- The whole process seemed a mystery, and I just didn't know what to expect
- It felt weird walking into a place that helped people with real weight problems.
On the first point, my initial concerns were pretty quickly dispelled. Frankly, by the next meeting they were gone. I was totally comfortable, and the people who ran the meeting were unbelievably nice, welcoming, accepting and helpful.
On the second point, it took me a lot longer to get passed those initial anxieties. Why was I worried? Was I worried for how I would see myself, or was I worried that I would be seen by someone I knew? I suspect the answer is both, but the second was probably the bigger issue. As a guy, you can imagine that it felt particularly strange to me as there really weren't any other dudes to speak of (other than my meeting leader!). That said, I'm sure lots of people, women and men, feel that way. The question I have been pondering is this: why?
The last time I checked, 70% of the US adult population was overweight or obese (1/3 in the case of the latter category). My weight issue hardly made me unique. In fact, I was actually doing something about it, which is more than many people could say. Why wasn't this a point of pride?
The world has changed rapidly over the past 20 years. When I was a kid, most people weren't heavy. Worse, heavy people got teased or dismissed. I am sad to say that this still happens, but that fact that it does seems bizarre. Most of us are now a product of our environment, one which surrounds us with junk food and bad TV. Today, most of us are just trying to figure out how to navigate our new world and find a way to live more healthfully and lose weight in the process (order of these two reasons might be switched depending on person).
Back in its early days, Weight Watchers centers were hidden on purpose. People who were seeking to manage a weight issue wanted privacy. Back then, this desire made sense because people with weight issues were in the minority. It's not that way any more.
Weight Watchers is coming even more into the bright light of day. It's time for all of us to come into the bright light of day. It's time for us to recognize that addressing a challenge and seeking personal growth is not a source of embarrassment. It's a source of pride and a sign of strength and a demonstration of courage.
I big into publicly revealing and sharing my challenges now, so clearly I've drunk the exhibitionist Koolaid. Why not join me!