04-04-2016

5 Things You Should Know Before Starting WeightWatchers

I just finished up month 2 of WeightWatchers and I love it! I have lost 7 lbs so far, and I’m pretty happy with that. Especially since I’ve had multiple weekends where I stopped counting points because I’ve been out with friends, etc. The main thing it has taught me is portion control. Turns out I was majorly overeating before. And the actual portion size of pasta still makes me sad…

I wanted to share with you all a few things about WeightWatchers, and hope it might be helpful if you’re considering joining or know someone who is. I love it and for some reason it has much easier for me (and holds me more accountable) than simply counting calories. I really can’t explain why but I think it’s so much easier this way, even though I realize it’s essentially the same thing.

The main thing I like is that you count your points and have a set number of points for each day, AND you get bonus weekly points so you can splurge a little on things you want. So anyway, here are 5 things you should know before starting WeightWatchers:

Here are 5 Things You Should Know Before Starting WeightWatchers | http://reach-yourpeak.com

You might be really hungry in the beginning

There is definitely an adjustment period, which can be said for any new nutrition plan you might start (IIFYM, Paleo, Whole30, counting calories, etc.). Especially if you have been overeating, like I was. I felt like I was always hungry, and still starving after my dinners. But that goes away in a week or so. Your stomach needs time to adjust. When you’re hungry, eat some fruit if you need to, which is 0 points. Nowadays, I find that I can stick with 3 meals and 1 snack before a workout, whereas in the past I would have a snack every 2 hours or so. Not that there is a problem with that, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to know what your total daily intake is, no matter what plan you’re on.

There’s a new points system

I did WeightWatchers in the past with their PointsPlus system and liked that, but now they’re using SmartPoints which is even better. When calculating points, it takes into account protein and sugar. So if something is high in protein, it will lower the points value (since we know chicken, fish, etc. are great sources of protein and should be encourage), and if something is high in sugar, it will really up the points value. I used to buy the WeightWatchers mini cakes and snacks (because I have a major sweet tooth) and loved that they were only 2 points for a little mini carrot cake. However, now those cakes are 4-5 points…so not worth it! There is more to this new point system I’m sure I’m leaving out, but I wasn’t an avid user in the past so I don’t know everything that has changed.

Activity points doesn’t mean you can eat more

This is another aspect of the new points system that a lot of people had opinions on. In the past, if you exercised, you were able to eat back those points. So if running was 5 activity points, I had 5 extra points daily to eat. Now, activity points don’t count towards food. WeightWatchers wrote on their FAQ page:

In a nutshell, no. Exercise doesn’t cancel out food choices, so moving shouldn’t be an excuse to eat more. If you don’t do any exercise at all, you can still lose weight on the Your Way Program. But doing both is of course optimal. Watching your FitPoints™ add up and hitting your weekly exercise goal can be great motivators and there are so many health benefits to gain from regular activity.  

However, if you’re doing high-intensity workouts (for example, training for a marathon or attending multiple spin classes) at least three to four times a week, you might want to swap some of your FitPoints™ for food to account for the amount of energy you’re expending. 

At first I was like, “But I exercise daily I need extra calories!” But like everything else, you adjust. Now if I will be exercising twice in one day and hour long sessions or more, I don’t feel guilty about eating extra, and that’s what those weekly bonus points are for anyway. I think what they say makes sense, and I know I’ve been guilty of thinking runing 45 minutes means I can eat extra…when in reality those 45 minutes only burn 300-400 extra calories. 

There’s a great support system

There are many online forums for WeightWatchers users, but the app itself has its own social media platform. It’s a great way to connect with like minded people and get any questions answered from other users. You can upload photos as well, and it’s almost liek a combination of Facebook and Instagram. The WeightWatchers website has a lot of resources and recipes to help get you started. And of course, you can find a myriad of recipes on Pinterest! Oh also, the app gives a lot of values for popular restaurants. You might be shocked to know how many points some of your favorite entrees have. I was when I found out French Onion Soup is around 20 or so (insert crying emoji).

It’s flexible and non-restrictive 

I think this is my favorite part of it. I can’t believe that even with weekends of drinking and eating whatever, I’ve still lost 7 lbs. in 2 months. I mean, I’m also exercising but I haven’t been able to lose weight in  years and have just been stagnant. Since you get weekly bonus points (around 28) it really allows you be flexible and still indulge. I usually try to save almost all of those for weekends when I know I will be going out with friends. Or you can also have extra points daily if you want to have that sweet treat after dinner or a glass of wine :) According to WeightWatchers, even if you use all of your weekly bonus points, you should still lose weight.

So that’s that! I will continue to use WeightWatchers until I hit my goal…another 10-12 lbs. to go! It has taught me good portion control and even when I’m out and not tracking, I still know how much I should be eating and about how many points everything has. 

What do you think about not counting activity points towards extra calories/food points?

Do you find you eat more when you workout and justify with “Well, I worked out today sooo….” :)

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02-03-2016

My First Week Of WeightWatchers + My Grocery Store Picks

So I started WeightWatchers last week…and so far have lost 3 lbs.!! I have done WeightWatchers in the past but I was just calculating points based on calculators I found online. This time I decided to join the plan in order to get recipe ideas from them as well as their handy dandy app. Plus, I only really stuck with it for 3 weeks last time.

This time, I’m determined to lose at least 15 lbs. by summer. I just have not been feeling great about myself and need to lose fat. I store fat in my midsection which is even worse (this is the worst place to store fat).

Anyway, I decided to join WW with a friend. They’ve changed their point system to account more for added sugars and protein, which I really like. For example, one of their carrot cake snacks used to be 2 pts. and now it is 4. I think it’s important for people to cut down on their sugar intake.

So like I said, I lost 3 lbs in week one! This is a combination of my diet as well as working out way more than I have in recent times. I’ve been trying to do spin in the mornings and run in the evenings, though sometimes I run before spin, or I’ll do a run, then one of Ride & Reflect‘s 30/30 classes (30 min. spin and 30 min. yoga). This may seem like a lot but I have hit a plateau and knew I needed to switch things up and do more. I think many people, such as myself in the past, grossly overestimate how much they are burning in, let’s say, a 4-5 mile run…which leads to eating more, which leads to not losing weight.

I was running consistently, but definitely overeating. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far with WW:

  • My portions were too big. The first few days I was shocked by how “little” I was eating…definitely was not supposed to be eating that much pasta :) but I always justified it with, “I just worked out, I can eat this for dinner.”
  • When I’m tracking my food, I have more motivation to say no to things. I went to Starbucks and really wanted something, but all their snacks were at least 10 points or more! I knew that would leave me with very little for the rest of the day, so I said no.
  • Drinking tea helps. I’m sure you’ve all heard this, but drinking tea can help with cravings. So now before bed I drink this detox tea I bought, or a lemon ginger tea for digestion.

I’m really liking the program so far. I needed much more accountability with nutrition, and this is helping me stay on track. For some reason, if I’m just tracking calories on my own in MyFitnessPal, I just am not as motivated. Oh, I also got a food scale which I love! It’s been eye-opening seeing the actual portion sizes of things, like chicken or beef.

One last thing: I posted a new YouTube video on my channel today! It’s just a quick video of some of my favorite picks at the grocery store. Check it out:

And lastly, don’t forget to sign up for my 5 day fitness challenge! 5 days of workouts sent right to your inbox and one lucky winner will win a PlantFusion prize pack! You can sign up below:

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Let me know if you sign up!

Have you ever tried WeightWatchers or a similar program?

What is harder for you, consistent exercise or consistent healthy nutrition?

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02-18-2015

My WeightWatchers Review

For the past month or so, I’ve been trying to follow WeightWatchers in order to improve my eating and see some results from the gym. Nutrition has always been the hardest part for me when it comes to being healthy. I mean, for the most part I eat healthy. My main meals always include good sources of protein, fat and healthy carbs. It’s the afternoon and evening sweet cravings that get me! I never, ever get cravings for anything salty, like chips, but my sweet tooth is ridiculous. I’ve been trying to rein that in.

I really like WeightWatchers because you’re not restricted as to what you can or can’t eat. I had tried paleo and Whole30 in the past but it was just too restrictive for me. I would do it for a month but just couldn’t wait to get back to including things like oatmeal or rice in my diet. It just wasn’t for me.

WeightWatchers Review
I’m not saying WeightWatchers lets you eat anything you want…there is accountability. Basically, you get a certain number of “points” you can eat per day, which you need to calculate (I use this website). I haven’t officially joined WW yet, so I have to use websites to figure out my points (as opposed to their own website and app, which you need to pay for). I will probably sign up in the near future, just because it will make things much easier.

Anyway, you get your points value, and that’s what you can eat. So you can go ahead and eat that slice of pizza, but just know it will cost you 7 points. Vegetables and fruits have 0 points. You also get activity points (extra points if you workout that day, which you can choose whether or not to use) and a weekly allowance of 49 extra points (if you think you might splurge, like I did this past weekend at a wedding). You don’t need to use those 49 points at all if you don’t want to.

So far, I’ve lost 5 lbs in about a month, and that’s without following it 100% (weekends I’m a bit more flexible with myself). I had written up a review last year about the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, and I’d say this is kind of comparable. You can eat what you want, as long as you track it when it comes to your points (or containers for 21 Day fix). I do plan on posting results once I finish my workout plan I’m testing out for my ebook, and continue to follow WW.

Let’s outline some Pros and Cons, in case you’re thinking about WeightWatchers:

Pros

  • Flexible eating – nothing is off limits (like grains in the paleo diet)
  • Pretty easy to calculate points. You pretty much eat the same things day in and day out (at least I do), so you’ll quickly memorize point values.
  • Easy to follow without the paid version, and even easier with paid. The paid app gives you point values for restaurants, and allows you to scan items, search for foods/dishes, etc.
  • I like the 49 weekly points you get in case you do want to splurge. I am all about moderation. If I want a cookie, I’ll have it. If I go to an event or outing, I don’t want to feel deprived.
  • Activity points are great too because the more you’re active, the more points you get per day (if you want to use them). I get 26 points, but each day I workout I get an extra 4-6 points.
  • Paid version = weekly meetings. My friend loved going to meetings and talking about issues relating to losing weight and food with others. Also a great way to meet some like-minded people.
  • Provides a different way to look at food, at least for me. I now think twice before getting a pastry from Starbucks (a small caramel square is 11 points!) and eat more vegetables and fruits because they’re 0 points and are a great way to curb hunger.

Cons

  • If you do it on your own, like me, calculating points can be a pain. Not necessarily the simple stuff (like a granola bar), but restaurant meals (how many points are in a Chipotle chicken bowl??)
  • Can also be a pain to know points for things you make. I made eggplant parm with tomato sauce and mozzarella, but didn’t measure out that stuff, so no clue how many extra points that had. I usually just guesstimate.
  • At first, you will probably feel hungry a lot like I did. I was used to eating whatever, whenever. Even though I was eating healthy snacks throughout the day, I was snacking whenever I wanted to. Following WW meant I had to have times to eat and snack, so that I didn’t use up all my points by noon. It does take some getting used to, but if you go over, no worries, that’s what your 49 points are for.

I really like this plan, and it’s probably a nutrition plan I’ve followed for the longest time. I wanted to share with you in case you’re interested or are looking for a way to hold yourself accountable with food. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’d tried WeightWatchers too!

Do you have any WeightWatchers recipes you could share?

Have you/do you follow a nutrition plan, or do you just go with the flow each day?

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