Thursday, September 22, 2005

So... Weight Watchers

So, I attended a Weight Watchers meeting the other day. Horrible. Everybody there is friendly and positive and eager to help you help yourself. And they're all failures. They've been attending the meetings for years, yo-yoing, dropping 95 pounds here (95!) regaining 50 there. It's depressing. And it's a fascinating microcosm of everything that's wrong with America, our food guilt, our obsessions with beauty and the beautiful, our inability to make even simple sacrifices like not going to McDonald's. Everybody talked about how hard it was to eat "on the go," thus McDonald's. But how is it that we've created a culture where so many people don't have time to take basic care of themselves? There should be time in the day to make a decent meal for one's self. Yet it seems this has become unacceptable. For those doing the 9-to-5 grind, it seems your job expects you to go to McD's because it's faster and more efficient than letting you wander in 10 minutes late because you took the time to make a sandwich that day. (Notice how I don't allow for the possibility of getting up 10 minutes earlier. This is because you already work all fucking day and you at least deserve a decent night's sleep. And no going to bed 10 minutes earlier either, because if you're going to get through the week without mowing down your coworkers before turning the gun on yourself, you need a few hours to unwind, to at least get a little drunk.)

Let's do some math: Work lasts from 9 to 5, so you get up at 7 so you can leave the house by 8 (and sit in traffic for an hour). This means you want to be in bed by 11 in order to get 8 hours of sack time. Now, if work ends at 5, you're not home until 6, and immediately there must be dinner because by now you're in a starvation food frenzy like you just got off the Survivor Island. So your chill-out time doesn't really start until 7 at the earliest. Which, assuming you have no kids to take care of, no errands or chores that need doing, and no personal commitments other than to be well rested for work the next day, you get a whopping 4 hours to yourself before you have to hit the sack. Four hours. That's bullshit. Yet this is how America functions. We live for our jobs, do little to nothing for ourselves, and die at the age of 56 because we had to eat McDonald's for lunch every day.

This is one of the reasons I quit Good House. Or, rather, it's one of the realizations that made me think I'd be better off jumping off the 59th street bridge. I saw my "career path" laid out in front of me and felt like I was already dead. Probably not everybody feels this way. Probably most people are grateful for whatever job they can get and live for the weekends. I don't know. I just know I can't live that way. If I have to live in a shack like a bum, or, as presently, back with my parents, like a loser, that's fine, as long as I can work on the things that are meaningful to me.

But this brings me back to the people at Weight Watchers. Allegedly their health is important to them. Or, at least their vanity and self esteem are. And attending Weight Watchers and trying to follow "the program" (it's not a diet! don't call it a diet!) is their token effort at fulfilling that need. But what really needs to happen is that your life needs to change and your values need to be put front and center.

Of course, if I have all the answers, it's fair to ask why I'm at Weight Watchers too. And to criticize my criticisms as those of a person who sees himself as too good for these other, lesser, people. The truth is that I think WW is a good program and I know people who've been very successful with it. I decided to go because I need to know more about the nutritional value of foods. I need someone to guide me when I'm in the supermarket so I'm not only buying things that are healthy but will also help me lose weight. I bought a bunch of raisins and trail mix the other day, thinking I was buying good "diet" snacks, and it turns out those things are loaded with calories. They're not loaded with all the other crap you get in candy bars and whatnot, so that's good, but I need to lose 40 pounds, and with raw nuts and fruit (though raising are dried) I was still taking in too many calories. So now I know a little more about which fruit and nuts I should buy and how much of them I should be eating. Which is what I wanted.

What I don't want though is to wind up as another Yo-yo-dieting American. I've seen my mother and sister and tons of female friends go through it a million times, and now more and more men are doing it as well. It's bad news. I want a Permanent Diet Revolution.

1 comment:

Olman Feelyus said...

Great post. The universal (well, at least, the American) melded together nicely.

The answer to keeping your weight down and staying healthy is simple and you're already doing it:

1. Eat healthily
2. Exercise moderately
3. Avoid stress

Just give yourself some time! It's like love, the faster you rush into it, the worse the crash when it fails. Allow your body to adjust to a lower weight and a very different lifestyle so that if you lapse, it won't be so extreme.