I get by with a little help from my friends…

Yesterday was my 4th, I think, Weight Watchers meeting since I returned. I lost another half a pound. I’ve been consistently losing weight (except for a brief increase last week) since I started. Although that’s not really long enough to make grand proclamations about how it insures my weight loss, it’s clear enough to me that it’s working. I’m not completely sure why, but I suspect it’s the aspect of accountability.

I’m not following WW to a T. I don’t use their tracking sheets–instead I use my Flogg Daily exercise and food journal. I track calories in addition to points. I focus on eating “clean” (whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins) and I minimize processed foods which tend to be full of preservatives. I’m also minimizing my “fake sugar” intake. I still drink the occassional Crystal Light or diet soda, but I’m no longer consuming light ice cream and reduced sugar or sugar free snacks.

Here’s one of the things I think helps about WW. I am committed to a weigh-in. It’s documented, when I make certain milestones, I’m recognized for it and some stranger gets to see my weight. The accountability is really unavoidable for me.

When I quit WW in 2007, I assumed I could recreate that accountability at home by scheduling a normal WI date and logging that each week. But some weeks I’d forget or I’d pretend to forget or I got lazy about logging the number if I didn’t like it. In fact, I was famous for not logging slight increases and explaining it away (“ohhh… I had to much salt yesterday” or “I didn’t drink enough water” or “it’s that time of the month”). I’m lucky I only gained 5 lbs back with those excuses.

The meetings also motivate me to do better so I can be a better resource in the meetings. While we all have our bad weeks, I would consider it a failure if all I did was sit there week-to-week whining about how I can’t lose weight and just draining all the other members of their energy. I want to be able to share in those discussions when we talk about tools that work. And a growing part of me wants to influence those members who are filling their day with low point fake food that will ultimately have a negative impact on their metabolism and health.

So, as I get towards the end of my free trial membership, I need to make some decisions about whether to continue–whether it’s worth the $40 a month (for the monthly pass).

I’m fortunate that I can afford these costs ($50/month for the gym, $40/month for WW and sometimes it’s more expensive to eat fress fruits and veggies–especially when they’re not in season). However, it does not require a lot of money to be successful with weight loss–you could easily do the following:

  1. walk, bike, run outside. There are all sorts of free online training plans (Cool Runnings, Runner’s World Magazine, Self Magazine, Women’s Health, Fitness, Shape). Ohhh… you like the StairMill? Well, you’re crazy, but you can easily take advantage of a local college or high school stadium, if that’s your preferred workout.
  2. You don’t even need to buy cookbooks with such extraordinary recipe databases (Cooking Light, Eating Well, Clean Eating, various healthy food/lifestyle blogs, Food Network, Hungry Girl)
  3. Look at opportunities in your community to exercise for free or low cost. Some communities have pools, tennis courts, tracks. Also look at local high schools and colleges.
  4. You can affordably purchase handweights, a balance ball and resistance band at Target to give you tools to do strength training at home. Added bonus: that gives you the flexibility to really continue to adapt and change your routine, which better aids weight loss and strength development. (Sticking with the same routine at the gym becomes less effective over time as your body “memorizes” the routine and works more efficiently.)
  5. Your local farmer’s market or community produce stands will often have amazing, low cost, ultra fresh and tasty produce. Also check out local dairy farms. This week I spent $30 on groceries at my local farmer’s market and dairy farm (conveniently located right next door to each other) and got:
  • 1/2 gallon skim milk ($1.09)
  • diet lemonade (89 cents)
  • 3 quarts of premium ice cream (3 for $4)
  • 1 dozen eggs (89 cents)
  • 2 large heads of lettuce ($1 each)
  • 3 1/4 lbs of peaches ($4)
  • 4 1/4 lbs of tomatoes ($8)
  • 5 1/2 lbs of zucchini ($2)
  • just under 2 lbs of string beans ($2)
  • 5 green and red bell peppers ($2)
  • 9 ears of corn ($3)

The only thing I do recommend you spend good money on: the right sneakers. Get your feet sized, have a professional assess your arch and the way you walk and replace them every 6 to 12 months, depending on your activity level. This will drastically reduce the risk of blisters, sore feet and injuries (like achilles tendonitis) and keep some spring in your step even after a hard workout.

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2 responses to “I get by with a little help from my friends…

  1. I’m glad that you’ve had success with WW thus far. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth the $40/month, and since you seem to get quite a bit out of the meetings, I’d say you should keep going.

    I love your point about no- or low-cost ways to live a healthy, active lifestyle. I haven’t been inside the gym in over a month, yet I’m more active than I’ve ever been because I’m working out outdoors (walking, biking, swimming). But, when the weather turns foul I know I’m going to relish my gym membership.

  2. As a W.W. groupie I say spend the $40 if the meetings give you satisfaction. As you know I love my meetings and they are just one little piece to my lifestyle changes to be healthy for the long haul. Keep blogging!

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