Weight Watchers Guide

My first experience with Weight Watchers was last summer when I paid for a three month membership. It’s pricey and I couldn’t really afford to keep it up so I purchased a membership package with a plan to do it on my own. The internet makes this option so much more accessible, even for people that never paid for a membership in the first place. There are plenty of resources that provide calculators and Points Plus lists. The hardest part is calculating your allotted points. Since I have a WW approved calculator, I have a way to calculate this and have yet to find a website that matches their number.

The great thing about the new plan is that they recognize the need for fruits and veggies and each portion is ZERO points. That leaves you plenty of options for healthy, guilt-free snacks throughout the day. The tracking is tough at first but should soon become second nature. I also created this PointPlus tracker on Excel (which is currently set for my PointsPlus allowance but can be changed).
Other helpful links:
Weight Watchers Points Plus Food List
Weight Watchers Points/PointsPlus Calculators
Weight Watchers Calculator, made available due to calculator shortage
Just utilize Google, start with a ‘Weight Watchers PointsPlus’ search and you’ll have a wealth of resources right at your fingertips! Tons of recipes, points lists, and people ready to share their insight!
Amazon also has plenty of options for those looking to start the plan without a membership. You can purchase calculators, books, and entire packages making the plan more portable.

Pros:
  • Weight Watchers helps you think about what you’re eating
  • It provides an easy-to-follow guideline to make dieting fool-proof
  • There are plenty of resources online to help you on your journey
  • It teaches you healthy eating practices and can become a lifestyle
  • It allows for cheats and splurges.
  • It puts the power in your hands, allowing you to make choices and alter the diet to work for you.
Cons:
  • It can become pricey if you choose to pay for a membership or purchase packages/tools/cookbooks.
  • It’s difficult to get into the habit of tracking what you eat.
  • It encourages you to substitute with less healthy, processed alternatives such as margarine or diet sodas.
  • Constantly having to look up points is difficult at first, when you don’t have an idea of how the system works.
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Dining Out: Mudhook Brewing Co.

I had my first healthy dining out experience Thursday night at Mudhook Brewing Co. I am a huge craft beer fan but usually limit my intake to the weekend. However, they had just released their Sunken Orchard Peach Wheat and I just couldn’t pass up that kind of opportunity.

As for my meal, they have some lesser known healthy options. One of my favorites is the Greek Chicken, which is generally placed on a rather thick Kaiser roll. I tell them to skip the role and end up with a delcious entree, then opt for a side of fruit rather than fries. The Thursday night special was a Sicilian burger, however, so I decided to give that a try. It was topped with roasted red peppers and borsin cheese. Rather than fries, it came with pita wedges and olive tapenade. The tapenade was one of the best I’ve ever had and came with just the right amount of pita to avoid a carb overload. I decided to eat the burger as-is: cooked perfectly, juicy, and flavorful. It’s okay to get the burger on a roll (which is really the biggest issue here) if you’re willing to compromise somewhere else: skip the fries, dessert, or eat a salad for lunch. And also take into consideration portion size. Before you even begin eating cut it in half and set one piece to the side. One thing Mudhook could consider doing for people interested in healthier options is a whole grain bread.

Generally when dining out be sure to ask your server if there are healthier options. Also, the salad might not be the healthiest option for you and make actually have more calories than some entrees. If dining out is a special treat or you’re at a restaurant you may never have the chance to go to again, don’t worry too much. You don’t want to restrict yourself so much that the experience becomes unenjoyable!

Day 1: Preparing for the Journey

We prepped over the weekend by hitting up the grocery store and the local farm stand for real ingredients for the upcoming week. We came home with some great finds. I could spend hours in the grocery store – not because I want to, but because I’m indecisive and easily distracted. I literally have to time myself. As in, if you’re not done in an hour you’ll just have to leave with what you have. I also never wander aimlessly in the middle aisles. I make a circle starting in the produce, around the meat section in the back, and finishing in the dairy aisle. That way I avoid buying anything too heavily processed unless I need something specific: pasta, seasonings, canned tomatoes.

Delicious, healthy options from our local farm stand.

When I met my boyfriend 4 years ago, I still had my killer metabolism and could eat anything I wanted. He was very focused on healthy, low-carb eating and daily trips to the gym. Sadly, I (and a hefty work schedule) had a bad influence on him. The problem was that he literally ate baked chicken breasts and steamed broccoli everyday. Now that I want to focus on a newer, healthier lifestyle, I’ve found that variety truly is the spice of life. I would love to do a CSA but it’s just not in the budget right now. It would force us to use only the freshest, in-season veggies, things we may have never heard of. But for now I’ll just have to take weekly trips to the market and make conscious decisions to try new and unusual things.

This week we have some regular radishes but I also picked up some homegrown amethyst radishes because they were irresistible. I already had some organic orange carrots but I decided to give some ruby-red carrots a try. Of course corn was a must having just been harvested that morning. Shopping at your local farmer’s market provides you with a wider variety and a (usually) knowledgeable staff that cares about their customers. And I’ve even found that I save money when I shop locally.

I Promise to be Well

I have struggled, especially recently, to just eat well and be well. I’m by no means fat but I’m afraid if I don’t do something now I won’t be able to get back to where I want to be. I’m always exhausted, unmotivated, achy… and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. Except that I eat poorly and never exercise.

In high school I danced an average of 8 hours a day. It’s hard to gain weight when you’re on your feet that much, and to top it all off I had a killer metabolism. Even after I quit dance I was never concerned with what I ate. It wasn’t until I turned 20 that I noticed a change. I gained nearly 30 pounds in just a few months. At first I wasn’t too concerned – I attributed the gain to my new womanly curves. But the weight kept coming.

I’ve tried dieting several times, mostly using Weight Watchers as a guideline, but have honestly never stuck to it longer than two weeks. I do great – run everyday, track everything, buy a lot of green leafy foods – for those two weeks. Then I end up cheating and it’s like a spiral effect. A spiral downward. But now it’s time for me to wake up.

I’m making a promise that I am going to eat well and ultimately be well. My life will be better for it. 

  • I want to focus on real food. Forget the processed junk and replace it with fresh, local, natural ingredients.
  • Say goodbye to refined flours and sugars and hello to whole grains.
  • Absolutely no fast food. It’s too hard to say no to french fries.
  • Replace junk food with healthy alternatives like seeds, nuts, and chopped veggies.
  • No soda. And that includes diet. I’m allergic to aspartame but generally feel that diet is no better than regular.
  • Whenever possible I will make my own… salad dressing, soup, hummus, etc.
  • I will run everyday and strength train regularly.
  • I will not give up every time I slip up. Things happen. What’s important is that you come back from it.

Weight Watchers is a great guideline to start with as it helps me understand how much I’m putting into my body. But I’d like to take it one step further and know exactly what I’m putting into my body. The best example of this is that I don’t eat enough butter to find it necessary to replace it with 0-calorie sprays and margarines. I believe in moderated real food over processed ‘diet food’. Luckily it’s summer and I live in an area where I have easy access to farmers markets and produce stands.

So here goes!