How Weight Watchers helped me knock off 8.8 lbs. in 2 months

betty ming liu Health, Inspiration 15 Comments

5-star product reviewYes, I’m doing Weight Watchers. So far, it’s been two fascinating months. Slowly and steadily, I’ve been shedding both fat and bad habits. This is a freakin’ miracle.

This is also not your mother’s Weight Watchers.

The program got its start in the early ’60s with the late Jean Nidetch, a Queens housewife with big blonde hair. She gathered friends to meet for weekly talks about ways they could lose weight.

These days, Weight Watchers says that a million people go to weekly meetings. The sessions are part of a WW empire that includes a food product line and related items. The company is also revamping to attract new customers like me.

I’m one of the people who signed up after seeing one of the endless recent TV commercials featuring Oprah Winfrey. In late 2015, she bought a 10% stake in WW. Now, she’s everywhere, raving about how great it is to eat bread every day and still lose weight.

This is the core Weight Watchers theme: moderation, not deprivation. Instead of dieting, WW sells lifestyle. Enjoy life. Be happy. Eat! But choose your intake thoughtfully.

On Jan. 4, I signed up in desperation. The more I tried to lose a few extra pounds on my own, the more I gained. So I went to my nearest WW location and tried out a meeting for free. A half hour later, it was easy to see why Weight Watchers works.

This is what I’m getting for my $114.85, three-month membership:

  • The program is very 21st century digital. The WW website is pretty, polished and user-friendly. It features videos about nutrition, thinking positive, exercising, etc. I can also log my own recipes and special foods, or chat online with a specialist (haven’t tried that yet). Membership includes access to a fabulous, features-rich app for smart phones and iPads, which makes it easy to track food.
  • Weight Watchers’ point system for tracking food intake replaces calorie counting. So instead of logging hundreds and thousands of calories, I’ve got 30 food points to play with each day. Most fruits and veggies are zero points! A slice of pizza can cost me up to 14 points. But a serving of broiled fish might be only 1 point.
  • Tracking food is so, so easy. It includes points for tons of brand-name supermarket items, including Trader Joe’s. Menu items for many chain restaurants are pointed too. Plus, the smart phone app is able to scan bar code box labels — handy while grocery shopping.
  • The point system has just been re-calibrated, much to the annoyance of many longtime Watch Watchers but a joy for me. The new “smart point” (SP) system makes healthy eating a top priority. This is a bid for the aging Baby Boomer market, which gets WW beyond its traditional image as a resource for the obese. So a sugary treat that might’ve been 3 points under the old system now might track at 5 smart points.
  • I can attend any of the weekly meetings held at Weight Watcher locations. The 30-minute motivational meetings are led by trained, former fatties who maintain their goal weight. There’s always a useful topic, such as tips for dining out and setting realistic goals. The focus is on treating ourselves well, self-love and enjoying life.
  • Members who reach their goal weight are rewarded with free lifetime memberships. (But once you weigh-in at more than 2 lbs. beyond goal weight, you swing back to pay mode until you hit goal weight again.)

Everyone asks me, “Do you have to buy their food?” The answer is, “No.” Contrary to popular belief, there’s no pressure to purchase any WW merch. But I get a kick out of some products. I’m especially partial to the three-piece, stainless steel serving spoon set.

Since Weight Watchers is training me to portion control, I’m constantly measuring what I put on the plate. This set gives me one quarter-cup spoon and two spoons that are each exactly a half-cup (one spoon is slotted for draining off liquids). 

spoons

The spoons are a bit clunky but I use them all the time. It makes me feel more normal at the table, especially when I’m eating with others. No awkward measuring cups; at the table. (The spoons are available on Amazon for $39.95.)

As for me and Weight Watchers, I joined on Jan. 4. It began with a weigh-in at a new high. I was 5’2″ and 141 lbs. My goal: 125 lbs. That meant losing 14 lbs.  16 lbs. (Ooops, got the subtraction wrong when I originally published this post. Now you can see that I really AM math-challenged. Or maybe, simply in deeper denial than I realized.) 

This is what my 14  16 extra pounds looked and felt like: 14 pounds

Every day, I was lugging around this much extra weight! It was putting pressure on my knees and dragging down my energy level. For the story of how I put on the equivalent of a heavy bag of groceries, check out my earlier post, Why Chinese American women gain weight.

The post explains that all women find tremendous health benefits in seeking out social support in the form of classes, groups, good friends and loving family. On that note, WW has been very helpful. Weekly meetings and weigh-ins make me accountable. Daily tracking via my phone app and the WW website keep me engaged 24/7.

Without support, weathering the reality of incremental weight loss would’ve been too frustrating for me. Look how inconsistent progress can be. Here are my numbers:

  • Week 2 –> 3.0 lbs.
  • Week 3 –> 0.2 lbs.
  • Week 4 –> 0.8 lbs.
  • Week 5 –> 2.6 lbs.
  • Week 6 –> 0.4 lbs.
  • Week 7 –> 0.8 lbs.
  • Week 8 –> 1.0 lbs.

weight comparison

This is what I look like now:

before and after

Based on these early results, I give Weight Watchers five stars! If my experience has you interested in exploring the program, go to WeightWatchers.com. Locate a meeting and try it for free.

Once you join, customize.  For instance, I found the first meeting okay. The leader and people were nice. But I wasn’t feeling it enough to go back — to that particular meeting. I’ve since found a meeting with a leader and crowd that I really enjoy. I’m there every Thursday.

So now, I’m chasing more than a summer body. My goal is a healthy, forever body that makes me happy.

If you have questions or experiences, please share. This is a topic worth talking about!

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Comments 15

  1. Cassandra Aoki

    It’s all well that you are doing this. I use to just go to WW meetings and pay my $10 to be weighed and listen to a talk or see who had lost the most weight. That was 60 lbs ago. I finally went to a new more holistic doctor (woman) to have my thyroid rechecked 2 years ago and she has had me on Armour Thyroid as well as Progesterone and Estradiol. I had a hysterectomy when I was 28 but only took Estrogen all those years until I quit for two years in 2004 when that study came out saying that estrogen was causing women to have heart attacks. I think it was the same one that dissed soy products and especially tofu or at least around the same time. Anyways, things really went awry when I stopped my estrogen. So I started it up again in 2006 and have continued till now. I was dragging with severe fatigue and my voice had become hoarse in 2012 Spring so I had an ultrasound which showed a goiter and cysts or nodules in all three lobes. The original specialist checked my TSH and T4 but didn’t think it was low enough to warrant anything other than another ultrasound one year later. The fact that I had gained 20 lbs in 3 months didn’t impress her either.

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      betty ming liu

      Oh my goodness, Cassandra. This is a lot to handle. Glad you’re getting the medical attention you need. The people at my Weight Watchers meetings talk about medical issues too. In my case, I’m trying to prevent diabetes. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your care.

  2. Walter

    Wow…. You really look great Betty. Good that you found a weight loss program that’s working for you.
    This summer is going to be the best!

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  3. Dan

    You still look great for your age! I know that “for your age” may sound like a left-handed compliment, but age is a reality that will bring on all kinds of issues that can’t be ignored. And you’re holding it together better than most. There’s not that many 60 year old women that are brave enough to talk about and display what’s going on with their bodies on an open format like you have. And our parents’ generation would have given up such health/vanity related pursuits long before 60. You are an inspiration to us all!
    60 is the new 45 ; – )

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      betty ming liu

      Aw, Dan — thanks. One of the great things about becoming 60? I don’t give a crap about what people think anymore! And if I don’t talk about this stuff now, then I’ve blown my chance to live free. :)

  4. Cindy

    Ok… I need to do something … So my goal is to attend a ww mtg tomorrow. I think I tried it 2 other times … The first time decades ago it went well… The last time… Can’t even remember when… Don’t think I stuck with it… Wish me luck!

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  5. Hannah Aron

    A very inspiring post. I did ww before and found it great. But now I’m taking on caregiving duties for elderly parents and rewarding myself with goodies for all the stress. So I’m up more or less 10 pounds. WW does work. But it does take work and focus and commitment. Thanks for sending out inspiring vibes.

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      betty ming liu

      Hannah, you’re brave and wonderful to take care of aging parents — talk about work, focus and commitment! WW is there if and when you want it. Meantime, sending you good vibes as you look after you old mommy and daddy. Tx for dropping by. :)

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