Weight Watchers: Round Two

Yipee! I lost three pounds this week. They say for the first couple of weeks, the WWer might lose a lot, but after that it’s more like 0.5-1.5 lbs. a week, and any more would actually be unhealthy. I’ve been attending with a friend who’s been hard at it since October, and she reached her first big goal: 15% of her body weight, so we both felt like celebrating. There are about 50-60 people at our meetings, and as a group, we lost 57 pounds this week. There was a lot of “three cheers” support going on, and I’m sure that’s part of the fun of working with others on a common goal.

This week’s pep talk was on eating “filling foods,” which is defined as those foods with enough fiber and nutritive value per ounce to make them of positive value. Pretty much all fresh fruits and vegetables fall into this category as well as all non-fat, non-sweetened milk products and many lean meats and whole grains. A cup of most vegetables is 0 pts; most fruits are 1 pt. We humans all need about 5 servings of those two categories, but that’s not bad. You can get those in for just 3-4 points. We all need two servings of dairy…that’s trickier. For 4-6 points you can get in 2 servings of 1% fat  or skim:  milk, cottage cheese, or cheese. Two servings of lean protein are even more expensive: 6-12 points for your choices there…and that’s just the start! You could blow your entire day’s budget on a couple of pieces of pizza or a grande wet burrito! Somewhere in there you need 2 tsp. oil (2 pts.) and 6 glasses of liquid (water or any 0 calorie drink, for 0 pts). Throw in a multivitamin, and by the time I’ve met my nutrient needs (which—granted—are pretty minimal at 18)…BINGO, I’m pretty much out of points. That was a most disturbing realization, and at first I thought I’d probably dip into my extra points every day. But you know what? By the time I ate all the good stuff, I wasn’t hungry anymore, so I’d skip the 2 pt. whatever that I thought I might have for a bedtime snack if need be! It really worked!

Alan and I have read elsewhere that people need to eat approximately 3 pounds of food a day to feel full, and so it’s much more in how fat-laden the food is rather than the amount that can make the difference. (I’m talking normal people here, not obese people with a food addiction or other problem.) Also, sugar causes more highs and lows in our metabolism, so avoiding sugary foods and filling up with more high-fiber foods that take longer to metabolize prolongs the sense of well-being before you start to feel hungry again. (Duh…I know you all know this anyway.) One of the WW mantras is: “If you’re hungry, you’re more susceptible to bad choices.” Boy, ain’t that the truth…not only concerning food, but concerning so many things in life. I think if I would stop to figure out what I’m missing or wanting when I’m tempted, I’d have a much better chance of getting my true needs met and avoid making bad choices!

All week in my spare time I was studying the point counter and made a quick guide of all my favorite foods, trying to learn how to estimate points faster. WW also has some handy guides for how to eyeball amounts: 1 c. is approximately the size of a tennis ball; a small side dish is about the size of a computer mouse, a 3 oz. serving of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand. This helps when you can’t actually take a measuring cup to everything you want to eat.

In all, after years of dieting on my own and never really learning how to eat in a truly healthy way, I am delighted with WW. Of course…I’m still honeymooning. I’m sure it won’t always be new and exciting! 🙂

Weight Watchers: First Impressions

I might have to change my ways a little…

I had my first visit to Weight Watchers, and I wanted to report what I learned. The “pep talk” if you will was on keeping track of every bite you eat and figuring out how just how much you’re eating in a day. According to their research, people underestimate what they eat by up to 1,000 calories a day. They had a couple of catchy phrases: “No free BLT’s” (that’s “bites, licks, or tastes”), and “If you bite it, write it!” You have to calculate how many “points” you can have each day according to weight, height, sex, age, and activity level. Keeping track of what you eat and keeping accountable is the start of learning how to eat right. If you can’t afford Weight Watcher’s, there’s a website called Sparkpeople.com that helps you with diet planning and calorie counting for free.

I can have “18” points per day. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it is the lowest level anyone ever gets to, which means that Weight Watcher’s won’t be a passing fancy for me. If I want to lose the extra pounds and keep them off, this is going to be a forever diet. Rather sobering, but since they add into their equation 35 points per week for fun and make it possible to eat a small amount of almost anything you think you can’t live without, then I think it’s doable. In the past, I’ve always found the easiest way to lose weight was to stop eating desserts, which was effective, but since I LOVE desserts, as soon as I reached my goal and quite dieting, I started gaining. Weight Watchers basically tries to teach people a new lifestyle and a new skill: how to eat in a controlled, healthy, sustainable way. “Not perfection but progress” and eventually a lifelong good habit of eating right.  I’m on board!

Once begun, I wonder: why did it take me so long to sign on? Pride? “I can lose weight on my own; I have my own system.” “I’m not doing so bad compared to everybody else.” “I don’t need help.” “There’s such a stigma attached to admitting being in Weight Watchers…it’s like you have a disease or something…like you’re a weak person…like you can’t take care of yourself.” Money? “It costs $9.22 per week. Couldn’t that be better spent somewhere else?” Time? “I’m so busy right now, where will I ever find another 1-2 hours per week to invest in something else?” Lack of motivation? “Well, most of my friends are a little overweight…isn’t that just what happens as we get older?”

Makes me think of becoming a disciple of Christ. Aren’t the roadblocks often similar? If you’re not a believer, what’s keeping you from trusting Christ and becoming a new creation in Him? For those of us who are already Christians, what’s hindering us from turning our lives completely over to God and becoming even more earnest in living out the new lifestyle that we’ve been called to?

Well, here’s to healthy eating and healthy living! I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a week. 🙂