Monday, July 27, 2009

With God On Our Side

So, ladies…

You walk into a weight loss center and meet a friendly, helpful man who assists you as you start a weight loss plan. He teaches you everything that you need to know to understand the weight loss program and begin the process of losing weight. One week later you return to the weight loss center 8 pounds lighter. The friendly, helpful man congratulates you. “Congratulations on your weight loss. Of course, you women have it easier than we men do. The program works better for you than for us. But, good work.”

Tell me, would you feel like you found success during the first week of the program because you faithfully followed the new diet plan or because you have breasts?

The next week you return to the weight loss center five pounds lighter than the previous week. You’ve lost 13 pounds in two weeks and you’re feeling good. You’re hopeful and optimistic. The friendly, helpful man records your new weight, shakes his head, and says, “You women…well, good work.” During the meeting that follows weighing-in, he congratulates you on your weight loss by saying, “It’s disgusting how well this program works for women.”

Did you find success during the second week of weight loss because you diligently learned to change your eating habits, or did your ovaries work some estrogenic magic and melt the fat off of your body?

As you return week after week, steadily losing weight, you notice that when men lose weight they are congratulated, but when you lose weight the congratulations are back handed shots at the ease at which the program works for women. No mention is made of the other women attending the meetings, those who are not steadily losing weight. The meeting leader talks openly about his wife, the “saboteur,” who brings sweets and high fat treats into the house that tempt him into falling off of his diet plan. He endures.

So do you.

Tell me, how welcome would you feel attending this program? Would you feel like you are receiving the help and support that is promised in the brochures? Would you feel like you are getting a good value for your dollar? Or, would it feel like a hostile environment? Law suits have been filed over less. And if it were a man treating a woman in the manner I described above, he would be open to mandatory “harassment counseling,” possibly losing his job, and the threat of legal action. In this case, it hasn’t been a man treating a woman in this manner. It has been a woman treating a man in this manner. It has been happening at my Weight Watchers meeting, and I have been on the receiving end this treatment. Just reverse genders in the description above and you’ll see what I mean. If you believed the meeting leader of my Weight Watchers meeting, my weight loss is less the result of my working the Weight Watchers program and more the product of some over-blown testosterone production melting away my excess weight that makes my testicles more responsible for my weight loss than anything that I’ve done.

On Saturday I called Weight Watchers and lodged a complaint. This morning I received a phone call from a very apologetic regional manager who fumbled for words as she tried to comprehend the story that I shared with her. Saturday morning I weighed-in and discovered that I neither gained nor lost weight last week. That wasn’t necessarily bad. I knew that it would happen sooner or later. And I suspected, as I found out later in the day, that I had not only badly miscalculated the points value of one food item that I indulged in during the week, but I ate too much of it, too. It was ice cream. Edy’s Slow Churn Carmel Delight. That’s good eatin’. Anyway, my meeting leader’s response to my weigh-in was, “Now you know what it is like for us women.” As I walked out the door to the meeting room, I heard her exclaim, “Na,na, na-na, na. I don’t have to talk about Arby today!” I couldn’t believe it. At a meeting designed to help people lose weight, my meeting leader was not only celebrating the fact that I failed to lose weight last week, but she was publicly mocking me. Everyone in the meeting room heard what she said. And she made no move to help me figure out how or why I failed to lose weight.

There are a million and one things racing through my mind about this incident. I was raised in the feminist 70’s by a working mom and an on-again-off-again working dad. I was raised listening to the demands for equal treatment of women by men in all areas of life. It is one of the reasons why I rile so easily when faced with the anti-stay-at-home-dad, anti-homeschooling father attitudes that I encounter in the right-wing of the Christian community. I learned my lessons from the 70’s very well. I learned those lessons so well that I didn’t have to think very hard when the Boss and I determined that her earning potential was greater than mine, resulting in her working and my raising our children. It wasn’t necessarily a no-brainer decision, but my ego wasn’t tied up in my being the “bread winner.”

Of all the things that I have thought about in relation to the conduct of my Weight Watchers meeting leader and the treatment I have received from her, one lesson that I learned on my own earlier this year stands out as the most important concept. It is a lesson that Teachermommy recently wrote about so poignantly in her post Naught But Moving Shadows . I have learned that my value, my worth, does not come from my position in life, from my spouse, or from my children. It does not come from any praise that I might get from a friend who comments on my blog. My value and worth come from God. I was valuable in God’s eyes 28 pounds ago (28.6, to be exact). I will be valuable in God’s eyes 34 pounds from now when I reach my goal. Value and worth come from God, and looking to have my value or worth fulfilled by anything or anyone else is an exercise doomed for failure. That is why I am happy no matter how much I lose or do not lose. That is why I cheerfully and confidently sit in my meeting each week. I look at the expressions of misery and defeat on the faces of the other people in the meeting and wonder, “Do you know God? Do you know what Jesus did for you? Do you know how wonderfully freeing it is to know that no matter what happens here on earth, that there is One who knows you and loves you in spite of your failings?”

I long for the opportunity to gently tell them. I will look for the opportunity to do so. And regardless of my meeting leader’s attitude, I will continue on my goal of living a healthier life style. 214 pounds feels good. 180 will feel even better. But I will not forget that downsizing to a size 36 waist or hearing the Boss complain that my ass is disappearing is nowhere near as important as knowing that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me. That makes it a whole lot easier to ignore the chocolate frosted cake on the kitchen counter, or the fact that the freckle face left it there. With God on my side, who can defeat me?


CrossView said...

Uh, good for you! Male or female, it appears that if you actually stick to the program, it works. But for those who don't, blaming gender is the easy route. And being the silly woman that I am, I would think that you would be an inspiration. And if it's easier for men, why would they even bother going to WW? Wouldn't they just sit home and be manly as the weight magically disappeared?

I'm glad you lodged a complaint. I wonder if it will help?

the boss said...

In all fairness, I only put the cake there because the Major asked me to make it. It was a mother-son bonding thing, making that cake.

Wasn't I the one who got you the low-fat, low-cal mint chocolate chip ice cream? And the carmel corn flavored rice cakes?

I'm not a saboteur!

jedijson said...

Good for you, lodging the complaint!

And you are right--we each have value in God's eyes. It doesn't matter what you look like, because God doesn't judge us based on our appearance. He judges us based on our hearts.

WTG on the weight loss!

Arby said...

The observations made at the end of this blog posting were in no way intended to impugn, animadvert on, bash, blame, blast, blister, carp, castigate, censure, chastise, chide, clobber, come down on, condemn, cut down, cut to bits, cut up, denounce, denunciate, disparage, do a number on, dress down, excoriate, find fault, fluff, fulminate against, fustigate, give bad press, hit, jump on, knock*, lambaste*, nag at, nit-pick, pan, pick at, rap, reprehend, reprimand, reprobate, reprove, rip*, roast, scathe, scorch*, skin alive, skin*, slam*, slog, slug, take down, trash*, trim*, or zap THE BOSS, THE BOSS’ baking skills, THE BOSS’S relationship with her cake loving son, or her desire to bond with said son. THE BOSS is not, never has been, and never will be a saboteur in my life. Any suggestion to the otherwise is hereby completely, whole-heartedly, and sincerely repudiated.

There. That should do it. Enough groveling.

My knees hurt.

TeacherMommy said...

"My knees hurt."

Now you know how we women feel!

(*snort* Sorry, couldn't resist!)

And thank you very much for your kind words about my post!

Kathleen said...

I'm not sure if I enjoyed the original post or your groveling to the Boss more. Both were excellent. Men are certainly a minority these days...sorry you're having to deal with it! Hope your complaint goes somewhere.

CrossView said...

Instead of "Arby", I'm thinking you should go by "Mr. Roget".....

Big Doofus (Roger) said...

You crazy men with your Thesauruses. :)

But seriously, this was an excellent post. I think you should have your money refunded from Weight Watchers as your counselor their obviously does not feel as if her program is doing anything for you. I'm dead serious. You should simply demand a refund and I'm 99% sure you'd get it.

Twisted said...

I see the Grace in Place.

I'm glad to be back - able to read Boardling in Bedlam.
Also - from a coach - when you added the increase in exercise, you added the increase in muscle development. Those screaming thigh muscles are holding a little more weight. You'll go through more ups and down in weight as you and the EAGLE RUNNERS get into the season.
Don't dispare - we'll be right beside you with screaming thighs too.