14 Jan
2015

Week 1 on Weight Watchers

“If you kinda do it, it kinda works. If you really do it, it really works.”

That’s the quote I see when I log in to my Weight Watchers Personal Coaching dashboard. I got to pick it from about ten others — from cheesy to take-no-prisoners-warrior-woman — as I was filling out my baseline assessment (age, height, current weight, weight-loss goal, special challenges, favorite Beatle (no), etc.) so my coach would know what she was getting herself into. I chose the quote that spoke to me in the moment, but now I see I also chose the one that was the most logical and mathematical while still being casual. It was the most me. I’ll say that’s a pretty good start for a program that aims to create a customized plan specific to my exact needs and personality.

As far as the mechanics went, getting set up in the system, completing the online assessment, choosing a coach, and scheduling my first phone session was ridiculously easy and took about ten minutes. You can do it faster if you have better recall of all your most delicious vices.

IMG_1376 I think I eventually added cheese, tortillas, white rice, and black tea with milk and sugar because danger is my middle name.

When the assessment was complete, I picked a day and time for my first call, and that pulled up about a dozen different coaches to choose from. I could see their faces, mini-bios, and a few other details, which made it possible to screen them for things like pounds lost on Weight Watchers, location, and perkiness/non-perkiness, all of which could influence how well I feel I’m able to connect to them on a personal level. My coach (hi, Betsy!) works in branding, seemed down to earth, and has not only lost weight and kept it off using Weight Watchers but has also been a WW leader at local meetings, which put my mind at ease since I was a little afraid my coach was going to be more of a cheerleader than an actual resource, if that makes sense.

So far she’s been a little bit of both, and in good proportion. She was able to walk me through the PointsPlus system (very helpful, since the website is packed with information and can be overwhelming/intimidating (intimiwhelming?) if you’re just starting out), and it was nice to hear she’d taken the time to read over my assessment beforehand so we could hit the ground running. Over the course of our thirty-minute conversation there were several points at which she was able to tell me how my situation and hers overlapped, which was helpful and nice to hear.

The most pleasant surprise for me was learning that although my coach is available to answer questions about the system in general, her role isn’t necessarily to tell me exactly what will work for me but rather to ask the right questions so I can find my own answers that will lay out the path ahead. It would obviously be a lot easier if I could just follow a vague plan designed for a group, or if I could simply ask Betsy what to eat and she could give me a list of dos and don’ts. But what I’ve found is that, as uncomfortable as it can be, this method of guidance over instruction makes way more sense. I mean, if the goal of personal coaching is to create a personalized action plan, the best answers will come from the actual person herself, right? I imagine this technique also helps participants get more educated about nutrition, take more control of their individual weight-loss process, and feel more invested in the outcome than if they simply followed a prescribed diet plan, which you could get from a thousand other sources if that’s all it took.

I’m a few days into my new action plan, and although there’s been some longing looks at second helpings and a fair amount of arguing with my phone when the Weight Watchers app shows me a high point value for something I’d always considered healthy (I shall miss you, heaping plate of roasted sweet potatoes!), I really feel like I’m off to a good start. Next week I’ll talk a bit more about my experience actually putting the plan into action, including what I’m finding easy and fun and what I’m finding harrrrrd.

Anyone out there have experience losing weight either with or without a support system (even if that means a single person encouraging you from the sidelines)? I have high hopes that being held accountable for my choices is going to make a huge difference for me. 

For a chance to win a one-month membership to Weight Watchers and a prize pack to go with it, leave a comment below (you only have two weeks, so do it today!) in response to this question: What healthier commitments are you willing to tackle this year?

***

This post was created as part of a relationship in which I was sponsored by Weight Watchers and given a free three-month subscription to try their new Personal Coaching product and write about my experience. Although I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

You can also find Weight Watchers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you’re interested in the Personal Coaching program and want to learn more about finding your very own Betsy, check out an upcoming #HealthyMatchUp event in a city near you (NYC, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and LA) to speed-chat with coaches one on one. More information can be found here.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including a disclosure that your Tweet is a sweepstakes entry and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

No purchase necessary to enter or win.  A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Void where prohibited by law. Open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and D.C. (“Territory”) who are 18 years of age or older.  Void outside the Territory.  Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Twitter makes no endorsement of this promotion nor is involved with the promotion in any way.  Sponsor:  BlogHer, Inc., 1301 Shoreway Road, Suite 340, Belmont, CA 94002.  Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

For complete information, the Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/14/15 – 1/31/15.

Be sure to visit the Weight Watchers brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

 

7 Jan
2015

Watch Me Watch My Weight with Weight Watchers (sponsored)

So! *brisk clap* *tricep jiggle* I’m starting Weight Watchers later this week, and just look at how adept I’ve become at sharing my feelings in 140 characters or less fewer:

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 7.42.44 PM

Unfortunately, I’m not as skilled at eating my feelings in 140 calories or fewer, but with some hard work and FOCUS, I hope to change that.

This is the first post in a series of four, and I hope you’ll follow along because I promise it will not be corporate shill but my honest experience with the program — the good, the bad, and possibly yet another unflattering photo of me in spandex to add to the collection.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 12.30.28 PM Whoop, there it is.

To start off, I want to address why I applied for the campaign in the first place, why I’ve decided to try an official weight-loss program for the first time in my life, and why I think the Weight Watchers team chose me to participate. These are the questions that have been swirling in my own head for the past few weeks, so I’m attempting to answer them for myself as much as for the rest of you. Talking about weight is heavy stuff (har), and I hope writing my way through it will make the experience that much more meaningful and grounded.

So, why did I apply for the campaign? The short answer is I’m a wreck; traffic is backed up for miles because everyone’s slowing down to look at me. The medium answer is my pants don’t fit and that chaps my hide (and chafes my sides), and I know for certain if I don’t corral my untamed eating habits, I’ll keep galloping down a trail I don’t want to be on, not now and not for the rest of my life.

The long answer, and the one that also addresses why I’m even trying a weight-loss program at all, is that after the hard work I did to take off the baby/enchilada weight after Fox was born, I spent the next two years (holy crap) eating whatever I wanted and exercising only when it was convenient (which turned out to be not very much), all because I trusted my metabolism to resume operating at a level some might hashtag as #blessed because, until recently, I’ve never really had to watch what I eat. Let me be the first person to point out that not everyone can get away with my eating and exercise habits and still be what a lot of people would consider a “skinny girl,” but hey, even skinny girls get stretch marks and cellulite, and a skinny body is not always the same as a healthy body, the latter being my true goal (although less junk in my trunk would be a nice side-effect). So although what I see in the mirror at 35 is distinctly different from what I saw at 25, or even 30 (and how could it not be when my entire life is different too?), what I struggle most with is the feeling that the good parts are all a gift of genetics and the bad parts are all my fault. Hola, no bueno. So this is where Weight Watchers comes in.

But why did they pick me? I don’t have a ton of weight to lose, I don’t have a history of clinical disordered eating, I don’t have prior experience with dieting plans, and I don’t hate either exercising or salads (although I do love sleeping and fries more). When I pitched myself to WW, I wrote a few short and sweet lines that outlined pretty much everything in the previous paragraph — basically, I’m a “skinny girl” whose metabolism tanked (blame age? blame the baby?) without so much as an email informing her that she could no longer eat anything and everything she wanted without some capital-C Consequences (blame working from home with unfettered access to the pantry?) — and based on that, I think they’re genuinely interested in hearing from someone like me, someone who might not think Weight Watchers is for her, or someone who maybe doesn’t think she needs or deserves it when she’s not that fat (yet).

I also think (hope!) they picked me because I’m honest and open, here as everywhere else. As I write this today, I haven’t even signed up and checked out the system yet, and the obvious benefit in that to you, dear readers, is that since I’m not writing retrospectively from a place of glowing success, all I can offer is a true, real-time account of my experience, including the parts that might be hard and uncomfortable and way less fun than eating whipped cream straight from the nozzle.

The extremely lovely folks at Weight Watchers have asked me to share my thoughts and feelings going in, and it’s a real mixed bag but one I feel privileged to haul around for the next month.

I’m excited to change the way I think of food and use it to fuel my body.

I’m curious to see how this will affect my family’s eating habits. (Kale for all?)

I’m scared I’ll have to give up my twice-daily cereal habit.

I’m intrigued by the idea of having a personal weight-loss coach. (What will it look like? How will I feel? Will she be more Fraulein Maria or Nurse Ratched?)

I’m nervous I’ll have to step way outside my comfort zone.

I’m worried I’ll fail in spectacular, public fashion.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to try out the program and share it with you.

I’m hopeful this can work for me the way it’s worked for so many other people.

I’m ready.

I had some great discussions about this on Twitter last week (the thread originates here) and would love additional anecdotes/advice/words of encouragement/dire warnings springing from your own experiences.

Specifics and other official business: I’m doing three months of Weight Watchers’ brand-new personal coaching program (which just so happens to be on sale right now, if anyone wants to play along at home). If you want to learn more and get a look at how Personal Coaching works, you can stop by an upcoming #HealthyMatchUp event in a city near you (NYC, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and LA) to speed-chat with coaches one on one. More information can be found here.

This post was created as part of a relationship in which I was sponsored by Weight Watchers and given a free three-month subscription to try their new Personal Coaching product and write about my experience. Although I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

3 Jan
2015
Posted in: Photos, Regular Entries
By    16 Comments

Gone Girl Returns

IMG_1361

A few things I want to run by you:

1. Talk to me about Gone Girl. Assuming I will both read the book and see the movie, which should I do first?

I’ve been alive long enough to know the book is probably objectively better than the movie (although see The Ice Storm, The Virgin Suicides, [Muppets'] Christmas Carol, and almost any book turned into a cheesy musical), but I’m not (for once) insistent on exposing myself to the “better” one first (or solely; see also why I never need to read The Hunger Games or The DaVinci Code) but am instead looking to create an interesting experience — the way you might, say, take someone who’s never seen Star Wars and have them start with Episode I instead of Episode IV, just for kicks.

Simon, who lives for kicks, has already read the book, so he votes I see the movie first so we can compare our opposite experiences. I’m game for that, although my fear is that once I’ve seen the movie I won’t want to bother with the book, considering that, despite its storied un-put-down-ability, it will likely take me months upon months to get through it. But would skipping the book be a loss?

Have you read it? Have you seen it? Will watching the movie first make the book fall flat because I’ll already know what happens (even though the movie apparently has a slightly different ending that, although it remains true to the spirit of the book, gives the viewer an alternate experience of the story)? And if the movie is plenty good, do I even need to bother with the book, or should I spend the first quarter of 2015 reading something else? What makes Gone Girl good: the story, the writing, or both? What would you do if you were me?

2. Starting next week, I’m doing a campaign with BlogHer/SheKnows and Weight Watchers, and I’m entirely certain I’m feeling both elated and gassy over it. I’m well aware that sponsored posts are considered by some to be the Actual Worst, but this is me saying I hope you’ll check them out for a least one of the following reasons: (a) I’ll be writing about my real, honest experience using their brand-new program, (b) I’m betting a number of you have done WW in the past, and I’d love to have your input on what has and hasn’t worked for you on the system, and (c) as is right and good, there’s a sweepstakes prize attached to the campaign and I think you should win. My first post is all about why I applied for the campaign and why I think they chose me out of the pool of equally eager candidates, so look for that next week. I promise to never describe the process as my “weight-loss journey.”

3. Sam has ditched the concept of New Year’s resolutions and instead picks a word of the year — something to aim her in the right direction and around which she can build her goals, big or small. I love this idea. It goes against all practical advice that goal-setting should be concrete and specific, but I like how the concept works in tandem with more concrete, specific, practical objectives. There’s no reason we can’t have both.

Sam posted her words for this year and last (propel and reboot), and other people shared theirs too: patience, savor, intention, kind, grace, positive, simplify. (Interesting that some chose verbs, others nouns and adjectives, yes?) The word that came to me immediately was focus. FOCUS. Everything has felt a bit scattered lately, and even when it’s a scattering of good things, that’s a challenging state of being for a person who would prefer all things remain settled inside their labeled containers until she decides to take them out and deal with them, one at a time.

Focus is a lot of things — being present in the moment, paring down the excess to reveal what’s important, acting with purpose, sharpening the pencil, training my lens on one part of the frame at a time — and although it might seem backward to pick such a multifaceted word to represent my desire to simplify and streamline this cloud of virtual clutter, it also feels like in that way the word perfectly reflects the challenge before me: to find clarity in complexity, calm in chaos, noun in verb.

If you were to pick one word to direct yourself through 2015, what would it be?