Honestly, when you get to be my age, losing weight is not so easy. I’ve tried everything high protein (ack! Give me some fruit!) to vegan (I’d kill for some protein.). Now I’m trying Weight Watchers for the eighth time. I figure a balanced approach is more sustainable in the long run. And when I get down to my goal weight I’m going to splurge on a slice of coconut cake.
So I went to my local Weight Watchers meeting one afternoon and noticed a few familiar faces behind the counter. “Hi. I’m here to enroll.” I didn’t say I’m new, because I wasn’t. I was just back for a fresh start.
A fifty year old I recognized stretched her crimson lips in a smile and said a little too brightly, “Good for you!” But I could tell she was really thinking, You again?
I stared at the color of her lipstick and thought she was brave to wear such a bright color with all the creases around her mouth. If you looked closely you could see little red threads beginning to migrate up the folds.
With a fistful of glossy instruction booklets and papers, I sat on a hard folding chair in the back of the meeting room. The well-dressed lecturer stood in the front next to a flip chart. Charlissa wore a bow clipped to the side of her hair. “Welcome everybody,” she shouted over the noise. The voices stopped chattering and everyone shifted in their seats. Clearly they liked the thin woman in the front of the room.
“We have some new people today. Will you please raise your hand and tell us your name?” Oh no! I already knew half the people in this room, and most of them were a lot smaller than when I last saw them.
An obese young mother rocked a sleeping infant in her arms. “I’m Heather, and I want to lose my baby weight.”
Charlissa smiled. “You are going to lose that weight so good, you’ll never find it again!” everyone laughed and clapped enthusiastically. Then she nodded at me, my cue to humiliate myself.
“My name is Martha. This isn’t my first time at Weight Watchers. But I’m hoping to get it right this time.”
One dieter turned around in her seat and whispered, “Hi. Martha. I’m Sheila. Recognize me?” Oh my god. This woman must have lost 100 pounds, because the only thing I recognized about her was her voice.
“Holy cow. You look great, Sheila.” I whispered back.
“Keep at it, sweetie. You can do it, too.”
Right then and there I decided if Sheila can do it, so can I. Besides, I had more incentive now than the other times I tried. I was dating a really hunky police detective named Arlo Beavers, and I wanted to be able to turn the light on at night without being embarrassed.
After the meeting I went straight to the supermarket and bought bags full of healthy fruits, veggies, lean meats, egg whites, and whole grains. I stayed away from the middle isles of the store, because that’s where all the forbidden food was. I knew the drill. Then I went straight home and filled three garbage bags with all the bad food from my kitchen. My poor bubbie would never have approved of such waste. But then Bubbie abhorred a skinny body. “You need to put some meat on your bones,” she’d say.
Charlissa stressed to all the new members that we should make an effort to walk every day. So I drove to the nearby Skechers Store in Encino and bought a pair of nice white athletic shoes. Even though the pain and stiffness of fibromyalgia made moving around difficult on some days, I was determined to take her advice. I’d start out walking short distances and work my way up.
The next morning I got up bright and early and had a breakfast of egg whites cooked in a teaspoon of olive oil. Then I put on my Skechers and went for my first walk of my new life. Little did I know how much trouble I was heading for, because a few minutes later I discovered a dead body.
You can read more about Martha in Knot In My Backyard, the second book in the “Quilting” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Forget Me Knot.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 20 for the chance to win a copy of KNOT IN MY BACKYARD. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
Meet the author
Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, writer Mary Marks earned a BA in Anthropology from UCLA and an MA in Public Administration from the American Jewish University.
Marks became an award winning quilter after her retirement from UCLA administration. Writing about her quilts led her in a new creative direction, writing cozy mysteries. Knot In My Backyard, the second novel in her Quilting Mystery series has just been released.
Marks lives in Camarillo, California with her dog Ginger and her cat Louie.