For Entirely No Effort Your Life Can Change!

I basically did not sleep for the entire month of March.  For whatever reason, I had no problems falling asleep – it was staying asleep that was the issue (until I called my doctor and begged for sleeping pills).  So, for a stretch there, I would just get up, usually around 3am, and try to fall back asleep by lying on my couch watching Law & Order Criminal Intent.

Since I work in advertising, I think I notice commercials by default.  And the commercials on at 3am are as awful as you can imagine – and probably not hitting target audiences at that time, but have to take the worst time slots because their products are shitty and they have no money.  But I digress.

There are usually three types of commercials on at 3am:

1) The ones promoting janky dating services – whether it’s an adult chat hotline or some web site no one has ever heard of, if you use them, you’ll probably wind up in a dark alley four towns over watching a drug deal go down.

2) The ones that sell those god awful products like pajama jeans (“just like designer jeans!”) or the knife genie that cuts everything for you or a hair accessory that will french braid your hair every time you open your refrigerator.  You know – useless crap.

3) Weight loss products are the worst culprit.  Actually, I should say beauty products in general.  You know – “look 25 years younger by using this cream!”  or “take this pill and lose all your body fat while still eating pizza and chicken wings!”

The weight loss ones always bother me the most.  The skin care stuff – meh.  Whatever.  I’m can’t stop the fact that someday I will be 50 and might even look 50 and am not one for plastic surgery so will just have to live with it.

What I DO have control over is my weight.  And these products that guarantee weight loss without any effort whatsoever make me stabby.  Sure, you might lose weight, but you won’t maintain it or learn to live a healthier lifestyle.  As with anything in life – work, relationships, etc – something that is worth having requires effort and persistence.  Sitting back and letting a “supplement” such as Lipozene do it for you is a cop-out and will not work.

And don’t even get me STARTED on actresses who lose all their baby weight within three weeks of giving birth and tell People Magazine, “Oh gosh, I just walked my dog more.”  Fuck you, you walked your dog more.  You consumed nothing but water and cocaine until the weight came off.

My friend Jenn just lost 87 pounds over the course of a year.  She did it the right way – by joining Weight Watchers and changing the way she did things – both with her diet and exercise.  And she was nice enough to share her story with me so I could share it with you and we can all celebrate the fact that she hit her goal without touching a pill:

1 – What made you decide to join Weight Watchers?

I joined weight watchers because I realized I needed to make a lifestyle change to lose weight.  For me, this journey wasn’t solely focused on losing weight but also changing my life for the better. I knew I could follow a diet, I could cut carbs, I could drink nothing but water and eat carrot sticks but I wouldn’t necessarily learn anything. I wouldn’t learn how to make better choices. I wouldn’t learn how to plan for events like dinners out, weddings and vacations. I wouldn’t grasp the concept of everything in moderation. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have the support weight watchers gives you (I attend meetings and use the online e-tools) nor would I have anything holding me accountable.

2 – What were the main lifestyle changes that you made?

I cook more, eat out less. I find it easier to control what I’m eating when I’m preparing and cooking it.  I also measure and weigh out my portion sizes. This gives me freedom to eat what I want but I need to stick to the suggested serving. One slice of pizza is a serving. One small pizza is not.

I drink water, either flavored with cucumber or lemon, all day. I prefer it over soda and juice now. I definitely feel and notice a difference when I don’t drink a lot of water.

And of course, I’m active. I exercise 5-6 days a week because I love how I feel after. Whether it is running, swimming, Zumba, walking or going to the gym, I need to move my body to reset and recharge my brain.

3 – What, if anything, discouraged you along the way?  And what kept you going through that?

There were multiple discouragements along the way. The biggest was finding out exactly who my supporters and detractors were. People will applaud you and cheer for you through your first 10-25 pounds but anything beyond that becomes a separation. I lost a few “friends” over my weight loss because they thought I was going to starve myself or I had surgery and didn’t tell them. It was disappointing to know that doing something for myself and for my health made me sneaky and selfish, but in the long run I feel I’ll be much better off.

The other discouragement was on the scale. I went through three months of losing a grand total of seven pounds because I would lose, gain, lose again and then gain. It was very, very difficult to not give up and say “Ok, this is where my body wants me to be, I guess I’ll just stop.” Being on  plateau like that really forced me to stick with this and to keep doing what I was doing, even if there were times when a Doritos Taco Supreme or a 5 Guys burger and fries were the only things that I wanted. After three months, the cycle broke and I lost my last ten pounds to get to my goal weight within a month.

4 What is your advice for people who are trying to lose weight and keep it off?

You have to realize two things:

1. This is a lifestyle change. You have to accept that what you’re doing now isn’t working for you. You have to understand that you will need to change your eating, exercising and thinking. You will learn to find other ways to cope with life besides eating. It is tough, it is not easy, it is a lifelong journey but it is certainly worth it. I’m working on maintaining my weight and if I hadn’t lost weight with Weight Watchers, I would have no idea how to maintain weight, how to make good choices and how to plan.

2. Realize your life will not become magical by losing weight. I lost 87 lbs. Ryan Gosling has not knocked on my door to ask me out. My dream job offer still hasn’t come yet. I’m not living in a major city in a penthouse apartment. My life is still the same, I’m just thinner and healthier. Through losing weight, I’ve learned that if I want something, I need to plan for it, work for it and set a goal to get it. Losing weight has helped me with other areas of my life but I’m still just me.

I think the best point she makes here is that your life will not become magical.  And that’s why these commercials piss me off so much.  When it comes to weight loss (and life) there is no such thing as magic (unless you’re watching Sleepless in Seattle, which somehow made stalking look cute.  RIP Nora Ephron).

I would like to again congratulate Jenn on her major accomplishment and thank her for being an inspiration.  Sometimes when I don’t want to run or go to the gym, I remember her journey, and then I go.  So thanks, Jenn.

And thanks to my doctor for the pills so I don’t have to be awake at 3am anymore, watching this god awful shit (even though sometimes the commercials were SO bad they made me laugh).


2 thoughts on “For Entirely No Effort Your Life Can Change!”

  1. The biggest lifestyle change I’ve made over the last 18 months was to make exercise a priority. I get up at 4:30am and workout every week day. I realized that if I don’t get it done right away, it won’t get done – there’s always something that comes up during the day that will prevent me from getting my exercise in. No matter what is going on in my life, no matter what I have to get done that day – I go work out.

    Working out plus paying attention to what I eat allowed me to lose about 36 pounds in 2011. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’m never going back……

    1. I could not possibly get up at 4:30 every day, so kudos to you! But yes – agree that you have to just do it and make it a priority. Congrats on reaching all your goals!!

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