Saturday, June 5, 2010

Getting your butt WHOP-ed

WHOP: (n.) Acronym for “Way the Hell Off Program.” In Weight Watchers parlance, the term indicates outrageous eating behavior, inconsistent with the principles and limitations of the Weight Watchers program, occurring over an unspecified period of time.

We ALL do it. All of us. We each succumb to that pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or that frosty, soft cupcake, or that big, steaming plate of cheese fries.

When you hear Weight Watchers folks talking about going WHOP, it’s always as a negative. Understandably so, because being WHOP is not conducive to losing weight. The behavior looks different for everyone, but the common denominator is that knowledge that you are doing something unhealthy. Despite no longer abiding by your diet, you still realize that you are not eating like “normal” people. Normal people don’t want to eat two scones, a slice of blueberry bread, and a bagel at one breakfast. Normal people BAKE cookie dough before they eat it.

I’ve been WHOP for the last week and a half, and I’m ready to come back. I’d say about 80% of my food intake has been on plan, but the 20% that have been off have been WAY off. My points-counting week restarts tomorrow, but I am coming back RIGHT NOW, with the very next bite I take.

Why I’m coming back from the ledge:
  • When I eat badly, my body goes through physical extremes. For an hour, I feel like I’m humming from the sugar, and then I feel tired. Sluggish. Fat.
  • I don’t feel confident in my skin when I know I’ve been overeating.
  • My clothes don’t look as good on me when I eat this way. I can feel the smaller of my clothes start to pinch.
  • I am sick to death of not believing my boyfriend’s compliments about my body because of the way I’ve been eating. I feel embarassed around him.
  • I feel disappointment and anger in myself for departing from a program I know is successful.
  • If left to my own devices, I WOULD NOT eat like a normal person this summer. I am surrounded by far too many daily temptations in my office and my social life to lack structure.
  • I feel physically ill.
I strongly believe in seeing the silver lining of any setback. As Weight Watchers likes to say, “There is no failure, only feedback.” I tried to be as self-reflective as possible during my time off program…

What I learned while I was gone:
  • I may need to eat dessert more often. Most of the foods I’ve been eating while being WHOP are sweet things. Now, it’s possible that my sweet indulgences are triggering me to want to eat more sweets. It’s also possible that I am eating sweets because I haven’t really “allowed” them in my weekly plan. Perhaps if I work them in more regularly, I won’t feel the need to eat them off-program.
  • You can eat terribly but still salvage the day. I’ve been checking my calorie intake periodically at Even after meals when I’m sure I’ve totally blown it, I’m often under my calorie needs for the day. Of course, I’ve gotten little nutrition, but there’s no need to throw in the towel and eat what I want for the rest of the day.
  • I have control issues with food. I don’t think I realized this before, but it is REALLY hard for me to be in a new environment (summer job in D.C.) with CONSTANT new food choices to make. At least one, sometimes two of my daily meals are unplanned, as there will be some kind of firm event in which I have no idea what food will be served. While I am able to make smart choices at these events, it feels like the stress of making these choices sometimes drives me to eat badly when I am back to the safety of my home.
Ultimately, I need to be more gentle with myself. Maintenance is hard, and comes with a whole different set of challenges than losing weight did. This summer is an extreme challenge, food-wise, and I am going to do the absolute best I can not to repeat my behavior from the last week and a half.

So, as of this morning (pre-bagel/scones), I am up 3.4 pounds from my goal weight. I have 3.4 weeks until my weigh-in to become a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. My body is dying to get back to good behavior, and so am I. I don’t like living like this; I don’t like feeling like this. No scone, dessert, or cocktail is worth this feeling.

I’m done being WHOP-ed. I’m ready to come back.

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