Friday, August 29, 2008

Weight Watchers and Food Allergies

I rejoined Weight Watchers a month or two ago to finally get a handle on the weight that had been not so slowly creeping on. I joined a marathon training program last year and ran the marathon, but made the unfortunate discovery that even though I was exercising ALOT, I still could not eat whatever I wanted. (snif, snif, snif)

I had been on Weight Watchers after Michael and Natalie were born, and it was great. I lost 30 lbs and was the thinnest I had been in a long time. Of course just after I got to my goal weight, when the twins were 9 months old, I made a shocking discovery - I was pregnant! I began eating right away to combat the shock, and have just never lost the weight since Conor was born 4 years ago.

So I finally got my act together and found my local Weight Watchers meeting here in the Bay Area. I walked in and sat down ready to go. The woman running the meeting began by giving an update on how she was dealing with her intense cravings for peanut butter. She then explained to everyone how she ordered a low fat peanut powder straight from Georgia, in 100lb quantities, so she could make her own low fat peanut butter. Just in case we were all interested she handed out a sheet of paper with how to order the peanut powder, and then how to make your own low fat peanut butter. Everyone in the group excitedly took a copy. I just wondered where she lived so I could stay as far away from her peanut powder infested house as possible.

I got a bit discouraged after this meeting. I looked at all the products they were selling there, and not a single one was safe for us. I was happy their labeling was so good, but a bit disheartened to discover what I had used in my life before food allergies was no longer an option now. I had a pity party for a while, as I reveled in the losses our food allergy struggles have left. I remembered going to Weight Watchers and losing weight with a time before I had to read every label, and worry about what manufacturing facility my food might have been made in. I left the peanut lovers, and headed home, to make a batch of egg free, nut free chocolate chip cookies.

After a while though, I came to a realization. Even though we can not eat alot of the processed foods we used to eat before, I am already more aware of what we eat and what is in it. It is not what we have lost, but finding a different way to do what we want to do. One way is not better or worse then the other, both are good if they can successfully get us to our goals.

So, I pulled up my bootstraps, and started figuring out what was safe, and better for me. I found a new meeting where everyone was not obsessed with peanut butter, and so far I have lost 10lbs.

Last week, I took Conor with me while Michael and Natalie were at kindergarten. He sat quietly with me playing his video game (leapster games are great and educational) as the meeting went forwards. The woman running the meeting introduced a new product they were selling, and began handing it out to everyone. Since it was a granola bar, I knew it would not be safe for us, and told her no thank you, Conor has food allergies. Someone wanted to know the ingredients, and she read them off to them, including the allergy statement that the bars had been made on machinery that also processed milk. Suddenly Conor yelled out loudly"I am not allergic to milk", and everyone turned to look at us. I waved politely at the many eyes upon us, embarrassed about all the attention, but proud that my little boy was able to speak up when he wanted to.

I said to him quietly, "I know Conor, you are allergic to peanuts and eggs."
He replied, "I know Mommy, but I can have milk, and I really like milk."

Sometimes things really are what you make of them.


Jenny said...

I feel your pain about being surrounded by people who are looking to lap up peanut butter by the gallon-ful! It always brings me down just a little bit, too.

But you've got a great attitude and that will only help your child. Good luck with the weight-loss plan!

never_think_never said...

Hey, i just saw a pic on google of a plate of cookies and it sent me to your link so i read the little paragraph you posted about allergies.

I am still in 7th grade so my concerns have nothing to do with weight loss and such but i'm also an allergy sufferer. Ha! Sufferer. We make it sound so dramatic.

Anyway, i not only have a peanut and nut allergy, but i'm also a bit lactose-intolerant and can't have legumes such as: beans or peas and such.

I appreciate the sympathy xD

p.s. do you think you could post some peanut free recepies for cookies?

i have a teeny tiny sweet tooth!! :D