Weighing up my options

by Khushboo on October 25, 2011

My blog is not, by any means, a weight loss blog.  While I may want to lose a couple of pounds every so often, that phase in my life is long gone.  That being said, I did invest plenty of time into that that journey and it is still a huge part of me.  Heck without losing the weight, I probably wouldn’t have anything to blog about…and would never have started a blog to begin with.  Whether it is 5 lbs or 50 lbs, weight loss is a struggle that a majority of us have  either faced, are currently facing, or will face eventually…and if none apply to you, consider yourself damn lucky!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to blog about various issues that I dealt with during my weight loss and if you have any questions or want me to discuss anything in particular, please let me know!  As I mentioned in my “About Me” section, I tried a lot of diets initially but attribute a majority of my weight loss to Weight Watchers.  For those not familiar with Weight Watchers, it’s an avatar of calorie-counting.  The diet is based on a point-system where each item of food is allocated a certain points value.  Depending on your gender, weight, height, and activity levels, you are assigned a certain number of points to eat daily.  Like any other diet, it comes with a range of advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • Flexible plan: Points are like money: once my daily amount was calculated, it was up to me how I spent them.  Just knowing that no food/food groups were off limits helped me psychologically.  If I wanted a slice of cake, I would figure a way to incorporate it into my daily eats.
  • Emphasis on bulking up on vegetables: I am definitely a volume eater so I really milked the 0-points value which most veggies had.  It was a win all round: I felt like I was eating a huge amount without using up my points, and of course I benefited from the range of nutrients.
  • Encourages portion control: Nutrition for weight loss comes down to two things: type of food and quantity of food.  Especially in this super-sized world we’re living in, it’s so easy to go overboard with even so-called ‘healthy foods’.  Although I still do weigh out certain things like cereal and rice, I have become pretty good at eyeballing portions…although my idea of a cereal portion size is still not in sync with the recommended amount on the box ;) !
  • Weekly weigh-ins were always motivation to stay on track
  • Encourages a lifestyle change:  If you’re looking for a quick-fix diet , WW is probably not for you.  It’s a long-term approach to eating, one in which you gradually learn to adopt better eating habits and a healthier lifestyle.  The slower the weight falls off, the more likely it will stay off.

April 2004 : 2 months before I joined WW

Cons

  • Requires planning ahead: Meals out/splurges required eating less throughout the day or ‘saving up’ my points during the week.  Let’s just say, egg-whites became my BFF for a very long time!
  • Eating points gained from exercise were a huge gray area: some leaders suggested eating all of them whereas others advised eating half/none of them.  Ultimately it all came down to trial and error.
  • It’s easy to get obsessive, which is my biggest ‘issue’ with Weight Watchers.  Between trying to get the best bang out of my points, weighing, measuring, counting and tracking everything going into my mouth, food was ALWAYS on my mind.
  • Huge emphasis on scales:  Despite 100% sticking to the plan, many of my weigh-ins would show a mere 0.5 lb loss or a ‘stay the same’.  While I knew at the back of mind that several factors influence the number on the scale, it was such a downer to see a number which didn’t reflect my efforts.
  • Skewed message of ‘healthy’:  Apart from calories & saturated fat, WW fails to recognize the complete nutrition of various foods.  I knew avocado was healthy yet would never opt to ‘spend’ 3.5 points on half a medium avocado.  Alternatively I used to inhale packets of sugar-free jelly because it was considered a ‘free’ food….whoops!

A couple of weeks ago

My verdict: While I would never go back to counting points, WW is a plan I would wholeheartedly advocate to others.  I attended boarding school during my first 2 years on WW which wasn’t ideal: my options were limited, I ate the same few dishes day in and day out, and everyone else around me was constantly eating.  Although my weight loss was super slow, I was still able to stick to the plan which goes to show just how doable WW really is.  If you asked me the secret to losing weight, I would tell you to find a plan that works for YOU.  Find something YOU can stick to in the long-term.  Whether Weight Watchers fits the bill is something only you can decide.

If you have lost weight in the past, what worked/didn’t work for you?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Hansa October 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm

It’s good to go back and see how it all began. Your journey had the goods and the bads ie. The weight dropping off, having such great willpower vs constantly thinking about food and having to be good all the time. All I can say the journey may be over and you have arrived. Good for you!!!

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munisha287 October 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I’m on Weight Watchers now, I have been on it since October 2010, so a little over year. I have lost close to 16 kilos since that time and I found it to be a steady and easy to follow “plan”. I don’t like using the word “diet” because I find that word to be restrictive as my goal wasn’t aiming to lose this much weight, but to change my lifestyle. I never considered myself to be overweight, but I knew I could become healthier and more comfortable in my own body; Weight Watchers has definitely helped me accomplish that! I am aware of what I put in my mouth, how much of it, and how good it is for me. Its allowed me to take care of my habits while still splurging on dessert after dinner or a glass of champagne on a special occasion. I love that Weight Watchers doesn’t restrict you on foods, it restricts you more on quantity – which is definitely perfect for my lifestyle!

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:12 am

It’s great you have found something that works for you- good luck on the rest of your weight loss journey :) ! I agree about feeling ‘more comfortable in your own body’…that’s so much more important than any number on the scale!

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Alexandra October 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

This is so interesting! I never knew all that stuff about WW, it’s great you can decipher the pros and cons about it. Oh and for the record, your transformation is jaw droppingly amazing!! :D

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

Thank you so much :)

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Parita @ myinnershakti October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I’m excited about this series. It’s fun to learn about the things that helped people lose weight…and so inspiring when done right!

For me, counting calories is the #1 thing that helps me lose weight. But you’re right, it can become an obsessive habit, so you have to be careful with that.

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

It definitely can be obsessive- I went through a phase where I would choose certain vegetables over others because of the calorie count…gah what was I on!

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) October 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

I’m also looking forward to reading these posts! My own weight loss journey always makes me so intrigued to hear about how others went about it.

I never did WW or a specific program per se, but like you I tried a lot of fad diets (cabbage soup diet – kill me now) before I settled on calorie counting. It got obsessive and restrictive eventually to a point that I knew it wasn’t healthy, but luckily I was able to curb that before things went too far. I’m not proud of the mentality I was harboring at the time but the calorie counting coupled with a lot of exercise worked. I lost 10 kilos in total but gained back 1.5 to be at a healthy BMI.

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

Haha did you have bad gas when you were doing the cabbage soup diet? I remember my mom/sister did it and it was a side-effect…and they’re probably going to kill me once they read this comment :-) ! It’s great that you were able to scale it back when you knew the mentality was getting out of hand! Great going on the 10 kg loss, you look amazing!

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) October 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Haha it’s funny you ask that because I actually didn’t! My flatmates/work colleagues all teased me about it but luckily I didn’t experience that particular side effect. I did however almost collapse on day 6 after a an hour and a half at the gym because I had no energy. Not fun.

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Khushboo Thadani October 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Oh wow- I can’t believe you managed to work out for that long on close to zilch calories…lesson learned, I bet!

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spinach&spice October 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

I became nutrition obsessed, which ultimately made me lose weight. I wasn’t even trying to lose weight at first.. then it became not only an obsession with healthy eating, ,but with weight too. Weight watchers does seem like a good plan for those trying to lose weight, especially since they revamped it with “healthier” point values that take into account nutritional values instead of just calories. It seems to be an effective way for people to lose weight. And you look great, girl!

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

Thanks Sarah! At one point, I became obsessed with only spending points on ‘nutritious’ foods…even though chocolate fit into my points, I would feel ‘bad’ to eat it!

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) October 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Oh and also – INCREDIBLE transformation! You look so good plus your hair is gorgeous.

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

Thanks!

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Sara K October 26, 2011 at 12:36 am

From what it seems like, Weight Watchers has the most realistic (and healthy) weight loss plan- but i can definitely see how people can get obsessive with the points system; but then again anything with a numeric system is bound to foster obsessiveness- but it’s still FAR BETTER than any of those detoxy rubbishy fad diets that everyone seems to go on about; and it lets you learn MODERATION of incorporating treats! :)

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

I agree, especially about the moderation bit- I think having been on WW is actually why I can stop eating dessert after a few bites…most of the time ;) !

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Sig October 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

Gah! Been trying to lose weight for what seems like forever! I lose and gain the same 5kilos every year haaha.

WW sounds like a great place to start – I think I kinda know what works for me – I just gotta do it now!

By the way – you look fantastic – before and after :)

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Khushboo Thadani October 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

Thanks so much and good luck with the 5 kgs :D

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Errign October 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

It seems like WW is one of the most realistic or healthy options out there, but I do wonder how many EDs it triggers with the counting…just a curiosity thing, though. Your weight loss is incredible :)

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Khushboo Thadani October 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Thanks and I agree, counting points can go both ways if you’re not careful

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forgottenbeast October 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Congrats on finding the plan that worked for you! I’ve heard lots of good things about WW and it’s long-term results, whereas any other diet friends/family have tried definitely seems more like a “fad” thing. I’ve never picked a diet to lose weight, but I have had to play around to find a diet that fits my nutritional needs and interest in eating healthy. Like you say, find what works for you!

And no, I will never believe that a “serving” of cereal is what the box says. Can anyone actually get the listed 14 or whatever servings out of the box?? I think not.

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Khushboo Thadani October 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Is it really 14…whoops, more like 7 for me !!

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Anand October 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Those recommended serving sizes are comical. How can they expect people to ration Coco Pops to 14 servings per box when they taste so darn good?

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Khushboo Thadani October 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Coco pops…good times…the best part is slurping the chocolate milk at the end!

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manisha October 27, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hey! What an incredible transformation! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and absolutely love it! I’m on my own weightloss journey and your posts keep me inspired!!

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Khushboo Thadani October 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks a lot for commenting and I’m glad to hear you are enjoying my blog! :)

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