I have officially been a member of Weight Watchers now for approx. 6 weeks and I thought it would be great to give a quick update of my triumphs, frustrations and impressions to date:
*Bad news: My average weight loss is 1lb a week - though actually it's less than that bc the first week I lost 2.6lbs. This is disappointing as I would like to be losing a min. of 1.5lbs a week. I realize any weight loss is good, but I had one week (this one actually) where I didn't lose at all, and one where I gained a lb. (although it's important to note that I've lost 6lbs overall, which is the most I've ever been able to lose on dieting!).
*Good news: I have learned SO much about my eating habits, it's been enormously eye-opening.
- I have realized I'm a snacker, I tend to get hungry every couple of hours, I tend to eat when I'm bored, I tend to eat even when I'm full in order to clean my plate (seriously, I hate leaving food on my plate for some reason! What is that about?! I'm sure there is some deep psychological stuff going on there, but don't even wanna go there)
- I have learned to tailor my diet TO my habits rather than the other way around (e.g. packing each item in my lunch with a specific purpose since I get hungry every few hrs; learning some simple recipes so that I'm more motivated to cook at home, etc).
- I have learned that, even if you are not losing a ton of weight, making changes in your diet WILL change your body and what it is used to. I ate a box of Reese's pieces the other night at a movie and felt "icky" after. I also felt icky for much of Saturday morning after having pizza for supper the night before (well, no proof that the two are correlated, but that's my suspicion). It used to be that I could eat a small popcorn AND candy, and go for a greasy dinner afterward, and not feel sick but here I was feeling sick after ONE box of candy! That was a real "WOW" moment for me, and it made me not want to eat sweet snacks like that very often.
- I have learned to plan ahead - there are ways to indulge yourself while still staying within your points target (this is one of my fav things about the WW plan - flexibility). For example, I like eating out so if I know I'm going to be eating out that night, I will make sure I eat in such a way that I use as few points as possible (not STARVE myself, just eat mostly low point/zero point items) in the rest of the day, that way when I go to the restaurant I have like 20 points at my disposal and can pretty much order whatever I want. I also have been more disciplined with my grocery shopping - if I don't have junk in the house I won't eat it, simple as that!
- I have learned that I thrive on routine - I find the easiest time to stick to dieting is during the week when I'm at work because I have a regular schedule, I only have a small supply of food to last me the day (I find the expense of buying food keeps me from indulging in treats, and makes me stick to ONLY my lunch bag), and I'm usually busy (especially right now) and so my mind wanders less. When I'm prone to snacking is when I don't have the structure of the regular schedule, hence the next point...
*Bad news: I have realized that I tend to really slack off on the weekends - I tend to not record my food (out of a combination of laziness, forgetfulness, irregular schedule which means I'm not always near a computer, and just being sick of doing it all week and wanting a break), and I also tend to eat more often and eat more fattening foods. Because I am often "out-and-about" on weekends and not recording what I'm taking in, it's much easier to just grab whatever food is within reach and ignore the calories. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of the "good behaviour" I practiced during the week is virtually flushed down the drain.
- Also, most of my social engagements tend to be relegated to the weekend, so I often find myself eating out or doing some kind of group social activity and lets face it, these often involve fattening food. I find it extremely hard to go out to a restaurant or to a friend's house where there is fattening food within easy reach and on the plates of people directly in front of you, and order something healthy or not eat at all. It is disappointing (obviously) to see others enjoying delicious food that you can't have, plus there is a kind of "subliminal" peer pressure that exists that urges to you order what your friends or ordering (as silly as that sounds). I really, really need to get better at paying more attention to what I eat and how much on the weekends.
*Good news: I have fallen in love with hiking! My boyfriend and I have actually been taking 2-3 hour hikes every weekend almost since we started dating 5 months ago, and I really look forward to these now. It has been a great way to get out and get some fresh air, explore the many awesome trails that exist right on our doorstep (there are literally hundreds!), pick up some geocaches, and of course contribute to my weight loss. A 3 hour hike gives you around 14 activity points in Weight Watchers, which is amazing! Even if I haven't been losing weight at the rate I would prefer, I know I have at least toned up and I definitely have more energy and stamina. I'm looking forward to continuing this tradition now that the weather is warming up.
So, that is where I stand in my journey!
Journey is a good name for my weight loss experience because that's probably the biggest thing I've learned - weight loss is a PROCESS. It is actually a lifelong/long-term commitment, not something that can happen overnight or that you can quit once you have reached your goals. And it's not just about the number on the scale - it's about making a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. I truly believe you cannot move forward until you come to terms with this. Sometimes I get frustrated that the process is so slow - I just want to get to my first 10lb goal already! But you can't do that. You can't focus on how long it's taking and what is NOT happening - you MUST focus on the GOOD things.
As hard as it is sometimes, you HAVE to keep focusing on the positive because that is the only way you will stick with it. A defeatist attitude will only serve to set you back on the journey and it's not fair to you. That is why I haven't stuck with diets before - when I fell off the wagon I never got back on. I let the feeling of hopelessness take over and would give up.
I keep telling myself that the important thing is that I have recognized the need for a change, and I am making efforts to make that change happen. I definitely feel more positive about this "try" than I ever have about previous ones. So, those of you that are struggling with weight loss and shifting to a healthier lifestyle, please remember these points - and know that you are not alone. Give yourself a break.
Weight loss to date: 6lbs
Next goal: Lose 5% of body weight (9.2lbs) by April 30th
Next long-term goal: Lose 15lbs by May 21st (Victoria Day weekend)