Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weight Watchers

History
I have been a Weight Watcher off and on since 8th Grade. I joined with my mom pretty much every year up until my senior year when I joined with friends.

At that time I remember I was ravenous - I had postponed both of my gym classes until the last part of my senior year and I would run a mile 3 times a week and it was frustrating because it seemed like my time never improved and the skinny girls would hide behind this "shield" on the other side of the track or other overweight people would run 3 laps and I would be the only one clocking in at 14 minutes.

I didn't really join WW in college, I think my mom and I had tried to give it a go but it never stuck for more than a month. We were onto fad type diets like meal replacement shakes by then.

Frustrations
As someone who even in 8th grade had significant weight to lose, my frustration with Weight Watchers was when I would have leaders who lost 15 pounds and hit goal. This was a barrier to communication and proper help in many ways. First, they had never been fat and didn't know what it was like. Secondly, they didn't have food co-dependency or the lack of self control that accompanies.

Case A: In past incarnations of the program you figured out your daily points range by factoring in the first two digits of your weight. My last leader saw I wasn't writing anything down in Orientation and couldn't fathom that I can add 5 numbers in my head and demanded I tell them how many points I got. I politely replied that I didn't want to tell everyone my weight. It's these types of things that make me self conscious at WW. Oh yeah, also when I'm in a group of people that are in their weight range looking to slim up for cruises.

My best leader was when I lived in Las Vegas. She was young, vivacious, had lost 80 pounds, and loved life. To top it off she was 4 months pregnant and you couldn't even tell. She was living the lifestyle.

My final beef with Weight Watchers was that with the points system it was easy to choose processed foods over clean foods because they were the same points. This definitely wasn't helped when WW started coming out with their own product lines, but everyone has to make money and their stuff is tasty.

Points Plus
So this brings us to present day. I joined WW and this is my second week. I have to applaud them for their eTools system, which gets better every time I join, and for the monthly pass because it keeps me invested in the program for at least a month. (Though I'm really not sure who goes to multiple meetings a week...)

In November Weight Watchers rolled out their new Points Plus Plan which is really just an alliterative way of saying New Points. With this program you analyze your fat, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates to evaluate points as opposed to the calories, fat, and fiber of yesteryear. They have also now made all fruits zero points. The reason I like this is it encourages cleaner eating by showing that an apple, even if it is a few points, is better than a bag of chips.

They've probably had this for a while, it's been 2 years since I was in WW, but they also have iPhone and Blackberry apps which are great. However, I can't wait for them to do something for my Android. It just isn't socially acceptable to whip your iPad out in public casually, even in Orange County, and you can't use a slide ruler anymore.

So is Weight Watchers for everyone? No, but no weight loss plan is. What I like about Weight Watchers is it gives you the option of what to eat. If you want a Lean Cuisine, eat a Lean Cuisine. If you want birthday cake, just budget it in. I also like the accountability of having a group meeting and weigh in to go to. They celebrate every little thing at Weight Watchers and it seems trivial but the 5 pound star stickers and the other things they give out do make you feel good.

Anecdote
Okay so I just thought this was funny, my mom joined me at WW this week and she was so upset that she is 170 and 5'8". I know right, cry me a freaking river! But anyways, there were two women in line behind us who started talking because they were both joining and recognized each other from previous attempts. My mom got up on the scale and they said she had gained 6.6 pounds since 2009 and the ladies were scoffing about how 3 pounds a year isn't that bad. Needless to say, that made my mom's night. It's all about perspective. Your weight is going to fluctuate, the problem my mom has had is that her health is on a decline and while she doesn't eat anything terrible like I tend to, she doesn't eat particularly healthy either so it's also about how you feel on the inside.

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