As a chronic dieter who has had a problem with yo-yo weight loss success in the past, I was thrilled to find a program that worked for me: Weight Watchers. Spring is a fantastic time to empower yourself with new fitness regimens, more health-conscious food choices, and a renewed start on your New Year’s Resolutions (anyone else have trouble sticking with those? I thought so!). Here’s what worked for me, and I hope it will help encourage you to make the changes you want to see in your life as well.
My experience (including my successes, and my failures).
During my spring weight loss regimen, I managed to lose 70 pounds in six months. Granted, those aren’t “typical” results – and I had a considerable amount to lose at that time, with 70 pounds being a good start but not even 50 percent of my goal weight loss. I began in January, officially starting Weight Watchers a few months into the New Year, and I continued with that program into June; I eventually started to wander from the program, and I did see some weight begin to creep back over the remaining year as I got less active and much less motivated.
I lost 20 pounds in the first six weeks, but it tapered off after that to a more steady weight loss of around 12 pounds a month. Weight Watchers has recommended guidelines for weight loss – please remember to consult their official plan rules and recommendations before beginning on the program. Eventually, my weight loss discipline failed, and I started to slowly put weight back on; however, even a year later, I’ve only gained back a minor amount (I can still wear the same clothes I was wearing then) – somewhere around 10-15 pounds, depending on the month.
Simple diet “rules” with Weight Watchers.
One reoccurring problem I have had in the past is undertaking too complicated of a diet “system” with a whole lot of enthusiasm – which quickly wanes, as I get frustrated. One thing I like about the latest Weight Watchers version is just how simple these diet “rules” are; the points are easy to understand, and the ability to “buy” a bigger food allowance by spending extra points earned with physical activities worked really well as a motivator in my household. I’ll be the first to admit math is hard, but the point system really works. Not to mention there are websites, android and iPhone apps, plus countless books and guides available to help you work within the system.
The “Friend” Complication.
I found that one of the most difficult challenges to my spring weight loss goals was the attitudes of the friends around me – I heard too many encouragements that I had “earned” a food splurge; that I had already lost so much I could fib it this week; that the points didn’t really matter around the holidays. It can be difficult to stick to any diet plan if the people around you aren’t supportive, and Weight Watchers is no different. That being said, it did help me to have already-provided point calculations for most major restaurants available in the official app or on the website – I couldn’t even lie to myself about knowing that order of fries really was a whopping 12 points.
I highly recommend surrounding yourself with other people who are on diet, fitness, or other “healthy improvement” plans, or friends who are actually supportive of your efforts – and keep your time with less supportive friends to a minimum, because there’s enough temptation out there without friends coaxing you into splitting a cheesecake. Fortunately, there’s a huge resource of Weight Watchers members online, both on the official website and in countless Web-based groups. I was able to network with other members outside of the monthly meetings; we still check in with each other and our success, and I haven’t been actively using the Weight Watchers program for over a year.
Making exercise a Point-Based reward system.
As I mentioned earlier, Weight Watchers allows you to add more food to your daily intake by exchanging activity points you’ve earned through physical activity. That means you can literally search for almost any feasible activity – including the more adult ones – and find the point equivalent. You can also search for high-point-yielding exercises online, specifically on the official website. For me, this was a huge motivator, and most days I simply racked-up activity points without spending them on extra food! It really cuts to the meat of the weight loss-and-exercise dynamic, and it’s great to see tangible results in your point allowance even before you’re seeing the physical benefits of your efforts.
In Conclusion: Spring weight loss, for me, is easier with Weight Watchers.
I’m once again endeavoring to follow the Weight Watchers program, and this time I’m convincing my entire family to participate with me. Each person will have their own point allowance and fitness goals, but as the primary cook-and-grocery-shopper, I can use sample recipes and point recommendations to plan weekly meals. In the end, I would recommend networking with at least one other person on Weight Watchers – online, or in person – even if you’re attending the weekly meetings. It really, truly helps to have someone you can call or text when you’re tempted by the pecan pie.
Of course, everyone’s results will be different, and Weight Watchers isn’t for everyone. But my own personal success and weight loss on their plan has convinced me more than the other diets I’ve tried (Atkins and South Beach, just to name a few), and the huge popularity of the program makes it much less “taboo” or odd to talk about in a public setting. If I can empower myself to lose 70 pounds in six months, I’m sure you can achieve success within your outline of personal goals as well.