Secrets that Kept Me Fat!

I never felt any shame for how much I weighed.

I never allowed the looks, laughs, or rude comments I received from people to bother me. I was okay with me, and if some fool was going to judge me by my dress size or chin rolls, I couldn’t care less.

I wasn’t ashamed by my size, but I was ashamed of my behaviors that got me to that size. For somebody who values honesty and integrity and who abhors liars it was hard to reconcile that there was a part of my life in which I was dishonest and I could lie without hesitation.

A particularly painful incident happened when I was put on the spot to explain what happened to the cake.

I baked a cake for dessert. More than half of the cake left after we all had a slice. The cake was covered and put on top of the fridge. The next morning my husband went to work and the kids went to school and I was left home alone with the cake.

I took it down planning to have a little sliver with a cup of coffee. I cut my sliver, poured my coffee and sat down to enjoy my breakfast. When I finished the last crumb, I looked at what was left and noticed the cake was lopsided. I decided to eat another sliver so that exactly half of the cake would be left. I covered the cake and put it back on top of the fridge.

Later that morning I decided I needed to inspect the cake to ensure it was still symmetrical. It was, but it looked good, so I took another sliver. Throughout the day I sliced slivers of the cake it was gone. I figured if I washed the cake plate and put it away maybe my family would forget about the cake.

The kids came home from school and as soon as they walked in the door they said, “can we have a piece of cake for an after school snack?”

“Nope, sorry kids! There’s none left. Your father finished it when you guys went to bed last night.”

I gave them oranges and they were happy and I got away with the lie.

Later that night after the kids went to bed my husband and I were watching TV when he said, “I think I’ll have a piece of the cake.”

“Sorry, gone,” I said. “The kids finished it when they got home from school.”

He ate some ice cream instead and I got away with another lie.

My weight didn’t bother me, but the lies sure did and the more I lied to cover my eating, the more I ate as a result of the shame I felt for lying.
I didn't mind being called fat but I never wanted to be called a liar!

I didn’t mind being called fat but I never wanted to be called a liar!

Eventually I got to a weight that was uncomfortable. It made it hard to do the things I enjoyed. I felt uncomfortable in my clothes. I stopped doing things I liked because I didn’t have the energy. I knew I wanted to lose weight so I joined a Weight Watchers meeting.

I had secrets I didn’t want anybody to ever learn. I was ashamed that lying was how I reached my highest-ever weight. I didn’t stop lying just because I was going to Weight Watchers. I lied less, but it seemed even more important to protect myself with lies when I indulged because I was, after all, going to Weight Watchers meetings.

Each week the Weight Watchers meetings provided me with necessary accountability. Nobody knew my dirty secret, but knowing that I would be standing on a scale and my weight recorded in my membership book helped me reduce the frequency of “eating and lying.”

One week the leader shared a story about her former eating and lying habit. I was floored! Somebody besides me did this? Then a member put up her hand and said, “me too!”

Whoa! I thought I was the only horrible person who did that.

“If nobody sees me eat it and nobody challenges my lie, is that the same as never doing it?”

It turned out there were at least 6 of us offenders. One lady said she polished off a pan of brownies so she baked another batch and ate half so it appeared she hadn’t touched them at all!  The modus operandi was different but the shame and negative effect on our weight was the same.

Finding out that each of us wasn’t the only one helped us stop the behavior. With the support of each other we recovered from eating and lying. We praised and celebrated each other’s victories. It felt great!

The Weight Watchers food plan was flexible. I didn’t have to give up treats. The group support allowed me to face and change the behavior and really enjoy treats because there were no lies.

Some people want one-on-one consultations with professionals to help them change. I found that group support from peers is more powerful in making positive changes. It helps to know there were people just like me, who did what I did, and who could overcome their shameful ways.

Who would guess that these upstanding Weight Watchers members lied to their families about eating brownies?

Who would guess that these upstanding Weight Watchers members lied to their families about eating brownies?

Thank you to my Weight Watchers leader for opening the conversation with her confession and thank you to my fellow Weight Watchers members by helping me by saying, “me too!”
Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.