Today marks one year that I’ve been on Weight Watchers. It’s been a wonderful trip! I started at 227 lbs., and I have a net loss of more than 35 lbs. (See before and after pics here and here.) Yesterday, I weighed in at 189.4. The lowest I’ve seen on the scale is 187.6, less than 10 lbs. from leaving the obesity category for good, and a combination of numbers I haven’t seen since I headed off to college 15 years ago.
I’ve seen good, solid runs of weight loss. I’ve seen stagnant periods. And I’ve seen the scale creep up six pounds in two weeks. But guess what? I am not giving up. I’m going to keep counting and tracking POINTS until I reach 150 lbs.
Here’s my advice to you, as someone who has successfully kept off more than 10 percent of her starting weight loss, whether you follow Weight Watchers or not.
Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t plan on dropping several dress sizes overnight. Don’t expect consecutive weeks of weight loss all the way to goal (though I know one person who did pull this off). Take the time to discover your healthy food likes and dislikes, train your body to eat normal portions, and understand where food and your emotions connect for you. The more you understand how and why to distance yourself from old bad habits, the better you’ll be able to do it consistently.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you’re coping with a job loss, death or illness, or other high-stress situations, you may be more likely to slip on your diet. If you’re attending a special event or are on vacation, you may also slip. If you can stick to the program, awesome! But if you can’t, stop the slide immediately, dust yourself off, and get back on track. A slip, no matter how long it lasts, is not a failure. Think of it as a learning experience.
No excuses. Make yourself responsible for your weight loss. Shop for healthier foods yourself. Donate your “fat clothes” to Goodwill so you have nothing to go back to. Make a U-turn if co-workers leave out snacks. Stand up to the food-pusher in your family. Set time aside for exercise. This is your life, and you need to make your own plan for getting used to eating better. You can’t let anyone sway you from something that’s going to improve your quality of life.
On the flip side, if you slip, own your slip. No one else made you eat all that ice cream or pizza!
Find alternatives to eating. Be honest–when you think you have to have something sinful, you’re not always actually hungry. Do something else. Drink water, chew sugarless gum, exercise, call a friend, surf the Web… You get the idea. I have to admit this is the most challenging thing for me to do. But it sure feels good when I am successful at resisting temptation.
Don’t deprive yourself! I have found cocoa-flavored rice cakes to meet my chocolate needs sometimes, but then there are other times when only real chocolate will do. On those occasions, I eat chocolate. In moderation. I find that adhering in a militant manner to a diet is a recipe for disaster.
Make your own rules. I visit the 50+ Pounds to Lose message board on the Weight Watchers Web site, where you’ll read of people who have lost six pounds their first week on the program, or have lose 100 lbs. in a year. Understand your body will do what it wants to do–there is no cookie cutter weight loss.
Aside from eating better (and less) and exercising, everything else is up to you. Which meal is your biggest of the day, which new vegetables to try, when to have French fries, and how many days a week to work out. Do what works best for you. Remember, this is your new life.
If you are overweight or obese, losing weight will be one of the most valuable, challenging, exhilarating and frustrating rides you can take in life. Don’t be afraid to take the first step to a new you. Don’t be defeated by a binge. Don’t get too comfy with your first pants size change, if that’s not the end weight you have in mind. You can do this for as long as it takes. I wish you the best!!!