I didn’t forget. I just didn’t go back. I went twice. Once for the initial shock and the following week for the glory of lost pounds.
Then I got busy writing, walking my dog, doing the laundry and micromanaging the lives of my children. I’m busy, busy, busy. Oh, and then I work a little too. Weight Watcher’s advertisements were taunting me and successful images of women in spring clothing were making me reconsider. Then, I began to recieve postcards: “Hi we’ve missed you at meetings. Hope to see you soon! Mary & Staff”
I’d forgotten that WW sends out postcards when members go missing. It’s a sort of sweet personal touch unless you have a kid who loves looking through the mail. Mail that arrives from the post office is interesting to my daughter, in an anthropological way. Mail is arcane and odd to email, texting, skyping youth. Anyway, she sorts the mail and I ignore the mail, catalogs and bills, who needs ‘em?
“Mom, Weight Watchers is looking for you.”
“Weight Watchers is looking for you. You bought a membership didn’t you?” Her sweet voice took an upturn, infused with judgement on two fronts; wasted money and lack of willpower and commitment.
“Oh, thanks….” I mumbled.
“I’ll put it on the fridge for you.” She did and the damn thing stared at me every time I went for a snack.
Anyway, since I needed to write part two I hauled myself to Weight Watches this week.
I left my office and headed out in the rain to discuss my weight with a room full of strangers. The meeting topic was the perils of the grocery store — again, I’m repeating myself, but the women in that room are not overeating fruit or salmon. So, what the Hell are we doing trying to “navigate” the snack aisle? Shouldn’t we just stay out of that part of the store? I suggested that we should stick to the produce aisle. An uproar about packing lunches and what needs to go into a lunch followed, reminding me that we have to feed our kids crappy snacks so they can grow up and join Weight Watchers.
The real problem with the grocery store was new marketing techniques of super grocery stores. One woman shared that she’d headed blindly into the bakery department, which had been relocated to the former deli section. She felt as though she’d been caught in a bear trap, intentionally snared by the grocery store marketing geniuses.
My Weight Watchers meeting takes place in the congregation room of a temple — Weight Watchers rents the space. While we discussed the grocery store maze, the synagogue’s kitchen had a brisket cooking and a delivery of challah was made. The delivery man pushed a dolly of golden challahs behind the meeting leader, just as she was expressing concerns about the existence of an entire aisle for toilet paper — the enormous amount of choices for TP was indicative of how difficult making the right food choices can be, or something like that was her take home message.
Before leaving, I had to get weighed. As I stood in line I talked to the woman behind me, found out what she did for a living and complimented her flowing blouse. While I chatted up the former hippie turned motivational corporate speaker, I tried to decide which weight watcher representative I wanted to weigh me. All the people who work for Weight Watchers are members. So they can feel the pain of the chubby. Still I always look for a woman who looks like she could eat a piece of cheese cake and a turkey club. I want somebody who high scale numbers don’t shock or leave feeling superior, never having seen a number so high. It’s a ridiculous game. None of the women who “weigh-in” members ever say anything unkind at the scales. They do ask, “Do you have any idea why you gained?”
Do I know why I gained? Hell yeah, and I had fun. I bit my tongue. I nodded. I demurred, I’d been lazy about coming to meetings…I mentioned how much I like frozen yogurt …then I did what I do when the emotional content is too heavy, I intellectualized the situation. Another way we therapists talk about this trait is “externalization of the issue.” I brought up the HBO documentary on obesity rather than continue to examine how or why I’d gained two pounds from the four I’d lost…
I proceeded to have a one sided conversation about whether or not weight loss programs have any reason to help you lose weight? The documentary said they don’t. If they were successful, they’d be out of business. I searched her eyes, seeking an honest answer. I wanted her to reassure me that Weight Watchers would be happy to go out of business and that the little candy bars they sell with high fructose corn syrup and chocolate chips, are part of that goal. I told her about the interviews on the HBO documentary, the desperation and resignation they conveyed.
She looked up at me and said, “If you put your mind to it, this program with work well for you.” The former hippie touched my shoulder and reminded me to live in the moment and to take support when and where it’s given. That was good advice. I wanted her to weigh me. I got myself off the scale, my weight vanished, digital ghosts.
The weigh-in woman said, “Good luck this week.” The hippie nodded, my eyes filled up. I’d been such a dork, going on about obesity as a national epidemic, so I could avoid talking about my own weightier issues. There was a room of women gathered to discuss their relationship with food. Their challenging relationship with food. The same challenging relationship I have. All I had to do was sit down, shut up and listen.