April’s 2-month Weight Watchers Review

It has been roughly two months since I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I had never been a fan of doing “molded into a box” programs that have been designed for the masses, but I figured it was cheap at $21 a month and I struggled with being accountable for my own actions.  Eight weeks in, I’m down roughly ten pounds.  January I lost the majority of that, February I fluctuated up and down because of sickness and winter blues, and now that it is March… well I guess we’ll just have to see what this month brings for me.

One major criticism that has been bugging me about this program is that I don’t feel I’m getting what I should out of it.  According to this article, Weight Watchers pulled in  $253 million dollars in 2012.  The article highlights the low wages their employees are getting, which isn’t surprising to find out about since most large corporations pay the backbone of their company like crap anyway.  However, I’m sure that profit margin is still reasonably high considering the actual work the company does for each individual client is relatively small.

Once I was registered for my first meeting and my weight and height were popped into the system, I was assigned my point value for my day.  There was no personal assessment of the foods I could and could not eat because of health restrictions.  There was no measuring of my body fat or even just with a tape measure to my gut.  I stepped on the scale, got my sticker with my weight, and sat down with the rest of the stickerfied people ready to listen to our leader.

With all the complains this blog post may have, I do have to emphasize the greatness I have gotten out of the meetings.   The meetings are why I signed up for the program in the first place.  I didn’t think I needed help with knowing what to eat, especially when I discovered what kind of processed food they suggest (but I’ll get to that another day).  What I wanted is a group of like-minded people to get together with and talk about our struggles and accomplishments with our health.  So… basically this blog!  Haha!  But in person.  My meeting leader Adrienne is spunky and inspirational and always motivates me to share my own experiences or to get up in front of the group and do a demonstration of food portions or, my favorite, writing on the white board.   I have noticed a correlation between my weeks of losing and going to meetings compared to the weeks I gained and NOT going to the meetings, so that’s interesting.

Outside of the meetings, however, I nitpick on the little things that irritates me about the program.  Alyssa and I both agree that their smart phone app is horrible in comparison to Myfitnesspal.  Their database of food is incredibly small and navigating your way through the app can be slow and frustrating as you discover that you accidentally were searching for a food in your “favorites” section instead of the general search.  For such a large company, we feel their app should be flawless and incredibly easy to navigate.  If two young women brought up in the technological world of smart phones and computers have issues with  the app, what do the people who didn’t spend their teen years with a cell phone in their hands do?

Honestly, I have not counted points for weeks.  Because of my hatred of  the app and not being home enough to be focused on checking in on the computer every day, I just don’t track my points.  I have a basic idea of what I should be eating to stick within the Weight Watchers plan, but really, if I’m not using the app or website…. I am basically just paying to go to the meetings.  $5.25 per meeting to me is worth it to see Adrienne and the rest of the awesome people fighting the struggle with me, but is it worth it to everyone?

I hope that the majority of people using Weight Watchers are finding more of a value in it than I am.  Maybe if I had no idea of what I was doing I would like it more.  Maybe if they bought out Myfitnesspal’s database for their app, I would like it more.  Maybe if they sent me an annoying email every once in a while saying “We notice that you have not tracked your points for 37 days,” I would like it more.   Myfitnesspal does that and they don’t even charge for their website.

It is unlikely that I will register again after my six months is up in August but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to make the most out of my Weight Watchers experience.  It is working for me and I do credit the new support system I have found in the meetings for keeping me motivated. I just hope that Weight Watchers can use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars their pulling in each year to put it back into their products and individualized customer service.

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

Holiday treats and the calories they gift you

      Holiday season is in full swing and by now, many people may have already packed on a few extra pounds to keep warm this winter!  For those who are satisfied with their winter padding or to those who are trying to shed their festive fluff, I’ve prepared a few simple charts to help when you’re faced with a decision over what holiday treat to choose.

It’s easy to assume that much of the edible temptations that arise from October to January are going to come loaded with extra calories, sugar, and fat.  However, not everything is measures up equally!  As you’ll see, when craving a sweet drink to sip while gazing out the window on your winter morning, reach for the  hot apple cider!  Compared to hot cocoa, you can save yourself a decent amount of calories AND sugar!  Peppermint treats like those tasty little dinner mints you’ll find me hovering over at a party only have 21 calories per 7 mints and NO fat.  Candy canes are also a no-fat and low calorie source of sweetness, plus they take a while to eat so maybe by the time you’re done, you’ll be able to resist the other temptations!

holidaycandy

holidaycookies holidaydrinks random holiday snacks

I was pretty upset to see how many calories are in those delicious Lindor truffles but at least the holiday popcorn tins don’t come with TOO many calories!  I can just eat 1 and 1/4th a cup… sure!  It’s also interesting to see how the different crackers add up, Triscuts have the most calories but they also have the most fat, fiber and protein! I’ve always called that the “healthy cracker” because of the shredded wheat but the stats don’t like.  Is the higher calorie and fat number worth the extra protein and fiber?

What kind of holiday treats do you find yourself craving during the winter season?

Have a lovely winter Wednesday and special thanks to Trent for helping me come up with all these holiday treats!

AprilSignatur

Losing weight with the help of the internet

I’ve been using myfitnesspal for probably a year now, I’m not sure.  Sometimes I can be good and actually log in every day but most of the time, I’m horrible at tracking my food and exercise.  I finally downloaded the app on my phone with thoughts that maybe I would get into the habit of logging in but nope, that didn’t help either.

I have a bunch of friends who are AWESOME at logging in every day.  The best part of tracking my progress online is definitely sharing my experiences with friends.  I think I’ve gotten to know some people a lot better because of the webpage and it’s been so wonderful to see how well they do!  Seeing them do great inspires me to do better yet I still find it so hard to get in the habit.  I can easily spend an hour on Facebook, but why is spending five minutes on myfitnesspal such a challenge?

Perhaps it’s because websites like myfitnesspal require me to be responsible for my actions.  If I’m honest and include everything I consume for the day, the shocking reality that I’ve processed 139 grams of sugar in a day screams out at me in bold red writing.  The line graph that shows steady progress being made only for it to plateau and eventually head north again doesn’t lie either.  There’s no running from my weight loss and health issues online if you’re being honest. Of course, I could weigh-in and avoid the shame, which I did all summer, but when I finally did sign in again, it made the process of dealing with the numbers and graphs even harder.

Myfitnesspal progress for the month of September... up and down...

Myfitnesspal progress for the month of September… up and down…

This week my weigh-in showed I lost .2 pounds.  Not much, well, from last week’s one pound gain, I guess I lost 1.2 pounds or so.  I did a TON of walking last week and played tennis twice!  I went up and down San Francisco hills and also spent a while wandering frantically around the San Jose State campus trying to find a meeting.  On each occurrence, as I would lift my baseball hat to cool off, I would brush aside the light layer of sweat that seemed to building and remind myself that all this was just a free work-out.

Next Monday will mark a full four weeks that I’ve been “back on the wagon” and I hope I’ll be able to make my progress line graph drop down a little bit more.

Do any of you track your weight loss or health progress online?  What are you experiences with it?

Thank you for reading! I’ve been loving all the support we’ve been getting lately!  You guys rock!

 

Love,
AprilSignatur

Now boarding: The Wagon

It’s been a while since I first gave up my seat on “THE WAGON.”  I was a happy passenger reaching all sorts of highlights with my weight loss/fitness ride but once I got to Europe, I gave up my seat and jumped right off  in exchange for the power of my two feet.  It seems like that stop would be a great place to get off the wagon but I came up with the logic that I needed Red Bull to survive the miles I was walking every day. Maybe I did need that extra sugar and caffeine in some way – but it also gave me a deep addiction to that liquid gold.  Since I got back nearly two months ago,  I’ve been coming up with all sorts of excuses of why I should avoid getting back on as if the wagon was as dirty and dramatic as a Halloween hay ride. Between the issues with my health and an overall lazy outlook on exercise, I’ve been lounging back and “healing” while filling my free time between work, classes, homework and socialization with my latest obsession. a scrap booking project,  called Project Life.  I just haven’t been burning the calories like I need to.

April is picking up that hula hooping again!

April is picking up that hula hooping again!

Last Monday,  in the form of vegetables,  I bought my ticket to get back on the wagon. I began taking my Whole Foods 2-week Detox kit again in combination with the Erba Vita supplements I’ve been taking for the past few weeks.  I promised myself that I would do two different 30 day challenges, one in the form of planks and the other with wall-sits.  I’ve progressed pretty nicely as I made it up to a 2:00 plank and a 3:45 wall-sit.  I need to get to 5 minutes for both of them in the next twenty days, I hope I can do it!  I did FINALLY play some tennis last week and will hopefully be committing to at least once a week, hopefully more as I find more people who are down to play. I’ve also picked up the habit of doing my 5-pound weighted hula hoop after my plank and wall-sit, soon I’ll be back up to my ten minutes a day. You have to ease into it or else you can get all sorts of beat up!  I did six minutes tonight and have found entertainment by updating myfitnesspal app I just downloaded on my phone.  Maybe that will encourage me to start actually logging in every day…

Even more exciting, I managed to lose 5.2 pounds from Monday to Monday.  If I can still lose weight this week, I’ll be doing good.  Honestly, I’m still hooked on the liquid sugar so cutting that out would help me save about 1,120 calories a week.  I should invest in one of those instant tea kettles and just start making tons of tea because I crave something to drink besides water ALL THE TIME.  I swear giving up sugar is harder than giving up cigarettes!  I smoked for five years in my days of being a young raver, quit, and haven’t had a single drag since 2007. I know I’ll never be able to go five years without ever having some sort of sugar!  And why would I want to?!  It’s delicious.

 

How do you all cure your desires for sugars or salts?  I know Alyssa is more of a salt feign where I’ll take sugar ANY MOMENT.  Any awesome low-sugar/low-fat recipes you want to share?

Thanks for reading!

AprilSignatur