January 17, 2009
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I recently lost that pesky last 10 pounds I was carrying around. It took just shy of 2 months, but as of this week, I am officially at my goal weight: 120 pounds. (which also means that my Points Tracker on the Weight Watchers website added another THREE WHOLE POINTS for me. EVERY DAY! Do you have any idea how much three points is?? I can eat a few cookies for dessert! Or have a bigger portion of pasta! Or another slice of pizza! I am beyond excited about this.)
Could I stand to lose a few more pounds? Probably. Mostly, I could stand to get some more muscle on my body, but between Maggie and work and life lately, I don’t always have the energy or the time to do what I want to do. If I can make it to power yoga or pilates once a week, that’s pretty much a miracle. I’m longing for warmer weather so we can go for walks in the sunshine (unfortunately, that’s a long way off…) But I feel great about where I am now weight-wise (and pants-wise!!! NO MORE MUFFIN TOP.) so at least I’ve made that progress.
Since I posted about my progress, I’ve received quite a few questions about Weight Watchers, how it works, and just weight loss in general. I am BY NO MEANS an expert, but over the next few weeks, I thought I would share some things that I have learned- about food, about the mental hurdles I had to leap over, recipes, tricks for beating hunger- that sort of thing. I don’t know about you, but I can read those articles in magazines written by ‘experts’ until my eyeballs fall out of my head, but until someone in Real Life tells me their story or method, it doesn’t actually sink in.
NOTE: I am NOT a nutritionist. I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT an employee for Weight Watchers, nor am I getting paid to say good things about Weight Watchers. I am just a mother who needed to lose some weight and wanted to do it in the most healthy way I could for myself. DO NOT SUE ME IF IT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU. heh.
Today’s Topic: Weight Watchers Online and Why I Love It So.
I’m a big fan of Weight Watchers- at least the online version. I have never been to a Real Life Weight Watchers meeting, so I can’t really give an opinion on that aspect of it. But the online tool is fantastic. I’ve used it twice now- last fall, when I still had 20+ pounds on me left over from being pregnant with Maggie, and again during these past few months to lose that last 10 pounds, once and for all. It’s not really magic or anything- it all comes down to basic math, really- but believe me, when you see the number on the scale and the number on your pants size dropping, it certainly feels like magic.
I need something that keeps me honest and holds me accountable. And really, I could probably do it all myself by hand or use a free tool to track calories. I have actually done that before, back in 2003 when I lost 25 pounds using a free online food tracker. But honestly, Weight Watchers works much faster. It took me nearly a year to lose what I lost in 3 months using WW last year, and about 4 months to lose what I just lost in under 2 months using WW. It’s more efficient and a lot simpler to use, in my opinion.
Also, for me, the online tool is enough. However, I have talked to some other people who have used Weight Watchers who say that they needed the motivation of an upcoming meeting to keep them accountable. But either way, the end result is the same: keeping track of what you eat- HONESTLY keeping track, no cheating or lying or fudging the numbers!- is a nearly fool-proof way of losing weight, at least in my experience.
When you first sign up, you’ll be asked a series of questions about your weight loss goals, your height and current weight, your daily activity level, and whether or not you are a nursing mom (I believe nursing moms get an extra 10 points per day, but I’m not positive. Can anyone confirm that?) Your responses are used to calculate your daily points allowance- in my case, that was 21. You also get 35 weekly points that you can use or not use, it’s completely up to you. Weight Watchers does recommend that you always use your daily points though- you want to make sure you’re eating enough to keep your metabolism going. But don’t worry- 21 points is NOT very much. I never ever had a problem reaching that number, heh.
And just to clarify: Weight Watchers does not have specific food you have to eat. You can eat your own food, you can go out to restaurants, you can eat whatever you want. You just have to keep track of what you eat so you know if you’ve pigged out too much. If you want to spend all your daily points on a burger from Red Robin (because OH YES, they are that many points, ASK ME HOW I KNOW.), you are welcome to do that… though it’s not recommended, obviously. Weight Watchers does have some frozen meals that are pre-labeled with points values, but they are not required by any means. (However, some of them aren’t bad at all- I like to keep a few on hand for quick and easy lunches, especially if I know we’re going to be eating a less-than-healthy dinner. I can keep an easier handle on my daily points that way.)
The Points Tracker tool itself is simple: you enter your food from breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus any snacks you eat throughout the day, and it calculates your points for you. The database has a TON of common foods, restaurant foods, condiments, beverages, etc. If for some reason you can’t find your food in their list, you can always create it and enter the nutritional information yourself. I’ve done this for a few things (mostly restaurant items- I found the calories and fat info via Google) You can also save favorite items and even meals in an easy to access list, which is great- saves time, especially if you eat the same thing for breakfast each morning, for example.
One of my favorite parts of the Points Tracker is that I can add my own recipes into my library and it will calculate the points for me. This is extremely helpful in making recipes more healthy too- I can mess with the ingredients, use less cheese (*CRY*), use low-fat sour cream, leaner meat, etc and I can see immediately how that will help me save on points. Awesome.
Another feature of the online tool is the Activity Tracker. I will embarrassingly admit that I didn’t get as much use out of this feature as I should have, because my workouts have been few and far between. But they do have a nice way of tracking your activities and workouts- and when you add something in, you get some credit points toward your weekly Points allowance! And believe me- any extra points you can get are much appreciated.
There is also a Weight Tracker, which was both my favorite and least favorite part. Least favorite because Tuesday night (my weigh-in day was Wednesday) I would start stressing about the weight I probably didn’t lose that week. It ended up being my favorite though, because every Wednesday morning, I would find that I had lost at least a pound. Also- I love graphs, so I could view my progress with neat little stars marking the milestones and see it all in a nice, descending line. Talk about satisfying!
So that’s the basic run-down of Weight Watchers Online based on my experience with it. I hope I answered everyone’s questions! You can always find out more on the Weight Watchers website, or leave a comment or email me with your questions and I’ll answer it in the next ‘installment’!
Happy Weight Loss :)