Monday, April 25, 2011

In which I reveal my weight-loss 'secrets'

That headline is misleading as I don't have any secrets, I'm happy to share what works for me.

But the title, "In which I reveal my weight-loss rules of thumb" is boring.

Many people who haven't seen me in a while ask, "What are you doing?" When I reply "Weight Watchers" they almost always follow up with, "But what are you doing?" As in How are you doing it?

Over time I've developed many Dos and Don'ts that help me. I've divided them up into categories below to make them easier to digest.

I know the minute I hit "Publish Post" I will think of 14 more, so I will update this post as my early-onset Alzheimer's allows and make a note up here so you don't have to reread everything to find the new additions.

Now, my most important piece of advice:

You can do it.

No excuse will hold you back if you want this bad enough. It doesn't matter if you work, don't work, have kids, don't have kids, are married, single, busy, bored, tired, whatever.

We all have commitments, roadblocks, challenges and other problems that can get in our way if we let them.

But, in the end, nothing can stop you, but you.

I don't have any secret formulas, iron-clad willpower or a magic metabolism. If I had the latter two, I would never have been in this situation in the first place, I assure you.

I am nothing special, just a person who is very committed to this goal - safely and healthily doing what it takes to see it through. Some days are easy and some are hard, but I keep pushing through.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I'm happy to answer.

Weight Watchers

  • I follow the Weight Watchers Points+ Plan. Coming from old Points plans, Points+ did take a little getting used to, but I'm convinced its fruits/veg/protein focus is helping me lose weight faster.

  • I track everything I eat in a Three-Month Tracker. I save my trackers so I can reference them going ahead if need be.

  • I eat my Daily Points Allowance every day.

  • I rarely use my extra 49 Weekly Points (maybe once every 4-6 weeks). But if I want to go out to eat, I make sure it's early in my WW week - Tues (my weigh-in day), Wed or Thu, so I have time to work them off. If I have an event on the weekend, I try to make the best choices and keep the sodium low.

  • On workout days I eat some of my Activity Points. On heavy intensity days, I eat 3-4 APs. Moderate I eat an extra 1-2 APs. Depends on how hungry I am.

  • I drink between 96 and 128 oz of water a day. I drink it with every meal and ensure I get at least 96 oz in a day (3 refills of my 32-oz water bottle).

  • I love Diet Coke. It's my only vice left and I drink 2-3 a day. I don't drink coffee, never liked it.

  • I eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, usually more.

  • I try to cut down on carbs, and if I want a snack, I try to make it a protein. However, I do eat carbs every day.

  • I stay for the WW meeting every week.

    Weigh-In Day

  • I wear the same lightweight workout clothes every week to WI: wicking T-shirt, yoga/gym pants (full in winter, capris spring-summer-fall). When they get too big, I buy a smaller size; no need to weigh extra fabric.

  • My weigh-in is 10 am. I don't eat or drink anything before. You can find me in the meeting room devouring a Luna Protein bar and a Diet Coke just after weigh-in.


  • I eat a Luna Protein bar before a workout (5 Points+). When I get home after, I eat the rest of my breakfast. I need something on my stomach, I can't workout without any fuel.

  • I work out four times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun).

  • I believe in rest days and keep them. I have two back-to-back workouts on Sun/Mon, but my weigh-in is Tuesday, so I consider Monday my "last chance" workout, but it's less intense than M-W-F.

  • Currently my workouts are Monday (45 mins elliptical); Wednesday & Friday (45 mins bootcamp class); Sunday (45-minute run).

  • My workouts are early morning, 6 am. It's the only time I can ensure I can get it in with my full focus and without family obligations.

  • When I started exercising, I did Leslie Sansone DVDs four days a week. They're fantastic for all fitness levels, especially if you're starting out. I still find them challenging if another workout falls through.


  • I never weigh myself at home. I've tried this in the past and I am almost always disappointed, either immediately or on the WW scale on official WI day. My weight fluctuates too much day to day for a home weigh-in to indicate how my week is going.

    Also, I worry I would get too caught up in the numbers and throw myself off track. Who knows how much weight I gain or lose day to day? I don't want to know. I stress enough over one official weigh-in, I have no desire to add spot checks.

  • I won't do anything to lose weight that I wouldn't do to maintain it for the rest of my life.

  • I won't force myself to eat something I "should" but don't like. For instance, I have never liked bananas. Won't eat them.

  • I don't eat after 8 pm. Sometimes I don't get dinner until later due to family commitments, so every once in a while I'm eating dinner late, but as a rule of thumb I try to get dinner done before 8 pm.

  • I try to make Lunch my largest Points meal of the day.

  • I rarely drink alcohol. I'd rather eat my Points than drink them. This hasn't been too difficult for me as I wasn't a big drinker pre-WW. I swear I have a 12-pack in the basement fridge that's been there for a year. But, if I want a beer, you bet I will drink it and write it down.

  • I weigh/and or measure all my food on a digital food scale.

  • I shop a lot at Trader Joe's. They have an amazing selection of Points-friendly food.

  • Saturday, Sunday and Monday are my three days closest to WI. I am extremely conscious of what I eat and especially on Monday I try to cut down on sodium or anything that would cause me to retain water. You'll never find me eating sushi Sat-Sun-Mon, but it's the first thing I grab after WI Tuesday.

  • I read many weight-loss blogs. They're wonderful inspiration and offer a lot of great advice, food finds, recipes, etc. Some of my favorites are listed in the right column.

    Any area I missed? Specific question? Ask away.

    1. What an inspiring post! You are exactly where I want to be, and I guess one question I have (as I've been to WW many times in the past with some success) is what motivated you to start, and also what kept you going each day. Right now, I'm a little discouraged, but know that I have some changes I need to make, but sustaining them is scary for me right now. You are truly an inspiration!

    2. Jen, here's the answer to the getting-started part of your question: Thanks!