Weight Watchers Works

Not that I didn’t already know that.  A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine reviewed various commercial diets.  Their results found that, according to their standards, two plans worked:  Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

The only real problem that I have with their study is calling Weight Watchers a diet.  It’s a LIFESTYLE.  Really.

Today Show coverage of the story.

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Feelings of Inadequacy

I’ve been having feelings of inadequacy lately.  Not on a personal level necessarily.  (Though I’ll always be a work in progress, I’m ok with that.)  The feelings have been more of blog inadequacy.

Recently, while discussing a possible blog post with my husband, I confessed that it seemed like a trivial topic about which to write.  So often, friends share earth-shattering, mind-altering blog posts.  In comparison, my post ideas seem insignificant.

As my husband is so good at doing, he immediately pointed out that trivial *and* insignificant items are precisely how and why I’ve followed the path that I’m on.  Large changes usually aren’t sustainable.  It’s the long chain of small changes that when followed and added onto for days, weeks, months and years, lead to results.

If my posts seem trivial, know that it is now exactly what I’m striving to do… share small, manageable tips that will hopefully give you food for thought and will also help me reinforce my own lifestyle.

Though the expression is “slow and steady wins the race,” I prefer to think that, “slow and steady and small wins the race.”

Thanks for reading!
xo

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning (Part 2)

One of my first blog posts was titled Let’s Start at the Very Beginning… a Very Nice Place to Start.  That entry discussed “calories in,” which is half of the weight loss (gain or maintenance) equation Calories in + calories out = change (or lack thereof).  The other half of the equation is “calories out,” which is the topic of this follow-up post.

Before I began this weight loss / maintenance journey, I wasn’t measuring my calories in.  And I certainly wasn’t measuring my calories out.  So while I assumed that non-exercise movement (like brushing teeth, standing in line, folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming the car, etc.) didn’t really matter or add up to anything significant, I didn’t have anything upon which to base that thought.

Epiphany Alert: Normal, everyday movement can equal a lot more “calories out” than previously realized.  Additionally, consciously maximizing everyday activity can pay big dividends.

Several months into following Weight Watchers, they teamed up with the electronics company Philips, and released a nifty little device named ActiveLink.  It’s basically a super-pedometer, that not only accounts for steps, but also senses movement in all directions and velocity.  It calculates how much energy you have burned and translates that directly into Weight Watchers Activity PointsPlus (AP) that you then have available to consume.  (Note: Other companies have similar devices.  Other popular ones are FitBit and BodyBug.)

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The data that has been recorded by my AL is eye-opening.  On non-exercise days, the number of APs that I typically earn ranges from 0 on the low end to 3, for days when I’m up and moving most of the day.  On a weekly basis that adds up to almost an entire day’s worth of extra food that is available to be consumed!

Now I maximize EVERYDAY ACTIVITY every day.  So how do I maximize my everyday activity?

  • Taking extra trips to the basement to switch the laundry (and not sending the kids to do it!)
  • Walking to a neighbor’s house, instead of driving
  • Standing while folding laundry… standing burns more calories than sitting
  • Parking a little further back in the parking lot at the store
  • Cleaning the kitchen nightly (BONUS: waking up to a clean kitchen every morning)
  • Walking the compost from the kitchen out to the compost bin
  • Taking stairs instead of the escalator
  • Standing while checking e-mail – laptop stays on the countertop and not at my desk with a chair
  • Working in the yard (though not my favorite… as my husband can attest to!)

How do YOU maximize your “calories out”?  New ideas are always welcome!

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning… a Very Nice Place to Start

In the months that I have been on my weight loss and weight maintenance journey, I’ve had many people approach me and share their stories and thoughts on weight loss.  More than once, I’ve heard people express an interest in learning how I started my weight loss journey.  So I thought I would explain how my personal journey began, in hopes that it might spark something in someone else.

In its most elementary form, weight loss, weight gain and weight maintenance is simple.

  • Calories in + calories out = change (or lack thereof)

While the calculation may be simple, weight loss is certainly not.  If it were, let’s face it, I wouldn’t be typing this and you wouldn’t be reading it.

The “calories in” part of the equation is my topic du jour.  (The “calories out” part will bask in its own glory another day.)

For me, an early step was to quantify my “calories in.”  Putting it matter-of-factly, you don’t know what you don’t know!  Until I closely examined what I was consuming, I really didn’t know.

There are many free and paid products that can help users become aware of and quantify what they’re eating.  A few of the more popular ones are the websites and apps from MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople and Weight Watchers.

I joined Weight Watchers, but at the time that I began following their program, I didn’t put any thought into which program to use.  My decision was an impulsive one.  I only knew that I wanted to try to shape up and I was *not* interested in dieting.  (Been there.  Done that.  Doesn’t work.)  There had been a friend who was following Weight Watchers and referred to it once it as a “lifestyle.”  That apparently made an impression on my brain.

Though I can assure you that I’m receiving no compensation from Weight Watchers, I think their program is fantastic.  It’s a comprehensive program that, if followed as intended, gently guides you into a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re considering starting a journey of your own, but don’t know where to begin, and even if you’re not interested in modifying your eating just yet, I would suggest examining and tracking what you’re putting into your body.  After all, the first step toward change is awareness.