I went to see my doctor in January 2018 (after the holidays and during a Montreal winter is a fun time to get weighed, is it not?) and when she told me what I weighed, I didn’t love the number. I had been feeling like my clothes weren’t fitting as comfortably. Shopping had become less enjoyable. I asked her for advice.
She said that to reach my personal goal I could either walk an additional 30 minutes a day and reduce my calories by 1000 daily, or try the WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) app. She said that ever since Oprah bought stocks in the company in 2015 that changes were implemented and it is now much easier to use.
Since counting calories is not how I want to spend my time, I decided to try the WW app. They changed their name on Monday from Weight Watchers to WW in order to transition into a wellness company. Their new motto is “Wellness that Works”.
At some point this summer I reached a 10-pound weight loss and this week I’m down about 13 pounds. I let myself enjoy chips by the pool on summer weekends and I’m totally fine with that. Why? Because I have the tools to get myself back on track and I believe that finding balance between enjoying life and maintaining your health is key.
I went shopping one day in July and I had fun seeing my reflection in the mirror again. I have the tools to plan my daily points and I feel like I’ve taken back control over my own health. I am not doing this for any other reason than to feel healthier. That’s probably why I am able to stick to it.
I am not writing this to make anyone feel bad about their body, or to spread the word that women need to lose weight. I hesitated to even write this article for months because there is so much shame and stigma around weight loss, women’s bodies and diets. Finally I decided to just go for it because it worked for me and I want people to know that if they are thinking about trying it that yes, it’s worth it.
Here is what I realized.
You need to be motivated
Like any behavior change, you have to be 100% in. Like I said, shopping was no longer fun for me which as someone who loves clothes, I was particularly motivated by this. I had been through some personal difficulties and food was something I was letting myself indulge in to feel comforted. You need to be kind to yourself during these times and if ice-cream helps (or whatever food it is that you enjoy) then I say go for it. I believe that women should take up space. I don’t believe we should obsess over our bodies. But at one point, I felt like I was getting too close to an unhealthy mindless lifestyle, so I decided to trust my doctor and commit. She said it was easy to use and I chose to believe her. You can’t force that moment. You have to be ready to make changes and be kind to yourself. You also need patience and realistic goals.
It is easy
It took me about a month to decide that I would go ahead. Did I want to spend the money? Did I want to commit? Could I stick to it? Did I want to feel deprived? (I don’t BTW.) The website and app are very easy to use. There was a sale going on in February so I took advantage of a free month. Any questions I had were answered right away by their customer service. I chose to only use the site and app. I personally didn’t want the added time commitment of group meetings.
I was given 23 points a day with an extra 35 weekly points. I was given a long list of zero point food. Most fruits and vegies are on the list along with other foods like fish and chicken. Their theory is that foods like yogurt and lentils are not foods you go overboard with. They’re right.
What makes it easy? It is not hard to find the foods on their site which is not the case with other apps I’ve tried. (They also say don’t stress about being exact and approximating is ok too). You can eat whatever you want, as long as you stick to your daily points. If you have a night where you go overboard, then use your extra points. Once you realize that you can stay within these parameters, it’s a matter of making choices. You want to eat a slice of pizza, go ahead. You want a piece of cake, go ahead. I still eat tacos, nachos, croissants, you name it. But I always stick to my weekly points by eating 0 point foods as I need to, which means I make healthier choices overall. Not every meal is a delight, but I’m ok with that. I do enjoy sweets more now because I eat them less often. That being said, I don’t find it difficult to say no to them because I simply feel better doing so. It also helps me reduce my alcohol intake which is obviously better for my health than drinking wine mindlessly.
Small changes can make a big difference
Once you start honestly (honesty is key) entering in the foods that you eat, it’s quite eye-opening. I had no idea that certain foods I ate regularly were that point heavy. Now if I want bread for breakfast, I have one piece instead of two. Or I’ll have rice cakes with almond butter. Cake and ice-cream have been replaced with semisweet chocolate chips and fat-free Greek yogurt when I need a chocolate fix. I’ve cut back on how much avocado and nuts I eat. I have fruit and yogurt for breakfast or a smoothie. I am more aware and therefore more mindful and selective. An added bonus is that I have more energy.
On average if you stick to the point system, you will lose about a half a pound a week. If you top up your physical activity, that will also make a difference. As I said, I’ve lost 13 pounds so far. Some weeks I stopped, like when I was on vacation, but I knew that I could start again.
If you are struggling, see your doctor and ask about it. You may just find the tools you have been searching for.
I was not paid to write this. I’m sharing my experience because when you are excited about something, you want to tell people. Again, I believe that women should take up space. Lots of it! But I also believe that healthy living and happiness are choices we make, and sometimes we just need a little help and the right tools. I also believe that removing any stigmas and shame can only be done through open dialogue. You can argue against diets, but you can’t defend eating poorly all the time.
That being said, our weight is not the only indicator of health. You need to do other things like meditate etc. Apparently WW will be incorporating that into their app.
All images via.