You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the new WW program or my weight for a while here. Today let’s fix that. There were lots of things I liked about the new WW plan. I think the focus on eating less sugar and less saturated fat is a great thing in principle and the tracking for points remains as easy as ever, despite the occasionally twitchy app. I was doing online only, so I can’t say how well the meetings have shifted to focus on this more holistic approach to health beyond just weight loss might be going but I certainly agree with that in principle. But . . .
I didn’t really lose weight with the new plan. I tracked for 3 months, didn’t go over my points and other than the 5 pounds of water weight I lost pretty immediately, haven’t seen any progress in the scale. Or my clothes. Or really the way I feel, other than feeling good in some weird way about tracking again and focusing more consciously on how I eat. The program should work and absolutely did for me last time (albeit with a different program) so why isn’t it this time?
Was I being honest with myself about how much I was eating and what I was eating? Yes, and I still weighed and measured my food. I actually ate less of the free fruits than I did when I was first losing weight, because that self-limiting is a (good) holdover from my calorie tracking days. I think the problem came in the fact that while my diet is not perfect by any means, it’s pretty good. I don’t eat many high sugar or saturated fat items. I mostly eat veggies, lean proteins, fruit, etc. The things I eat the most of actually went DOWN in their points values, so I could eat more of them now than I could my first time around on the program. I also rarely had to pay the exorbitant “price” for indulgences like sugary things because I don’t eat many of those. Despite this, the new program gave me more points than I had before (the lowest points allotted now is 30, not 26 like before) so by following the program I was eating more food and therefore more calories than I had before. They were high quality calories for the most part, but the fact that the scale stagnated at 184 lbs is testament to the fact that even high quality calories count.
I don’t think that means, by any stretch of the imagination, that the new iteration of the program is a failure. It would definitely give you encouragement and structure to make healthier choices, just like it did for me years ago. It just isn’t right for me at this point in time. My diet is pretty good in terms of quality – my focus likely needs to be on quantities if I want to get back down to the upper 160s (which I do still want to do – had a depressing experience trying on pants at Target yesterday!). On the plus side, going back to tracking with WW halted the weight gain I was experiencing. However, if I’m going to be paying for it, I want more than maintaining to be honest. Thus, I’m going back to using My Fitness Pal to track instead. It’s free, helps me keep my calories in check and provides that mental push of being “on plan” that I need to reinforce good choices.
There is no right weight loss plan for everyone. Some people lose best with Weight Watchers or with a plan with provided food or with food restrictions or with calorie tracking alone. There is no one best approach because what is effective and sustainable is going to be different for each of us. We have different biology and different lifestyles and not only is that unique to each of us, it’s unique to the stage of our lives we’re in. When I was 100 pounds overweight, Weight Watchers was a literal life saver. Now that I have a much better quality of diet, different activity levels, have a chronic disease and am a little older, it apparently doesn’t work so much. That’s okay. That’s why this is a process of continually monitoring and adjusting.
My profile is open on My Fitness Pal if you want to come find a friend (jessanic) but try not to judge me too harshly for that 320 calories I spent on a cookie this morning. (I know, I know! I just said my diet is pretty good. Ha!) That was the only snack offered on my 5 am flight that I could eat thanks to the diet restrictions I’m playing with for the lupus right now and after a 3 am wake up, I was really craving a snack. I promise I’ve already gone for an extra walk at the airport to balance it out a bit and found a healthier snack to stash in my purse in the hungries hit again. 🙂
Have you found that different weight management strategies have worked for you at different times in your life? How do you measure your “success” with a particular eating & activity plan?