so had no idea if I could complete it in that time or not.
Of course I did though, it was a tough course with hills which I hadn’t yet tackled but I managed to get around in 1:31:16 which I was (and still am!) immensely proud of. After that, I decided I could no longer hate on my body because it had literally just taken me around a 10K race course, with time to spare.
Of course, this didn’t happen overnight but I believe it contributed to my viewing my body as a machine which had the capability to complete a 10K. Once I’d completed this successfully, I started wondering what else I could do?
This led me to researching possible half marathon events! Yes, even I can’t believe that I was contemplating running twice the distance and plus some, of the 10K I had recently completed! I thought, if my mind told me I couldn’t finish but my body did, then there’s a possibility my body could carry me around a half marathon distance – 21K/ 13.1 miles.
I hope that I can carry forward with me, the feeling of being in control of my own mind, body and soul. That I can continue to view my body as a machine which enables me to live life and hopefully complete the half marathon in May!
I want to eat freely without worrying about whether a particular food item is ‘good/bad/healthy or not’. I know I put on weight easily so that’s something to be monitored, but that shouldn’t stop me from enjoying life and everything that comes with it.
But I also want to remember that it’s OK if I have to cut back on certain things for a while. Not necessarily dieting per say, but more thinking about the food I’m putting into my body. Perhaps changing the fuel up for one which lasts longer and fills up the tank!
It’s a strange place to be, somewhere in between wanting to give up diet culture for good but also needing it to control me somewhat. And I don’t think there should be anything bad with this, either. I’m all for loving your body as it is and celebrating what it can do for you. Hell, I’m training for a fucking half marathon here, OF COURSE I’m celebrating what it can bloody do for me!!
I think what I’m trying to say, is that monitoring your food intake and exercising because you love it and how it makes you feel, can go hand in hand with still wanting to look BETTER. Not necessarily chasing that diet culture ideal which is so insidious in our culture, but more that you shouldn’t be lorded for wanting to be healthier, you know?
I hope I’ve made sense here!! I’m just a 38-year-old lady rambling on the internet about losing weight, wanting to be healthier and challenging herself by running longer distances!
If you have any comments, (nice ones please!) I’d love to hear them. I want to open up the conversation around body positivity, neutrality, confidence and everything in between. So please, do let me know your thoughts and perhaps we can start loving ourselves together, hey?