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:
- 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.
- 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!
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?