Weight Watchers for Your Writing? Oh Yes …

For the first time in my life, I’m struggling with a weight problem. Not a bad one, but it’s enough.

I don’t mean to get all mushy on you; trust me, there’s a writing lesson here.

First of all, I’m sorry I missed a blog post last week. I suffered an Internet outage, and then life got crazy. Which leads me back to this whole weight thing. I was prepping for the big day this past Tuesday:

My first Weight Watchers meeting.

A Different Perspective

I’m going to take a risk and open up–just a little. I can trust you, right? Here’s the thing about me: I was always “that skinny girl.” I grew up dancing 15 hours a week: ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, modern. I taught dance through college and ate whatever I wanted. And I never wore jeans larger than a size 4.


That lasted until about age 25. I then found myself wearing a size 6. And last year a size 8. I’m not one of those tall, model-like girls either. I’m 5’3.

My point is, I always saw the world one way. I had a six-pack at age 5 (I kid you not. I have photos for proof), and ever since, I could wear cute clothes. I could model bikinis. And if I wanted, I could have picked on the girls struggling with their weight. I didn’t, I’m not like that. 

But I also never considered their world. Until now.

Are You Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone?

I attended a Weight Watchers meeting on Tuesday, excited to change my life. With about five women and one man. All were supportive, all wanted to lose weight.

And all were empathetic to my plight.

Although I never judged women for struggling with weight before, I never considered how walking in their shoes affected so much. Your self-esteem. Your clothing selection. Your energy. Your avoidance of little things like photos or reunions. But also the magic that happens when other women, friends and family rally around you.

And as a writer, how could I EVER have written a story about a girl struggling with weight?

Because I never pushed myself to see things from another perspective, I limited my creativity as a writer. I never avoided seeing things through these other eyes on purpose. Rather, it just never occurred to me.

I Challenge You …

Stop and think for a moment. I mean, really think.

What perspective have you either refused to consider, or accidentally overlooked? What pair of shoes have you never walked in? And how can you force yourself to understand that outlook?

Here are some aspects to consider:

  • A recovering drug addict
  • A woman in an abusive marriage (who refuses to leave)
  • An undocumented immigrant
  • A blind man or woman
  • A corporate lawyer
  • A trust fund baby
  • A high school or college dropout

Should you interview those living that life? Should you spend a week with them? How can you push yourself past your comfort zone?

Maybe it’s time to try Weight Watchers for your writing. And set yourself free.

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12 responses to “Weight Watchers for Your Writing? Oh Yes …”

  1. By the way… I’m usually the quiet shy person who doesn’t talk much this way… and not only one of my ex girlfriends complained I didn’t talk much about what I thought of them…. but… COME ON!!!! you have a sweet lovelly pretty smile…… I really cannot imagine how any different cloth size could you make you pretty, but I care A LOT about the (remote, I hope) possibility of this “weight issue concern” someday affecting your smile by any slight measure…. THIS would be a crime. 🙂


    1. English is not my mother tongue… I really meant this way: “I really cannot imagine how any different cloth size could you make you prettier” – I think it is an important correction.


  2. Another shoe I’ve never walked in: american culture. Not in the sense of music and movies, of which are plenty everywhere… but in the sense of how people behave, talk and live their daily life there… So I don’t know how they deal with this “weight issue”. But I’m not a regular brazilian in this sense… I once had a girlfriend who went to the “Weight Watchers” and it worked very well for her. For her. As for me, I had to break up…. IN PART because I would never never never want a child to have the same fear about its own body… I could agree with “Self-steem Watchers” and, most of all… “Health Watchers”…. but the idea of being sad with your own body and about how people see you…. it freaks me out! I’m here in Italy and every time people say… “be careful because these food can give you a lot of weight!” I repply…. “Well, it was not hard to make up all this weight I have and I’m very afraid to lose it!”….. I have some fat friends… those happy with themselves, and able to ignore all other people’s judgements about their appeareces, are really among the best people I know…. Care for your health. Care for your happiness… Be aware of the craziness in our culture today (OUR culture? yes yes… down there in Brazil, I actually think I’m in the same boat, at least with respect to this issue…)… I don’t know how Weight Watchers works there… but as far as I got to understand their meetings in Brazil, I really really really deeply emotionally HATE them…. love your happyness…. love your health. but LOVE YOURSELF allllll the way along and ignore every every every bad opinion people could have based on how you look…

    Those wishes of wearing a “slim cloth” just for the sake of it… it’s just the wrong poing… I dream of an era when our vanity will be pointed to our moral virtues and to our efforts of being better human beings to others….


  3. Great post, Shari! I am the opposite. I was never the skinny girl. So I’d have a hard time writing from the thin girl’s perspective. But I really do like the analogy on this being good reason and opportunity to write from another’s perspective. We’d probably learn so much.


  4. Yes…we all can have “weight issues”…Here I am!…I think Weight Watchers is great…but, way too expensive for me…I belong to TOPS…Take Off Pounds Sensibly…$5.00 a month…Another form of a weight loss group…Moral support and enthusiastic people trying to reach their goals…Also I’ve found that I have to exercise to really do a complete job…so “YMCA” I went…and so glad I did…My main thought is that you have to make that first step…and you have!…It should get easier now…Good Luck!


  5. I loved this post Shari. You are right on. As my daughter, you are living the “weight life” I lived and had always told you about as you were growing up. I was the tiny, skinny minny who was TOO thin most of my young life. The weight issues hit me in my 20s and then again after you and your sister were born. I remember you looking at a pic of me when I was 30, sitting by the pool with our dog Peaches and you said, “Wow Mom, how did you stay so thin at 30?” I told you it was hard work and discipline and that I had taken off 50 pounds a few yrs before by following a healthy diet, but that it wasnt easy and it took focus and dedication. I kept that weight off until I was pregnant and now have fought it for the last 30 yrs as well. As you know, Im right along with you there now, taking off 30 pounds and being focused. At age 61 its not as easy as it was at 27, but I will keep focused and keep working at it jjust as you will.
    I like how you used your story to focus on looking at situations we dont always tune into, because we havent “walked in their shoes”
    Good luck with your weight loss. You can do it!


    1. Thanks Mom! Yes, it’s really opened my eyes. A blessing in disguise, I think! 🙂 Since your genes are my genes, and you looked so good when you were my age, it really gives me hope I can lose the weight.


      1. Oh…I looked so good when I was YOUR age. What about now?? LOL (j/k)
        You WILL lose it. If you commit yourself to it and pass up the temptations and change the habits, you will lose it. I have no doubt you can do it. When we both make it, we should have a portrait taken togehter (* with Becca of course)


  6. Great post! It’s so important for writers to experience a wide range of roles in life. There are so many positions we spend our lives avoiding, never thinking a moment of weakness can produce a world of insight. Thanks for sharing and GOOD LUCK!


    1. Amazing how that one moment of weakness can open such a world of insight, isn’t it? Thanks for reading and commenting, Sara! And, thanks SO MUCH for the good luck. 🙂


  7. What a great post, Shari. I could pretty much be telling your story, actually. I was always thin, could eat what I wanted, played three sports. Then I moved to Phoenix and married a man who belongs to a family of foodies (who are not sports-inclined or physically active). Need I say more? But to your point of weight affecting every aspect of your life: yes, yes, yes. While I’m sad you have had to experience it (though you look pretty darn tiny to me, and I’d LOVE to wear my 8s comfortably again. I can shove in them, but it aint’ pretty…), I agree with you that the perspective IS enlightening. I remember thinking THE SAME thing: wow, I’ve never been in these shoes. I now see how my sister felt.

    Good for you for drawing a writing lesson out of it as well. I think, as writers, we have the ability to really stretch ourselves more than others because we HAVE to get into the heads of characters whose circumstances we might never have experienced ourselves. It’s all about learning, becoming more open and empathetic … that’s what makes us better people and better writers. Personal experience is a great teacher.


    1. Wow, crazy how our stories are so similar! Thanks thanks for your sweet words. All told, I’m actually a size 10 now, and the published photo is from last summer. I have no current photos (for a reason), but I’m hoping that will change soon! 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement, and I agree: personal experience IS a great teacher.


C’mon, you MUST be thinking something.

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