People keep asking me that... What's your secret? How have you lost the weight?
The truth is, the only secret I've kept about my weight loss is what I weighed on the day I decided to make a change.
No more secrets.
I weighed one pound MORE than I did the day I delivered each of my children. I was miserable. Stomach aches. Discomfort sitting. Shirts embarrassingly snug. Pants quickly becoming too small - and already four sizes bigger than what I'd been most of my life.
I weighed MORE on March 1, 2012 than I did at NINE MONTHS AND FOUR DAYS PREGNANT. How was the even possible?
PCOS. That's how.
I had been running off and on for three years, and very regularly for a year. And I picked up triathlons last summer... And I was still GAINING weight. Exercise was not doing the trick, and one more pound would officially put me in the "over-weight" column. At 161, I was at the highest possible weight within the "normal" range for a woman my age and height.
My friend casually mentioned feeling cranky because she'd started a new "diet" and I inquired about it. I had lots of questions, she had lots of answers... I discussed it with Bryan, and we decided to give it a shot. Yea, that's how we roll... You hate your diet? We think we'll try it! After all, at the time, they were waiving membership fees and the monthly online fee is only $15/month.
So, we joined Weight Watchers.
Within the first two days, my dietary pitfalls were overwhelmingly obvious. I was a carbivore. I snacked and dined on carbs all day, every day. Dairy too. And my veggie and protein intake was minimal.
As you read the following, keep in mind that I'm only allowed 26 WW points per day.
Obvious bad choice #1: One cup of Kashi GoLean cereal with half a cup of skim milk is SEVEN points, and it was not filling. I quickly discovered that two eggs, with four ounces of ham and a sprinkle of reduced fat cheese is only SIX points and sometimes more than I can eat. Added bonus - the protein kick at the start of the day does a body GREAT. My body, anyway...
Obvious bad choice #2: Beverages. My favorite smoothie and my favorite Starbucks Chai Tea Latte are each SEVEN points. I used to feel proud that I could be satisfied with simply drinking my breakfast in the form of a yummy latte; after all, how can a beverage be bad for you? But, it's really just a lot of carbs with a dash of milk. These days, lattes are saved for special treats. (My wallet AND my waist line thank me.)
Obvious bad choice #3: Portion size. A portion of chicken should be the size of a deck of cards - about 3 ounces. I'm guessing that a chicken breast these days is about double that... Weigh, weigh, weigh. I weigh food as I prepare plates.
Obvious bad choice #4: Fish and shrimp are such low point foods, they might as well be free! And we NEVER cooked with either before. Now, we eat fish or shrimp a couple times a week.
Obvious bad choice #5: Breads. A slice of bread is 3 points. A whole bagel is about 7 points. A pb&j - brace yourself - ELEVEN points. And who's full after eating a pb&j? Instead of sandwiches, these days I make wraps. A Mama Lupe Low-Carb tortilla is TWO points, or THREE points for 2 tortillas. So, I often have two chicken wraps with a total of 3oz chicken (and lettuce, mustard, a sprinkle of reduced fat cheese and tomatoes) for a SIX point meal. Tasty and filling, without all the bread.
Obvious bad choice #6: Crackers. On day two, I made this enormous salad. Green leaf lettuce, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, cauliflower - so far, all ZERO points. I added 3 oz of chicken breast for protein at THREE points. I topped it with Target's Market Pantry brand Fat-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette at 2 TBS for ONE point. My enormous dinner-plate sized salad came to a whopping FOUR points. I wanted to add a little crunch, so I reached for my favorite Multi-Grain Club Crackers. Multi-grain is good, right? Ten crackers were FIVE points. MORE THAN THE ENTIRE SALAD WITH CHICKEN AND DRESSING!!! I quickly nixed the crackers.....and the future dinner plans I had for an entire sleeve of crackers and half a cheeseball.
Obvious bad choice #7: Dining out. This is a no-brainer. But dining out really doesn't have to blow your healthy eating. Check out the nutritional information before you order. For most larger chains, you can find the info online, and even sometimes on the menu. Most restaurants will even have a hard-copy print-out that you can read through while browsing the menu. The Weight Watchers website even has point values for a lot of restaurant menu items. Don't ever go in blind. You'll kick yourself later when you log in that Olive Garden salad at 5 points and breadsticks at 4 points each. (Does anyone stop at just one breadstick?)
Obvious bad choice #8: Desserts. I have a sweet tooth. I love fancy cakes, thick fudge brownies, lemon bars, cherry pies, carrot cake, candy... There's this one dark chocolate cake at Costco that I love. One slice is TWENTY SEVEN points. Yea, that's more than I'm allowed in an entire day. So... I've found that I can snack on a few bites of dessert or candy, but then I've got to move on. Or eat angel food cake with Cool Whip Lite and strawberries. Or Weight Watchers ice cream treats. They're anywhere from 1-4 points and delicious!
Obvious bad choice #9: Full fat dips, dressings, cheeses, etc. I had NEVER purchased a low-fat or fat free item other than milk in my entire life. After seeing the point values for full-fat vs reduced or no fat alternatives, making the switch was a no brainer.
I love that Weight Watchers has a simple points system. I like math. And it's easy to compare two meals - one at 7 points and another at 23 - and see the obvious wiser choice. And I love that Weight Watchers gives you a daily allowance, and then bonus extra points to use throughout the week. I have 49 extra points per week, so - should I splurge on that awesome Costco 27 point cake - I don't completely blow it. And you can earn points through exercise too. Weight Watchers is not restrictive in what you can or cannot eat, and they even allow cushion in your points allowance for a soda, dessert, fried chicken, or spaghetti...
The bottom line for me... Exercise alone was never going to be my ticket to weight loss. I had to change the way I was eating, and the Weight Watchers plan of loads of fruits and veggies, and good protein choices is just what I needed.
As of this week, I've lost exactly 20 pounds. I am down to 141, and am feeling better than I have in years. I would like to lose another 5-8 pounds, but would honestly be thrilled just to fall back down into the 130's. Who am I kidding? I'm thrilled to be at 141! I never thought I'd lose all that weight that PCOS had caused me to gain. Or rather, PCOS provided me with a malfunctioning pancreas....and I chose all the wrong foods to eat. I had resigned myself to being on Metformin and birth control to manage my weight gain as well as possible, while accepting 5 added pounds per year as a fact of life.
I don't want to speak for my hottie husband, but I will say that he's lost about 45 pounds and is going strong! He looks amazing and feels better and is more active than he's been since college. He's a new man! I firmly believe that changing over to a Weight Watchers lifestyle has been made easier because we've done it as a team. I could not be more proud of my man for his dedication to healthier living. I look forward to growing VERY OLD with him. After all, he is totally H.O.T.