I've been going to Weight Watchers meetings for six weeks now, and while I'd like to credit Weight Watchers for the success, if we're being honest I'm not really sticking to their points plan. Here's why: This is my fourth go-round with WW. I know that it works if you eat within your points. I get that. However, you can eat lots of processed foods and lose weight. While I'm not knocking processed foods completely, especially for once in a while convenience, and Lord knows I haven't cut it completely out of my diet, I don't want to lose weight that way. Going into this getting fit journey I told myself I wanted to eat as many whole, real foods as possible. I have been eating mostly clean, whole foods, but many whole foods (for example nuts) are very high in points (Weight Watchers points) so I've struggled to stay within my designated points, while still trying to stick to a mostly whole foods diet. When I did WW in the past the meetings were a tremendous help, and honestly that's why I joined again. In the past the leaders were entertaining, and inspiring and wonderful to listen to. The leader I'm seeing this time is not, and there is literally no other meeting time I can fit into my schedule. The leader is a perfectly nice person, but these meetings are very dry and bland and boring, and doing nothing for me. When I weigh in there is no reaction at all, which shouldn't matter, but it does. In the past when I went if I had a loss they'd cheer for me, and tell me what a great job I was doing. If I gained they would say it's ok, and at least I'm there, and they have faith in me that I'll get back on track. It shouldn't matter too much, but having that twenty second confidence boost really helps me. Also the fact that much of the meeting is talking about fast foods you can eat while on the plan, etc. is not really helping with the way I want to eat. I am not saying I'll never have fast food again, but at this point it's not something I want to eat, or talk about often. I've been going mostly just so I can weigh in and see the progress, but I can do that at home, or at he gym, or at the office of the nutritionist who is available to me through my insurance. I've decided to continue going to WW through the end of the month (and possibly through March) and after that if I'm feeling the same way, I will take the money I'm spending on Weight Watchers and use it to upgrade my gym, and/or take more classes.
NOW, after that long-winded explanation of my thoughts on Weight Watchers I want to address the questions I get asked all the time on Instagram:
1. Why did you decide to start losing weight? It's really funny, actually because right around Christmastime I decided that I was perfectly happy at the weight I was - I'd become really complacent and in denial at just how big (and unhealthy) I was. I went through all of my clothes and donated five bags of clothes that were too small, or close to being too small. I'm kicking myself for that now, but I hopethe people who get them love them. I donated some cute stuff! Only about a week after I donated everything I woke up and realized that I was not happy at the weight I had been. I decided it was now or never. Time to get serious and make some big life changes.
2. How did you get started? Well, I bought a prepaid 2-year gym membership to 24 Hour Fitness from Costco in January 2014, and had only been a few times. Whoops. The day I decided it was time once and for all to get healthy I went to the gym. (I think that day was December 29) I've got a really bad knee from an old injury, and knew I had limitations, but I'd remembered that I used to enjoy doing the elliptical machine so I went on that. I only lasted 11 minutes on the elliptical machine until I was a huffing, puffing mess and had to stop. I was so ashamed of myself! Cardiovascularly, though I just couldn't do anymore. I went back a few days later and was able to do 13 minutes. I'd started walking my dogs (only about 10 minutes at a time) and continued to try and work up to more time on the elliptical. I was able to do 30 minutes within about a week, and decided to try a U-Jam class. It was hard, but I loved it! Now I go to the gym about 3 days a week (the mornings Coco is at school) and I walk my dogs about three days a week, and I try to fit in one U-Jam class a week. The weight room intimidates the hell out of me, but I hope to start incorporating weights into my routine soon!
Aboutbout a month ago with the pups- we did just about a mile:
Ramon and I a few nights ago after we did a 3.7 mile walk!
Right after a U-Jam class:
Right after 56 minutes on the elliptical - random number, I know but I do the weight loss circuit (28 minutes) twice in a row:
3. What are you eating? For breakfast I try to drink a protein shake (yes, I know processed, but I physically have a hard time eating in the morning, and am always pressed for time. This way I at least get something in, get my metabolism going and have some fuel to go to the gym or on a long walk) For lunch I have a salad with lean chicken or turkey, or leftovers from whatever we had the night before. A huge change is the way I'm cooking for my family, and the time I spend cooking. I try to cook at least five nights a week (where before I'd cook maybe once or twice a week! We used to go out all the time.) Not that my cooking all the time is necessarily saving us money, because I'm buying high quality, mostly organic ingredients, but my family (and myself) are so worth it. I also really enjoy Quest Bars for when I'm not home, but am hungry. They're minimally processed, and don't have tons of ingredients, and I feel like they are a better choice than hitting the drive through any day! I bought THIS multipack and love every single one!
I also love different kinds of nut butters as treats! I love slicing up a fresh apple and dipping it. I love the one pictured below, but my absolute favorite is THIS one!! I've had to buy a few - my whole family loves it. Try it, it's amazing!
4. What are some of your favorite recipes? I have a couple of pin boards dedicated to my new lifestyle, but THIS one and THIS one have the most recipes. Some of the ones I've cooked over and over, though (and that the whole family loves) are: my tortilla(less) soup, better than takeout fried rice (and we use liquid aminos instead of soy sauce) green chicken chili , Italian oven roasted cauliflower, and tamale casserole but with this recipe I use ground turkey that I season with reduced sodium taco seasoning. It's yummy!!
5. Do you still go out? Yes. Not nearly as often as I was, though. And when I go out I am making much better food (and drink choices!) Speaking of drinks I have only had one glass of wine (Riva Ranch Chardonnay by Wente at my book club - delicious!) since December 31. I'm not against drinking at all, but for the calories it's just not worth it to me right now. I wasn't a huge drinker before, so I don't know that that has had much of an impact, but still felt like it was worth noting.
6. What are your goals? Ultimately just to be healthy. I want to cut down my risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. I want to be a great example for my girls. I want to be around for a long, long time! I truly do not have a number goal, but I do want to be out of plus sizes. I am DYING to be able to buy an outfit from Anthropologie, and a bra from Victoria's Secret. That might seem really silly, but those are total goals for me! I will probably cry tears of joy the day I can fit into anything from either of those stores!
- Dramatic first month. When I really committed to this I decided that the entire month of January was going to be extreme. I made a conscious effort to cut out dairy, simple carbs (pasta - my biggest weakness!) alcohol, and anything with added sugar. I used this time to retrain my taste buds, and much to my surprise it worked! I slowly reintroduced dairy, but have it minimally. I dropped quite a bit of weight in this first month, which was awesome, but I am thrilled with the fact that it helped change my taste buds to not hate everything that's good for me ;)
- Coffee. I drink a cup of coffee (Starbucks blonde roast) every morning, and I use just a splash of the vanilla flavored coconut milk creamer. More importantly though, I cut down my coffee shop intake dramatically. I used to go to my favorite local coffee shop every morning for a nonfat mocha, and often times I'd hit up Starbucks in the afternoon for an iced, nonfat caramel macchiato. I now go only about twice a week to get coffee out (I don't think I could keep up with this lifestyle change if I cut it out completely) and when I go to my favorite local spot I get a small nonfat vanilla latte, and when I go to Starbucks I get a tall skinny vanilla latte (nonfat milk + sugar free vanilla syrup.) I *know* sugar free syrup is processed and chemical-filled, but for once a week I'm ok with it!
- I got a Fitbit and am using it to track my daily steps and activity. I shoot for 10,000 steps a day, and check my Fitbit to make sure I'm on track. If I'm not (and it isn't too late) I'll take the pups on a quick walk. Seriously, this bad boy has helped me out tremendously and I highly recommend them!
- Inspiring Instagram accounts: I love to follow my friend Diana's @livylovestorun progress, and Grace of @graciesjourney too! They both have lost a lot of weight by changing their lives - exactly what I hope to do!
- Treat Yo'Self. I have always been reward/goal driven. Before this lifestyle change I would reward myself with food. If I had a super successful trunk show I'd hit the drive through, order a dessert when I went out to eat, etc. I still reward myself, but now I do it with non-food things. My favorites are pedicures, a new book or new workout clothes!
- Water. My water intake is huge! I don't keep track of the ounces I drink on average, but I know it's up there. Water is just about all I drink (which is easy for me, because I actually enjoy the taste of water very much) I mostly cut out soda about a year and a half ago after seeing a really eye-opening infographic about it. I would still occasionally have a soda (Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper - yum!) but I decided that I just need to give it up completely. I don't miss it at all.
So that's it for now. I'm only about two months into this lifestyle change and getting fit journey. I'm by no means an expert, but wanted to address the questions I get asked most frequently. By all means feel free to ask more!