I joined Weight Watchers for the first time a month ago. It was a long time coming and I was kind of dragged kicking and screaming into the whole thing, but after gaining a lot of weight back in 2006 after the birth of my first son and then losing some weight when my daughter was born in 2009 but gaining it all back the second I weaned her…When my scale got back to the 200’s this year I knew I had to start trying something before things got any worse.
I decided to join Weight Watchers in a “put your money where your mouth is” kind of way. I hoped that by paying for the diet, I’d feel motivated to keep sticking to it, because nothing else was helping. So far that initial kick in the pants has been so helpful. On the days when I’m thinking “I don’t want to do this” usually the “well you already paid for it” is enough. Or I’ll have a really good day and think, “This is easy, I need to keep going.”
How has WW been different from just counting calories, which is how I lost the weight with my second pregnancy? Well for one, the points system which uses the fat, carbs, protein and fiber in a food to determine how many points it is worth has gotten me to thinking a lot more about protein and fiber and also thinking a lot about carbs – not just sugar and calories, but actually looking at the carbs, too. I’m sure if you did the math, that both plans are similar and the truth is probably just that something new clicked this time.
After a few weeks on the diet, sugary foods started to taste a little bit less normal. I begrudgingly switched to the “skinny” lattes at Starbucks despite my concerns about the dangers of artificial sweeteners (trading one devil for another, no?) and noticed that the flavor I was missing in my drink, was sugar. And that made me feel silly. And it showed me how dependent on sugar I’ve become. I still love sweets and have a long way to go, but I’ve definitely noticed a lessening. I’ve also been trying to eat as many power foods as I can and as many free foods as my budget can allow. Here are some of my favorite “diet” foods that I’ve discovered or rediscovered since joining WW:
- cool whip and fresh berries is the new ice cream and cookies! The “free” cool whip has 0 points in a 2 tbsp serving and only 1 point in 6 tablespoons which I’ve found to be an amount that looks sort of like a small serving of ice cream. The light is 1 point per 2 tbsp serving and full fat version is 2. Not bad! Throw on some fresh berries (my faves right now are blackberries and strawberries) and you have yourself a pretty swanky looking dessert for very little in the way of points.
- pizzelles are located in my grocery store’s baked goods department, mixed in with donuts, giant cookies and Little Debbies snack cakes. A full serving of 6 pizzelles, which are thin little chocolate waffle cookies have about 3 points or roughly 150 calories. I tend to have just 2 or 3 pizzelles with my cool whip and berries, making the dessert approximately 3 points total.
- weight watchers ice cream bars are way tastier than I thought they would be and have surprisingly natural ingredients. I assumed they would be loaded with artificial sweeteners and flavors and was pleasantly surprised. I was also surprised by how tasty and satisfying one serving was. I love the english toffee bars, the chocolate covered raspberry and the chocolate covered cheesecake bars. I’m betting all the others are just as delicious.
- hummus and fresh baby spinach find their way into 2/3rds of my lunches usually with pita chips, pretzel bites (Snyders all the way!) or a Flatout wrap and side of fresh fruit or veggies. One serving of hummus is 2 points and most of my carb sides are 3 points. Sometimes I double up the hummus for a more filling lunch. The baby spinach is great in a salad but I’ve found I like eating it on it’s own, too. Sometimes I pretend they are pita chips and dip them in the hummus.
- almond milk is one of my favorite little indulgences. I get the full 120 calorie chocolate kind right now and I love that for the same calories as a 2% glass of milk I’m getting such a yummy treat. Put some in your favorite coffee mug and microwave it and you get a terrifically low calorie / low point hot cocoa. Throw in some espresso and you have a mocha latte that doesn’t even need any added sugar to be delicious. I’m drinking a glass right now – a perfect 2 point latte with no artificial sweeteners in it.
- When in doubt, a glass of water is every dieter’s best friend. I try to drink 8 glasses a day. I’m one of those people who is always thirsty and for most of my life, I didn’t drink water. Like at all. In a lot of ways, starting to drink water and lots of it has been my key to the kingdom or better health. If you are feeling snackish, drink a glass of water first while you decide if you are really hungry and what you’d like to have. Have a glass with every meal and snack. It’ll help fill you up, keep you hydrated and feeling fabulous.