Friday, February 8, 2013

My Top Ten Tips for Weight Watchers Success

Wow, this ended up being a super long post. SORRY!!

As most of you know by now, I am a whole-hearted Weight Watchers supporter. After having a number of conversations about how to do WW well with a number of friends and family members, my mom suggested that I do my top tips.. so here they are!!

(first let me recap... started ww on May 28th and hit goal weight on October 16th having lost 35 pounds. I am still working on losing a few more, but I am well within my target range!!)


1. Understand how your points work. For most of my journey I had 26 daily points. Plus you get the weekly allotment of 49 points and then you can earn activity points. What I learned early and had to remind myself is that I needed to eat within my daily points for my meals and to use my allotment for my snacks and extras. I did my absolute best to not use activity points at all!! If I did, I was sure to not lose any weight that week. I didn't gain, but I didn't lose.

2.  Decide on what you are going to eat for dinner before you put that first bite of food in your mouth in the morning. When you have as few points as I had, eating a 10+ point breakfast was nuts. So I had to plan. If we were eating pasta for dinner, I new that a 5 point breakfast was going to be pushing my daily allotment, so I had better be super good for lunch. But on the flip side, if I knew that we were eating a low point dinner, I'd scatter my points throughout the day and provide some variety to my day!!

3. Eat breakfast. I never ate breakfast before Weight Watchers. I'd drink a cup of coffee and be on my way.. unless I stopped for a donut. But with WW, I decided to go with their recommendation (and every medical professionals) and eat breakfast.  Hungry Girl had a very timely post about egg mugs and so I tried it and ended up eating eggs for breakfast almost every morning! (egg mug recipes)
What worked best about the egg mugs was that it was a 2 point, yet filling breakfast. Add some coffee and creamer and I was still in the 5 point range. This allowed me to eat a smaller lunch because I wasn't starving!!

4. Exercise. The more you exercise the better. Any kind of exercise works. Walking, running, biking, swimming, sweeping, cleaning... if it gets you moving, it's earning you points!!

So, here is what I learned.. I'm competitive about everything, even earning activity points each week. During the summer, I would run and do water aerobics. Every week I would try to earn at least ONE more activity point than the week prior. And I really, really tried to not use any of them. I think the best thing about activity points is that it makes a relationship between food and activities. Now if I want a donut, I know that I am going to have to run for 40 minutes to earn the 6 points that I need to get the cost of that donut back. Many times I can ask myself if the donut is worth 40 minutes of running and this allows me to move on without the donut. Sometimes however, I say, yep it's worth it and I enjoy the treat. That's the great thing about Weight Watchers, I have the choice!!

5. Learn what the point range is for your favorite foods. For example... just because one Hawaiian roll is 2 points, 2 rolls are not 4 points. they are 5! Learn it and remember it. 5 points is a lot for bread. Personally, I lOVE Hawaiian rolls for sandwiches, but I found that the Hawaiian hot dog buns mentally felt like 2 rolls, but only cost me 3 points! A way better deal.

So, find a food that you like and play with the portion. You might find, like I did, that while you enjoyed eating potato straws, you enjoyed playing with the system just as much. For the record..
  • 38 potato straws is 4 points.
  •  28 (3/4 serving) is 3 points.
  • 25 (2/3 serving) is 2 points.
  • 19 (1/2 serving) is 2 points.
  • 11 (1/3) is 1 point.
  • 9 (1/4) is 1 point.
If you follow my logic and math.. you might, like me choose to eat either 25 straws at 2 points or 11 at 1 point. That's maximizing those points!!

6. Understand that some weeks you are not going to lose weight. The goal here is that you don't gain. If you have lost 3-4 weeks in a row, expect that the 4th or 5th week isn't going to be so hot. One of the cool things about Weight Watchers online are the reports. (I love charts and graphs.. you know that visual part of me again!  I may not remember the number, but put it in a color and I've got it!!) anyway.. the reports on Weight Watchers help you to see that you are losing and that you are going in the right direction!! So use those reports on the bummer weeks.

7. Figure out the restaurants that are easy to eat at! I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are on weight watchers you are probably like me and eat out a lot and don't necessarily eat grilled tilapia and broiled kale regularly.  If you do, you probably don't need my tips!

Okay, back to restaurants.  I have two favorite WW friendly restaurants in our small town. McDonalds and Quiznos. Yes, I know Subway is good too,  but you already know about Subway. 

Many people balk at McDonalds, but man, it is soo easy to eat healthy there! Shocking isn't it!!  My favorite meal is the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. It's 8 points and you get tortilla strips, cheese, black beans and corn!! They put a sauce on the chicken so you can eat it without the dressing and the salad tastes great, or you can put a LITTLE dressing on it and bump up the value a point.

Another option is the Filet O Fish sandwich WITHOUT the tarter sauce. But you get a little fried fish, a slice of cheese and a bun! I add ketchup so it's not too dry. Add apple slices and you are ready to eat for just 8 points.

That tarter sauce on there makes me go YUCK.. but really without the sauce the sandwich is pretty good!

For Quiznos..

My hands down favorite is the Harvest Chicken salad. Eaten WITHOUT the dressing, you don't need it! A small salad is 3 points!!

Another fav of mine is the Basil Pesto Chicken Flatbread. It's not as friendly on points, but worth the splurge sometimes. A small flatbread WITH cheese and dressing is 10 points. 

The biggest tip on restaurants is to ASK for the nutritional information!! I was absolutely horrified when one day we were eating at Cotten Patch and found out how many points their entrees have. There is a reason they make finding the nutritional information so hard to find!!

8. Use the weekly allotment for eating out and guilty pleasures! I like a glass of wine and a package of chocolate dream clusters at night. That is 8 points. That's what I used my weekly allotment on. This way I know that if I go over during the day, my guilty pleasure is cut.

9. Stick with it. Don't expect overnight success. If you have a bad week, start over and look past it. Just stick with it!!

10. Buy new clothes as you need them. Even if you need to purchase them at Goodwill or the consignment store! As I lost weight, I had to buy new clothes, but I still kept a lot of my tshirts and clothes that I keep on as I didn't want to buy "in-between" sizes. WHY DID I DO THAT? I should have CELEBRATED the "in-between"!! If you need more information on this, see my previous post about re-framing my mind!

And there you have it. My very long top tips for a successful weight loss journey! 

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