By Armelle Rapin (read also Pam's Weight Watchers review)
When I joined Weight Watchers, I had been putting on weight slowly but steadily for the previous two or three years. I was then a good thirty pounds above my ideal weight.
The first meeting was a bit scary. There were a lot of people there, but the meeting leader welcomed me warmly and made me feel at home straight away. At the end of the meeting, we were about five people to join, and the leader went through the detail of the program with us. She explained the Points system, the Filling Foods system, gave us the diary sheet to write down daily the food we ate, the list of foods with points associated with them, and the welcome guides.
“I Really Didn’t Feel Hungry…”
My first few weeks were highly successful. I lost between 1 and 4 lbs each week, and was amazed that I hadn't been hungry at all. The points system was easy to follow, even though I felt like I had spent that first week with my nose in the points book, and it was easy to adapt it to the way I was living. I could snack if I wanted, eat a piece of chocolate with coffee if I felt like it, so I didn't feel frustrated. The Filling Foods were also a big part of my diet, and I really didn't feel hungry.
“…the Weight Loss Felt Easy”
I started to exercise straight away. I felt really motivated, by the way, walking for half an hour, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator could earn me more points that I could choose to eat or save. I lost weight steadily, 1-2lbs per week, although I had maybe a couple of weeks where I stayed stable, but overall the weight loss felt easy. I stayed amazed that I didn't feel hungry, or frustrated. I got used to less fat in my cooking. I didn't use a lot of sugar in my food, but stayed mostly off the sugary snacks, while still indulging in a piece of chocolate of a biscuit or a piece of cake from time to time.
“…I Felt Full of Energy”
Within four to five months I had lost the weight I wanted to lose and felt full of energy. After four months of going to the meetings and using the Internet tools, I decided to stop the membership, as I couldn't afford it anymore. I continued to stay within the guidelines and to write down diligently everything I ate for another few months. Little by little I stopped counting the points because I felt limited by it. I wanted to get to a more intuitive relationship with food. I kept my ideal weight for a good six months, and noticed how my emotional eating habits were starting to come back. Little by little, weight crept back up, but not to the extent it had before. Now I have gained maybe ten pounds since I stopped Weight Watchers, but am still within my ideal weight range.
I loved the program as it gave me the kick I needed to change my lifestyle and habits, while not feeling like I was actually dieting. It also got me into exercise, and I never stopped since then. The points program was easy to follow, but counting points all the time started to be annoying after a while, and I didn't feel like it was helping me to mature into an adult relationship with food. The meetings felt great, and I had a very dynamic, warm and inspirational leader, but I have met people in the meetings who have lost the weight years ago and still count points and go to meetings, because they feel like their weight would get out of hand again if they stopped. This is not what I want long term for me.
Editor's note: Have you tried Weight Watchers'new program Weight Watchers 3600? It is a program built for human nature; it does not focus on will power nor self-control, but rather, creating an environment that makes it easy for you to eat healthy.
Armelle is a native French speaker and writer. She can be contacted here.
Disclosure: People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.