When the going gets tough and the weight’s not going

When the going gets tough and the weight’s not going

So for a couple of weeks, I maintained my weight, and I know a lot of people would say it’s better than gaining. In fact, the first week, I said it, because I believed it. I knew I’d been following the plan, tracking every point, weighing every gram of food and writing it all down. We all have blips, and it’s better to stay the same weight than to gain some. I accepted that, moved on. Another week, another chance at a loss. When the second week arrived and I had maintained once again, I have to be honest, I was really annoyed. I was still doing everything by the book, so I didn’t understand why I wasn’t losing. I’m not someone who goes into every weigh in expecting losses of 3+lbs, I’m very happy to lose a pound, because if the weight is going down that’s all that matters. So 2 weeks, no loss.  My spirit and motivation was the only thing that was down! I knew that I had to try something.

Last week we had a stand in meeting leader, who spoke to us about a part of the plan they call filling and healthy. On this plan certain foods are ‘free’ and can be eaten as much as you like. These foods are things like wholemeal pasta, brown bread, brown rice, lean meats, fruit and veg etc. Now as we know, i’m not a fruit and veg eater as a rule. I just don’t like them. However, when it comes to lean meats etc, I like those. The difference I really had to make, which wasn’t a huge one really, was to switch from white pasta, to brown pasta. As you know by now, weight watchers runs on a points system. On the filling and healthy plan, yes you stick to predominantly free foods, but the likelihood is there will be some pointed items thrown in. However, you no longer have daily points. That means that the 49 extra weekly points you are allowed that would usually be served for extra treats outwith your daily allowance, now need to be used for parts of meals that aren’t free.

As an example, one of my favourite meals on the plan last week was brown pasta, mixed with a couple of dairylea triangles (1pt each) and Weight watchers bacon medallions . I also had a nice weight watchers garlic ciabatta (6pts.) On the Filling & Healthy plan, the pasta and bacon were free, but I still needed to point the cheese and ciabatta. Now include in that if I wanted a packet of crisps, or cereal which wasn’t free, I had to take those points from my weekly 49. That, I have to admit, was the part I found the most difficult on filling and healthy. I’m a night owl, I like a snack at night, so really the 49 dwindled quite quickly. By the final day, I had to a points day because I had no weeklies left. Having 36points to use on a normal day,  even though I don’t use them all every day, I always had that little bit of room for extras.

The big question though, is did the change work? I did lose 1lb so maybe changing things up a bit did give me a bit of a kickstart again. Would I do Filling and Healthy all the time? I’m not sure, because really, I found that I could eat the same things on my daily points and stay within them. Okay, I can eat more of things like brown pasta on the f&h plan, but I’m not completely sure it made a huge difference.

The decision I have made for this week is that I’m going to do BOTH plans. I’m going to do day by day, one on filling and healthy and one on my usual daily points. That way I feel I’ll find a bit of a better balance for myself.

I had honestly gotten to the point where I felt if I didn’t lose weight at this week’s weigh in, that I would just give up. It really had dampened my spirit. I have PCOS, and next week, I think I’ll talk more about the effects that condition has on my weight loss. Here’s hoping that next week, there’s another loss for me!

Eating Out on Weight Watchers

Eating Out on Weight Watchers

I think a lot of people assume that if you’re dieting, or part of a weight loss group like weight watchers, then you have to restrict yourself completely. They think that they can’t go out for a meal because of high calories and as is the case with weight watchers, point values. Now, I’m not someone who eats out all the time, I couldn’t afford to. I do however occasionally like to go out for lunch with a friend, or dinner with my mum and such. I don’t feel like I should have to give that up just because I’m part of a diet group. There are members of my group who would hear me talking about going out for a meal and balk at the very idea (these same people would then go on to talk about how they’d gorged on chocolate or ice cream during the week!). I think you still have to be able to enjoy food!

With weight watchers, I have found eating out easier than other plans, because of the propoints system. You have your daily allowance of points, and then on top of that, an additional 49 weekly points to be use for whatever you want. Because I was heavier than some when I started, I have a higher points allowance of 36 points per day. This means that as a general rule, I don’t even need to use my 49 weekly points as the 36 go far enough on their own! But then there are times like tonight.

I live with my mum, but she works, and obviously has friends and I have things of my own too. There’s always people popping in and out, so we don’t necessarily get a lot of time to just spend together. So we decided today that we’d go to Wetherspoon’s for dinner and then to bingo (which we never win) just to have a night out together. Spend some quality time. Now there is no denying that many of their meals are very high in points, some as high as 69.  I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t completely sure how to point the meal, because I hadn’t used more than 6 of my daily points, so after speaking with an adviser online, I figured it out.

My meal was 41points, so since I had 36 daily to use, I used those, and put the other 5 points on my weekly points. To make thing simpler, I put my breakfast in the weeklies too. This is what I like about this plan. I can eat what I want because not only am I given my daily allowance, but extra on top of that for the week which means that I can indulge sometimes and stick to the plan, because even if my meal is more than my daily allowance I have those extra 49 to fall back on.  It’s something that I think people on plans like this need to remember. We’re given these tools so that we can lose weight but still enjoy food. There are absolutely some plans out there which require you to cut out everything you might enjoy. I avoid those completely. But with a plan like weight watchers, you don’t have to. Some people like a bottle of wine at the weekend. I enjoy a pub lunch now and then, with diet cola instead of the wine and enjoy the food. That’s something that I refuse to let other group members make me feel bad about.

Eating out is absolutely possible on the weight watchers plan, because of those extra 49 weekly points. You can even do it on your daily points if you’re careful with your selection. So don’t deprive yourself!

-Jo

Another Week, Another Wigh In

Another Week, Another Wigh In

So it has been 2 weeks since I posted because last Wednesday, I stupidly broke my laptop screen so was unable to post. It’s all fixed now though, so here we go!

Tonight I lost 2lb, bringing me to a total of 10lbs lost in 5 weeks. I have to be honest, I am SUPER excited by this fact. The last time I attended a slimming class was last year, with Slimming World, and to lose 10lbs it took probably more than that number of weeks. In the year I was there, I only lost a stone. So I’m definitely feeling better with this plan. I’m finding it seems to be working a little bit better for me.

I’ve added a countdown app to my phone for my trip to New York, and with 194 days to go, and being 10lbs down already, I’m hoping I might actually surpass my 2stone goal before I go on my trip. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll be over the moon if I lose the 2st before I go, anything extra would just be a bonus. I definitely feel more optimistic though, I’m really determined. And it feels good to know people think I’m doing well. Whether I lose half a pound, or 4lbs, my mum always tells me how great my loss is each week. And after seeing how my friend, who I attend the class with, was disappointed by her own mum’s reaction tonight, I’m so grateful for the support my mum shows me. My friend has lost about 16lbs in 5 weeks, I think that’s an amazing achievement and something to be proud of! Which I made sure to tell her, because we joined this class together to support each other and that’s what I intend to do!

I’ve talked a bit in the past about the Weight Watchers propoints calculator, and I was a bit shocked at the £9.95 price tag on it, even though I bought it. Truthfully though? I’m so glad I did! I would be lost without it. I use it every single day. This past weekend I went through my freezer and fridge and worked out points for every item I had in there, wrote them down in a notebook so that I will always have that reference. My little purple calculator even goes shopping with me! Other shoppers must look at me like I’m insane. But not a single thing goes in my trolley with me first using my calculator to figure out the points in each portion and deciding if I think it’s worth it. It’s a god send, because it saves me from buying something that I think would only be a few points and finding it’s actually a huge amount. A good example of that would be a panini I got from a supermarket a while back. Now I thought it would maybe be about 10propoints, which I thought, is okay if it’s a lunch and I’m not eating dinner until later. Imagine my shock when during my mass calculation, I input all the values hit enter and was told it was 18points! For one small panini! For those same points I can go to Wrtherspoon’s and have ham, egg and chips and a big glass of diet pepsi! I was beyond shocked and glad I hadn’t eaten it! I certainly won’t be now! So while it was little expensive to buy, the calculator has definitely been worth every penny to me. It’s my lifesaver on this plan.

I’m going to try and mention a new discovery if I make one that is great on plan for me, each week. This week the discovery was this:

These yogurt drinks are 1 point each, and as someone who has a horrible sleep pattern, and often wakes up right before having to run out the door for whatever reason, these are so handy. I can grab it on my way out and drink it on the bus. And they’re tasty! Obviously not as thick and creamy as the actual yogurt, but definitely tastes good enough.  So if you’re like me and like something you can grab on the go. I definitely recommend these.

I still plan to review the schwartz flavour shots, but I haven’t actually tried them yet, like I’d planned. But I definitely will soon!

I’ll be back next week, hopefully another little bit closer to my goal.

WEEK1: THE WEIGH IN!

WEEK1: THE WEIGH IN!

So, tonight was the first official weigh in at my weight watchers class. I’m going to be honest, I was nervous! I’m not one for cooking things fresh all the time, don’t always have the money or inclination to. I’m one of those people that definitely goes through phases, but I did find a couple of staples this week. Things that were a constant part of my food routine. I’m not usually a breakfast person, I can go all day until dinner time without having something, but this week, I made sure that I had something when I woke. Usually toast or cereal. Both of those things were my staples! I had one for supper and the other at night before bed. The reason: I’m a night time snacker! I always have been, I am not the best sleeper in the world, I tend to be up til 3am easily watching tv and that’s when I want to snack on absolute rubbish. But with making sure I have something to eat around 9pm, that has definitely been reduced.

Now, I won’t say that I haven’t snacked at all this week. That would be a lie. Truthfully, I still have crisps and something sweet every day. The difference now is that I have much lower calorie versions of what I usually would, and I work them into my allotted points for the day. I have 37, and honestly, I find it hard to use them all! The thing with this weight watchers propoints plan though, is that you NEED to use your daily allowance, or at least as close to it as possible. You have some leeway, where you can save a few one day to use extra on another. Personally, I prefer to try and stick to my daily amount as a general rule. So that being said, at night when I want my snacks, instead of the bar of galaxy or similar chocolate I would usually have, and the fatty crisps. I now have a packet of Quavers (2points a pack) and a Special K Biscuit Moments. Right now in our local poundland they’re in stock, which is great because they can be expensive otherwise, so i’ve been stocking up! That let’s me satisfy my cravings for something sweet and crisps without high calorie options and high points.  It’s great.

On the main meal side of things, I went shopping in Iceland and took my trusty weight watchers calculator (still can’t believe I paid £9.95 for it! Now I’ve joined up monthly I get it on my phone for free!), and before anything went in my trolley, the calculator came out, and points were figured out. If an okay portion worked out at an acceptable points value, in it went, if not, back in the freezer! I found that a lot of the things I liked, and that are handy, like chicken goujons, fish cakes etc, were all reasonable points values. So I got quite nicely stocked up for the week with the intention to make home made soup next week to bulk up the freezer some more!

Because I had done all  of this, I found it very easy to stay on the plan. I wrote everything down in my daily tracker so I always knew how many points I had used, and how many I had left. I was even able to go out for dinner to Wetherspoon’s and stay withing my daily allowance! (Ham, egg and chips was 18 points, great portion size, tasted delicious and absolutely worth it.) In just this one week, I have learned that it is so easy to lose weight, to follow a plan without having to spend a fortune you don’t have on different kinds of food that you might not like but try to force down because of your diet. Portion control has been what it’s all about. I work out the points values for a portion and I weigh whatever I’m having so that it is a one person portion. And because that’s what’s on my plate, I don’t feel dissatisfied, because it was enough. You only eat more because it’s on the plate. Well I do anyway. So yeah, overall, it’s been an easy week.

Time for the weigh in result??

Week 1: 4.5lb loss

I was so nervous stepping on those scales tonight, i’d had a sneaky weigh at home, but you never know how close those scales are to the ones you step on in class. I had expected maybe 2lbs, so when she told me I had a 4 and a half lb loss, I was over the moon. Not bad for week 1!

I don’t expect that every week, I know after week 1 it tends to be smaller amounts that come off, but a loss is what I aimed for and it’s what I got. So I’m extremely happy! Week 2 begins tomorrow. Fingers crossed next week will be another success. I’m sure I’ll blog more throughout the week now that I know more about the plan!

For anyone else on their own weight loss journeys: Good Luck!

-Jo

My Challenge to Myself: Countdown to New York

My Challenge to Myself: Countdown to New York

All of my life, I have struggled with many things. Bad eyesight, a limp, a lisp, 5 brothers to name a few. However, there has always been one issue that has always been the biggest challenge is my weight. Looking at pictures of my as a little girl always amuses me, because as a small child (until about age 4/5) I was actually very petite. I had glasses that would have made those worn by Deirdre Barlow’s look fashionable, but I didn’t have a weight problem. I don’t really know when, or why, my weight started to become a problem. For as long as I can remember, it just has.  There’s always the same assumption that you ate unhealthily, parents fed you rubbish and so on, but believe it or not, that wasn’t the case. I lived in the same house as 4 of my 5 brothers, 3 of them it seemed could eat everything and never gain a pound. They seemed to get my mum’s good genes! My younger brother and I however, we were heavier, even though we ate the same foods. My father’s side of the family were all bigger. My father himself had fought his weight most of his life, even to this day, even though he’s very fit and slim, is very conscious of his weight. This blog isn’t about him though, is it?

Anyway, from about 6 years old onwards, my weight did begin to escalate. Almost every summer I would diet and lose weight before returning to school and then I would gain it again. It’s not that I wasn’t active. I really was as a kid, I was never indoors, our running around with the kids who stayed in the street, swimming every week, riding bikes. I definitely wasn’t ‘lazy’, as some people like to blame for the problem. I was very unhappy at school though. I was bullied about all those things I mentioned, the lisp, the limp, the eye patches…but mostly about my weight. And while it wasn’t the case when I was six, as I got older, I did definitely become a comfort eater. The worse I felt, the most I wanted to eat the things that made me feel better: chocolate, sweets and crisps etc. By the time I started secondary school I as about a size 14, and by the time I left 6 years later i’d kept growing to a size 22.

Over the summer between leaving school and starting university, I DID lose weight, I got down to a size 16-18 and was happier. I was away from the people who made me want to comfort eat. That didn’t last though. Something else I have suffered with for most of my life (and while not the main focus of this blog, is something I will most likely talk about here) is depression. As a result of family issues, the bullying i’ve endured throughout my life from school through to work and then an assault. None of these things are really great for the self confidence, self worth. So really, they weren’t the  biggest motivation for weight loss. I just felt so down all the time, that I wanted to cheer up, so I’d have a bar of chocolate, or an extra packet of crisps. I was put on anti-depressants and while I didn’t feel just as bad, I wasn’t motivated to diet either.

That changed a few years ago though, at my brother’s engagement party,  picture was taken which showed me on the dance floor, at my biggest yet and I saw it, and I knew I had to lose weight. To my own eyes, I looked like a beached whale, that was the words I used. I was a size 26-28 and only about 22 at the time. So I started dieting. I went to weight watchers for a bit, but did it mostly on my own, and I did do it! I lost almost 6 stone, getting down to a size 16, and I did keep it off for a while. Why not permanently? It comes back to my old friend: bullying. This time at work.

I won’t go into all of those details, not right now anyway, but I had a bit of a nervous breakdown after that, and the weight crept back up. I had to leave my job and be signed off work by my doctor, and I still am now almost 4 years later, because the following year, as I was starting to feel better, I was assaulted. So all of these things combined, I was at rock bottom. I was terrified to leave my house, being crowded by people overwhelms me, loud noises make me jumpy. I basically haven’t felt great about myself. So I let the weight gain continue until last year. My confidence was at its lowest, and I was having a hard time, someone very close to me was dying of cancer and I knew if I didn’t try something then things would just get worse.

I joined slimming world 2 days before my mum’s best friend passed away last year, with her encouragement. Having been diagnosed with PCOS and Endometriosis, weight loss has never been quick or easy for me. But I followed the plan, eating as much ‘free’ food as possible, staying withing my ‘syn’ limits, and slowly the weight did come off. I lost just under a stone and a half over the course of the 9 months I was there, not a lot by some people’s standards, but I was happy. If I lose 1lb a week, I’m happy because at least it’s coming off. I never had aims of 5+ lbs every week. Then Christmas came, and classes were off, and I thought I had it in the bag, I knew what I was doing now, didn’t need the class or the group to keep up the losses.

That’s why within 3 months I had gained every pound back.

Every time I said ‘tomorrow i’ll get back on track’. But let’s face it, that particular tomorrow just doesn’t come because you decide to have that big dinner, or the tube of pringles, or some chocolate instead and before you know it, another week has gone by.

I’m turning 30 in October, and my celebration is a trip to New York City in November. I am determined to have lost some weight before then, so when I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own, when my friend mentioned weight watchers, I jokingly said we should go together. That was a week ago today, and last Wednesday we really did join a class. If I want to slim down for my dream holiday, then I need to be held accountable, I need a kick up the backside to keep it in gear.

So now we’re getting to why I started this blog. Here, I plan to keep a record of my journey as a ‘weight watcher’, from classes and weigh ins, to difficulties outside of the classes. All the triumphs and the disappointments, this is where I’m going to talk about them, because I know that’s what will help keep me motivated. I don’t have a ‘goal’ for going to NYC, I’d like to lose the stone I regained at the very least, so I suppose that’s the first hurdle, if I do better than that, then great.

I hope some people will find this an interesting journey to follow, I know it will be for me!

– Jo