weight watchers flex – my first thoughts

I’ve mentioned in my last couple of meal plans that I’ve been struggling lately.  After getting some bad news about my health, I’ve been swaying between comfort and all-out binge eating.  This week I decided enough was enough, and dragged my sorry arse back to Weight Watchers.  And my timing couldn’t have been better, because there waiting for me was a shiny new plan – Weight Watchers Flex!

weight watchers flex

I’m only two days in, so I don’t have any progress to report.  But I wanted to take a moment to share how I feel about this new plan.  I know change can be hard for some people.  If you’re looking at this new plan with trepidation, I hope I can reassure you.  And if you’re looking to start (or shake up) your weight loss journey, maybe I can convince you that Weight Watchers Flex is the best way to go.

 

weight watchers flex

I am so excited about this plan!  I think it’s going to make life so much easier for so many people.  Previously it was just most fruits and vegetables which had zero SmartPoints. But now that selection has expanded to include vegetable protein sources, unsmoked fish and seafood, skinless chicken and turkey breast, eggs and fat free plain yogurt.

The way you use your allowance has changed too, with the ability to rollover up to four of your daily SmartPoints to add to your weekly allowance. That means you’re covered for weekends or special occasions.  For me, that means being less likely to have that “fuck-it” moment.  You know, where you blow your allowance on one day and then the whole week spirals into food overload. I know I can’t be the only one who knows that feeling!

I think Weight Watchers Flex is the most lifestyle-friendly plan they’ve ever had. It brings together all the things that were so great about previous plans, whilst making it all  more simple.  I suppose the clue is in the name – it’s so much more flexible than ever before.  And healthier, too.

why do we need a new plan?

I know there will be sceptics out there who see a new plan being launched and say well that means there was something wrong about the old plan.  I totally disagree.  Sure – if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it, and all that.  But just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.  And that’s what I think Weight Watchers are really good at.

At it’s very basic level, the science of weight loss is simple – eat less energy than you burn, and you’ll lose weight.  But the science of health, and the science of long-term change are different stories all together.  You could lose weight eating fast food three times a day, as long as you ate less calories than you burned. But I hate to think what your insides would look like, and what would Ronald McDonald really teach you in the long run?

What Weight Watchers Flex does is focus on health and behaviour change.  Those are the two things so crucial to long term success. The zero SmartPoints foods promote healthy choices.  Unlike SlimmingWorld, there are no Muller Lights, Mug Shots or other processed crap in the “zero heroes” list.  And unlike the Clean Eating movement, there is room for indulgences and convenience foods should you need or want them, so it isn’t expensive, restrictive or unrealistic.  And you can make your allowance work for you. More indulgent days can be compensated for by days where you use less SmartPoints.  But that doesn’t mean you go hungry on those days, because the zero hero foods will keep you full and bursting with energy.

 

what weight watchers flex means for me

When I first started losing weight, my diet was full of low-fat this and diet that.  Light versions of things which were just full of crap to mask the lack of real ingredients.  Over the years I’ve learned more about how to eat healthily, using less processed foods.  I think it’s really cool that the Weight Watchers plans over that time have also evolved in the same direction.

When I followed SlimmingWorld, I started eating convenience foods I’d previously worked hard to cut out, just because they were free or healthy extras.   With Weight Watchers Flex I have a plan that encourages me to keep making healthier choices rather than opting for processed foods. A plan which means I can use my allowance on the certain processed foods I want to enjoy (like chocolate…).

My mind has already switched back into a gear which makes me feel happy about my food decisions.  For me that is half the battle. With more flexibility comes less restriction or the feeling of being deprived.  If I feel happy, healthy and in control I’m much less likely to binge, and more likely to stick with it.

So although there wont be a dramatic change to the way I eat, this new plan has reignited my desire.  A desire not only to lose weight, but to be the healthiest version of me that I can possibly be.  That is so important, because this time around I’m not looking to just drop the pounds.  I’m sick of yo-yoing, I want a way of eating and living that I can keep up for life.  I think Weight Watchers Flex is it.

 

 

Are you a Weight Watcher?  What do you think about the new plan?

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five healthy things to do every day

Is there such thing as a food hangover?  I’m pretty sure there is. I’m also pretty sure that I woke up with one yesterday morning.  If Irn Bru is the manna which cures an alcohol hangover, then I have the food hangover cure.  And these don’t just help with the hangover, these are five healthy things you can do every day.  Even if you’re feeling like you’ve fallen off the wagon, doing these five things can make you feel a little more positive.

 

five healthy things to do every day

a heavy weekend

I’ve written before about how weekends are a bit of a weight loss pitfall for me.  As soon as Saturday (ok, sometimes Friday night) rolls around, the reins come off.  It’s like a switch goes off in my head and I don’t even remember that I’m meant to be making healthy choices.

Since I really started knuckling down in my efforts to improve my diet, I’ve managed to kerb my weekends a little.  Particularly in the last few weeks, I’ve indulged a little but still kept within healthy limits.  And the results on the scale have been good.  This weekend though, especially Sunday, things got a little out of control.  Not binge-level cray-cray, but just…ugly.

I don’t want to turn this into a confession booth or anything. But a cheeseburger, prosecco, birthday cake, cheesecake, wine and chocolate biscuits all happened.  I was at a kids’ birthday party, a night out and a family fun day, none of which had healthy options and none of which I prepared for.  Or gave any more thought to other than nomnomnomnom.  I’m fine with it though.  Life happens, and I like to enjoy it when it does.

 

getting back on track

The party has to stop some time though.  A little of what you fancy is good for you, but too much can actually make you feel gross.  I felt sluggish, cranky and basically yuck when the school run dragged me out of bed on Monday morning.  Some of that was down to a broken night of sleep.  After sleeping through for four whole nights, the baby decided that I’d had enough sleep and is back to 4am snack attacks.  But I do think that a lack of nutrients and too much sugar wasn’t helping either.

Instead of writing off the rest of the week, I decided to hit reset.  And it got me thinking about the five healthy things that always make me feel good.  They make me feel as if I’m treating my body right, and get me back in the healthy zone.  And they’re so easy to do.

I also think they made the difference between a bit of overindulgence, and an all out binge.  I’ve battled with binge eating my whole life, and a weekend like this would easily start me off in that direction.  But because doing these five healthy things is now almost second nature, I was able to stop myself falling down that particular rabbit hole.

 

my five healthy things

Starting the day off right

Maybe you eat breakfast, maybe you don’t.  But if the first meal you eat in a day is healthy and balanced, you’re much more likely to keep making good choices.  My morning bowl of porridge sets me up well, and makes me feel a bit smug and virtuous.  And even if the rest of the day doesn’t exactly go to plan, at least one meal will have been healthy – damage limitation, people!

Drinking water

I know, I know, everyone bangs on about this one.  But think about it – dehydration can make you feel lethargic and sluggish.  I don’t know about you, but when I feel that way I just can be bothered making any healthy effort.  I’d rather sit on my arse and reach for quick-hit junk food.

Hydrating gets me out of that slump.  Not only does it boost energy and help clear you out (yeah, I’m talking poo), but it keeps your mind sharp too.  Science says so.  If that isn’t a good reason to get glugging, I don’t know what is.

Getting active

Exercise.  I never really want to do it, but I never regret it when I do.  In fact, I feel a million times worse looking at a low step count at the end of the day than I ever would after working out.  But you don’t need to be killing it in the gym every day.  Walking is so good for you, and most of us can fit it into our day somehow.  I’ve ditched the car for most of the school runs this year. Whilst we may need to leave the house a little earlier, it’s worth it not just for the exercise but the time I get to spend with my middle son.  It actually doesn’t even take that much longer, if you consider what a faff parking can be.

A few workouts and daily walking in your week can make a huge difference.  Not just to your weight loss and body composition, but to your mood.  And if you feel better, you’re more likely to make healthy choices.  It’s a win-win cycle.

Eat your greens

And your reds, and your yellows, whites, oranges, purples…  I try to make sure that every meal has a fruit or vegetable component.  And if there are veggies in a recipe, I’ll still either add more or have veggies on the side too.  They’re yummy, they fill you up and they’re packed full of all the good stuff.  A meal packed with veggies makes you feel as if you’re really treating your body right.  But more than that, adding a chaser of goodness to even the cheatiest of cheat meals can work wonders for your mindset.  It’s hard to feel as guilty about eating a big dirty cheeseburger if you also munch on a salad.  Which leads me to the last of my five healthy things you can do every day…

Be kind to yourself

This is probably the most important of the five healthy things I’ve listed.  If you have had a cheat meal, or even if you’ve had a cheat day…week…month, cut yourself some slack.  Maybe you nail all four of the other healthy things and more besides, or maybe you really don’t.  But either way it is not a reflection of you as a person, just a reflection of where you’re at.

I find the easiest way to be kinder to myself is not to look at what I ate or the workout I skipped, and to instead look at the why.  I ate that cheeseburger this weekend because there were no healthier options, because we didn’t have time to prepare something healthier at home that day, because I didn’t think ahead.  So, I’ll learn from it.  Draw a line under it.  And appreciate the fact that although it wasn’t ideal, I still enjoyed it.

It’s taken me years to separate those things, my food choices from my self.  Even now I still catch myself thinking “I’m a bad person” sometimes, where what I really mean is “that wasn’t the greatest food choice.”  There’s so much guilt around food, and for some of us it gets absorbed as guilt for who we are.  Fuck that.  Shake it off, and show yourself some compassion.

The kinder you are to yourself, the easier it becomes to make healthier choices because putting your health first becomes an act of kindness.

 

healthy foundations

If your day has as many of those five healthy things in it as you can manage, you’re on the right path.  I know that by hydrating, moving, eating my veggies and still making some good choices, I managed to give my body what it needed.  Sure, I may not see a loss on the scales this weekend after my indulgent weekend. But I’m not carrying any baggage about it, because I’m kind enough to myself to be ok with that.

 

 

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weight loss journey essentials

Last week, I wrote about how I was struggling to get motivated to lose weight and get healthy.  I’m still lacking that vital spark to kick start my efforts, so I thought this week I’d remind myself about what it takes to lose weight.  If losing weight is a quest, then I thought I’d share my weight loss journey essentials.

weight loss journey essentials - the five things you need

When people say weight loss is a journey, they’re on to something.   And I don’t mean in a hippy-dippy-gonna-cleanse-your-aura way, or even an X-Factor-reality-tv-cheese sort of a way.  I mean a journey in its truest sense – there is no magic teleporter taking you from A to B in split second time.

It stands to reason then that, like any journey, you wouldn’t set out without even just a little bit of planning and preparation.  After all, even if you’re only nipping to the shops you at least know how you’re going to get there!  Like any good traveler though, you should be focusing on making the journey almost as rewarding as getting to your final destination! Enjoying the process is the best way to get to where you want to be, and key to staying there too.

 

 

my weight loss journey essentials

 

a destination

You need to know where you’re going – what is your goal?  More importantly is it realistic, is it healthy? Is it going to motivate you, or just make you feel as if you have too far to go? You could maybe give yourself other places to stop off at along the way – set yourself mini-goals, to break the journey up.

 

weight update

this week’s result

I lost 0.5lb, which takes my total to 4.5lbs.

I know some people freak out about “just” half a pound, but I hadn’t had a great week and so anything less than a gain was a win for me!  I’d started the week off badly and was only mindful of what I was eating in the last few days before weigh-in, so I was expecting worse.  It also meant I finally broke through the barrier of the 2lbs I kept losing and putting back on, and a weight loss two weeks in a row was something I hadn’t had since July!

moving forward

This week, again, has been a bit crappy.  Like I said, I’m struggling to find my motivation.  And because I’m not focused, I’m more inclined to let myself indulge when the opportunity comes up.  Which it did a lot this weekend, with cakes and a meal out for our son’s fifth birthday.  I’ve tried to reign it in again, but it may be too little too late!

a mode of transport

This is probably the most important of the weight loss journey essentials.  What way of eating and what way of being active are going to get you to your destination?

Diet is obviously vital. It’s important to chose comfort and safety over speed, especially on a long journey.   A crash diet may get you there faster, but it isn’t safe and can take you back where you started just as quickly.

And what about exercise? This all comes down to being honest about your fitness levels, the time you have to hand and what interests you most.  Then you can find activities to match.

Remember though, you can do all the exercise classes your gym offers, but if your diet is crap you wont get the best results.  After all, you can’t outrun a bad diet1!

 

a route planner

Planning and organisation are the biggest tools when it comes to weight loss. You can follow a miracle diet that has helped a million people lose weight before you, but if you aren’t organised and don’t have a plan then it isn’t going to work as well for you.

This is my favourite of the weight loss journey essentials, I love being organised.  Shopping lists, meal plans and tracking your nutrition will all help you map your route, and help steer you back on track when you get lost.

 

a weather forecast

Your environment impacts on the progress you make. You need a good mindset, to approach weight loss from a positive place.  A clear field of vision and positive people to support you are really important too.  The more of these things you have, the more likely you are to reach your destination.

But life doesn’t always work that way. You should  look ahead to any saboteurs or things which may knock you off course. Do you have a time of the month where things may be a struggle? Do all your social occasions revolve around food? Think ahead and have ideas of how to get through each patch of bad weather before it hits.

 

mementos

Mark your journey with postcards of your progress, snapshots of your changing body and rewards for every milestone you hit. They will keep you motivated as you go, showing you how far you’ve come.  They’re also incredible to look back on once you get to your final destination.

 

 

what that means to me…

I’ve looked at each of the weight loss journey essentials to try and get more focused.

My ultimate destination is a body in a healthy weight range for my height and a healthy body fat percentage.  A body which fits into size 12 clothing and is fit and strong.  That means a 10% body fat reduction and 24lb weight loss, dropping a dress size (and a half!), and making noticeable charted strength and fitness progress.

I honestly believe that a diet of high quality, nutritious food in the right amount is the way to go.  I’m going to focus on a diet based on as few processed foods as possible, with quantity kept in check by tracking.

Fitness-wise, I’m going to work through my maternity leave fitness bucket list.  I’m on the final level of my postnatal recovery DVD, then I’m going to focus on strength and flexibility with yoga.  Cardio is covered by Zumba and walking over 5 miles four times a week.

I need to work on my mindset, and be more mindful of situations that can throw me off.  Weekends and times out of my routine are danger zones for me.  Unfortunately I haven’t quite figured out how to get through those times without coming out of them a little weather beaten.

I have taken before pictures, and will be taking some progress ones as I go.  I’m also logging my changing measurements and body fat on MyFitnessPal which presents it in a graph. I am a sufferer of the “fat day” which can make me feel as if I’m getting nowhere. A record to look back on can keep me motivated.

I have a plan.  I have my weight loss journey essentials.  Now lets just see if I can put it all into action!

 

 

1 – British Journal of Sports Medicine

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#littleloves [ toni morrison, nearly naked feet + a cute food diary ]

I love that Friday has come around again.  Plus, I have a three day weekend ahead of me once I finish up tonight.  Admittedly that weekend does contain a play date, a kid’s birthday party and a swim meet, so neither restful nor my idea of bliss, but at least it doesn’t include work and takes me one step closer to maternity leave.  I’m now past the 30 week mark!

After all the fun of London and Legoland last week, this has been a routine and not very exciting seven days.  But that isn’t to say there haven’t been some highlights, so check out what Little Loves have brightened my days this week…

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