Thursday, August 22, 2013

Weight Watchers - It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!

It may sound corny but it is so true!  I mentioned it in a previous post....I am a weight watcher.  Proudly!  I may not be currently counting points or going to weekly meetings, but Weight Watchers (WW) is just my way of life.  To me it simply means being aware of what I'm eating, what I'm drinking and how much I'm moving.

I actively utilized the WW tools to lose 25 lbs my junior year of college, and then again to lose 40 lbs and 50 lbs after my 1st son and 2nd son were born, respectively.  I have nothing but positive things to say about this plan.  It simply works for me.  We clicked - it is a match made in happy, healthy heaven!    

I decided to compile a list of the top 10 things that I think everyone starting out on a weight loss/diet plan/new lifestyle journey should know - whether it's with WW or any of the others.  Maybe it's the things I wish someone had told me.  Regardless, I hope someone that needs it, finds it, and that it helps them!  What do you think?  Do you agree/disagree?  Got anything to add?

1) You will not - and should not - lose more than 1-2 lbs each week.  Sorry to be a buzz kill, but it's unrealistic and would mostly be water weight that will come creeping back as fast as it was lost.  Unless you are at the very beginning of your weight loss journey (when you initially go from eating without boundaries to a much more strict, calculated food plan), you cannot expect to drop 'The Biggest Loser' type numbers.  Those contestants are dropping huge numbers week after week because they are on strict diets, being monitored by trainers and nutritionists and working out endless hours each day.  It's just not realistic in the real world. (Side note:  I LOVE The Biggest Loser and cannot wait until the next season!  How can you not have a serious crush on Bob Harper?)

2) The encouragement and support of others is an absolute necessity.  This could be someone you know - like a family member or friend - but it doesn't have to be.  At the beginning of my journey I searched and searched the web for young women just like me on the same journey.  I am so grateful that the women I found chose to document their daily habits for people like me to find.  I got great tips and tricks for meal and snack ideas and I got a great sense of community - I was not on this weight loss lifestyle change alone!

3) You MUST move!  Start slow and start simple.  Walk! Swim! Ride a bike! Do all the things that  you loved to do as a kid.  You don't need a fancy, expensive gym membership.  Check out YouTube for full length workout videos (some of which are posted from actual personal trainers!) that require no exercise equipment and can be done in the comfort of your own living room.  I will be posting soon about my fav YouTube workout and exercise channels - stay tuned! 

4) You MUST drink water.  You should have a water bottle with you at all times!  Coffee and tea are fine as well, but juices and sodas are in my opinion unnecessary and a big no no!  Why waste any points/calories on a beverage?!  Alcohol can be consumed very moderately and on special occasions, but don't forget to mix it with something like club soda (tonic has calories!) to minimize the point value.  Water is super important for all kinds of bodily functions, including the way your skin looks, the way the body digests (and excretes!) foods and it also can help satisfy a craving - sometimes you think you're hungry but your body is really just thirsty!  Try it!

5) Journal everything....the amount of water you drink, the amount of time and type of exercise you do, the exact amount of food you ate (by lying you are only cheating yourself!)  Journaling has been proven to be an excellent tool in weight loss and it is absolutely necessary to succeed while following WW.

6) No one is perfect!  This is not a sprint, it's not even a marathon, it's a commitment to always TRY to do your best.  There will always be days where you slip up or don't feel like exercising or simply don't have the time.  Allow yourself to be imperfect!  It's the only way to keep yourself sane.  If you're on track 80-90% of the time, it's way better than being 100% off track all the time!  And don't wait until 'next week' to get back on track.  If you slip up at lunch, hop right back on the wagon for dinner! 

7) Once you have achieved your 'goal weight' the world - and all of it's problems - does not just turn into rainbows and butterflies.  If there is an internal struggle going on, don't be afraid to address it.  It could explain what put you in the unhealthy or overweight state in the first place....

8) This is a lifestyle change, not a diet plan.  You don't just throw all of your knowledge and healthy habits out the window once you meet your goal.  This has to be a change to your everyday habits that you will WANT to continue to make each day.  It's a promise to yourself that you care about you and want to make the best choices for your health and well being.  

9) Make a plan at the beginning of each week and try to stick to it (within reason!).  Whether you're a working mom with kids or a single lady just worrying about her job or her social life, it's important to put yourself first.  That doesn't mean neglecting your family and responsibilities...it means scheduling your food shopping, meal planning and prep and daily exercise just like you would an appointment, a business meeting or your kid's soccer practice.  You have to allow yourself the ability to make this new lifestyle achievable!

10) Work towards smaller goals in order to reach your bigger goals.  Let's say you have 50 lbs to lose....that is totally overwhelming on day 1 (I know because I was so there!).  Break it up into 10 or 15 lb increments and celebrate those achievements!  A manicure, a massage, a new workout outfit are all great ideas to celebrate YOU!  DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT 'reward' yourself with food!! That is a bad habit that we need to absolutely break...for obvious reasons!

Hard work pays off - period!  If you aren't serious, your results won't be serious!  A change cannot truly be made until you feel it inside your gut....it has to be that passionate.  No one can want it for you.  

Good luck if this is the beginning of your journey and keep going strong if you're already knee deep in your new healthy, happy lifestyle!  I'll see you tomorrow with more!