Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A Guide to WeightWatchers

Disclaimer: I know sometimes it sounds like it, but I am not endorced by weightwatchers to write this blog, I don't get any money or treats or anything for typing about them, I do genuinely love them, the program and the ease of it. I love it mostly because I can taylor it to my life, still eat what I want (within reason, all things in moderation) and lose weight. I have tyed a number of other diets, none of which have worked and none of which I'll mention by name here, it's pretty uncool to slag off the opposition, besides, it might work for others.

I want to lose weight and keep it off, for me this isn't another short time diet, this is a life style change and I blog about it to keep myself in check, if it happens to get a few other people thinking, then that's just a bonus!

I've had variations of this question asked by many people to me, what the hell is weightwatchers? Is it not for old ladies trying to slim down for their daughters weddings? Does it actually work? And I thought it was about time that I gave a run down what exactly weightwatchers is. Hopefully I'm not stepping on anyones toes explaining this, can't see how, it's just free advertising but hey.

Anyway, the basic concept in weightwatchers is that every food has a point value and by answering a few questions you can work out how many (per day) you are allowed. I stress that as I am part of the UK / Ireland franchise we have a slightly different system compared to other places in the world such as USA, Spain, Australia and China, I think it's mainly to do with the way we label our food, but generally, across all the countries, you get pretty much the same point value for various foods.

In order to find out how many points you are entitled to a day just answer the following questionaire.
Questions are:

Are you


female? 3 points

Age? 16-20: 5 points

How many stones do you weigh? So ignore the lbs, the number of stones is your score for this question, so if you are 12 st 1 your score will be 12, if you are 11 st 13.5 your score is 11.

How tall are you? under 5ft 4 = 1
5ft 4 or above = 2

In your day to day life are you?
sitting down most of the time? - 0
occasionally sitting, but mainly standing? - 2
walking most of the time? -4
doing physically hard work most of the time - 6

Add your points and that's how many you're allowed every day!

Now every time you go under the next stone mark you lose a point, So say you're 11st 2, as soon as you're 10st anything you drop a daily point by re-evaluating the above wee quiz.

Another important thing key to the plan is the concept of saving points. I'm allowed 22 points a day at the minute, however I tend to stick in and around 18. That way every day I can bank four points so that if I do decide to have a bad day I can go a bit over 'cus I have an extra 20 or so. You're not allowed to go under 14 points a day otherwise your body goes into starvation mode. And you're not allowed to save more than 4 points each day, so even if I were only to eat 16 in a day, I can't bank 6, only 4.

On to calculating points?

Near enough all food has a point value, notable exceptions are a lot of vegetables (and tomatoes) but you're better off googling the values of individual veg, cus where a pepper and aubergine is 0, corn on the cob is 1, so there are exceptions. Potatoes are also quite high in points.
Weightwatchers who join through a meeting (like me) get a wee chart on how to calculate their points. Basically you take the calorie count and the saturated fat per serving and work it out from the columns.

Here's a scan of the points finder you get in the meeting (I didn't scan it, this one I got froma google search, original can be found here)


There are things like tea and coffee, diet drinks and water that are free in points, however milk, if added to the tea is points, you can work that out from the side of the milk carton :) Sweetner is no points, which is good if you take sugar in things like weetabix. Cus sugar (and butter and oil are ridiculously high in points)

Fruit has points, I tend to weigh them and google most fruit to find out its value. It's cus of all the natural sugars in it. Generally an apple is half a point, so is an orange, bananas are pretty high at 1.5 – 2 depending on how big they are.

It's suggested that you stick to filling foods, it's easier for your points to stretch, filling foods being fruits and veg, breakfast cereals (without added sugars, nuts or dried fruit), lean meats and poultry, fish and eggs, skimmed milk and dairy, pasta, brown rice, potatoes and grains and non creamy soups. (Soups are brilliant, you can have an entire dinner worth zero points!) Though to be honest, I don't actually choose foods based on the filling foods ideas, I just think do I like it? is it worth the points? If yes to both, I have it.

I did a blog a good while back on recommendations of foods, I keep meaning to update that but as it stands now it's not too bad a post.

You should get yourself a notebook and record everything that you eat and it's points, it's brilliant if you have a good week and a good loss to look at what you did right, similarly it's good to be counting along in the day so you know, crap if I eat these crisps, I'm only going to have 5 points to last me the rest of the night and I still have to have dinner. It’s really important to write things down Kerry, plus how your exercise is going, how long you were at the gym, how you felt, it’s good to be able to flick back.

Activity Pointss

Activity is encouraged as well, walking, runnning, anything, but to write that down too.
Also, probably obviously, also weigh yourself at the same time, on the same day, with the same scales every week.

Weightwatchers is a freeking awesome system, the fact that I've lost over 3.5 stone since March is proof enough!!!

Helpful sites and apps for mobile:

Weightwatchers calculator is http://points.ogo.ms/ it's the only thing that's worth while if you have an ipod touch / iphone. Everything available on the app store is a load of shit. Nothing useful when it comes to tracking (fitness apps, totaly different, there's loads of brilliant ones)

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