Tips for Weight Watchers

I have been getting asked for tips from people on Weight Watchers!  I am so very flattered by this.  I remember when I was new to WW, and how much I appreciated successful members' advice.  I guess that I have finally become one of the successful members!!!  Hurray!!!  I am so proud of myself, it's crazy.  :-)

I count points, so my tips will be for the points-counters, not those following the Simply Filling Technique.

Just remember that everyone has to start somewhere.  I was new in June of 2009.  It took me a year and a half to lose this much weight (62.2 pounds so far) and I'm here to let you in on a secret: 

Slow and steady really DOES win the race. 

Okay, that's not really a secret, lots of people say it, but it is TRUE!!!

Weight Watchers recommends losing .5-2 pounds per week (on average).  I have lost about a pound a week on the weeks that I have been completely OP (on program/on plan). 

And this is how I've done it:

1) Follow Weight Watchers as written!  It sounds crazy that I even have to make this a "tip", but for me this has been crucial.  The first 7 months that I was on Weight Watchers, I struggled to really follow the plan.  I guessed, I didn't track everything I ate, I didn't follow the GHGs (good health guidelines), I didn't exercise regularly, I tried to combine WW with other plans (unsuccessfully until I found TKD), and I just didn't care.  I was interested in losing weight, but I was NOT committed to losing weight.

Once I stopped trying to make the program fit into my life, and instead made my life fit into the program, the results followed.  Weight Watchers is definately a diet, but it is also a lifestyle change, especially if you want the results to last. 

The rest of my tips will probably all be extensions of tip #1, because this has been so important to me.

2) Eat your Good Health Guidelines.  They really do help!  The guidelines are (taken straight from in "My Plan"):
  • Fruits/Vegetables- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, (nine servings if you weigh over 350 pounds.)
  • Whole Grains- Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and oats, whenever possible.
  • Dairy- Include two servings of milk products - low fat (1%) or fat-free - each day.  If you're a nursing mom, teenager, over 50 y ears old, or weigh more than 250 pounds, you should have three servings of milk products each day.
  • Healthy Oils- Have 2 teaspoons of healthy oils (olive oil, canola, sunflower, safflower or flaxseed) each day.
  • Lean Protein- Ensure that you are getting enough protein by choosing at least a serving or two of lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, beans, soy products, and lentils.
  • Limit added sugar and alcohol.
  • Water- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of liquid a day.  Water is the best choice.
  • Take a mulitple vitamin-mineral supplement each day.
Here's how I get these in each day:

Fruits/Vegetables- I eat a banana with breakfast almost every morning, and another piece of fruit as a snack later.  I make steamed vegetables in the microwave (usually with a Ziploc Zip n' Steam baggie) and eat that either with lunch or as a snack.  I cook dinner with lots of vegetables, too.

Whole Grains- I will eat brown rice with my dinner, and sometimes oatmeal for breakfast (usually on the weekends, since I like "to-go" options through the week).

Dairy- As a vegan, I ignore this guideline.

Healthy Oils- My favorite way to get this in is to make a healthy bean dip:  1/2 cup refried beans, salsa, and a teaspoon of EVOO.  Spread on crackers and enjoy!  Another great way to get the oil in is to drizzle a teaspoon on steamed vegetables.  Also, add to rice and beans when you cook.  Yum!

Lean Protein- I get this in every day with beans!  I eat refried beans with my lunch (in the healthy bean dip), and assorted beans with my cooked dinner, usually black or kidney.  On the weekends, I will usually have a boca burger or two, or some vegan balogna.  I'm also trying to get into cooking with tofu.

On limiting sugar and alcohol- I believe in everything in moderation (including moderation!), so I will try to limit my sweet snacks to mostly fruits, but will allow myself some redvines, oreos, chocolate cheerios, and soy ice cream on occassion (usually on the weekends).  I only drink on special occassions (New Years, Halloween, my birthday, etc.).

Water- I love water!  I keep a big Weight Watchers water jug (32 oz.) on my desk at work, and I try to drink a full jug of water before lunch, and another full just after lunch.  That way, any water that I drink after work is a bonus.  I also drink (probably way too much) diet coke throughout the day.

Mulitivitamin- This is the GHG that I struggle with.  I do remember to take it at least once a week, though.  I keep the bottle right by my toothbrush, so you would think that I would remember it!  I really do think that if you eat a balanced diet, then as long as you take your vitamin 1-3 times a week, you're fine.  But the WW guideline says daily, so don't listen to me about this one!  :-)

3) Get active!  Find an activity that you LOVE.  This may sound impossible if you are currently pretty inactive and have convinced yourself that you hate exercise!  I was there, too. 

Try new things!  Stop listening to that voice in your head that tells you that you should love to run, that you should love yoga, that you should love spinning, that you should love the gym. 

There is an activity out there for you, trust me.  Maybe even several!  Me, I love at-home cardio the best.  On a Gazelle, a treadmill, or a Nordic Track.  As long as I get to watch an awesome DVD (and for me, awesome = The Gilmore Girls, Friends, Buffy, Charmed, or scary movies), I'm good to go.  I love doing cardio to TV, and I used to think that it "didn't count" because it was lazy and at home.  Screw that!  I love it, I'm moving, I'm getting thinner and firmer doing exactly what I want to do.  I'm done thinking that I should run or that I should go to the gym. 

4) Weigh in once a week.  Or less.   Please.  Don't become obsessed with the scale!  It's definately an important measure of your success, but it's not the only one. 

Me, I weigh in once a week.  Saturday mornings.  Naked.  After using the toilet.  Yep, I'm pretty cool like that.  Oh, I guess that I should mention that I'm online-only, I'm not doing this at a WW center!

If Saturday rolls around and I feel bloated or yucky in any way, I skip that weigh-in.  It sucks, but I just work hard for another week, and wait to weigh.  That's just how I do it, though!

5) TRACK!!!  This has been the single most important thing for me.  Track everything that you eat in a journal, or online.  Just write it down, whether you were OP or not.  I promise you, it's not as tedious as it sounds!  Well, maybe it was at first.  Now it's second nature for me.

Tip within a tip:  If you find that you are getting off-plan for a day or two, try pre-tracking your food for a few days to get back on track.  I will write down all the food (healthy guidelines included) that will take me to the points amount that I want to eat the next day.  Then, on that day, I will put a checkmark next to each item as I eat it.  It really helps me get right back on track!

6) If you mess up... Forgive yourself.  Oh, and MOVE ON IMMEDIATELY. 

Scenario (and it won't always be this extreme):  You've had a terrible day.  You go home, think "Screw WW, I'm eating what I want to eat!" and tear open a bag of chips and a tub of ice cream.  After it's all gone, you realize what you've done...

What to do:  First of all, clean up your mess.  You don't need to look at that empty bag and carton, you don't need to look in the mirror and see dried ice cream on your chin and chip crumbs all over your shirt.  Secondly, track it.  As difficult as it is to see that number, figure out exactly how many points you just consumed.  Then write it down.  See the number.  Accept it.  It's over.  Move on.  Drink a big glass of water.  Don't punish yourself at the next meal.  Eat a healthy GHG-infused meal or snack the next time that you get hungry.  Earn some Activity Points before your next weigh-in.  Don't beat yourself up!!!

By the way:  We all mess up.  Even successful WW members who have been OP for months, even lifetimers.  I still try to follow the above advice every time that I do. 

6) Give yourself a break.  I try to be 80% OP, 80% of the time.  There is no need to be perfect!  Just use the guidelines of WW as what they are intended:  guidelines.  Some days I don't get in my second oil.  Some weeks I eat more points than I am supposed to.  And I've already admitted that I suck at the vitamin.  As long as what you're doing is getting you the results that you want, keep doing it!  If you stop getting the results that you want, switch things up.  Look closer at your tracker.