My Weight Loss Journey
In exactly one month, I’ll be celebrating the 1-year anniversary of my weight loss journey. In all honesty, that fact still blows my mind. For a long time I knew I needed to lose weight, but it was hard to imagine succeeding. I didn’t think I had it in me & I thought that to lose weight I’d have to eat bland salads & cry in the gym all day.
But it wasn’t like that at all.
It’s been 11 months of ups, downs, backtracking, resetting, failing, and succeeding, but most importantly, of always getting back up. Cliché and very cheesy, but true.
Here’s a confession: I used to eat McDonalds (and/or fast food in general) 4-5x/week. My go-to meal was a quarter pounder with cheese (510 cal), large fry (510 cal), large Sprite (290 cal) AND 4-piece chicken nuggets (180 cal) with a sweet & sour sauce (50 cal). That’s 1,540 calories in one meal. But if you had asked me how many calories I was consuming, I’d probably have guessed around 1,000. That being said, even though I didn’t know exactly how many calories I was consuming, I knew I wasn’t making the right choices. I’d eat my fast food in the car or the parking lot instead of the break room/home because I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me and I felt disgusting.
Then last year, I read Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think and learned that the average person severely under-calculates their caloric intake. To lose weight, you have to remain in a caloric deficit, i.e., burn more calories than you consume. While I always felt as though I understood this concept, it was difficult for me to put into action. For example: it’s easy to imagine that a McDonalds large fry is around 250 calories; it’s actually 510. That’s a little over 1/4 of the daily calorie recommendation for a woman trying to maintain her weight; for a woman trying to lose weight, it’s 1/3 of her recommended calorie intake.
By May 13, 2018, I was frustrated and ready to make a change. My Mom had been telling me to try Weight Watchers FOREVER, but it was my friend, Callie, who was the final push I needed. She lost 40 pounds via WW & told me that if I joined, she’d join again, too. Having someone that I knew IRL achieve great results made me excited to see how far I could go. I downloaded the app that day and got started.
Why Weight Watchers?
I love WW because it helps me to better-understand how different foods affect my weight. The WW SmartPoints system takes the guesswork out of making sure I stay within a caloric deficit and helps guide me toward better, more balanced food choices. The Freestyle Program isn’t restrictive & doesn’t feel like a “diet,” which is super important to me since I’m trying to make a long-term, sustainable lifestyle change. Here’s how WW works:
The Points System
Once you sign up, you’re assigned a daily number of SmartPoints, which is calculated based on your height, weight & sex. The goal is to eat within (or only slightly above/below) that number of points each day.
You also get weekly SmartPoints. These are extra points that you can pull from if you want/need to go over your daily limit. This is perfect for the weekends and/or when you have special plans. Daily points can roll over, so if you eat well throughout the week, you could have a ton of extra points for the weekend.
Every food/meal is assigned a point-value, which is based on 4 components of the food’s overall nutritional values (calories, saturated fat, sugar & protein) rather than solely its calories. This means that 1 iHop pancake may have the same amount of calories as a homemade breakfast omelet, but the pancake will have a higher point value because, nutritionally, it’s not as well-rounded. In this way, WW encourages you to pick foods that are nutritionally dense & filling.
There are also over 200 different 0-point foods. Most fruits, vegetables, & lean meats are on this list, but it goes on and on. (Thankfully, there’s a cheat sheet!) 0-point foods are typically foods that are nutritionally dense & less likely to be overeaten. With planning, it’s pretty easy to make a 0-point meal! You also get Wins every time you track your meals, exercise & log your weight, which then can be exchanged for goodies like WW-branded water bottles, subscriptions to Thrive Market, a free ClassPass trial, etc.
For me, the best part of the WW program is the app. It has a built-in barcode scanner so that you can scan different foods while you’re shopping to see their point value. This is super helpful, especially when you’re attempting to pick healthy pre-made foods or on-the-go and need to grab something quickly. You can also “create” any food/recipe and the app will calculate the points for you, which is perfect for when you want to try something new in the kitchen. The app also gives you access to over 5,000 recipes, which is really helpful for meal prep. You also have the opportunity to use WW Connect, where you can encourage others, ask questions or generally follow other WW folks that inspire you!
And now it’s time for a shameless plug! ;-) If you sign up through my special link, you and I will both get 1 month of WW for free! I definitely encourage you to try WW because I genuinely think its changed my life.
The results (so far)
I’ve lost 23 pounds. I haven’t incorporated exercise — just whatever steps & lifting I get in at work/the day— and I’ve solely focused on eating within my SmartPoints and making better choices. I have about 10 more pounds to lose before my BMI is in the “normal” range, but I know I can do it. I feel stronger, lighter and capable of anything.
One Month Challenge
Whew! All of that is to say that I want to challenge myself in the last month leading up to May 13. So far in April, I’ve been indulging more often than not and I’m excited to see where one month of dedication and consistency will put me.
From today, April 13 to May 13, I commit to:
Tracking all of my meals on the WW app. Even the not-so-great ones.
Walking for 1.5-2 hours, 2x/week.
Walking to-and-from work when I can (11 days)
Having one 0-point day/week.
I feel excited already! Who’s with me? xx