If you've been a Weight Watcher for any length of time, you remember that at one point they called their plan "Momentum." I never understood why.
I do now!
You see, I'm a numbers based person. In my life, numbers mean everything! Numbers like how much money is in my accounts or the numerical value of how much of a chemical is in a sample I'm testing. You could say that I'm sort of obsessed with numbers.
So a few weeks back, I decided to explore my eTools page on Weight Watchers. It tracks my food and keeps track of the number of points that I'm shoveling into my mouth, but it also records my weight every week after I step on that scale at my meeting.
Let's just say eTools rocks. You can set it up to only show you points tracking, activity tracking, or weight records for a specific date range! I had to play around with this feature to truly appreciate how hard I've been working.
Step 1: I asked eTools to show me results from the last week in 2011 into the first week of 2012, basically my first year back on plan. This was sort of a disappointing year for me, I spent a lot of time hopping on and off of plan and I spent almost no time exercising. The results weren't bad, but they weren't all that great either. In twelve months, I recorded a loss of 11.2 pounds. Less than one pound per month on average. Actually it is a loss of 0.93 pounds per month. Like I said, I like numbers.
Step 2: Then I started looking at some small life changes. Like when my mom joined Weight Watchers with me back in the fall of 2011. She's been on plan with me for approximately six months (I don't remember her exact start date, so I'm estimating) and I managed to lose 8 pounds in that time. Now that means that my average weight loss jumps up to 1.33 pounds per month since my mother has come into this journey with me! That's a 40% improvement from 2011, when I was faltering and trying to do it on my own! Yowsah!
Now let's look even closer, at some more recent changes. The last week in 2011, I committed to plan 100% and I started taking control. At the time of writing this blog post, I am approximately three and a half months into these changes and I've lost a total of 7 pounds. That is an average loss of 2 pounds per month! It is a 107% improvement from my average weight loss for all of 2011 and it is a 50% improvement from my average over the last 6 months.
What did I do? Not a whole lot actually. I started by attending spin classes twice a week. It is only about 2 hours of my week, which I manage to fit in, and it makes a big difference in my confidence level. Then I started taking more control of what I was bringing into my house to eat. In other words, I became a more careful grocery shopper. I followed the simple rule that you cannot eat something if you don't have it, and it made a huge difference. If you don't have healthy food in the house, it is going to prohibit you from making good choices. If you don't have junk food in the house, it is going to slow you down on bad choices.
Notice I just said it will "slow you down on bad choices." This is because I didn't give up things like going out to dinner. I can still make bad choices if I go out to dinner with friends and family, but I'm less likely to let them occur. My mom and I have this saying that we got from a past Weight Watchers leader, "Date the enemy, don't bring him home." What this means to us is that it is okay to go out to dinner and splurge a little, but you need to leave the bad stuff at the table. It isn't a huge deal if you split ice cream dessert at a restaurant, but it would be horrible if you brought home a 5 gallon tub of ice cream and started chowing down on it! Date the ice cream, but don't bring the ice cream home.
It is for this reason that I don't buy frozen french fries at the grocery store, but I still eat them at a restaurant. I don't keep loads of pre made pizza dough in my fridge any more, but I'm not afraid to buy a cheese pizza at a restaurant. I have also started (sometimes) asking for a box with my dinner, and in some cases that waitress will box half of my dinner before she even brings it out to me so that I don't have to do it myself. The reality is that I'm usually satisfied (or even full) after eating half of the dinner, and I can eat the rest of my dinner at a later time. Saves me money, saves me time, saves me points, what's not to love?
So there you have it, my numerically motivated and highly personal update! If you have eTools or another way of tracking, I challenge you to take a look at how you've been doing in the past and present. It's really eye opening!