Recently I decided to get more serious with my long distance running. When you run long distances you don’t want to carry any extra weight, so I decided I needed to drop about 25 lbs. I did the Weight Watchers program for about two months, and in that time, I lost 24 pounds.
With the Weight Watchers plan, not all calories are created equal. It is a points-based system that basically punishes you for unhealthy eating by counting unhealthy foods as more points. If I have a healthy snack that is 300 calories, it uses a lot less points than if I had eaten 300 calories worth of unhealthy food.
There are both daily points and weekly points, which gives you a lot of flexibility. Let’s say you are going out to eat with friends and you don’t want to be really austere in that situation. You can order whatever you want (within reason) and just tap into “weeklies.” You can type the name of the restaurant into the app, and it tells you exactly how many points each menu selection at that restaurant will cost you. You are allowed that special meal, but you’ll be paying for it by not eating as much for the rest of the week.
Another thing I really like about the plan is that all fruit is free, meaning it doesn’t cost you any points. When you run out of points or maybe just have a craving for sweets, you can fill up on fruit. Even bananas are allowed, which might be good news for people who have been on other diets that don’t allow much fruit at all.
Drinks use up a lot of points, so you will quickly get in the habit of drinking water with every meal. Eight ounces of milk is like seven points, so these days, I’m only drinking about one glass of milk a week as a special treat. Avoiding caloric beverages is the key to losing weight. Even if you don't sign up for Weight Watchers, keep in mind that most people will lose just by cutting out sweets and drinking water with every meal.
I enjoy exercising, so when I did the W.W. program, I was exercising about two hours a day. Other people do this program without exercising at all, and the diet works for them as well, but I like that you can buy yourself extra points by doing a lot of exercise.
Even after you’ve achieved your goal weight, you can keep it off without keeping track of points as closely. This is because after a while you get in the habit of eating the same way you did while on the plan. I’m still kind of following the principles I learned while I was on the program, and I’m able to easily maintain my current weight that way.
My wife has the “internet only” account, which includes the mobile app, and I basically piggy-backed off of her account by finding out the points for various items and keeping track of what I ate with a pencil and paper. Also, she is my personal chef, so a lot of times she would just serve me my meal and tell me how many points it was.
I really recommend purchasing the app though since it is much easier to keep track on the go when you are using the actual app. Just pay the $20 a month for the internet only account, which is really all you need. You’re probably going to save that much anyway when you stop buying sodas or whatever.
I hate gimmicks, but this diet is not a gimmick. It’s a balanced diet where nothing is completely off limits, so it makes for a very sustainable lifestyle in the long term. Also, it encourages you to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I can’t say enough good things about this healthy, user-friendly diet.