Nothing magical here. We all know its about getting enough physical activity and eating healthy - achieving a balance. Sometimes easier visualized than actualized. For exercise, I found the Bar Method. I am just into my second month of doing it and I love it, I feel great and it is working. I am getting stronger and more in shape, and pretty fast. The important point here - you have to find something that is easy for you to do and that you enjoy doing. However, even with that, as we age we know that exercise alone won't take care of things. Diet matters. I am not saying you have to diet. I do not diet. I think diets are a bad way to live your life. In saying that diet matters, I am referring to what and how we eat. For that I have turned to Weight Watchers, and I really like and recommend this program.
I tried Weight Watchers (WW) many years ago for a brief period of time and it worked for me. I liked what I learned from the process. I didn't buy any of their meals, I just followed their advice. I learned to think about what I eat, to make choices, to moderate, and to write down and track every day what I ate. In WW you can eat what ever you want, but you learn that everything you eat comes with a price. Every item of food has a number of points. So you learn to make choices. You also learn about portion control. You discover what satisfies and fills you, and what does not. You pay attention.
The Point System
In WW you are given a certain number of points per day and you try to eat to come within or under those points. You are also allocated a number of extra points for the week. You can use your daily points and extra points any way you like. The span of a week is important. You can do whatever you want within that week. You are trying to end the week by not going over all of the points you've received during the week. One day you might not be very hungry and you may use less points. But some other day that week you may find yourself hungrier than usual and you use more than your daily number of points. You can use your extra points each day for some extras (dessert, wine, snacks), or if you have a party or special dinner planned, you can blow it all at one time. You get more points if you exercise. Knowing that you can earn more points by exercising is a great motivator. It works for me.
Sticking With It
You do the best you can during a week and then after the week, you start a new week. So, if you blow it one week and can't stay within your points, just forget about it and move forward. You can regroup the next week. You only check your weight once a week, so you have the whole week to show some progress, which is important because we all have good and bad days. If you are like me, your weight might fluctuate a lot during a week depending on many factors. We also have good and bad weeks - which is why you just keep on going. A bad day or a bad week doesn't mean you quit the program. That can be a hard thing to remember. This is a slow way to lose weight, but it is effective and usually sustainable. You learn healthier eating practices and they tend to stick with you. You aren't denying yourself things. Denying yourself pleasure from eating sucks. It doesn't work for most of us. The WW system is not a diet, it is a lifestyle.
Joining WW this time, I continue to only follow the practice, not buy the meals. I know the meal packages work for a lot of people, but I am too obsessed about preparing my own unprocessed and unpackaged foods to go that route. Unlike last time I am only doing WW online and choosing not to go to the weekly meetings for the pep talks and weigh ins. I chose not to do that because its not that convenient for me and I believe I can do this without it, but I recommend those meetings if you are new to the system or concerned about sticking with it. They can be helpful motivators.
Of course nothing motivates more than starting something like this and having it actually work. I lost 3 pounds my first week and 1. 5 pounds my second week. That feels great! Often the more weigh one loses, the slower it will drop. That is just how it is. When I did WW last time they told me to expect to only lost around .5 to 1 pound per week. That makes sense because you aren't starving yourself or denying yourself - you are just moderating. Losing my first 5 pounds is fairly easy because its there from too much holiday indulging. While we were excited to find the best holiday peppermint bark that's ever been made, in hindsight we probably shouldn't have bought and eaten 3 pounds of it. I know that for my next 15 pounds I want to lose it means tempering the fun, bad habits that caused my slow weight gain over two years, including: cooking with too much butter; not being able to be satisfied with just one glass of wine; not saying no to the extra slice of pizza even when I was full; deciding that microwave kettle corn is a great idea to have several times a week and that I need my own bag to myself; not being able to resist, a little too much, the chocolate that my husband regularly brings into the house; and generally loving all cheese way too much. Sound familiar?
I recommend WW for anyone serious about losing some weight, not interested in fad diets but interested in learning better eating habits. It worked for me and is working again and I've seen it work for many, many others. It doesn't have to be expensive if you don't buy the meals, and to be honest, you only need to do it for awhile to get information about the system. Once you feel like you have it down, you don't have to continue subscribing unless you feel that helps motivate you. You pay a monthly fee to access their website and tracking program, plus recipes, tips, etc. In my case knowing that I am paying a little money each month for this program actually does help me take it more seriously and stick with it. However, after I achieve my goal of losing 20 pounds, I will probably drop my subscription, but continue to monitor my eating habits more informally.
Here are a few things that I've learned through WW and that are helping me stick with my new eating program. None of this is rocket science - you've probably heard it all before, but sometimes a reminder is helpful. You can do all of these things without joining WW. Good luck!
Most important of all - if you have a day of splurging, just regroup and rebalance the next day. Your plans aren't ruined and you don't need to give up. You can and will get back on track. One day at a time.