Friday, May 13, 2011

Weight Watchers

Just before beginning my Lenten fast from blogging, the hubby and I joined Weight Watchers for a 3-month term. Our membership ends this coming Monday, and, to date, I've lost 12 pounds and he's lost 28!! Well worth it. What did we learn? Really, nothing major. What were we reminded of? Lots of things. I think WW works partly because you're suddenly tracking everything you eat, you have to weigh in every week and see the trajectory (or plateau), and you have an easy "points" amount to keep track of. The points plus system they are currently using allows you to trade in activity points you've earned in return for more food points. That can be a big motivator, especially if, say, your child is having a birthday and you want to indulge a little extra :-). Here's what we did/learned/got reminded of in a nutshell:
  1. Every bite counts!
  2. Follow serving sizes! (we even counted out chips/crackers)
  3. Fruits and veggies are the way to go--fruit and most veggies were "free," so we could always fill up on those if we'd maxed out our points allowance. We are eating lots more produce than we used to--not necessarily more at dinner because we already ate a lot at dinner, but choosing it more for snacks and incorporating veggies more into meals like lunch.
  4. We made way too many exceptions in our old life: let's just finish off that box of Girl Scout Cookies--after all, they're only around this time of year. Just one more --- won't hurt. You going to eat that grilled cheese, honey? No? I'll finish it--don't want to waste food! And so on.
  5. All activity counts! Seriously, even 1/2 hour of moderate housework (think: vacuuming) gave me 2 extra food points (and I only got 29/day, so every point mattered). In addition to regular exercise, I could earn activity points by gardening, doing housework, etc.
  6. Create a safety net: we like to end on a sweet note in the evening. If fruit doesn't quite get rid of the leftover garlic taste, a York peppermint patty might (and it's only 1 point). Drinking unsweetened iced tea also helps cleanse the palate. We discovered low-point snacks that helped a lot: light string cheese sticks or Laughing Cow wedges paired with a piece of fruit and/or some low-fat crackers packed a lot in for a few points. So, we kept those kinds of things on hand.
  7. Balance is the key: eating a well-balanced meal in which a moderate amount of protein and a moderate amount of carbs are present plus lots of produce is the way to go. (duh)
So, like I said, nothing too earth-shattering. But it was the motivator we needed to really get serious about dropping a few pounds, and it's been great to do it together. In the coming weeks, I hope I have time to post some of our new, lighter favorite recipes.

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