At the beginning of this year I joined Weight Watchers for the fourth time. The first time I joined I did meetings but it didn’t work because I was still drinking and there are a crap ton of calories in a bottle (or two) of wine every night. Add to that the empty calories consumed once my inhibitions were lowered and I might as well have flushed the monthly payment to WW down the proverbial toilet.
The second and third time I joined I did the online version of WW which was moderately successful. I lost about 10 lbs. each time and then gave up and gained it back.
So at the beginning of the year I decided to give it one last college try. Oprah had just invested in WW and was all over TV hawking the company and vowing to lose weight with me. Since she’s had such success with losing weight and keeping it off (yes…that WAS sarcasm) I figured I was bound to be successful right? Of course!
I signed up online and decided that if I was going to do it I would need some accountability so I signed up for the package that included in-person meetings. I dusted off my food scale and became familiar with my new app and jumped into the pool.
And was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, after a gazillion years they changed the way the points are calculated. Instead of Points or Points Plus, now they have Smart Points. In a nutshell, it forces you to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and protein and low in refined sugars and other carbohydrates. Since all the research says that’s just about the healthiest eating plan going, I saw that as a positive. Not everyone was feeling that way however – apparently there were a LOT of pissed off people when they found out that their “snacks” that used to fit into their plan were now loaded with points. The thing I was always discouraged by when it came to WW was that they let you eat pretty much anything you wanted as long as you stayed within your points allowance. That meant that you could have chips or candy or a loaf of bread (don’t judge) as long as you were within the points. There was no education about how to eat better to sustain the weight loss, just a focus on the weight loss itself. It just rubbed me the wrong way.
Now there’s a focus on eating healthy for life and actually learning what is good for your body and what isn’t. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose more weight or any weight at all for that matter but at least you can’t get away with stuffing your face with crap and then wonder why you gain all your weight back as soon as you move to maintenance or go off plan.
Next was a new meeting format. The old meetings had a leader in the front of the room with a tired flipchart trying to teach about the week’s topic. Could be tips for getting through vacation or how to lower the caloric intake of BBQ foods but it was mostly a talking head telling you what to do. Now they’re run more like AA meetings. Everyone sits in a circle and talks about their week and the leader is more a moderator than teacher. Since I’ve BEEN to AA meetings that really resonated with me. I felt immediately comfortable and even shared a few times! That’s a miracle for this introvert.
Between the end of January and the end of April I dropped 15 lbs. It was slow, about 1 – 1.5 lbs. per week but it was consistent and the more weight I lost the more committed I became to the program. That is, until work got crazy and I started traveling…that’s when it went to hell in a hand basket. Since April I have struggled to get back to my meetings and even cancelled my membership for about a month, convinced that after the crazy time at work ended I’d be able to continue the weight loss all by myself. Because…you know…I have been SOOOOO successful with that in the past.
HA! Oh…sorry. That made coffee come out of my nose.
I realized pretty quickly that, like most things in my life that require discipline, I was going to continue to need help. Blessedly and with diligence I have maintained the original 15 lb. loss but I knew that if I didn’t do something, that wasn’t going to last much longer. I signed BACK up and began to, half-heartedly at best, track my food again. It’s not hard for God’s sake. The app makes it simple stupid. What’s hard is committing to counting the chips I eat for a snack each night and saying no to that afternoon cup of Dunkin coffee with real cream and sugar (10 points!)
Now I find myself at a cross-roads.
1. Do I fully commit and jump back into meetings and regular exercise and hope that I begin actually losing again?
2. Do I wait until the end of September when our feeding frenzy of a busy season is officially over (just in time for the Holidays to roll around)?
3. Or do I accept this new place my body has found and learn to be happy?
Since numbers two and three made me snort with laughter and my co-workers are now looking at me – I’d say it’s number one.