I first joined Weight Watchers in the summer of 2014 after seeing a photo of myself and being totally gobsmacked. I felt heavy, hot and uncomfortable and the photos showed it! I knew I had to do something, especially as I had my bf’s sister’s engagement coming up and i would be meeting a lot of his family for the first time. I desperately wanted to make a good impression and I actually did really well, losing just over 2 stone in a few weeks. I felt so much better for it; my clothes fitted better and I felt a lot more lively and confident. The thing is though, for me it just wasn’t sustainable and I soon felt myself drifting back into old habits.
I’d never previously admitted it to anyone, but I have a huge problem with binge eating. I had – and still have – stashes of food (chocolate, biscuits, crisps and such) hidden away and genuinely think nothing of eating the lot in one sittiing, although I’ve been really good this year and haven’t touched any of them! I know it’s unhealthy and yes, it is greedy, but I just crave more and more food. Once I have the taste for something, I want to eat it again, and then another packet until before I know it, I’m surrounded by empty packets and a stomach full of guilt. I’m not embarrassed to admit it, but I’m not proud of it either.
Last summer I gave up Weight Watchers. It all just became too much for me and quite honestly I just needed a break from the diet! I had holidays, days out and barbecues with friends and I just couldn’t keep it up. I just thought, ‘screw it, I’m having that ice cream, I need to have some fun’. And that was that! One ice cream at the park turned into burgers at barbecues, chocolate at the cinema and an abundance of rich foods at Christmas. Stepping back on the scales at New Year’s made me realise just how easy it was to put the weight back on, as in the space of 6 months I’d gained just over half a stone and so I was finally ready to join Weight Watchers again.
Joining Weight Watchers opened my eyes up to how people are *supposed* to be eating. I say that in a sincere way because of course, I believe everyone is free to eat whatever they like without getting the third degree. There’s nothing I hate more than drinking a glass of Diet Coke at work and being faced with “Ergh, why do you drink that stuff?”, “It’s really bad for you” and “I don’t allow my kids to drink that stuff”. Yep, I genuinely hear those comments on an alost daily basis! But I’ve also learned some things about myself on the way. This is my personal journey; everyone has their own story, but here are 5 things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Sharing really is caring.
At my first Weight Watchers group, the leader never stayed for the ‘chat’ and so I often felt like I was on my own, just turning up for a 5 minute weigh-in and going home. At my new group however, almost everyone who weighs in at the class stays until the end of the session and our leader starts a discussion that enables us to all share ideas and talk about our week, be it good or bad. I feel like I’m part of something and it doesn’t matter if I have a bad week, because the group are encouraging and positive. Instead of beating myself up about it, I know that I’ll just try harder the next week.
2. Wholemeal is heartier (and tastes exactly the same!)
If you’d have asked me 2 years ago what I’d prefer – white pasta or wholemeal pasta – I’d have instantly screwed my nose up at the wholemeal pasta and opted for the white pasta – with LOTS of sauce! But now I’ve learned that there are different chemicals inside these foods, whereby the wholemeal foods actually make you fuller for longer, with slower releasing energy than white pasta. It’s also way healthier and doesn’t make you feel bloated. I always looked at the wholemeal foods and imagined that they’d taste dry and bitty (because they’re usually speckled with flecks of brown) but the truth is they don’t really taste any different – although wholemeal pasta takes slightly longer to cook! Lasagne is my favourite, so knowing that I can use wholemeal pasta sheets is a winner!
3. Smoothies aren’t as healthy as you think they are!
Ok so here’s the deal – at Weight Watchers, the ingredients in food is calculated and turned into ‘Smart Points’. The more fat/sugar etc the food has, the higher its point value will be and each day I’m limited to a maximum of 30 points. Fruit and vegetables are uber healthy and have a point value of 0, HOWEVER, if you were to take the same fruit and put them into a blender to make a 100% fruit smoothie – no other ingredients added – its point value would rocket up to about 16! I don’t know the exact scientific reason for this, but apparently it has something to do with the sugars in the fruit. I think that by blending them, the body absorbs the sugar differently and stores it as fat.
4. Dieting isn’t about eating salads.
I mean you can if you want to, but I can’t stand a salad! The only one I’ll admit to liking is a chicken ceasar salad, and that’s because it’s smoothered in cheese and a creamy sauce! Because of the point system that Weight Watchers has, I can eat anything so long as I don’t exceed my daily points limit. The key word is MODERATION. It means I can have a meal out with friends or I can have an occasional bar of chocolate or slice of cake if I want to, and it’s still possible to lose weight!
5. If at first you don’t succeed, buy some different scales!
Ok, so this one’s kind of a joke. What I actually mean is that if you’re not happy, do something about it! I wasn’t happy at all at my last Weight Watchers group and I lost all motivation because there was no support for me there. After a 6 month hiatus from the programme I joined a different group and honestly I feel so much happier for it and much more determined. I was so close to achieveing my goal before and I fell at the last hurdle, but this group is much better for me and the leader is a lot more down to Earth about everything that I actually want to reach my goal not only for myself but for her also as a way of thanks.