Friday, May 24, 2013

Weight Watchers Success

I have tried a lot of weight loss programs and methods: Zone, Atkins, South Beach, counting calories, Clean Eating, and finally, Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers is the only thing that seems to work well for me.

Reason #1: I get obsessive about calories. Weight Watchers is an inexact science of points based on rounding the calories up or down, with the idea that spread out over the course of a day or week, everything will average out to a loss. You get “splurge” points and points for exercise. You get “free foods” that you don’t have to count. There is also a set number of points you get daily, weekly and for exercise. There is no “fudge” room at the end of the day.

When I count calories, I end up telling myself that the extra 50 or 100 doesn't count, mostly because calories is also not an exact science. It’s very difficult to get your exact calorie burn on a daily basis, just as it’s difficult to get an exact count of the calories you have consumed. You absolutely have to weigh every little thing that you eat, and while weighing is important even for Weight Watchers, it’s not as critical. Therefore, if I’m still hungry at the end of the day, I mentally justify eating a few more calories. When you’re out of Weight Watchers points, you’re out, so it’s easier for me to stop.

Reason #2: Weight Watchers encourages you to eat healthier. Counting calories is just that – calories. It doesn't take into account what kinds of foods you are eating. I know most people will say calories in versus calories out is what influences weight loss, and I agree, but only to a point. I firmly believe the quality of your calories also has an impact. Higher quality, more weight loss. How does it do this? Mostly by giving you free fruits and vegetables, but I have also noticed that a high quality nutritious food will often get rounded down in points, where a higher fat and sugar content food seems to round up.

Reason #3:Weight Watchers also gives you the freedom to splurge. By giving you 49 points a week to use however you like, you have the flexibility to do what works best for you. You also don’t have to use them! But if I’m craving a glass of wine and I've used all my points for the day, I can still have one. If I've used all my points and I’m still hungry, I have a backup. I also love that they adjust the points you get for active you are. I know of one well known calorie counting site which asks you to commit for a certain amount of exercise and spread out the additional calories based on the promise. But what if you get sick and don’t work out? What if you are way more active on one day than you planned? This earning points based on what you actually do really, really works for me because I don’t get more food for sitting on my butt, and I DO get more food for getting out there and being active!

A bonus for those who are in larger towns - Weight Watchers meetings. While I have had lots of success both with online and meetings, my best success comes with the accountability of weighing in.

I decided in January that I was tired of being overweight! Weight Watchers was running a special for longer term online subscriptions so I just signed up for the six months leading up to my 40th birthday. Now I’m about 6 weeks away from my 40th and will soon be having to make a decision. I don’t think I will be at my Weight Watchers Lifetime Goal weight by the time my subscription ends. My goal right now is to get within 2 pounds of my goal weight, and then start trying to get to the nearest Weight Watchers meeting (40 miles away!) once a month to maintain my lifetime status and get free online e-tools so I can successfully maintain using the tools that helped me get there in the first place.

However, that means I will probably be trying calorie counting again, so I’m going to have to figure something out. Those of you who utilize a calorie counting option such as My Fitness Pal, what are you big secrets?

1 comment:

  1. My mom has been doing weight watchers too this year. Maybe I'll someday soon start it up too.

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