It wasn’t a good week. I was stuck inside with a killer sinus infection, dragging myself through the must-do items on my overcrowded to-do list and canceling all the optional things I could relegate to the future. In other words, postponing all the fun stuff and slogging through the rest. Ugh.
Maybe it was the cough syrup I was spooning down my throat on a regular basis that was prompting dreams of unparalleled glory? Maybe it was the week of relative isolation that fueled my grandiose ideas? No matter.
Out of the box thinking for the moment was overtaking my normally conservative approach to life’s opportunities. It was over running my fever, my lightheadedness and my deep and constant raspy cough. Maybe I was hallucinating, but I seemed to have serendipity and synchronicity resting on my doorstep.
And, after having just gone public and shared my secret of being a closet bulimic for almost 46 years (that is not a typo), some of my thoughts turned to my recovery and what helped sustain it. The Weight Watchers program had played a critical role in keeping me from bingeing and purging. I wanted to share that golden tidbit with my friend Oprah – since she now had ownership in Weight Watchers and was featured prominently in their commercials.
One little thing stood in my way: I couldn’t find her e mail address. So, I did what I thought was a reasonable action. I googled Weight Watchers, pulled up the name and address of both the CEO and the marketing person, and sent them each a letter – hoping that they both had the coveted, direct line to Oprah. Here’s part of my letter:
Dear Mr. Chambers and Mr. Herrera,
Without Weight Watchers, my husband would be a widower, my children without a mother. Your product saved my life.
I am not being overly dramatic. Well maybe just a little!
ED (Eating Disorder) and I started “dating” in 1966. On Valentine’s Day, 2012, I hit a new low and simply knew I could no longer go on the way I was going. The destructive relationship with ED had to be terminated before ED terminated me.
My journey back to normalcy could not have been successful without the help of Weight Watchers. After finishing my three month period of intensive outpatient care at an eating disorder treatment facility, I spent the next six months binge- free, but with no structure to my eating. At the end of those six months, to my horror, I had gained over 25 pounds. I knew that if I could not lose that weight, ED would come calling with a vengeance. And the outcome would not be in my favor.
Weight Watchers provided me with structure, support and encouragement. I lost the 25 pounds and have utilized Weight Watcher products and the points system to keep my weight at a satisfactory level ever since.
I would love for us to put our heads together to see how we can utilize Weight Watcher programs in the eating disordered world.
Three days later, I woke up, reached for my I phone by my bedside and started checking my messages. Lo and behold, there was one from Oprah.
“Thank the Lord,” I thought euphorically. “Boy, they work quickly at Weight Watchers!”
My soaring good spirits plummeted as soon as I realized – upon actually opening the message – that it was a mass produced ditty. But tucked away in the third paragraph was a gem of high value: Oprah’s e mail address.
Okay. Okay. I am not a moron. I realized it wasn’t Oprah’s PRIVATE and PERSONAL email address. But, hey, it was a point of demarcation. I seized the moment, cut and pasted my letter to the two Weight Watcher executives into my e mail message to Oprah. I added a little further elaboration on why I felt Weight Watchers could play a key role in helping people recover from disordered eating patterns. And I crossed my fingers and hit Send.
Did I get a reply? I did!! An hour later. My soaring good spirits plummeted once again as soon as I realized – upon actually opening the message – that it was another stock reply simply confirming receipt of my message.
What does that show me? What does that say for the merits of my inspiration? What does that say to my chances of ever garnering Oprah’s ear to help the anorexic, the bulimic and the binge eater?
I don’t know.
Maybe I’ll hear nothing, because a clueless Oprah assistant fails to see the merits of my quest. Or maybe, just maybe, the first set of eyes to see my e mail will be someone who was bulimic or had a friend in college who was bulimic. And maybe, just maybe, that assistant will run it past a supervisor in the Oprah chain, who’s worried about her own daughter’s sudden weight loss. And maybe, just maybe, my e mail will keep bouncing upward until it reaches Oprah herself – someone who recognizes demons centered around food intake and restriction.
I don’t know.
Two things are for sure:
I’ll be checking my inbox carefully.
And I will keep congratulating myself on taking a chance and reaching out to Oprah in the first place.
Why? Because we all know what happens when you don’t take a chance. Absolutely nothing.