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Lessons Learned

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alex and I keep heading back to Weight Watchers for one reason and one reason only: it worked.

In 2009 and in 2010, we each lost a significant amount of weight, and our downfall was not being able to handle outside pressures that came with our Birthdays, vacations, and school. We managed to survive most of the year without feeling deprived, but when those things lumped together at once, we weren’t prepared to deal with them.

At the same time, we’ve had countless trials with Weight Watchers that didn’t work.

So, what makes our successful attempts different from the unsuccessful ones?

I’ve done Weight Watchers with and without online tools both successfully and unsuccessfully. We’ve done the meetings with success and failure. So, it’s not the meetings that made or broke us.

There is one thing that we did during our successful rounds that we failed to do during the times we failed:

We cheated.

Our weigh-in night was Tuesday, and after our meetings we would go out to eat. Some days it was french fries and riblets or chicken fingers. Other nights, we went to CPK for pizza or got general tsos. It was our meal to eat anything our heart desired without worrying about calories or points. On any other night, we would get the chicken and broccoli, or we would get a salad at Panera for dinner. We did not get restaurant desserts or appetizers on a daily basis.

We also had a treat every night almost without fail. Our original treat was a chocolate covered pretzel and Frappucino (no whipped cream), but we’ve also done 100 calorie packs, cake pops, splitting a packet of black and white cookies, frozen yogurt, or a McDonalds ice cream cone among other things.

Sure, our “cheat nights” became all you can eat binge-fests of Chinese food, venti frappucinos with whipped cream, cookies, snack cakes, potato chips, and pepperoni, but that’s also when our progress started to stall. Those cheat nights became more or less a license for us to be stupid.

So, upon making the realization that our successful runs were when we allowed ourselves one chance a week to enjoy whatever we wanted without counting (with in reason- one meal only) and had a treat every night, we decided that we need to do it again- with a bigger focus on not letting our cheat nights go out of control and conquering the holidays.

So, that’s what we are going to do. We are going to repeat the one thing that made a difference between us following the same plan and being successful and being unsuccessful.

Now, that doesn’t mean that everything we eat otherwise is perfectly healthy. I had pizza and fast food on non-cheat nights, but the difference is that I had to account for them in my points target and find that balance. On a non-cheat day, I would go to a diner and get grilled cheese with a fruit cup. On the cheat night, the fruit cup would be switched for fries.

I’m not going to count calories because I already know what I should eat. Rather, I’m focusing my meals around a certain rules when eating at home (and whenever possible when eating out)

Meals are served on my 8.5 inch plates, except for salads which can be served on a larger plate.
At least 1/2 of the plate is produce.
For breakfast, 1/2 of the plate may be a mixture of fruit and/or vegetables.
For lunch, at least 1/4 of the plate must be vegetables
For dinner, 1/2 of the plate must be vegetables.
If 1/2 of the plate is non-starchy veggies, then I may add fruit on the side in a Chobani SoHo bowl
Protein is essential for every meal or snack.
Protein can come from meat/seafood, eggs, beans, nut butters, and dairy.
Dairy can be served on the side in addition to a separate protein serving (ie: peanut butter and banana sandwich with a glass of milk), but dairy is NOT required in a meal
Avoid msg, nitrates, nitrites, hfcs, hydrogenated oils, etc whenever possible.
When hungry within 3 hours after a meal step 1 is to drink water, tea, or seltzer. Step 2 is fruit and/or veggies.
The list is pretty extensive, but it’s not so strict that it’s impossible. It’s basically just pushing myself towards whole foods, reasonable portions, and plenty of produce and protein.

Hopefully this will work for me this time!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sounds like you have a plan, have been reflecting and figuring out what works for you and what doesn't. It seems balanced and otherwise pretty healthy. With that kind of planning, a sense of humor, and sticking to your PLAN, you should experience great success. Have fun on your journey - a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE does NOT require you to be or feel deprived, or like you can't have FUN. Enjoy your journey.
    1734 days ago
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