What weight watchers taught me about eating healthy for life
I lost weight with Weight Watchers. I am not currently on the program but I learned a lot while using the Points program. What I liked most about it was that it taught me how to eat. It is nice to lose weight, of course, but it is far better to get healthy and stay that way. Here are six things that Weight Watchers taught me about how to eat healthfully forever:
Everything you put in your mouth counts– Since Weight Watchers uses a points system, you have to count everything that goes in your mouth. This concept highlighted to me that everything I eat matters. A burger is not “one item”. A burger is bread, meat, cheese, mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, etc. Everything you put on it adds something to your diet. It might add calories, carbs, fiber, sugar, fat grams, or something else- and all of those things count. They all have a point value. If you eat a “couple” of M&Ms walking past the reception desk at work- it counts. If you grab something small in the car before dinner- it counts- and it adds up. We mindlessly snack. Since it is not a meal, we tend to discount it. Well, all those little nothings can add up to something big. Be cognizant of what you put in your mouth. This is especially true when you are cooking! We Italian women are known for “testing” everything we cook and not being hungry when we get to the table. Make smart choices and pay attention to everything you consume- there are no true freebees. *
Eat your points- you can’t fill up nothing– When I started Weight Watchers, I tried to eat low-point foods. I figured I could eat more food all day if the foods I did eat were low in points (like stretching my points out). All that did was leave me hungry. It made more sense to use the points I had on healthier choices that would fill me up. Eat smarter not necessarily less. You cannot eat lettuce and celery all day and expect to be full. You are also losing precious energy that you need to get through the day.
It is okay to have dessert-Weight Watchers has Flex Points which you can use on a special meal/treat, or spread out over the week. You can “use” those points pretty much however you want. This reminded me that it is OKAY to eat a piece of birthday cake, a cookie once in a while, or even have a few glasses of wine. (I said a few, lol!). Missing your favorite dessert or special meal is just going to work against your progress. You will feel like you are depriving yourself on a diet instead of making healthy eating a lifestyle change. Moderation, portion control, and intuition go a long way.
Move– You do not have to train for a marathon to burn calories. The Weight Watcher Activity Points gave me a chance to “earn points” by doing physical activity. While swimming a mile earned more Activity Points than say, vacuuming, they were both on the list. This makes the point that activity burns calories. The bottom line – GET MOVING. A sedentary lifestyle is not good for your heart or your waistline.
There is no such thing as a diet– at least not one that is going to maintain a healthier you. Every day you count your points, every day you learn something new about making good choices. In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. This remains true every single day. Eating more calories than you burn causes you to gain weight. I’m not a nutritionist, but this is pretty common knowledge. As soon as you stop dieting and go back to your old eating habits, the weight will return. Eating healthy is much easier when you accept a lifestyle change. Like, forever. Your body will thank you.
Sometimes we need to be reminded how to eat– I give my kids treats sometimes. There, I said it. I worry every day whether or not I am teaching them healthy eating habits for life. The truth is- (drumroll please)… life is complicated. Sometimes we eat because we are hungry, but sometimes we eat because we are frustrated, sometimes chocolate cake is physically irresistible, sometimes cookies are easiest to grab, sometimes we eat things because the hormones told us to…all because we are HUMAN. You try to do what is best for your health but sometimes you need a little help to get back on a healthy course. It’s okay. Forgive yourself, get back on track, and move on. For me, Weight Watchers gave me the guideline I needed to remember how to eat for a healthy life.
What have you learned about eating that helps you live a healthy life? Leave a comment below and share your story!
Looking for a healthy snack: Try Buffalo Ranch Popcorn
Need to get moving? Read: Get active- play with your kids!
*I understand the new points system allows most fruits and vegetables as “zero” point foods. While these are smarter options, they are not free of nutrients (including sugar and calories). In fact, fruits are not low in sugar or carbs. Moderation in all things is important.
I am not a doctor, nurse, dietician or any other professional which would qualify me to give you any medical advice. I am simply sharing my experiences. Please do not mistake any of my postings as medical advice. Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
At the time of this posting, I have no affiliate relationship with Weight Watchers. I simply wanted to share a story that helped me think about getting healthy.