It’s Election Day and We’re All Right

Well, it’s finally here, kids…election day.

If you’re like me, the days leading up to this one were filled with anxiety. This is the fourth time I’ve voted in a presidential election – I’ve voted every single time I’ve been old enough to – and it’s the first time that I felt more dread than hope for the outcome. It’s a stark contrast to the pride and excitement I felt voting during the previous two elections.

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day in the Northwest. It’s sunny and over 70 degrees out, the kind of late fall day that is more rare around here than a unicorn. November in Seattle is typically gray, drizzly, and a little depressing. I basked in the beautiful weather today. I took walks with friends to soak up the sunshine. I listened to this song because I knew it would make my Northwest-loving soul happy. Truly, today is the kind of day that is far too nice for anything unpleasant to happen.

And so, I choose to believe that although it is election day, it is also far too nice a day for bad things to happen. I am choosing to believe that when the rain returns tomorrow, so will the calm contentment that I always feel when the drizzle returns to us after the sunshine, and that the anxiety I’ve felt this year will be gone for good. While 2016 has been a good year, it’s been filled with some very difficult things too, and I am so ready to move on to the lovely fresh start of 2017 (you know how I love a new beginning!). I am hopeful that the end of this election season will bring about relief from the anxiety we’ve all been feeling over it.  Because I know I’m not the only one who is just ready to take whatever happens and move forward.

Addressing the Nagging Thoughts

Last week I joined Weight Watchers, and it was like a light switched on in my brain. In the last six days, I’ve found myself cooking healthy dinners, swapping out unhealthy snacks for fruits and veggies, and feeling a lot more in control of what I was putting in my mouth without feeling restricted. I have my first meeting tomorrow during my lunch hour and am looking forward to it.

So far, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive….but there’s something that’s been nagging at the back of my mind, and that something is the fact that I know not everyone has had a positive WW experience – self included. I remember laughing as I read an excerpt from Jen Lancaster’s Such a Pretty Fat when she attended a WW meeting and detailed how crazy the group leader was and how WW meeting attendees seemed to have a vendetta against office birthday cake. Of course, I figured that some of that was embellished for comedic affect in the book…until I attended a WW meeting with my friend Angela six years ago. One of the women in the meeting candidly told us about how she couldn’t control herself with food and that she would not only put unhealthy treats directly into the garbage, but that she would also spray them down with hairspray so that she wouldn’t be tempted to fish them back out of the trash and eat them later. To me, that just screamed “I need counseling!”, but others at the meeting were quick to sympathize with her and to share their own tales of ruining food so that they wouldn’t return to munch out of the garbage in a moment of weakness.

Looking back, I’m really surprised that WW meeting leaders condoned this kind of behavior. Surely they should be pulling these poor people aside after meetings and recommending a good therapist? The fact that no one voiced a concern that this was unhealthy was a huge turn-off for me, and I didn’t feel any pull to go back.

I gave WW another shot last spring, after a glowing endorsement from my friend Sarah about how great her experience with the program had been. I went, and was instantly drawn to the group. These people were positive, upbeat, and endlessly supportive of one another. Nobody griped about birthday cake or talked about covering leftovers in Aqua Net before tossing them out. Maybe the program has turned itself around, or maybe Jen Lancaster and I just happened upon some messed-up meetings. I really hope my new group at work will be more like Sarah’s was, because that’s exactly the kind of upbeat support system I feel I need right now.

I really hope this experience remains positive for me. I’m feeling so optimistic and I really want to hang onto that. That said, I will make this pledge to myself right now: if this plan begins to affect me negatively, I will stop. If the food tracking leads to obsessive thoughts about food or urges to restrict food, I will move away from it (I don’t really anticipate this happening, as I tracked my food via the Lose It! app very religiously for years and had no problem with it). If the meeting at work is not the environment I need, I will go with Sarah to hers or I will change my WW membership to online only. I will do this only in a healthy way.

If you have a WW story, good or bad, feel free to share it with me!