Twenty-five years ago this very month – that’s May 1989 to save you doing the maths – I signed up to Weight Watchers.
Throughout my mid to late teens and early twenties I’d struggled to keep the pounds off, trying various diets, but never quite succeeding at maintaining a constant weight I was happy with.
I still have my Weight Watchers card – it tells me that I tipped the scales at 12 stone 9lbs, and it charts my progress over the next six months in reaching 10 stone 2lbs.
Friends commented on the improved difference, and I certainly felt better in myself about the way I looked and the clothes I could choose to wear.
But it wasn’t until some little while later when I went on a camping trip that I realised the full impact of having lost 35lbs. I was walking 100 miles in a week and my rucksack weighed just short of 40lbs. Oh boy! The sheer effort of carrying that load. I incorporated a bag stop every hour, just to ease the strain.
I was reminded of the difference weight can make, when running the North Dorset Villages Marathon this weekend. I ran it with a 12lbs backpack, in training for an event next month, when I need to carry my own supplies.
That 12lbs really slowed me down, made me heavy on my feet, and, for the last few miles, felt like quite a burden. But in a strange way, it was good as well, to know that I could run with this extra load, still get round and not be worn down by it.
I was aware also, of carrying weight on my mind – my on-going concerns about my husband John’s recovery from his stroke, and my Dad’s worsening dementia. Dad was in the back seat of the car a few days ago, and struggled desperately to get out, not making the connection that it was the seat belt that was holding him in. I’d been distracted by trying to sort out two lively dogs, so it was a few moments before I realised and un-clipped it for him.
I was struck by the thought that the answers that seem clear – eat less, lose weight…….undo seat belt, get out of car – are not always obvious.
I know how hard I’d struggled with losing weight before finding Weight Watchers.
Something about the very focussed way of literally watching each week what you weigh, seeing it come up on the scales, seeing the pound and stone signs diminish, learning about diet and healthy eating……something about all of that has stuck with me, and I’ve managed to keep within a few pounds of my goal weight ever since.
You can be whatever weight you choose…..unfortunately dementia doesn’t come with many options.
If only there was a programme, as effective, to keep your memory and cognitive ability in shape. Wow – we’d all be signed up, wouldn’t we.