Monday, May 15, 2017

Weight Watchers as a Lifestyle Change

Lately, I've been pondering on how I'm truly committed to Weight Watchers as a lifestyle change. I've had two months where "Life" got in the way: there was the travel to AZ, my and my partner's birthdays, being sick with a bad cold, and travel to Indianapolis. I was pleasantly surprised when I wasn't fretting about not being totally on point when it comes to the plan. I cut myself some slack by telling myself that it's normal life. Now, I did not use that as an excuse to go off plan for too long. But, yanno, these things will happen in the course of a normal life.

And that's what's different than the first time around when I lost weight: I lost the weight quite fast, all things considered, but it did not allow for normal life to happen much. So when it was time to maintain, it was shocking how hard it was. Losing weight is hard... but maintaining is harder. MUCH harder.

When you're losing weight, you have all these awesome mini milestones to look forward to: first 5 lbs, first 10 lbs, first 5%, first 10%, first 15 lbs, etc. But when you're maintaining, all you have to cheer you up is one more month at the same weight. And you'd *think* that would be enough of a reward... and it is... at first... and then it gets boring. There is no fanfare for yet another month of maintaining. There is no award.

But besides the boring part, another tricky thing is that you think that, once you have reached your goal weight, you can relax. Well, you can, but you can't. You do have more wiggle room than when you were losing weight... but surprisingly not necessarily that much. Honestly, though, it all hinges on the goal weight you chose. I happened to choose a target that was difficult to maintain so it did not allow for me eating much more than when I was losing weight... and that became frustrating. (Add on top of that that I was going through a divorce and had a gazillion emotions to process so trying to control my food intake was yet one more negative thing in my life and I just couldn't deal with it all.)

Knowing that, I now know what to do.

  • I know that I have to eat some of my allowance points. I wouldn't allow myself to indulge in these much the first time around in order to lose weight faster... big mistake. You need to learn how to use these while losing weight to get the skill set to use them while maintaining as well.
  • I know to focus on other metrics than the scale. Of course, I love seeing a weight loss. But, oftentimes, what will constitute a successful week for me is not just the weight loss. Usually, it's having tracked faithfully daily.
  • I don't care how long it takes to lose the weight. I have no idea of a time frame for when the weight will be fully off. No clue. I'm not forecasting anything. I'm not looking at that whatsoever. 
  • I use "goal weight" as a shorthand for "a weight that will be comfortable for me to maintain and that I will feel good at." I don't view it as a finish line but as just a milestone along the way.
  • I shy away from the accolades and awards.*

*So a funny thing is that, since I'm a lifetime member and my weight was above my original starting weight, my awards are all kinds of screwed up. They had offered to reset my weight to my new starting weight and I declined b/c I wanted an honest picture of, yes, I did gain more weight than what I had originally started at... I'm enjoying seeing that number next to the "+" shrink down. They told me to let them know when a certain award would happen... but I'm not telling them for most of them (I will for the 10% off, for example) b/c I don't want to rely on the high from awards to keep me going and excited. I'm liking flying under the radar and just owning that I AM still a lifetime member.

I will say that the revamped plan is pretty good at focusing on other victories besides the scale. That is a much appreciated change and one that I am fully embracing. For example, my last weigh in that was after the trip to Indy indicated a 2-lb gain... but this was after a week of eating out for most meals and I know that I had water retention. So, really, not bad. And, interestingly, it is within the range of maintenance weight once you're at goal weight so we can say that I roughly maintained. And that is a victory in and of itself. I know that, without having been on Weight Watchers, I likely would have gained more weight than that.

Another victory from last week was getting back to tracking faithfully and eating within the target range of points. I knew that I had to be out of allowance points early last week. I did not fuss about that and didn't over-worry about being out of points. Instead, I solely focused on getting back to faithful tracking and eating within the target range points and called THAT a victory. Because it was important. That was how I was going to get back on track and back on plan.

Another thought that popped to mind too is that I can near guarantee that, this time around, when I'm at my goal weight (see definition above), it won't feel boring to say that I maintained for yet one more month. That will be a damn good victory. :)

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