Making a deal with the devil

Earlier this week I was getting ready for my first day at work and I put on the only pair of slacks I have left from my old work wardrobe. They were way too loose on me. The last time I wore them was in late summer/early fall of 2009 when they were so snug that the zipper broke twice. I kept them as a measuring tool because I just knew Puerto Rico would make a difference in my weight loss.

I will admit that when I pictured my life in Puerto Rico I imagined filling my free time with frenzied workouts. It didn’t work out that way, I was active: took walks, danced a lot, sometimes even real workouts, but nothing frenzied.

I also imagined myself drastically cutting my calorie intake. That happened—I’m guessing—but not how I imagined. I ate everything; all the homemade Puerto Rican food that was put in front of me.

I was in Puerto Rico for almost a year, and now, it’s 2011, and the ill-fitting pants made me think—after years of trying so many different programs and obsessing over my weight—”what made last year different when I wasn’t even trying?”

As I was reflecting on this question, I caught an ad for Weight Watchers and had an epiphany.

See, I used to be slim (see picture). During the same year that picture was taken I made my first deal with the devil of Weight Watchers. Why devil? Because if you look at the picture, it is obvious that I did not need a weight loss program, yet they took my money anyway. They didn’t take a look at me and say, “We can’t accept you into our program; you are a healthy, fit woman.” They cashed my check.

That was 2002.

Years later, after many more attempts, and some short-lived ‘successes,’ at weight loss with Weight Watchers, I had gained A LOT of weight and gone up three sizes. I was at the heaviest I’d ever been in my life: Unhappy and worse yet, uncomfortable.

Now, I can’t fully blame WW, after all I went there willingly, so I must have had some mental issue with my weight, but Weight Watcher’s confirmation of my delusional belief that I was overweight completely threw me off-course. My weight became my obsession, when it had never been before. Prior to those years, I was slim, active and rarely obsessed about food. Weight Watcher’s counting and tracking of every bite I put into my mouth made me obsessive. It was a form of control in a life I wasn’t fully in control of most days. WW became my crutch.

It made sense; after all, in theory it is one of the programs out there that work, if you follow it. Logical! Right? Then again, don’t all programs work if you follow them?

I know some WW devotees are reading this and thinking, “It does work, it always works for me. In fact, I need to sign up again.” My question to them is, “Really? Is a program that you sign up for over and over again really successful?” It can’t be. If a program didn’t give you the tools to live a life free of constant thoughts about food and its relation to your body, then no, it is not successful. No program should graduate its members to lifetime memberships.

But I digress.

So again, I ask myself, “What made the difference?”

Perhaps it was the combination of a new environment and leaving the stresses of a demanding job. I had time to refocus my mental energy on life and doing things that made me happy, taking back control.

I didn’t notice the weight loss, it just sort of happened. As I said, no frenzied workouts, no counting calories. I rarely thought about food except when it was time to sit down and eat. I took walks, I kept house, I danced; in short: I lived. And in doing all of those things without giving them much thought, I broke my deal with the devil.


  1. So well said…and yet we all look for that illusory magic pill that will help us lose weight! Cheers to opening my eyes to a new perspective…just live! 🙂

  2. Good for you. I don’t think there is a magical trick to losing weight. It’s all really simple when you think about it. Simple things like switching to non-fat milk, eating more fruits and veggies, and walking (maybe not up to 10,000 steps a day like they say but for 15 min around your work.) You’ll feel engergetic and vibrant, I guarantee it.

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