Monday, January 4, 2016

Not that my opinion counts for much, but consider this an endorsement for Weight Watchers if you're looking to get healthier

Did you, like an estimated 47 bajillion people around the world, make a new year's resolution to lose some weight? Then I'll give you some advice that's probably worth what you're paying for it.

There are lots of ways to drop weight, but they all come down to the simple formula of calories in/calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in, then you will, absolutely without doubt, lose weight. That's the basic mathematical and biological principle at play here.

Which sounds relatively easy, doesn't it? But you've probably found it to be far more challenging than a simple equation. Especially if you adhere to the Standard American Diet, a phrase that lends itself to one of the most appropriate acronyms of all time.

Weight has long been an issue for me. I've talked about it on this blog from time to time. I've certainly never been what you would call morbidly obese. Far from it. But I spent a good chunk of the 90s and 2000s carrying too much extra flesh, both in terms of how I wanted to look and from a strict BMI perspective.

At some point back in the mid-90s, Terry introduced me to Weight Watchers. I tried it a few times and it never failed to work. I always, always lost weight when I was "on plan," in WW parlance. The problem was sticking with it, which is course always the problem with weight loss. A shockingly  and perhaps dismayingly  small percentage of people who lose weight manage to keep it off for any appreciable length of time.

But that was never the fault of Weight Watchers. The blame for my regains lay solely with me. Weight Watchers is, for my money, not only the ideal way to lose weight, but also to keep it off.

Why? Well, for one thing, the Weight Watchers people take a holistic approach, meaning they care about the whole person. Yes, they'll help the number on the scale go down, but they also go to great lengths to ensure you're both healthy and happy: Food, Fitness and Fulfillment are the three Fs in the latest version of the Weight Watchers plan.

I should mention that Weight Watchers underwent a major overhaul over the last few months, changing up their plan drastically to ensure that members concentrate on what they call both scale and non-scale victories. The plan does seem to evolve once every five years or so, but in my mind, it's always for the better.

There are many things I like about Weight Watchers, but here are three that stand out:

  • Nothing is "off limits." People will say to me, "Can you eat that with Weight Watchers?" And I'll say that, yes, I can eat absolutely anything I want on the WW plan. There are no "restricted" foods. But everything has a SmartPoint value, and you only have so many SmartPoints to expend in a given day (though you also have a weekly cushion you can dip into as needed). Therefore, while you're "allowed" to eat that huge slice of chocolate cake, you have to ask yourself, "Is this worth the points it's going to cost me?" Maybe it is, and that's fine. But it's a question you need to ask about anything you put in your mouth.
  • Fruits and vegetables are "free." That is, they don't cost you any points, so you can load up on them (within reason, of course, but that "reason" gives you an awfully wide berth). I rarely feel hungry or deprived with Weight Watchers as a result of the freedom to eat these zero-point foods virtually to my heart's content.
  • Absolutely no one is going to judge you if you struggle, regain weight, etc. I find Weight Watchers meetings to be true "judgment-free" zones. Your leader is there to help you, and that leader is always also a Weight Watchers member. They know exactly what you're going through.
Do you have to track/weigh/measure your foods? The way I do Weight Watchers, yes you do (there's a "Simply Filling" Weight Watchers track that has less of that type of work involved, but I've never really tried it and frankly don't think I'd be any good at it). But tracking and measuring is such a valuable exercise, and one to which you become accustomed very quickly, that it never seems like a burden.

Do you have to stay "on plan" the rest of your life? If you want to keep the weight off, then yeah, you do. But trust me, the benefits of feeling great, looking great, and knowing you've improved your health exponentially outweigh the fleeting joy you get from any sugar binge.

For what it's worth, I lost 43 pounds on Weight Watchers from December 2012 through the spring of 2013. I gained some of it back in 2014 but have been on plan since Fall 2015 and am feeling very comfortable at or under my goal weight of 185 pounds. And I track and measure every day. After a while, it gets much easier and instinctive, trust me.

Anyway, I'm not Oprah or anything, so it's not like I'm some sort of influencer. And the Weight Watchers people certainly aren't paying me to talk them up. I just love how being a WW member makes me feel, and it's something I wanted to pass along to the readers of this blog, about whom I care very much and for whose continued attention I am extremely grateful.

If you have additional questions about Weight Watchers that you'd like to ask privately, please don't hesitate to email me at

No comments:

Post a Comment