What is your primary reason for wanting to change your lifestyle to a healthier version? Is it weight-related only? Did you join to fit into an airline seat better? Or did you see a recent photo of yourself and go “I have to do something, I don’t even recognize that person.”
I initially joined Weight Watchers the end of January of 2017 because I had out of control panic attacks. I had never had a panic attack until the summer of 2014, which is the year our family went into survival mode to handle moves across the country, new jobs, lost jobs, new schools, huge bills and complete life overhauls. At first I thought the panic attack was a heart attack! But when I didn’t die…. And calmed down… I realized it was a panic attack… gggrrrreeaaatttttt……. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, then you know it has the best timing EVER (*eye roll*)
I ate (how I handle stress), panicked, ate, and panicked some more until late January of 2017 (ummm yeah… a little bit of denial about how much the panic attacks were affecting me.. but that’s a whole other topic) when I had a small realization, the only way to manage my anxiety was to at least give my body some sort of nutritional and physical foundation to help weed out why I was having so many panic attacks.
I joined Weight Watchers as a starting place to learn how to take care of myself. I was looking for a program that was more than a diet. I was looking for a supportive space, a place to kick around ideas on health and wellness, a space that would be there for the long haul and Weight Watchers seemed to shifting their focus to a more mindful, whole person approach. Yeah I’d joined WW several times before, but my “why” had been weight-focused only. Panic attacks had sent me to a whole other planet, and I didn’t care as much about the number on the scale as I did about being able to drive in my car and not be in a constant state of fear and panic (and for those of you with panic attacks.. what the hell is up when it happening in the car all the time??). What I was really seeking was well-being and less internal drama.
I like to use Jillian Pransky’s definition of well-being which is “the ability to live in a state of contentment.” Happiness is different than well-being because happiness seems to depend on our circumstances where contentment isn't dependent on anything. Contentment is about being ok with life as it is right now, and as Pransky says, “no longer suffering from the exhaustion or disappointment of trying to make everything ‘just right’.”
Interestingly, since I’ve joined WW, I have lost some weight and my panic attacks have subsided. I don’t think the weight has anything to do with the panic attacks. I do think that eating more nutritious foods, getting more sleep, incorporating more exercise, and being mindful has taken the edge off of the panic (thank God).
Well-being just doesn’t all of a sudden show up on your front door step like an order from Amazon. Well-being is a skill, and WW, or whatever healthier program you are following, can be a tool in the well-being tool box (if that's your “why”).
How has WW steered your ship towards well-being? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading,