I started on WW 20+ years ago. I had quit smoking a couple of years earlier and the weight had slowly come on. Although I grew up eating healthy, I used smoking as an appetite suppressant, which in turn, helped maintain my weight. When I no longer had nicotine, my metabolism slowed and although I was running regularly, I gained.
So if you're here because you have also quit smoking, then CONGRATULATIONS! Quitting smoking is waay harder than losing weight. In fact, quitting smoking it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Trust me, I'm not saying losing weight is easy, but I think it's much easier than quitting smoking. At least you can still eat. When you quit smoking you can never smoke again. So take comfort in that (whether or not you have quit smoking)!
WW was the perfect plan for me
WW was the perfect plan for me because I not only LOVE food, I am obsessed with food. WW meant I could still obsess over it, but from a different perspective. It meant I could still think about food constantly, which is what I did anyway, but I could do it in a healthy and positive way. So I channeled that obsession into counting and tracking points. It also made so much sense to me. I had tried counting calories in the past and it just didn't resonate. Plus, my Mom had been on it when we were growing up. We grew up eating a lot of Weight Watchers meals and I didn't even know they were WW. I just saw it as normal healthy eating (which it is). Most importantly, I saw WW work for my Mom and it then I experienced it working for me.
Things are so much easier now then when I first when on WW. I had to look everything up in a book and record it on paper. We even had a slider for figuring out points at one time haha!
I was so excited to get a real points calculator. I'm even more grateful for technology now that we have the app! Tracking is the key. It was only through tracking that I was able to recognize what I was actually eating vs. how much I should be eating. I tended to eat absentmindedly, not even realizing the extra and unnecessary calories I was consuming.
The first time I went on WW I lost about 35 lbs. It was a tough adjustment at first because before I went on WW, I actually thought I was eating well and eating decent sized portions. It really showed me just how badly I had been eating and that my portions were too big. I was obviously compensating for my lack of smoking with food. After I lost the weight, I was able to keep my weight off for a few years, even through a back injury, where I couldn't even exercise. It really showed me how much it is about what you eat. I kept the weight off until my first pregnancy a few years later.
Pregnancy and Weight Gain
I gained 40 lbs with my first pregnancy, was unable to nurse and found it tough to lose the weight. So obviously I turned to WW and was able to lose it and get back to my pre-baby weight. Then less than 2 years later, pregnant with my second child, I gained another 40 lbs. Once again, I turned to Weight Watchers and was able to lose it all afterwards. That was 13 years ago.
Then about 4 years ago, I realized that I had slid back into some bad habits and gained back about 25+ lbs. Hey, unfortunately, it happens- we're human. But I knew what I needed to do. I got serious, went back on WW seriously and lost that weight. It's a bumpy road and it's called life. And it's not perfect. I, like everyone, have times where I'm in a good space and do well for a long time, and for whatever reason, have times where I don't. You're likely going to slide back a little (or even a lot) here and there, but the most important thing is to not beat yourself up, just get back on track. Then try to make your next choice a healthy one. Success is simply a series of healthy choices (even if they're not all in a row 🙂 )
When I lost the weight the first time, I remember being shocked at how little points I got on maintenance. For some reason, I thought it would be so much more. But if you want to maintain your weight loss you have to realize that you can't eat what you ate before you lost the weight. You CAN, however, treat yourself a little more, but you have to live the lifestyle if you actually want to keep it off. I repeat - THIS IS NOT A DIET!
You can eat anything (just not everything!)
The great thing about living this program long-term is that it's not restrictive. You can eat anything, you just need to balance and plan. I still eat chips, pie, fries, burgers, drink wine, beer, but just not all the time and not all in the same week. And most importantly, I eat CHOCOLATE! I have always found ways to build in chocolate into my WW eating plan, with healthy desserts like my Homemade Chocolate Yogurt, my Healthy Applesauce & Spinach Brownies, Chocolate Banana Mug Cake and my Healthy Chocolate Clusters (pictured below) for example. I would also get my chocolate fix by adding the tiniest squirt of chocolate syrup to a glass of non-fat milk. And I've recently discovered an herbal chocolate chai tea. The point is that if I wanted to have a giant piece of chocolate cake (that wasn't WW friendly), I could. I would just need to compensate for that by cutting in other areas that week. The great thing about this program is that you CAN have chocolate (or anything you want) and still lose weight!
It's a journey, not a destination
I think the biggest thing that people neglect to realize when they start this journey is that it's an actual journey. They think it's a one and done type thing: I get on WW, lose the weight and then I'm done. Well, I'm here to tell you, "No, you are not done- you are never done! It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle and you need to continue to live it to be healthy and keep the weight off." You are not supposed to go back to your bad habits. You need to continue doing what you were doing on the program, but in a little more relaxed way, with a few more points. But don't let that bum you or discourage you because it shouldn't; you have the tools to live a healthy lifestyle. Even if you fall off, and no matter how many times you fall off, you can get back on track. I did it and will continue to do it and you can too!
If you want to see what has worked for me over the years, then check out my WW Tips and Tricks!