How I Quit Weight Watchers and Lost 11 Pounds

It’s been 12 weeks since my blog rant about quitting Weight Watchers, where I announced the start of my do-it-yourself  weight loss program. So far, I’ve lost 11.5 pounds. (UPDATE: AS OF JUNE 5, I  LOST 15 POUNDS. AS OF JULY 4, I’ve lost 17 pounds.)

I don’t know if “lost” should be the right term, because “losing” something implies that you want to find it again. I don’t!  Maybe “released” 11 pounds is more appropriate. Regardless of the terminology, it’s gone!  It’s daunting to realize that I have 30-40 more pounds to go, but every journey begins with the first step, as they say.

Although the weight has come off more slowly than I expected, a body composition analysis showed that I lost over 10 pounds of fat, and less than 1 pound of muscle.

Although I wish there was some other trick to it, for me key was that same-old motto of diet and exercise. True to my goals, I spent 60-120 minutes per day, six days a week, exercising. And I kept track of everything I ate through a free online program called MyFitnessPal.

If you are tracking your food intake, it  doesn’t take long to realize that veggies and fruits are lower in calories and higher in fiber than a lot of other options.

 

 

 

 

Some of the things that kept me going:

  • Accountability. This is a valuable part of Weight Watchers and other programs that have a weekly weigh-in or some other type of measurement of progress. Since I quit Weight Watchers, I missed that accountability. But the gym where I’m a member, Skills Fitness in Bountiful, began a Mission FitPossible contest in January (perfect timing for me!) Most of the time with weight loss contests, you get people who can drop 10 pounds in a week, so you realize up front there’s no way you can win the big prize. But  I also realized that the mandatory weigh-in every two weeks would help motivate me. Instead of worrying about how much others were losing, I would simply compete against my past numbers on the scale. Also, their scale weigh-in included an InBody scan, which measures your body’s composition  of fat, muscle and water.
  •  Simplified food tracking.  Again, Weight Watchers and other diet programs will almost always include tracking your food intake, whether by calories or points or macro-nutrients, etc.  But if it’s complicated and time-consuming, I slack off and finally stop doing it altogether. In the past I’ve used a free online program called Sparkpeople.com, and it was pretty good. This time I decided to switch it up and use MyFItnessPal, which was also pretty simple. It also keeps track of my exercise and macro-nutrients for the day. You find out pretty quickly that you can eat a whole lot more grilled chicken and grapefruit than avocados or potato chips! I’m sure there are a lot of other apps and online programs, or you can even jot down your meals with in a notebook, if you prefer, but it’s not that easy to look up all the nutrients and calories.
  • Focus. For many years of my life, I juggled a job, rearing children, spouse, housework, church, family obligations, etc. Now I’m at a point in my life where I decided to put my own health first, if only for a few months. Getting in 1 to 2 hours of exercise every day and eating healthy meals every day has become a priority.
  • Vary workouts. After 61 years, this body has seen a lot of wear and tear. Torn knee ligaments (ACL & MCL) from skiing, bone spurs in my heels from teaching tap dance, tennis elbow, torn bicep from weight training, plantar fascitis from jogging and aerobics, to name a few aches and pains. For me, too much of any one activity can lead to injury. And many injuries take a long time to recover, wasting your valuable workout time.  So I try to get in 1 to 2 hours of exercise 6 days a week, but I mix it up — cycling on a recumbent bike (with a tractor-style seat so my butt doesn’t hurt) for at least half hour on most days, strength training (weight machines at the gym) two or three days a week, play  tennis once or twice a week, BodyJam (a fantastically fun aerobic dance class) two to three times a week and walking 2-3 miles 4-5 times a week.  And, I do a yoga class once a week too, and the stretching feels so great I consider it my “dessert” exercise.   It would have been impossible to spend this kind of time during the days when I was working full-time and raising four kids. I am so grateful that I have the time to enjoy working out — and yes, I really DO enjoy it.
  • I’ve read how high intensity interval training is more effective in burning fat and calories, where you alternate bursts of high-intensity activity with lower and slower exercise. Because I have a lot of weight riding on my feet (with their pesky bone spurs), I’m not going to try sprinting or jumping. I alternate my intensity by raising the treadmill incline and the bike tension. I may be wrong, but I think that tennis offers varied intensity, because you have to quickly scramble to get to a ball, and then you get a few seconds to catch your breath as you wait for a return.  (Whether it qualifies as “HIIT” or not, I’m still going to keep playing tennis because I love it! And I love the fun people on my league!)
  • Switch up the shoes. I used to wear the same pair of New Balance cross-trainers for everything — walking, aerobics, tennis, housework, etc. Now I realize how good my feet feel when they change into a different shoe after aerobics class is over. One pair of walking shoes is wider, offering a reprieve when my toes feel cramped. And I have a pair of jogging shoes that feel good for housework. I have orthotic inserts in all of them, as I want to avoid getting plantar fascitis again.
  • Sleep. Again, I spent a lot of my younger years getting maybe 3-4 hours of sleep each night, with babies, work, etc. taking precedence. I’m finally at a point where I can sleep in some mornings. And it feels great! I’ve  noticed that when I’m tired, my willpower falls apart more easily. I’m more inclined to snack.
  • Rewards. I’m not talking about food treats, but a little pick-me up for sticking to goals, such as sitting a few minutes in the gym’s whirlpool after a hard workout, or an hour of reading a new novel. (I like to listen to books on CD while I do housework, as I feel that I’m pampering myself while also accomplishing something.)  Or treat yourself to a good-for-you food, such as a cup of fresh blueberries.
  • Clothes shop for motivation. I thought 11 pounds was a great milestone, but  in the Macy’s dressing room, it didn’t seem to make a huge difference in dress size or waistline.  Some people may find that discouraging, but it helped me realize that I couldn’t give up!

So, I hope to keep my fitness train going!  If you have comments about your own weight loss experiences, and advice on what’s worked for you, please post a comment. Every idea can help someone else.

Comments are closed.