Monday, January 17, 2011

Yes, I've Drunk the Koolaid

I've drunk the Weight Watchers (WW) koolaid & read the bible. I can even give you all their answers on this new program. The answers are not all the much different from the old answers, just the points are different. I could teach the program if I was at my goal weight, but I'm not.

So in a conversation on Twitter with Bored Mommy, (BM) today I was was imparting my WW wisdom 140 characters at a time. Dr. Browne even told me I was giving good advice. Too bad, I have such trouble in the practice sense of practicing my wisdom. Typing it all down 140 characters at a time was probably giving me carpal tunnel or something, so I decided to actually get on here & write it all down using a keyboard.

The topic came up as BM complaining that she only lost TWO pounds in her second week on the program. She was sort of disappointed with this number, stating, "I know it's not realistic, but I'm hoping for more like 'Biggest Loser' numbers." In her post, on her blog, she indicated that the second week of a diet,
But it’s the week where I always realize the size of the mountain that I need to climb to get to the end, because no matter how great I do during week one, week two will always be a smaller number, in terms of a weight loss.
She also bought up that she "cheated" (her word, not mine) by having a scone & french fries during the week. I take issue with the word cheating, but I'll take that on in a minute. Lastly,
she wrote:
This is where the whole mental thing really comes in for me. I tell myself that I can’t do it, because I have SO MUCH WEIGHT to lose. The negative talk in my head is non-stop and really kind of pathetic. I kick myself when I’m down at every turn. I wish I only had to lose 15-20lbs so I wouldn’t feel so damned overwhelmed every time I think about it. I’m really trying to think positive, but I’m kind of a weight loss failure, if you haven’t noticed. I totally suck at it, because mentally, I just tell myself it can’t happen.

Wow, where do I start?
My original comment to her was that I couldn't believe she does a weigh in on Monday?!? As a professional dieter, (No, I don't get paid for it, but I don't get paid to be a mom either, and no one questions that title.) I know that Monday is probably the worst day to have your weekly weigh in. Why? (And you're asking why, you are probably a skinny bitch who has never dieted & I sort of hate you right now, but whatever, pass the chocolate.) It is most likely that if you're going to really go off program it will happen on a weekend. You need some recovery time. Monday weigh in, gives you no recovery time. You think I have the wrong attitude? Maybe, but I also believe in not setting myself up to fail. If I had to weigh in on Mondays I would be more likely not to go. If I don't go, then I stop doing the program. It's a slippery slope folks. I weigh in on a Wednesday. I go to meetings to weigh in too. BM is using the online program, which is good, no doubt, but there's reason why people who go to meetings are more likely to stick with it and lose faster.
There are a couple things about meetings that are really important, accountability and positive reinforcement. Going to a meeting every week give me a solid stop/start time for each week. If I need to mentally clear myself from what I feel was a bad week, I can do that at my meeting. I know what the damage was, often no where near what I think, and I can move forward. The other important thing about meetings is positive reinforcement. All of the following are things you should be hearing at every meeting:
  1. It's NOT a diet, it's a lifestyle.
  2. You CAN eat anything you want. You just have to decide where you want your points to go.
  3. Sometimes, it's not about losing weight. Sometimes it's about maintaining, or not gaining more than a certain amount. (Think vacation.)
The biggest thing I think you get from going to the meetings is seeing that you are NOT alone. It CAN be done and that it just takes time. The meetings I go to are actually fun. Our leader should being doing stand up, which is awesome for us. The more fun it is, the more likely you are to go. I've noticed too, that if I'm having an emotionally bad day, and my weigh in isn't what I hoped, sometimes just hearing of others success can boost me. What can I say, I'm lemming. Another benefit to going to meetings is that we share information. We bring in food (wrappers) that we find are low in points and still yummy, and pass them around. We write the number of points on them & tell each other what stores carry those products. The leaders aren't supposed to encourage this, WW is a business and they are employees after all. But it's been a huge benefit for me to know of things my family won't turn their nose up at because they see WW on the package and assume it's "diet food." (We also have a Trader Joe's sharing our parking lot, so many of us do our grocery shopping right after the meeting.) We also share about things that are crap. Sometimes, something good suddenly changes it's portion size or whatnot, and someone will notice and make sure the rest of us are aware. Power in number people.

As to address the idea of only losing two pounds in the second week, wow, talk about an uphill battle. If you're feeling that way on week two, I find it hard to believe you're going to stick to it. We need something to make you feel good about when it comes to this topic. Listen, any weight loss program that's works won't have you losing more than half a pound to a pound a week. Yes, the first week is usually a bigger number. And if you have a very large amount to lose, then it's not unrealistic to lose more every week, a la-Biggest Loser. The truth is, you didn't gain this weight over night, you're not going to lose it over night. If you do lose it overnight, it's very likely it'll pop right back on. It's not healthy for your body to yo-yo, and quick gains or losses fall into the yo-yo category. Instead of focusing on the big number at the end, figure out your 5% number and focus on that. Once you reach that goal, focus on the next 5%. If you do it in little steps like that, it's way less intimating. It also can help with things like going on vacation. You gain a few pounds, but instead of beating yourself up, you focus on getting back to that 5% goal. Totally doable. Gives you things to celebrate too.

If you truly want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change your thinking. That's your biggest hurdle; Not losing weight, not staying away from Starbucks. Those things will benefit your weight loss, but you'll gain it back, if you don't change the way you think about yourself and your body. (I told you I've drunk the koolaid.) There is no such thing as "cheating" on WW. You can, and SHOULD eat what you want. If you don't, you'll go off of it. Once you've lost the weight, you aren't "going off" the program, are you? If you do, you'll just gain it back, you know. If you deprive yourself of the things you like, you will stop doing the program. I can tell you that without a doubt. WW gives you an extra amount of points every week so you can have those things. You have to choose how you want to do that. It may mean that you can only have your white mocha two times a week, or maybe a tall instead of a vente. (Guess you can tell where my extra points go.) It's your choice. The bottom line is that what you were doing wasn't working. What you were doing caused you to gain the weight in the first place. Or it wasn't helping you lose it, at least. When you've lost all the weight, you can't go back to what you were doing before, or you'll end up back where you started. Give yourself a chance to succeed. Allow yourself to have the things you want, it's not cheating. It's living. Just choose to be healthier too.
I have a whole deal on exercise too. But I'm going to let this sink in right now. Key take aways from this:
  • Be Nice To Yourself.
  • Allow Yourself The Things You Love.
  • Set Yourself Up to Succeed.