Saturday, January 30, 2016

How To Stick To Your Weight Loss Programme (and Why I Quit Weight Watchers)

Long-time readers of this blog will know that way back in 2011 I started Weight Watchers for the first time. I lost successfully with it, to the tune of almost two stone (28lbs) in three months. Over the years I gained a bit back, then lost a bit more, lather, rinse repeat. Which brings me to now. I am at my lightest weight since I don’t know when, and have come to the realisation that to stay at this point I need to track my food. Sure, I can have the odd day off for a special occasion, even a week here and there to enjoy a holiday, but 80-90% of the time I need to track.

So why have I quit Weight Watchers (WW)? Well, as you may or may not know, Weight Watchers completely revamped their programme just before Christmas 2015 and introduced a whole new system of counting points. Basically it now heavily penalises foods high in sugar and fat, and encourages you to eat foods high in protein. This is all well and good and I’m sure it’s much better for you than the previous system, but for me, in order to stay on plan in the long term I need flexibility. I need to be able to have a little bit of chocolate if I want it. I need to be able to enjoy a meal out and not worry about going over my points. (In fact, going over my points is likely to make me think ‘why bother?’ and write the whole week off.) To that end, I have quit WW and am now following the old plan by myself. I have an app that tracks the points and it’s like nothing has changed. It’s great.

I have been thinking recently about what helps me to stay (mostly) on track and have compiled a list of my top tips.

How to stick to your weight loss programme

Have a late breakfast

I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but as I have a desk job I can eat breakfast pretty much anytime I like. I’ve found that if I wait until around 9am I am far less likely to want a mid-morning snack (although I will have some fruit if I fancy it). My lunch break is usually around 12.30pm so by having a later breakfast I can easily make it through until then.

Have a good lunch

Since I started adding half a can of soup to my usual sandwich and fruit lunch I find I don’t crave chocolate (so much) mid-afternoon. I will still have a snack – usually an apple or some sultanas, but I don’t feel the temptation of the vending machine nearly so much.

Drink plenty of water

The app I’m using now to track my WW points also has a section to record your healthy choices and one of those is how much water you’ve drunk. I aim for 8 glasses a day (or 4 refills of the pint glass I keep on my desk) to know I’ve had enough. You’ve probably heard that if you feel hungry, more often than not you are actually thirsty. Turns out, this is true.

Wear a pedometer

You can now enter the number of steps you’ve walked per day on the official WW app (and on the pro points one I’m using), either by syncing up your Fitbit or, if you have a cheapo tracker band like I do, manually. The app then converts the steps to WW points. Which you can eat, if you need/want to do so. I find wearing a wristband pedometer encourages me to move more in general. I’m keen not to break my run of days that I’ve achieved my 10,000 steps so you’ll often find me marching on the spot whilst watching TV or You Tube (which has to be better than sitting on my butt, right?) to get my total number of steps up.

These are all things that help me to stay on track so I hope you find them useful too. Whatever you choose to do though, just stick at it and the results will come. Don’t beat yourself up about any gains or plateaus and remember to enjoy yourself along the way.

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