I Went to Weight Watchers and Refused to Do The Wave

36 Responses

  1. Lil says:

    And this, in a nutshell is why I love you to death. Yous got attitude! I mean, seriously, the Wave? Librarian lady needs to be hamstrung. I’ve never met her and she annoys the hell outta me.

    And I must let you know that I’m truly amazed. You guys lost two tons (plus 11 pounds) in a year? For a group of 35 (70 eyes), that averages 60 (well 57.4 actually) pounds per person . Why is there still a WW group? How much weight to Duluthans need to lose?

    My mind is just the teeniest bit boggled.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Well, there are more who show up and get weighed in but who don’t stay for the meeting (clever folk!). Plus, pretty much everyone does losing followed by bad weeks of gaining followed by better weeks of losing, so the numbers have a certain balance to them–the gaining is never tracked, just the losing and relosing of the same pounds. There are also huge numbers of people who show up for a few weeks or months and then stop attending…then more join and lose and stop attending…and so on.

      It helps, finally, that we are Americans, and what with candy given out in the classrooms and candy given out every holiday and fast food every 100 yards and a population who maintains French fries are a vegetable, well, we’re set up to be eternal losers.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Oh, and not two tons! It’s basically one ton; that’s all. Yea, right: that’s all.

  2. Meg says:

    This is why I cannot do WW. I have tried, 4 times to be exact, but I do not play those games in MY sandbox. Who IS this library lady and why do I conjure images of Dolores Umbrage when you write about her? Nice references to LOTR and my birhday twin, Louisa May, by the way.

  3. kmkat says:

    Librarian Lady needs to get back to her children’s library where she is perfectly at home. Public places full of so-called adults are not her milieu. Personally, I feel guilty that I would most certainly have joined in The Wave; peer pressure is nothing if not effective with me. Hurrah for you!

    I had just read another blog post by another teacher (middle school, teachers the *problem* kids) with a similar attitude. Her particular trigger was trust circles — the mere mention, not the actual thing (whatever that is). You can read her here: http://sheepishannie.blogspot.com/2012/01/wnbp-new-year-old-routine.html

    I think the two of you would get along.

  4. My WW as NOTHING like this–I think you were much nicer about then I would have been–I fear I would have looked at my friends and asked,” WTF?!”

  5. lime says:

    thank you. you’ve reactivated the ptsd from when my mother took me to one of her tupperware consultant rallies back in the 80s. it made doing the wave over weight loss look desirable by comparison. i was waiting for prayers to the great plastic preserver in the sky to start, followed not by an amen but a group burp of the seal.

  6. Deborah says:

    Very interesting that, instead of just passing on you after the second attempt, they didn’t give up. But then, this is part of what makes people behave badly in large groups, and really badly in mobs. You mmight have explained to them that Germany responded similarly during the 1920s and had there been more refuseniks, the Holocaust might never have happened.
    It’s innocent really, all the rah-rah stuff in your group, but so tiring. And childish. I would have been extremely pissed, but I’m not sure I would have had the fortitude you had to continue to resist. I watched a doc last year about an experiment done with people who thought they were part of a reality/game show, in which they had to inflict pain on volunteers. The idea planted in their heads was that the volunteers stood to win a huge sum of money if they could withstand up to a certain level of painful stimuli.
    In fact, they only thought they were causing pain when they flipped the switch and upped the dial, but what was horrifying was that, at the urging of the ‘game show’ host, the majority of them overcame their disinclination to hurt another human. They did things they never imagined they were capable of simply because a kind of authority figure told them to.
    So stick to your guns always, Jocelyn.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Dearest Deborah: You have given my nonsense a context that heartens me. My increasing unwillingness to play along with crap has made me happier in recent years. You remind me that there is power to such convictions.

  7. So the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t wave either?
    Oh I am DYING laughing at you–and the collective weight loss goal–and that they don’t measure pounds gained–and that RAHRAHRAH librarian. Sweet baby Jesus, you SLAY me, Jocelyn and if I lived in Duluth, I’d totally join Weight Watchers just to hang out with you IRL.
    The Wave.
    Hoo boy.

  8. Friko says:

    Like all the other commenters my first impulse – I gave in to it – was to laugh.
    Then I thought for a bit and realised that there are a few things I don’t understand about this post:

    a) how much weight do you all need to lose to reach such horrendous targets?
    b) what are YOU doing in this group, can’t you watch your own weight, without the public humiliation?
    c) what’s with the mass hysteria?
    d) how can one person in a group of 35 determine the actions of the others? Are you the only adult?
    e) why is librarian still alive? And, as she is, how come you haven’t thought of a public humiliation for her which makes her crawl under a boulder?
    f) how can you bear to hear – without puking – see you ‘lighter’?

    I suggest you either go bolshie and sabotage everything infantile (having first sounded out one or two likely supporters; surely not everybody in the groups suffers fools gladly?) or you walk to save yourself further embarrassment. It must have been excruciating to sit there, standing your ground. (yes, no pun intended.) Whenever I’m the only one who sneers, it costs me dear. And sneering comes easily to me.

    I also find omg or ohmygod, or even ohmeingott a touch uncool; not that I ever come across it other than on American TV shows.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Friko:

      a) Many need to lose much. Many others need to lose not so much. The children’s librarian, apparently, entered WW by swearing that she would do the program so as long as she didn’t have to ever eat fruits, vegetables, or do exercise. Now she does all three. In short, there are hugely ingrained cultural obstacles that have created the success of WW;

      b) No, clearly, I can’t. Hence my participation. I felt less singularly broad as a broad when a good friend of mine caught a glimpse of an old black and white photo of my grandma lined up with her three sisters. The friend’s immediate, unchecked comment was, “Oh, look at all those hips and breasts! Poor thing, you didn’t stand a chance, did you?”;

      c) I’d argue much of society draws its energy off mass hysteria. Should we talk Manchester United fans?;

      d) I like this thought. Yes, I think I was the only adult. An amazing number of people–even my colleagues in departmental meetings at the college–are taken aback by my “adulthood”;

      e) Pretty sure the librarian is still alive because she’s an overweight woman with bad knees and a desire to bring people together. This appears to be a winning formula;

      f) I did puke. Right there in the corridor of the basement of the church. I left the puddle there as a reminder to those filing out behind.

      Final thoughts: it wasn’t excruciating or embarrassing to sit there. It was a scream to see how my easy conviction freaked everyone out. This has been the case, again and again, since I moved to the Midwest of America. In no way does it make me uneasy.

      Re: Omg or ohmygod, or even ohmeingott: thankfully, I came to terms with my uncoolness in roughly 6th grade. Some decades later, I came to terms with my agnosticism. Now, just like attending a WW meeting, using OMG or its variants is ironic enough to give me a good giggle–even when I’m not referencing inane American TV shows.

  9. “The thing is, no.” Amen. I have this response to a lot of things, and it always feels good when you can say it.

  10. Jess says:

    Occupy Weight Watchers!!!!

  11. pam says:

    “Clap my bones together” -so funny. The whole thing is so funny. Do you not have access to the TV series “Little Brittain” in the U.S,?… wonderful dark humour with Marjorie who is the group leader for :Fat Fighters” goading on her Weight Watchers attendees with cheerful misplaced enthusiasm. You should look it up on You Tube.
    We also had a series here in Australia for a while called “The Librarians” which covered in satire, the life of a passive-aggressive community-based librarian who smilingly makes requests of everybody as if they were aged about two. There are certainly others in the comedy industry, who share your take on things.
    “I shall not partake of the hoola hoops
    Nor bow to the pressure to “wave’
    I have a quest to maintain self-respect
    and sanity to save.
    “No, nein, nicht” stuff your requests,
    your goals and pointed stares,
    The last time I weighed what you request
    My butt was squeezed in flares”.

  12. MichiganME says:

    This is hysterical, it made my day. I have gone to WW on and off and I also find that I just don’t fit with that rah rah group. Most of the time when I stay, I can sit quietly, listen to what the speaker has to say and occasionally be enlightened or often bored stiff. And I just hate it when people raise their hand and give their interpretation of what the speaker just said.

    I like their eating plan just fine and I like the accountability; however as a rule, I just don’t fit in with that WW group dynamic. Though where I live, I get plenty of practice in many of my day to day interactions.

  13. magpie says:

    i think you had me a gooey butter cake.

    (the group thing would kill me. my shrink once tried to talk me into group therapy; i fixed her with an evil eye and said no.)

  14. geewits says:

    I think the wave is funny out of context. About 10 years ago in Vegas we had a good round of blackjack and we were all high fiving and I said, “Let’s do the wave!” Maybe it was just our buzzes but 5 or 6 people doing the wave at a blackjack table seemed like the funniest thing in the world at the time. But I’m so with you on the mandatory group in a room together thing. I never clap or call things out on command. I don’t care for commands.

    • Jocelyn says:

      I’m pretty sure I’d get a kick out of seeing you, tipsy, doing The Wave at a blackjack table in Vegas. So long as I wasn’t asked to participate. I’d run get another round of drinks for everyone, though. For tips.

  15. Robin Preble says:

    Wow. I’d like to think that I would say “no” too, but I’m not sure what I would have done. Actually, I probably would never have signed-up for WW due to the built-in group dynamic, though I compltely get it about external accountability. For as much as I can stake-out controversial, feather-ruffling positions on occasions, I still struggle with peer pressure in these situations. Frankly, most of the time when I give-in it is because I just don’t want to muster the energy to resist. In other words, it will occur to me to say “no,” but then I think “do I want to spend the energy on this issue or just get through it?” I’d sure like to think that I would sort out the important issues from the less important ones and take a stand where it had larger implications, but the truth is many a good person has gotten sucked into being complicit with larger group actions due to precisely this laziness, or fear of standing out. This is the danger inherit in an abstract desire for conformity — you lose the ability to shape what you are trying to conform with and simply adjust your position to be within the boundaries, thereby losing all orientation as to where you really are. Hence my mantra to my children: normal is overrated. One of the things I wish most for them is the ability to go their own way and stand separately. My favorite people in the world are the ones happily doing their own thing.

    I do think it gets easier as you get older. I am much more willing to “out” myself on various issues/beliefs etc. now than I was in my teens and twenties. I think seeing death come more sharply into focus as you crest the hill of midlife has that effect.

  16. tattytiara says:

    They need to worry less about waves and more about going with the flow. The woman said no, let it go!

  17. chlost says:

    I am so glad that there are others out there who relate to this. I have begun to wonder if I am just a snob because I am not interested in/willing to be part of this type of thing. I know it is a bit off subject, but watching my mom at her assisted living and the group “activities” that they have for the residents has made me worry for my future. I will NEVER be able to make cute little craft projects from old holiday cards when I am 80. I had a friend whose relative was a man who was an MIT graduate in something quite erudite—-economics, history, engineering, something like that, and the young things who ran the place expected him to enjoy singing and clapping to “Let Me Call you Sweetheart” and making small craft projects. They could not understand why he would not join in with the others. Oh, Jocelyn, when the time comes, we shall be at the mercy of some new children’s librarian who will expect us to do the wave from the seat of our wheelchairs.

    I say we buck authority whilst we are still able.

  18. Pearl says:

    I love you. Like pants that fit and intelligent conversation, I can’t tell you how much I love you, your thought processes, your style of writing.

    Next meeting, I want to sit next to you.

    Pearl

  19. The wave? Seriously? Do you really need to stay for the meetings to get the full benefit of the program? Because, the wave…that’s just lame. I’m thinking you should start your own group and put up a sign that says “Points will be taken off for dumbassery of any kind, especially the wave.”

  20. J says:

    The children’s librarian sounds suspiciously like she was once a mean girl. She’s not the leader (who apparently is also not really a leader) she just pushes her personal agenda forward and over people in her path. I do not like people like this woman. I suspect I would have been far less civil than you.
    I have a mental picture of this woman- it can go one of two ways as I see it. Neither are pretty. 1. She is the type of person that wears holiday sweaters in a non-ironic manner complete with matching jewelery. Come July 4th she’s in red, white and blue, etc. She controls everything and everyone around her and her nervous laugh goes up an octave or two when she’s challenged. 2. She is the Duluth version of Kate Gosselin. Simmering rage just below the surface of an overly made up smile. You can see glimpses of it now and then- when her eye twitches.
    Excellent writing as usual. 🙂

  21. Kathryn says:

    Oh I hate that touchy feely group dynamic thing where we’re all supposed to hold hands or cheer or do the wave. It’s so not me. I just want to get my 12 bucks worth of diet tips and recipes, get weighed, and get out of there. The last WW group thing I attended was a laugh-fest of confessions and one upmanship regarding unique ways of sabotaging the program and gaining weight instead of losing! The cackle clique went on and on about the yummy foods with which they cheated, *cackle cackle*, and I ran out of there in a clucking flurry!

  22. Sqt says:

    God I love you. I’m always the contrarian too, though I doubt the wave would have bothered me that much. The librarian on the other hand…

    For me it’s my book club. I’m usually the only one who admits to not liking something. Everyone else is so polite it drives me crazy. It’s like there’s no critical thinking allowed. I’m not sure how much longer I can take it.

  23. This just reminded me that I joined Weight Watchers online, like 9 months ago. Suppose I should get started. Ahem.

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