Between the time I meet my (now) wife on our first blind date back in January of 2003 (we got married August 2004) and October of 2009, when I joined Weight Watchers (it’s not just for women), I had put on about 45-50 pounds (what we called “happy” weight). We had our first daughter in June 2006 and our second daughter was due December 2009 and I knew I needed to get healthier for myself and my family.
So, I joined Weight Watchers in October 2009 and in 12 months I lost approximately 45 pounds and reached my “healthy” goal weight and have maintained within 5 pounds of my goal weight even though the holiday season!!! With a busy and moderately stressful life, I was able to lose the weight and lower my once marginally high cholesterol to the “normal” range just through healthy eating and portion control – I honestly never went to the gym, but would treat my playing with the kid and doing chores as fun/productive exercise!
I’m by no means a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, but for me it worked to have a supportive group structure, weekly meetings & weigh-ins which provided accountability and they produce helpful & educational information.
I am proud of this accomplishment and plan to stay a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. So, I thought I’d write a blog post on the things that worked for me. Let me first say, I’m fortunate that I like most fruits and veggies…but I also have a sweet tooth!
- My first step was to decrease (not totally cut out) junk food & carbs and replace it with healthier and more filling choices. For example, Baked Cheetos vs. regular, whole wheat pretzels vs. regular potato chips, baked vs. fried chicken, etc.
- I started eating salads for dinner each evening the first couple of months, just using balsamic vinegar for dressing. I’d buy the large plastic container of organic baby spinach or spring mix from Sam’s Club (see my post of Repurposing Plastic Containers) and doctor my salad up with a variety of different veggies, fruit and protein – i.e. canned chick peas/garbanazo beans that I rinse & drain to decrease sodium, vacuum canned whole kernel corn, canned hominy beans (rinsed & drained), hard-boiled eggs, cut up cheese sticks, Julienne cut chicken/turkey or ham, fresh slices or chunks of apple/pineapple/clementines/strawberries, canned baby corn (rinsed & drained), grapes, raisins, craisins, canned beets, cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, zucchini slices, mushrooms, bell pepper, sliced almonds, etc. Variety was key and I was able to change it up everyday. My wife said the salads I made looked so good, colorful & delicious!
- When we went out to eat, I ordered the smaller portion of entrees or only eat 1/2 and bring the rest home. Also, said no to the bread basket!
- Always drank a lot of water and tea – stay hydrated and keep some liquid in your belly!
- Had healthy snacks at work – fruit that’s easy to eat like banana, grapes and apples. Single servings of nuts (unsalted are better for us) or whole wheat crackers. Flavored oatmeal makes for a nice tummy warming and slightly sweet snack – I add a couple of spoons of plain minute oats to the flavored instant oatmeal to decrease the sweetness and add more filling fiber!
- We often have fruit for dessert in my house – seasonal fruits are so delicious!
- Fruit was also my backup snack in the evenings – natural sugar, some fiber, low carb, no salt, etc.
- To help satisfy a sweet tooth, jello or yogurt usually did the trick. But if I had a piece of candy or cake or cookie – it was all about portion control and savoring the treat! So one cookie or a couple bites of cake vs. a whole slice was greatly appreciated!
- When I moved away from big entrée salads each night, I still bought the organic greens and used it as a bed for a single scoop of rice and whatever entrée my wife made, be it curry chicken, beef stew, pot roast, etc. The bed of greens helped fill me up and I still got to eat a single serving of rice or pasta and the home cooked entrée.
- We’d eat lean meats and more fish, and do a lot of stir-fry with lots of colorful veggies. This was we’d still have some yummy steak, but instead of a 8-12 oz steak on a plate or a couple of chicken breasts, we’d enjoy 3-4 oz. of steak or 1/2 a chicken breast nicely cooked with yummy veggies!
- When I’d make a sandwich to bring to work, I usually bought the double fiber bread and always used veggies in the sandwich (lettuce, spinach, cucumber, sprouts, bell pepper rings, etc) or would bring carrot/celery sticks as a side item.
- I’d skip the creamy ranch or potato chip dip and use yummy hummus – I’m pretty sure it has less fat and more protein!
- I also started to eat a little slower, have a drink of water in between bites and/or chat with my wife or older daughter at the table…helped me enjoy the food and let it digest before I over-eat!
Being a member of Weight Watchers for over a year has been beneficial for my entire family -I’m healthier, my wife cooks more healthier, it’s helped her lose all her pregnancy weight & then some, my daughters are growing up and liking some veggies and a lot of fruits…it’s been real good for our family of four as we continue to “survive and thrive!”
A closing thought – As my older daughter weighs about 38-39 pounds, whenever I carry her and think she’s heavy, it pops into my mind – “Wow, this is the weight I lost!”
- Weight Watchers Revamps Point System, Emphasizes Natural Foods (huffingtonpost.com)
- New Weight Watchers Plan Gives Fruit a Freebie Pass (fitsugar.com)