I’ve known the online work of Wendy McClure for several years, since she posted the 1974 Weight Watchers recipe cards and triggered so much traffic she had to ask for donations to pay for the bandwidth. Her online journal tracked her weight loss efforts as well as offering comments and observations on other aspects of her life. Her popularity (and the voice that attracted so many readers in the first place) got her a book deal. I bought the book this summer as soon as I saw it in a bookstore, but only recently opened it. I’ve used these two quotations as epigraphs in my newly-resurrected weight loss journal, Refiguring.Buy Wendy’s book. Read it. It’s funny. And look for her new book (yes, it was a two-book deal!), with more about the Weight Watchers cards, this spring!
“Maybe I should write about this stuff,” I am telling Elizabeth [her therapist]. . . . I don’t have a story, I just want what happens to be a story.”
[Wendy attends a Weight Watchers meeting just before Thanksgiving.] Walking through the parking lot I am chilly and wet and tired; I wish I had a big warm loaf of bread as big as a Honda Civic, so that I could chew my way inside and fall asleep in it.
. . . as the week goes on I start to keep better track of my food again. I wrote down everything. When I get hungry between meals I drink V-8 juice. All the glasses in my sink become gory with V-8 residue.
Doing wrong is the natural state of things. Just by going through my days I am Doing Wrong. . . . it seems to take all my effort to do otherwise, to undo. To put back in place. I’m living in receipts and envelopes and laundry and manuscripts, everything keeps getting disorganized and mislaid . . .
[Referring to calculating and tracking "points," the values Weight Watchers assigns to various foods] I think it’s best to be agnostic about numbers.
[Her weight loss has stalled.] I am eating bread. It’s what I eat when I eat too much.
I’m hungry in a way that doesn’t need to be filled so much as cancelled out.