While Randy is on hiatus recovering from a writing-induced ailment, some friends are taking up the slack. Today’s post is by Jonathan Siddle.
At the beginning of 2012, my wife started along the path of weight loss. This decision came almost two years after the birth of our son and her not enjoying what she saw in the mirror. In joining Weight Watchers , coupled with light to moderate exercise, she is down almost forty pounds by the middle of June. Never been one for exercise but seeing how seemingly easy Weight Watchers has been for her, I decided that it was time for me to lose weight as well.
For those unfamiliar with Weight Watchers, the idea is that based on your height, weight and age, you are assigned a daily amount of points to spend on food and drink per day, plus an allowance of weekly points. The foods and drinks you take in per day are worth a certain amount of points, thus you manage your intake by using your points per day. The chart below is my point usage from the first 140 days (up to yesterday 11/10):
When I started the program, I was 233 pounds. As of weighing in this morning, I weigh 209.5 pounds, meaning I have lost 23.5 pounds in 140 days. Here are some of the key lessons I have learned in that time:
Be honest with how much you eat
Weight Watchers is about two things: what you eat and how much you eat. It’s very easy to sit down in front of the television with a bag of chips and in short time the entire bag is empty. Keeping track of what you eat throughout the day is vital for seeing how much we tend to overeat. For my wife and I, Weight Watchers has smartphone apps to make it very easy to input and track our points throughout the day.
Change your habits slowly
Losing weight through Weight Watchers is a marathon. It takes about six weeks before your body adjusts to the changed eating habits, longer to start seeing the changes in your body. But to give you an idea of a before and after, let’s start with some fast food. You just ate a Wendy’s Baconator and a large french fries. That’s 40 points in one sitting. I started with 49 points per day. See the problem? Now, if you take 8oz of 93/7 ground beef and cook it yourself, leave out the bun, and make two servings of frozen fries (Ore-Ida Waffle Fries as an example), it would cost you 16 points. Making small changes like this can really help you lose weight and over time, save you some money in food costs.
One of the biggest hurdles for me was to find alternative foods that I enjoy but don’t cost me as many points. Fried chicken wings, big hamburgers and delivery pizza are all expensive foods in Weight Watchers. However, most fruits and vegetables are free, so I can generally eat as many as I want. Most sushi and fish is very cheap on points. Boneless, skinless chicken breast and lean ground beef is one point per ounce, so that is also cheap. Making pizza from scratch is also much better for you than ordering in. Finding these healthier alternatives can make the transition from the unhealthier foods much easier.
Occasionally treat yourself
If you refer back to the graph above, you can see that I haven’t always stayed around 49 points (now 44). Many times I went beyond my allotted points, some well beyond. That’s ok. Treating yourself with a bigger steak, a couple extra pieces of pizza, or a night of heavy drinking is perfectly fine. It’s when you do this on a regular basis that you hamper your weight loss. Treat yourself once in awhile; it’ll help you really appreciate those food or drinks you have eased away from since starting your weight loss.
I encourage anyone wanting to lose weight to look up Weight Watchers. And if they are not the correct fit, by all means, find something that better fits your needs. I leave you with this quote:
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
Reflections On Weight Watchers by Jonathan Siddle, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.