KEEP COMING BACK
-- IT WORKS
29 January 2003
One of my very good friends is about to celebrate five
years sobriety, five years active with AA, to which he gives credit for his new life. In
the early months of his recovery - and in the early months of my recovery - he
would remind me of what they say at the conclusion of AA meetings: "keep coming back;
I was reminded of that this morning as I sat in the
Weight Watchers meeting.
Weigh in had not gone well. I had expected it wouldn't,
but I truly think there is a scale problem. Probably not this week, but last week.
If you recall, I was surprised at having lost 2 lbs -- pleased, but surprised. I suspect
that last week's scale was off, because even though I admit to having had a good time at
the Super Bowl party, I really don't feel that I ate enough to have gained eight pounds,
which is what the scale showed. I suspect that the gain reflects (a) some problem with
last week's scale (not the one I weighed on today), and (b) the fact that I didn't bother
to get out of my heavy sweat pants before going.
But I realized the importance of getting back to
regular attendance at meetings, and so stayed for today's. The magic of "keep coming
back, it works" was in the stories of people who have gone through their ups and
downs, but kept coming back, and how eventually they were successful with their weight
loss. One woman said she had joined Weight Watchers five or more times and always quit
when she started gaining and was embarrassed to go back, but this time she'd stuck with it
even in the bad weeks, and she had finally made it to her goal.
It was a message that might have been specially ordered
for me alone. I was so tempted not to go to the weigh-in today. Either that, or pick up
one of those little "get out of jail free" cards they now have-if you don't want
to be weighed one week, you just sign in, pay your money, and give them the little "I
can't face it today" cards and you don't have to have your weight recorded.
But what's the point in that? I pay $10 a week for a
system that will hold me accountable for my eating the past week. What's the point in
having a "bye" week?
I'm starting to feel like this is turning into a
"this is why I didn't lose this week / why did I gain this week" journal, which
is beginning to get pretty old. But I'm not going to have a "bye" week here
either. I made a commitment to myself to be honest about this process. To go to the
meetings each week. To weigh in each week. And to truthfully record, for whoever wants to
read it, what I've done in the previous week. One good thing is that I have the "one
year ago" and "two years ago" excerpts at the bottom of the page here. One
year ago, I was in the fresh flush of this eating program, discovering that exercise was
no longer a 4-letter word, etc. Soon I'll be coming up on the entries where I bought my
first bike. It's a good exercise for me to read back on how I was feeling, on the
successes of the early weeks, because I feel like I'm starting over each week now. Trying
to find that little switch that turns it all back on again.
I got up at 3 a.m. this morning to get some work done.
(That's not quite as bad as it sounds-I'd gone to sleep at 9 with that intent. It's just
easier for me to be productive at 3 a.m. than it is at 9 at night after a day of office
work.) I was making good progress as the hands on the clock crept up toward 6 a.m. I was
sorely tempted to stay home, skip the club yet again, and just try to get it all finished.
Then I went in and stepped on the scale. The numbers
almost matched what's on my driver's license. This time that's a bad thing! For so
many years, the weight on my driver's license has been a joke because I weighed so much
more. But I passed that number on the way down and it's been really nice to look at it and
think "I don't weigh that any more."
But now I almost do again, and I realized that skipping
the club to do some more typing was not a healthy thing to do, and so I hopped on the bike
and went back to the club.
As I was leaving, the sky was just getting light. Just
past the pre-dawn not-quite-light point. It was light enough to ride without a headlight.
The crows were waking up and the skies looked like rush hour for birds, with all the
flitting about hither and yon, all calling out, and heading in different directions,
finally settling on this wire or that tree branch.
I had the feeling that I had when I first started going
to the club -- I felt good for having worked out (I added a new machine, added 10 lbs to
the leg press and half a pound to the rowing machine, so I was aware I'd had a workout). I
got an hint of that fresh feeling of success that I had a year ago. It's a feeling I need
to have again.
I had a good breakfast, which I journaled dutifully,
and packed a nutritious snack for mid-morning.
All through the morning I just felt
from the weight of poundage gained over the week, but the weight of realizing that it's
Paul's birthday today. That leaden lump that settles into the pit of your stomach.
I had to make a deposit at the bank for the office, so
passed by the cemetery en route, arranged some flowers, and cleaned off the grave marker,
which was almost totally obscured by the grass clippings from the mowing they were doing
Then I remembered how often Paul and I would meet on
his birthday and go for lunch or dinner to Osaka Sushi. Paul loved sushi. One year, since
we had four birthdays clustered together-- Paul's on 1/28, David's on 2/4, mine on 2/17
and Walt's on 2/26--the four of us went out for sushi four weeks in a row (in truth, by
week #4, we were eating cooked Japanese food, as we were "sushi'd out"). I
decided that the thing to do was to have sushi for lunch. I didn't have a clue how many
points it was, but recorded it when I got home to my book.
When I got home, I was just in time for Dr. Phil's show
about fat, which was very definitely what I needed to hear/watch.
I'm feeling heavy today. Heavy of body, heavy of
spirit. But there is a promise of spring in the air. I'm not going away.
I'm going to keep coming back, because I know it works--and I know that there are a
lot of people struggling with the ups and downs, both emotionally and physically. I
also know that if I keep coming back it will work for me.