Last night, I once again contemplated joining Weight Watchers. And when I say ‘once again,’ I mean again in the prolific sense. So, this morning, I decided to check in with them by clicking on one of the emails I have received from them trying to lure me back. Each email offered all kinds of deals and promotions–a free salad bowl or a notebook to write down how much I eat. Yep, that will do it. Try a year’s supply of wine or, hell, even a bottle, and I would be in! But a salad bowl? They don’t know me.
As I check out the latest email, I see they have a new program called “Freestyle” that is supposed to let you eat even more! WTF! I have been freestylin’ for 50 years! That is the problem, people! Telling me to eat whatever I want is not the way to do it. Good God! What are these people thinking?? Freestyle…This means I have literally been on this diet for my entire life.
When I was about 16, I started Weight Watchers with the parents of kids I babysat regularly. One particular weigh-in day, I asked my mom for one of my dad’s water pills, as we called them, so that I could get rid of the bloat from last night’s dinner–which I am guessing was caused by more ‘Freestylin’ ‘ on my part. All I cared about was showing a loss–saving face in front of the people in line behind me at the dreaded weigh-in. So, with no food in me, pill in, and pee flowing, I drove my little blue VW over to hitch a ride with my diet buddies. I still recall the moment I pulled up against the curb of the sidewalk in front of their house. Looking out of my car window as I turned the car off, things got a little black, like a curtain closing, but I managed to get out of the car and walk up to their front door. I rang the bell and saw all three kids running toward it to let me in, and as I stepped into their foyer, the curtain closed completely. I awakened on the floor next to the grand piano that filled half of the foyer, all the kids standing around me looking down, and their mother on the phone with my mom, telling her that I had just fainted. My mom, in classic mother of many kids style, simply said, “Give her a banana. She’ll be alright.” And that’s what they did! And it worked! (To this day, I think a banana cures it all.) After I was with it enough to function, I did go weigh in that night. I was not going to waste a perfect day of starving myself AND fainting. No way. Oh, and did I lose? I recall not losing that night and chalking it up to the banana I had just eaten. Clearly, that must have been the problem.
As a young adult, I tried WW again. This time with my best friend, B. She and I would weigh in once a week–I recall it was a Monday or Tuesday night, but I may be wrong. Weigh-in nights were our favorite. We’d go weigh in, then go straight to Baskin Robbins for a reward if we lost weight or to console ourselves if we didn’t. This was such a ritual that the guy working there actually knew our order and started it as soon our car pulled up to the storefront. My order was a hot-fudge brownie a la mode. Delicious! I would have it with chocolate chip ice cream or, on more adventurous nights, I would switch it up to mint chocolate chip or one scoop of each. On one particular night, after a successful weigh-in (I am assuming), we walked into Baskin Robbins, up to our server, and I still vividly remember him saying, “Aren’t y’all supposed to be on a diet?” WHAAAAAT? The flush of red-hot heat still raises up my neck to my face when I recall these words and picture us standing there–shock and embarrassment obvious to everyone. But the show must go on in the south, so I acted as if nothing was wrong and changed my order to a regular sundae–no brownie. I was not letting the guy who scooped my ice cream ruin my night completely! Please! However, I think this was the moment that changed our weigh-in night ritual to chips, cheese dip, and margaritas at our favorite local Mexican restaurant.
Ah, those were the days. We would have so much fun on weigh-in nights, getting ourselves all psyched up for the rest of the week, analyzing why we did or didn’t have success on the scale that night. My excuse was that I was always holding water. That was a favorite reason for not losing as much as I had hoped. It was never the fact that my reward meal would sometimes go into the next day…or two! Freestyle, baby!
As an adult, Weight Watchers has been joined and un-joined numerous times. Meetings, online, on my own (Lord knows I own all the materials!). My former husband and I did it in New York–he loved calling it W². Freestylin’ was great up there–let me tell you. Bagels, Indian Cafe, Piccolo. We ate like we were on vacation–pretty much every night–but we lived there. That’s a long, long fat-filled vacation.
Freestyle. Not a good word. Merriam-Webster defines is as a competition in which the contestant is given more latitude than in related events. Another online dictionary says a contest in which there are few restrictions. Really?? That is what I have been doing! It. Does. Not. Work. I promise!
Oprah, if you hear me, please call me and explain this, and please let WW know that they might want to rethink their word choice. How about No-Style? Prison-Style? School Cafeteria-Style? Lose Weight So You Can Have a Style?…?