Saturday, March 1, 2008

True Confessions

Learn to... be what you are, and learn to resign
with a good grace all that you are not.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel

I used to be a Leader for Weight Watchers.

There - I've said it!

That's really a hard thing for me to tell people. I imagine what they must think when they look at me now. I mean, I wear my failure at my former job on the outside for all the world to see.

I'm really hard on myself when it comes to this issue, in case you couldn't tell. I would never, ever be this critical of another person in the same situation. But inside of me, there's a voice that says, "You should know better. You were a successful WW Leader."

And I was successful: I led thirteen meetings every week, reaching over 300 people. I helped numerous people learn to believe in themselves and reach their goal weight. Most important to me: I helped people realize that attitude effects every area of our life, including -and perhaps, most critically - this weight loss journey. If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right. (Henry Ford)

I believe all of that in my heart of hearts. Which is why it's so hard to run into a former member of mine, as I did yesterday. I was doing my duty as a federal grand juror: she was a witness on one of the cases we were hearing. The first feeling I had was of shame and wanting to run away before she saw me. Then the adult in me took over. I had to remind her who I was. Now, to be fair, it's hard sometimes to remember people when they're out of the context of where we usually see them. But I also know that adding 50 pounds to a body changes its appearance substantially.

I have been overweight my entire life, then I successfully lost weight on the Weight Watchers plan. I went to Leader Training the same week I made Lifetime membership. I spent no time living with myself as a thin person before I became a leader and started focusing on others. Big mistake: I know it and they know it. Now there's a rule that one must be at goal weight for at least six months before becoming a leader.

Before you think I'm blaming WW, I am not. I loved being a leader! I love the program and still believe it's the healthiest, sanest plan out there. Meeting and encouraging all those incredible people week after week has been one of the highlights of my life. But I didn't take the time I should have to experience life as a thin, healthy woman. There was a lesson somewhere along the line that I didn't learn, so life is presenting it to me once again.

So there's my true confession. I am trying hard to let go of the idea that I should know better because of what I used to do for a living, and that's going to take some time and a whole lotta self-love. Twenty years ago, I had to stop smoking twice before it finally clicked and stuck. I will get healthy again, although maybe never as thin as I was when I worked for WW. And that's OK with me.

Until next time...


HappyBlogChick said...

You're so motivating - I bet you were a great leader.

My opinion? I think you've got it all wrong when you say you "wear your failure at your former job on the outside for all the world to see." Failure? No! You said yourself you were a successful leader - you helped a lot of people - you CHANGED LIVES.

Look at the definition of leader:
lead·er (ldr)
1. One that leads or guides.
2. One who is in charge or in command of others.

NOTHING in that definition says that leaders are perfect. You did not fail to lead other people ... you helped other people. And now you're helping more people by being out here connecting with all of us.

People learn by experience and by example - this experience is going to teach YOU so much, and in experiencing this you're going to learn a lot and be able to be a better leader in the future. And as an example, well, if you're open and honest with people about what went wrong and how you got back on track, you can serve as an example of how this IS a lifetime journey, how sometimes people get off track but they can jump right back on track.

Frankly, I have no interest in being led by a leader who is perfect. I couldn't relate AT ALL. I want a leader who has been there and done that ... and in my case that includes gaining weight back, losing it again, and maintaining the NEXT loss.

So have this experience of losing the weight you re-gained, maintain the loss, and know that the whole process is going to serve both you and other people in the long run. Don't do it for them, do it for you ... but rest assured it doesn't make you a failure. It's going to make you more successful in the long run.

That's just my long-winded opinion. :-)

Fergie said...

i agree - you have done so much - weight loss and maintenance is a lifelong journey. you can do this. be kinder to yourself.

Scale Junkie said...

I'm sure you were a fabulous WW leader because you are such a great motivator to me and everyone else who reads your blog.

Don't beat yourself up over this, instead use it as motivation for yourself. You KNOW what to do to lose weight and how to motivate others, so turn the tables on yourself and be that fabulous WW leader again but this time with a class of one...YOU!! You are such a gem Pattie, a true sparkling gem!

Ready Maid said...

Add my ditto to previous comments, then remember this: If we all were to transcribe our previous "failures," we could shut down the Internet overnight.

Your post yesterday said it best: Today is the Day.

And remember, Ohrah's A New Earth webinar begins tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

As someone who benefited greatly from having you as my WW leader, I'll say this . . .. You're still an inspiration to me, I am still grateful for what you taught me, and you are human and imperfect like the rest of us which makes what you shared as a leader even more meaningful to me.
- Amal

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chanda (aka Bea) said...

I don't think you're a failure at all! And yes, you are way too hard on yourself. All that negative talk is not good for you. I think the fact that you took something postive away from your experience as a leader, and that you learned from your mistakes in the past, make you the exact oposite of a failure. You are a ture inspiration.

Nicole said...

Oh, gosh, Pattie. I can relate! I was a receptionist for a few months at WW before I got pregnant. I was also very active in a particular meeting, where I was held up as a paragon of success. I would be MORTIFIED if I had to see any of those people right now. I don't know why, really. I mean, I'm doing the right things now and I'm on track. But oh my goodness. I can totally relate.

EDIT: What a nincompoop I am! I left you a note and then I left a note for Lora on your note, too. Sorry!! :o) That's what happens when I have too many tabs open.

Lynn said...

There are no failures, just feedback!

You're still trying, you're still making progress.

Would you say anything like that to someone *you* knew? Then why do it to yourself? I know it's hard, it's so hard to stop with the negative thoughts... worse than anything else I've ever tried to do.

But you can do it!

(PS: your random letter generator made me type in a bad word! shame on it!... ok, it didn't. But it's got all the letters in it from f___ Y___. Which is sort of funny, in a black sense of humor sort of way)

~♥ BetsC ♥~ said...


I so appreciated reading your post, it really allows us to see who you are on the inside. It's obvious that you are a wonderful, caring and giving person.

Hugs to you, BetsC

Bessie said...

great post. just because you gained some of your weight back doesn't mean you aren't still a leader! I agree with happyblogchick- leaders don't have to be perfect!! None of us are perfect! You're on the right track and you're leading all of us on this journey too! Best of luck!

Cammy said...

You made the fatal mistake of being a WW leader AND a human being. We're flawed creatures-- sometimes strong, sometimes not--and we're just going to lose our way sometimes. It says NOTHING about your character or your worth. Your introspection and conscientiousness (sp?) says a lot more about you. I'm much more interested in Pattie Person than Pattie Perfect. :)

Hang in there, and keep fighting the good fight.

Lora said...

Oh Patti - you are NOT a failure! You did it once - you can do it again. And just remember when you run into people from your past - YOU ARE NOT YOUR WEIGHT! Hold your head high and let the Patti we all know and love shine through!

sybil said...

Big cyber hug sent your way. Love the way you are taking care of yourself over the issues of the last couple days though. You are an inspiration.