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Monday, 26 December 2011

5k on Christmas Day & a whole lotta love xx

26th December 2011

Perfection has one grave defect; it is apt to be dull.  Somerset Maugham

Hopefully you all had a very merry Christmas and spent the day with loved ones. I had a very enjoyable day, up early and out with Alfie, we walked for a couple of hours, it’s almost a half a mile walk to get to the top of the cliff from where we’re staying!  Alfie did a runner on the beach and wouldn’t come back, he was chasing the seagulls which sounds funny until you realise they can fly over the sea and he can’t walk on water, very scary as the sea is quite fierce here!  So once he’d saved himself from drowning he ran the other way and I had to rescue him or the top of a 20ft rockface!  He will of course now be spending the rest of his holiday on his lead as I’m not the best swimmer in the world.  Once I’d chased him all over the beach, I decided I was up for a run, so did 5k on the beach, running on the sands on Christmas day with the sun shining, what a treat.  The rest of the day was very relaxed, moms not a big roast dinner fan so we had spinach and ricotta cannelloni with broccoli and garlic bread, plus I didn’t fancy having to lug a turkey and all its trimming down a 250ft cliff!

I’m may not have spent yesterday with lots of people but I’ve never felt so loved and cared for.  The power of technology meant for the first Christmas in a long time I had internet connection and a phone signal so I was able to stay in touch with all my friends and some of my family.  I’m really lucky to have some very special people in my life who care so much about me and some of the conversations I had yesterday with them proved that to me.

I’m sat here smiling because Alfie woke me up barking at the waves this morning at 4.44am and the baby next door was crying, then my mom got up and made a drink, now they’re both fast asleep again, mom on the sofa, Alfie on the floor and I’m sat here wide awake on my own typing!  I can’t moan though I fell asleep last night just after 7pm, missed Doctor Who and everything!  Thankfully I’ve Sky+ it so can watch when I get home.

Diet wise, I’m tracking out of curiosity because I’ve never tracked when I’m not trying to lose weight before and it’ll be interesting to see what my habits are.  I’m enjoying my break but not being ridiculous in my eating/drinking, so hopefully the damage won’t be too bad.

I’ve been reading “The story of Weight Watchers by Jean Nidetch”, fabulous read, she’s an interesting lady, for those of you who don’t know she founded Weight Watchers and her story is inspirational.  The books out of print now but below is Chapter One, if you are interested in reading the rest email me.  If you’re not interested in reading it, you can stop reading now and I’ll say Happy Boxing Day, enjoy yourselves xx

chapter One
F.f.h. that’s me. Some time ago, I was invited to participate in a seminar on obesity at the Statler  Hilton Hotel in New York City. I was the only layman invited. All the others were psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, doctors of every kind, and I was the only one who didn't have a bunch of initials like M.D. and Ph.D. to put after my name on the program. So I decided to give myself some. F.F.H. is what I chose: Jean Nidetch, F.F.H. It sounded good.

And that's just what I am. A Formerly Fat Housewife married to a Formerly Fat Bus Driver. I'm also a Formerly Fat Baby, a Formerly Fat Child and a Formerly Fat Girl. I was fat until I was 38 years old, only I didn't call myself fat. I never said the word "fat." I weighed 214 pounds and I was "chubby." But "chubby" isn't for 38-year-olds, it belongs to 18. That's when I discovered I was "big-boned." I carried my "big bones" on a "large frame," and I "carried my weight" rather well. I was a perfect size 44. I surrounded myself with big-boned, large-framed people. I was marned to a fat man. I had a fat dog and fat friends. My whole world was fat.

I found out that all big-boned people developed a disease. The disease we had was "glandular." I'm not even sure what "glandular” is, except my doctor said, "You don't have it." But I liked having "glandular" because when a skinny friend would say, "How come you can't lose weight?" I could say, "Glandular," and she would say, "Oh? So, eat something."
It was a great sickness for me, but I made it even worse. I found that "glandular" develops into something more serious called "heredity." My fat was inherited. One of my aunts was very stout - even if she wasn't actually a blood relative.

I used to ask myself, "Why am I fat? I don't eat that much." I never ate breakfast-I got nauseous just thinking of breakfast. I never ate lunch, either. I don't remember ever making lunch for myself. I had two sons and a husband and a house to take care of.  I didn't have time for lunch..... Well, I did do a little bit of eating at noon. You see, when a child goes back to school and leaves some cold French fries covered with cold ketchup on his plate, you can't throw them away. If you throw them away, somebody in Europe drops dead. I sincerely hope the people in Europe benefited - did so much for them.

I had an advantage over most of the fat ladies I knew. My husband, Marty, was fat too. He was 5 feet 10 inches and weighed 265. I was 5 feet 7 inches and weighed 214.

We were so jolly. We didn't dance so well together, but we were made for each other as eating partners. We were a hostess' dream. We never complained about the food. As a matter of fact, we got rather excited about whatever was served. Did you ever see a gorgeous chicken? Or a stunning turkey? A lovely cake? Beautiful cold cuts?

Somehow, we had a lot of fat friends. It was easier that way because there was always a couple who looked worse than we did.  I was always saying to Marty, "Do we look as bad as they do?"  And he'd say, "Oh, no, they're sloppy. We're very neat." You know, that's a claim to fame - to be neat!

I was happy except for one thing. There was always one woman at every party who didn't belong there. A size 7. Do you know any size 7's? In my opinion, they have absolutely no personality and, if it's any consolation, I think they age faster than we do. They have no figures and I hate them. But a size 7 was always there. I could always tell because my husband would say, "Why don't you get a dress like that?"

I would avoid her, but before die night was over, she would always walk over to inc. It was amazing how there could lie such a big voice in such a little body. In an unbelievably loud voice, this little thing would say to me, 'With a face like yours, how could you let yourself go like that?" I never had an answer ready, but I had to say something. I wanted to give her a biting reply.  What could I say to hurt her a little bit? What could I say to make her go home and envy the way I looked? The only thing I could ever think of to say was, "There's more of me to love."

Every night in the bathtub, I would make a promise. I used to promise that I would choke on the next cookie. When you are sitting in a bathtub, there is no place to look. When you look in a mirror, you learn never to look below the shoulders. You concentrate on the face. You tell yourself you have pretty eyes and a nice nose. When you buy clothes, you are very concerned with what's happening at the neckline. When you have your picture taken, there's always a child, a chair, a sweater, something to hide behind. But in a bathtub? It's all you and it's floating. You can't escape it. I never took a bath but that I wasn't sure I had been cursed.  Of course, I'd been cursed. Surely a skinny size 7 must have come up to my baby carriage soon after I was born and said, "She shall grow up to have a pretty face so that all who meet her will say, 'With a face like yours, how did you ever let yourself go like that?' She shall grow up to be reasonably intelligent, so that the question will hurt. She shall grow up never to eat, but to get fat from air. She shall grow up never to take showers but to sit in the bathtub every night surrounded by herself." That was my curse.

After my bath, I'd make the terrible mistake of walking into my living room, where I was forced to look at my couch. Obviously, when you don't like your couch, you have to eat something, maybe a meat loaf sandwich between two slices of salami.  Some people think that's ridiculous. For them, it's the carpeting that makes them eat. For others, it's the neighbors. Or the drapes that don't hang right. They'll wake up in the middle of the night,
think about the drapes, and they'll eat anything, even if it's stale.  Anyway, stale food doesn't count.

After looking at my couch, I would go into the kitchen and eat some chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies.

I weighed 214 pounds in 1961, only I never told anybody.  On my drivers license, I always wrote 145.  I had never, in my adult life weighed 145. 

That was me, Jean Nidetch, in 1961 - 214 pounds of big bones, on a large frame, suffering from glandular heredity, making promises in the bathtub and breaking them in the kitchen. 

In 1962, I lost 72 pounds. And that was the beginning of the Weight Watchers story.

I had dieted all my life I dieted in preparation for birthday parties. I dieted for graduation. I dieted for my engagement party.  I dieted for my wedding. I'm talking about crash diets, any fast method like black coffee with nothing. Or black coffee and cigarettes, or eggs and grapefruit. Oil capsules. Wafers that looked and tasted like dog biscuits. I took little red pills, little yellow pills, little green pills. I lost weight hundreds of times. You can lose weight if you eat watermelon for two weeks. Or bananas and milk, or cottage cheese and peaches. A neighbour tells you about a diet and it works. You lose weight. Sometimes you don't feel
well, often you don't look well, but you always lose weight.

I remember one diet where I drank oil and evaporated milk, cold, three times a day, and you mixed it in a plastic container, I don't know why the plastic, unless it was to get the flavour of it.    Maybe the idea was that if you suffered enough and if it stuck to the roof of your mouth, you were doing it right. It was called the "Rockefeller" diet. I never discovered why they gave Mr. Rockefeller credit for it, but I remember the recipe. I mixed the oil and milk and drank it all day. It was great. I definitely lost weight I also got sick to my stomach constantly. My skin had a funny colour and my nails got soft, but I lost enough to go off the diet.

After I'd lose 20 or 30 pounds, I'd always go off the diet. That's what a diet is, something to go on and then go off. 

But this time, starting in late 1961, it was different. I discovered a new way of eating and a new way of life. I lost 72 pounds – but that’s not my claim to fame because I probably could have done that on oil and evaporated milk. The important thing is that it happened eight years ago and I've maintained that loss for eight years. I fluctuate two pounds this side or that, but I never get panicky because I know I'll never be fat again.

I discovered a diet I was told was written by Dr. Norman Jolliffe many years ago.  Desperation (I'll tell you about that later) drove me to die New York City Department of Health Obesity Clinic in October, 1961, and there I was handed a piece of paper with a diet on it. I had seen this diet before.  All overweight people save diets, it’s part of the disease. I studied it like I had studied every other one. The first thought in my mind was that I would rewrite it, change it to suit myself, I would find a way to substitute cake for something else. I'd eliminate the bread and substitute a muffin twice a week. I looked for a way to work in my favourite cookies.  I was still firmly convinced that breakfast would make me nauseous.

But I wasn't allowed to substitute anything, I wasn't allowed to cut out anything. I had to go along with the entire program or I wouldn't be permitted to stay with the clinic. And I had to stay with the clinic because I was desperate. I had finally come to the point of attending an obesity clinic run by the New York city Department of Health and I was making one last effort to dig myself out of all that fat. I was 38 years old. I had been fat all my life and I wanted to get down to a size 20.

I did get down to a size 20, then a size 18, 16, 14 and, finally, 12. From a perfect 44 I went to an imperfect 12, and I've stayed that way for eight years. I now weigh 142, even less than what it used to say on my driver's license.

I lost all that weight on the obesity clinic's diet, but I added something. I added talk. I found that I couldn't do it on a diet alone. I had to be able to talk about my eating problems, to tell
other people what I was going through. So I called up a few fat friends and asked them to come to my house to talk. They came. And then they came every week after that, bringing other fat people with them. It was our little group where we met to tell each other about being fat. Soon the group grew—40, 50, 60, 100 people—until now hundreds of thousands of people gather each week in classes run by formerly fat people like myself to talk about losing weight. There have been close to two million members of Weight Watchers so far.

My little private club has become an industry. I never intended it to. It was really just a group, a group for me and my fat friends.  But today, there are more than 10,000 Weight Watchers classes held every week in the United States, Canada and many other countries throughout the world. It's as if, never having had a lesson, I sat down at a piano and  played a concerto. It’s utterly fantastic.

Weight Watchers is now a public corporation. We are in the food business, we have a summer camp for overweight girls and a dozen other projects in the wind. I wrote a cookbook in 1966 called, of course, The Weight Watchers Cook Book. It is, I am told, one of the few cookbooks ever to hit the best-seller lists. In partnership with a publishing company, we are putting out Weight Watchers Magazine for overweight people. It is sold in supermarkets and on newsstands all over the country.  When I am asked how successful Weight Watchers is, I never know how to answer. Do you measure the success of something like this by the amount of money that has been made or by the number of people who have come to you? Are these true signs of success? I think the best way to measure our kind of success is to speak to a person who has lost over 200 pounds. When he tells you how his life has changed, how he's now joined the human race, how he now has self-respect and the respect of his family, his friends, neighbors and the mailman, then you know how successful we are.

I think of the paraplegic who has become one of the best basketball players on his wheelchair team. He used to be so heavy that he could hardly move himself in that chair. ... I think of the nun who lost 123 pounds and told me that she can now continue to work for God without fear of dying in the attempt. ... I think of the 8-year-old girl who sent me a valentine that said: "I love you because you helped me look beautiful—I lost 18 pounds."

And the 72-year-old woman in Connecticut w ho lost 60 pounds and told me: "I feel as if I’m starting my life all over again. Now I'm going to help other people do it." She's on the staff of Weight Watchers International today.

And George, who got stuck in the turnstile entering the World's Fair and had to be cut loose by the fire department. He lost 254 pounds.

The most important thing about Weight Watchers is that hundreds of thousands of people have lost weight with it and have learned how to keep it off. We used to lose weight all the time - and then gain it right back. We were like Yo-Yos. Now we look in a mirror when we've reached our goal weight and say, "This is me and I’m never going to change. I'll never get fat again. I don't have to suffer, I don't have to starve, I don't have to be on a diet. I'm in control of myself."

Now we've learned that we have power over ourselves. Weight Watchers has changed attitudes. We've made a dent in the thinking of the world. Today you can go into a restaurant, the smallest diner or the plushest restaurant and say, "I'm a member of Weight
Watchers and I want my fish broiled dry, without butter." You'll get it and with no remarks from the waiter. 

You can go to a friend's house for dinner and say, "I'm sorry, I can't eat the dessert. Weight Watchers, you know," and the friend will understand. 

When I first started Weight Watchers, I used to think it was all a dream. I thought that all the people listening to me must be doing something I didn't recommend. They must be taking diet pills or injections. They couldn't be losing weight just because I was talking to them, convincing them not to eat layer cake and chocolate cookies.
Then, not too long after, I realized that they really were doing it my way. They had become fat the same way I had become fat and they were getting thin the same way I got thin. We were all part of a tremendous army.  When we first started, people would go to a class, and the next day, someone who knew they had been there the previous day would approach them and say: "So? What did you do there? You sang songs? You were hypnotized? What could they teach you that you don't know already? Furthermore, you don't even look any thinner."

Weight Watchers does not simply give you a method of losing weight. What it is, is a new way of life.


Anonymous said...

My goodness, "spinach and ricotta cannelloni with broccoli and garlic bread" for Christmas dinner instead of traditional turkey.

What is the world coming to?

Bev said...

I had the traditional turkey on Boxing day, I couldn't resist xx

Bev said...
This comment has been removed by the author.