For six months I’ve been doing Weight Watchers. It’s been slow but steady. I’m down 9kg/19.8lbs as of this week and starting to feel the difference. I still have a way to go though.
I wasn’t going to write much about Weight Watchers, mainly because it’s sometimes really boring listening to someone bang on about calories and diet restrictions and waist measurements and so on and it was never my intention to make weight loss such an enormous part of my life that it took over everything.
This is probably why I’m not as far along in progress as I might be, but I’m ok with that because I wasn’t prepared to make such radical changes that I didn’t eat like I was myself any more.
In terms of writing about it, I didn’t think I could add anything particularly new to the discussion when there are endless resources out there on the matter. I eat better, exercise more and have lost weight. End of story.
But it’s not the whole story. That makes it sound far too neat and tidy. I have blow outs. Christmas saw me go up a little but i knew that would happen and was totally fine with knowing I’d have to reign things in a bit in the new year. I have an ongoing conversation with myself about why I’m doing this, what it means to me and how can I manage it without turning into someone I wouldn’t like very much. Food and sharing food is a huge part of my life and I never wanted everything I love to be turned into a reduced version of itself. There’s got to be room for good, proper indulgence.
But there is another element too, wrapped up in all this. The knitting.
What role does it play in this discussion?
I admit that in the past I’ve used knitting as an excuse to avoid exercise. I might not have consciously said to myself if I walk/run/work out more I’ll have less knitting time but it was certainly a flash of a thought that I felt guilty about and shoved in a darkened corner of my mind where all the best guilty thoughts go to hide. And it’s absolutely the case, I believe, that my intensified knitting in recent years has contributed to me reaching an unhealthy (for me) weight.
Knitting has been my shelter for the last few years. In unhappy times, it’s my comfort, my haven, my very best friend. Paired with comfort eating and drinking, it’s been a totally blissful place and I don’t mean to change that experience, at its core. But I can tweak it a bit.
Ailsa of Knitabulous was discussing this with me recently and she said her motto now is Walk then Knit. Three simple words. It’s easy really. I can knit. But I need to make sure I walk as well. Or run. Because I’ve been doing that too, though not a lot. I can run to the next corner, walk a bit, run to the next mail box, walk a bit and it seems to work. But the notion that I can walk then knit seems to have freed my mind a little from the sense that I must knit every spare moment. I can knit every spare moment as long as I’ve got some exercise in and am being more mindful of how I eat.
I’ll be honest. I hate Weight Watchers really. I don’t like joining formalised groups. I don’t like pep talks. I’m pretty uncomfortable with a room full of women obsessing about getting into their skinny jeans, which, truth be told isn’t quite what it’s like but even just being around that sort of conversation every now and then makes me squirm and wish we were all just a little less obsessed with how we look.
On the surface it feels utterly vacuous and the food discussion leaves me cold because I don’t seem to eat the way many of the women (and sometimes men) do. I don’t need encouragement to cook from scratch, or eat more wholegrains and less processed food, or make more time for me. I do all those things already. I just have some bad habits wrapped up in what is essentially a healthy lifestyle. Neither do I want to turn into someone for whom my appearance becomes the driving force behind everything I do. I’ve already got a reasonable level of vanity that doesn’t need further encouragement. But I’d like to feel less pudgy. Less slothful. More trim.
I’ve not had an epiphany. I’m not shouting from the roof tops that I’ve found the answer. There’s no point in that because it’s easy to ruin life changing declarations by a prompt reversion to old habits. Weight Watchers meetings are full of people who say they did well for a while, then stopped. I was one of them a few years ago. So it can happen to any of us, which is why I’ve stopped going to meetings and am now using the Weight Watchers online tools. I can weigh myself at home (we’ve got some lovely digital scales), making it just part of a once a week routine and so far I’m doing well. Because I’ve tried carefully to avoid making such radical changes that I can’t sustain them, I’m finding the softly softly approach is best. I still eat out. I still drink wine regularly. If I turn into someone who cares more about denial than contentment, I won’t be any better off.
Some days I don’t walk. But I aim for getting it right most days, to allow for the days when I want to bake a cake or open a bottle of wine and knit for hours on end and not leave the house. Just like my Tuesdays off, I’m striving for balance.
Walk then knit. Walk then knit.