There was this fantasy that I had during the twelve years I went to Weight Watchers. It was pretty elaborate and, ultimately, kept me joining and rejoining the program for all those years despite the fact that all I ever did was get fatter and fatter.
It went something like this: one day I would finally not only have hit my goal weight, but I would have maintained it for 6 weeks, and this fantasy day would be the one when I was finally going to become a Lifetime Member. So there was going to be a special meeting to celebrate this with lots of clapping, my fat pictures, my family in attendance to celebrate with me, and some kind of pin or whatever they were giving out at the time. Some trinket. The best part of the fantasy would be when I'd get asked for my dieting secrets to share with everyone. I'd be the star for the day, or for the hour of the meeting anyway.
That day never happened. All that really happened was that over those years I became more and more sneaky with my points and sneaky with Weight Watchers and sneaky with my weigh-ins. I plotted everything out before I'd even join, starting with how tall I'd tell them I was. Because at 5'6 Weight Watcher guidelines said that I had to weigh between 122 and 143 pounds and that was really never going to happen. So I would add inches to my height when they asked for it so that they'd set the goal weight higher. Really, if I could have gotten away with it, I would have told them I was 7 feet tall, but I obviously wasn't.
I had more tricks than this up my sleeve. I wore my heaviest clothes to the first weigh-in and my lightest clothes to the second, so I'd have an enormous weight loss the first week, and I built bingeing into my program. I'd go to my weigh-ins early on day seven and spend the rest of the day eating everything in sight.
Over time time this got more and more elaborate: "before" pictures on the morning of each new diet; graphs to chart my weight loss; list after list of the reasons why I needed to lost weight, from the serious to the trivial, like that I couldn't play with my kids, I had destroyed my knees, that I had missed twenty-five years of fashion. One time, in a fit of honesty, I even made a list of the reasons why I didn't want to lose weight.
I tried many times to accept myself as I was. I believed, and still do, that women come in all shapes and sizes. But I was sure this was the wrong size for me.
I guess in my own convoluted way I finally got that fantasy day. Of course, it wasn't at Weight Watchers. I gave a speech but there were no diet tips to give, no family beaming nearby. There was certainly no trinket. I was the speaker at my 12-step weight-related meeting today and it got me a little maudlin, thinking about all those years struggling. So here I am today, happy and maudlin.