The Herald Bulletin

June 29, 2013

Theresa Timmons: Hoping to earn the right to eat

The Herald Bulletin

---- — I am a little chubby these days.

I know this because my doctor, a very nice woman, told me so at my annual physical this week.

According to her, my BMI - body mass index - does not place me quite in the 'obese' category, which is comforting. But let's face it, I have jowls. As for the scale...I weigh about 30 pounds more than I did when I was nine months pregnant. And since I am not currently pregnant with twins, that kinda puts things in perspective.

So my boss, Mark, joined Weight Watchers three weeks ago and is doing great. Weight Watchers works on a 'points' system; foods have equivalent points, and by tracking those points you know when you reach your limit. Most fruits and vegetables are 'free' in that you can have unlimited amounts.

I have a good appetite. I didn't get these jowls by saying "no, thank you" to cake. But when I found out how many points Mark could squander, I knew this was the plan for me. I was going to be able to eat a lot. And lose weight. It doesn't get any better than that.

So I grabbed my debit card and went to that Weight Watchers meeting. I was all smiles. I was going to eat my way to skinny-dom. Heck, Applebee's has Weight Watchers meals. I like Applebee's!

I stepped on the scales, still smiling. 171.6. Eek! But I calmed myself. People lose weight on Weight Watchers. I would be a success story - I imagined myself in a bathing suit, and my adult sons friends whispering, "Gee dude, your mom looks pretty good for 50." I paid my money for the monthly program, which includes all kinds of support, even an app for my phone.

This is going to be a hoot, I thought to myself.

The Weight Watchers lady handed me my small, personalized private book. I looked at it proudly, it was my passport to becoming a hot grandma. My weekly weight would be recorded in the book. The other thing in the book is your daily point program.

As it turns out, allotted points vary from person to person. Points allowances are based on factors like gender, height and weight ... and how much you want to lose.

For example, if you are a male with a considerable amount of weight to lose, you start out with quite a few points to spend each day. If you happen to be a woman with not so much weight to lose ... well, it isn't such a generous deal.

I stared at my point allowance in horror. I practically owe points each day.

My boss, Mark, can eat five Weight Watchers meals a day at Applebee's. I can almost eat two times, and have water and vegetables the rest of the day. It would probably work out better if I didn't eat at all.

I'm pretty sure this is somehow discrimination against mildly chubby women.

I do have options. I can earn the right to eat. If I walk to work every day (10 miles each way) I can probably enjoy a butterless potato and sniff a caramel sundae.

Once I stopped sobbing, I walked into the meeting room where a weekly pep/information session was already in progress for the members. I sat down beside Mark and handed him my personal book.

He laughed. He laughed so hard his body shook. If he wasn't the guy who writes my paycheck each week, I may have hit him. I wanted to scribble on the three reward stars pasted in his personal book - one star for each 5-pound weight loss.

But I've moved on to acceptance. My bike has been taken to the Bicycle Depot for an emergency tune-up. My life is about points. I wonder if Mark might sell me some of his? In the meantime, I'm enjoying my radishes for lunch.

Theresa Timmons’ column appears on Sundays. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at