Like so many people, I have struggled with weight loss and weight control for most of my adult life. I’ve always been short and was pretty average sized for my height until I had my second child. I was very young when I had my first son and following his birth, I actually went down in size. My shoe size, ring size, and pant size all went down. I still to this day, don’t have a clue as to why this happened. Unfortunately my good fortune was short lived. Following the birth of my second son a couple years later, I stayed heavy and even continued to gain weight.
After several years of hoping I would find the magic and lose all the weight while dropping pant and shoe sizes again, I realized it wasn’t going to happen like that again. With so many products and “quick fix” weight loss programs, I was tempted and hopeful. In the back of my mind though, I knew these were not likely to work long term and wouldn’t be sustainable because of the substantial cost involved. I was also concerned that these solutions weren’t as focused on wellness and health as they were about pushing supplements and products to lose weight quickly. My weight loss goals aren’t just about losing weight to lose weight, it was about being healthy and part of a total wellness objective.
Keeping all this in mind, I needed something to assist me with the actual weight loss piece of my wellness objective. It needed to be affordable, sustainable, and in line with my total wellness goals rather than just focused on quick weight loss. I asked around and did some research. Knowing myself, I needed it to be easy, flexible, and something that I can control. Control is always a big piece for me. I knew I needed to be able to eat treats and go out for meals from time to time.
For short periods of time I can operate under zero tolerance, no room for error, strict guidelines, but it’s always temporary. After a little time, I start to feel confined and constricted. I don’t feel like I am in control and instead I am beholden to someone or something else. This is why the restrictive diets and programs don’t work long term and aren’t sustainable.
After exploring the options I settled on Weight Watchers. It checked all the boxes and you guys know how much I love checking off boxes ;). It was flexible, allowed me to be in control, I could eat what I wanted whenever I wanted to, it was sustainable, it focused on wellness and healthy choices, it was affordable, and it had stood the test of time. At the very least, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go. I started working the program near the beginning of the calendar year and by summer, I had to buy a new swimsuit and was able to purchase smaller sizes in clothing. I felt better, I looked better, and I was having fun with it. There were challenges of course, but overall it was exactly what I needed.
I didn’t get it at first, but over time I realized why it worked so well for me. It’s a BUDGET! I do well with budgets. I am a financially minded person that likes organization, planning, and checks and balances. I like having choices but also having boundaries. Weight Watchers was just that! There were daily and weekly points and you got to choose how to spend them by selecting foods that were worth certain points. There are even ZERO point foods! Anyone that has worked within a budget knows that FREE is awesome and these ZERO point foods were FREE to eat without reducing your daily and weekly budgets.
Just like any budget, it took some time to get use to and some planning on my part. The prep work was a little daunting at first because I had to go through and calculate the points for the foods I ate most often and save them to my profile for convenience later. Any time we tried something new, I had to figure out the points and measure out servings and so on. Not a whole lot of fun, but necessary. It’s not a whole lot of fun to balance a checkbook, review bank statements, and make decisions each month on what is and isn’t going to get purchased based on the amount of money available. It is however necessary to have a healthy budget and be in a place of financial wellness. Same concept here but with food.
I got to a point where I knew exactly what I could eat each day to stay within my point budget and then I would save the weekly bonus points to be used one day a week for when we had to grab fast food due to time constraints or if we had a special meal planned or maybe a holiday fell in that week.
An extra motivator included the bonus points you could earn for doing exercise and physical activity during the week. You have the option of using them up when you earn them by eating more foods, or knowing that you worked to earn extra points that just help increase your weight loss and wellness results. This was nice because they were there if I needed/wanted them but I also could just enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I spent (ate) my daily budgeted points but earned extra to reach my goals faster.
Since my original journey with Weight Watchers, I slipped back into bad habits and wasn’t budgeting my eating or physical activity and I had another child and became complacent hoping I would magically shrink in size again. Again this did not happen. Knowing that I can be very successful using the Weight Watchers program I decided to start back up again. Upon rejoining, I found that they had improved upon their program and now there were even more ZERO point food choices. MORE FREE STUFF!!!! My budget minded brain was thrilled and my stomach was excited to be able to eat even more food.
For the most part the structure was still the same and I have my daily and weekly point budget that I can spend on whatever foods I please. I am still in control of what I get to eat and how much of it. If I really want to eat something that isn’t very healthy and has a high cost in points, I can make an informed decision as to whether or not it’s worth the points and perhaps get a smaller size or share it with something to make it more affordable. I can choose to do additional physical activity to earn more points if I really want an extra treat that day or if I know that we will have a reason to eat out or eat celebration foods. Having a list of FREE foods to pick from, I can include those items on my shopping list for daily snacking and design meals around them too. The possibilities are endless and the success is REAL! I will continue to pay the monthly subscription fee to use the app and website because it is worth it for the convenience it offers me and because it makes me feel like I have to be accountable since I am putting real money towards this goal. It is possible to continue to work the program without paying for the subscription which is another reason why the program is so sustainable. It’s about you and making it work for your lifestyle.
What are your wellness goals?
Have you found programs that work for you?
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