Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ten Reasons Why I Quit Weight Watchers

This post has been a long time coming, and is very weird to write, because Weight Watchers was such a big part of my life for a very long time.  But, it isn’t anymore, and because at one time I said that I would always do Weight Watchers, and because a lot of my readers (who aren’t my mom) follow me because of the Weight Watchers information I used to provide, I feel I owe you an explanation.  However, like most explanations, it is a long and complicated one.

WW

Before I go on, if you are currently a successful Weight Watchers member, please don’t feel like I am trying to convince you to quit.  These are reasons why I stopped, but that doesn’t mean you have to.  If you feel the program is working for you, then by all means, keep on chugging along.  But, if you are a Weight Watcher member who is struggling, please read and consider what I have to say, because there is another, and, in my opinion, easier, way.  

1. I didn’t want to spend time going meetings.  

I absolutely loved my leader and the members at my meeting.  They are amazing people and I miss them dearly.

However, my time became a lot more precious to me when Ina came along.  All of a sudden, my 30 minute meeting that was 30 minutes away was taking a hour and a half out of my already tight schedule.  At first I justified it by saying I was taking that time to take care of myself.  However, I soon realized that in 1.5 hours I could squeeze in a really long run plus a shower alone, which is also taking care of myself.  

2. The points system didn’t work for me

I like to think of myself as a smart, organized, and competent person.  However, there is a level of information overload that every brain has, and by dinner time mine has reached it almost every day. I remember trying with all my might to think about what I had hurriedly shoved in my mouth between work and mothering, trying to add that to my nursing for the day, and figure out how many points I had earned while exercising, and finally giving up.  This ended up being good because I switched to Simply Filling, Weight Watcher's other plan, which transitioned me to where I am today (see next point).

Also, the points system takes away from intuitive eating.  There were some days when I was starving, but out of points, so I didn’t eat and other days when I ate without being hungry because I had extra points and both actions make zero sense.

3. I started focusing more on whole, real food.

Switching to Simply Filling was huge for me because I learned that I could eat (real, whole, clean) food without calculating points and not gain weight.  Seriously, this was life changing.  However, I felt there were still many limitations to Simply Filling, some of which are a focus on artificial sweeteners, not enough oils, and still having to calculate / track non-“sampling filling” foods.  

I remember one of the last meetings I went to, someone was telling a story about going to an airport and getting a snack. The hummus was more points than a bag of chips, so she went with the chips.  Hearing that story made me realize that something is wrong with a plan that would lead people to choose processed crap over whole food because of its lower points value.  

Also, once I realized how much better I felt eating clean food, I became very frustrated when members would bring in a new food to tell us about that had zero nutritional value and would leave me completely starving in an hour, but was noteworthy in the meeting because it was only 1 point. 

4. I no longer think weight is the most important thing to “watch"

Weight is just a number (that can fluctuate drastically in one day) and not very reflective of how healthy a person is.  I used to try to control weight fluctuations by not eating salt, not drinking water, or running before I weighed-in, which sometimes seemed silly, but if I didn’t do it, I would “gain weight” which would impact my mood.  

One or two pounds would put me in a mad mood (for the hour, day, or sometimes even week)  and is not worth it to me.  

I find that if I focus more on planning my exercise and meals for the week, I don’t need to weigh myself every week. Obviously, not having any form of measurement could lead to a slippery slope, so I gauge my success by how my clothes fit.  Currently, my clothes fit, so I am happy with that.

5. Hearing people talk bad about themselves is hard for me to hear.

I completely understand that Weight Watcher meetings are designed for people to discuss their frustrations with their weight.  However, I recently discovered that listening to people talk bad about themselves really impacted my mood and even the way I felt about myself.  I really feed off of others’ energy, and listening to a woman say she “lost control” or “felt so gross” was hard on me.  Obviously it happens, to everyone, including me, but hearing it every week was starting to build up.  

6. I needed to eat more - particularly more fat.

There were many days when following the points+ plan and even the simply filling plan, when I was hungry.  Hungry because I was a nursing, half marathon training mom.  I often experienced low blood sugar between meals, even when I tried to disperse my points out in snacks throughout the day. 

The one change drastic change I have made since quitting Weight Watchers is an increase in my fat intake.  I eat a lot of fat now in the form of nuts (oh walnuts, I love you), nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil, and seeds.  Since this change, my low blood sugar has virtually disappeared, my hair is shinier, and my nails are stronger.  I also feel more satisfied after every meal.  

You have no idea how freeing it is to drizzle out olive oil into a pan without measuring it.  Try it.  

7. The plan doesn’t fully transition into a lifestyle

Weight Watchers touts the slogan, “This isn’t a diet, it is a lifestyle,” and I was right along with them, saying over and over again that this was truly a lifestyle.  

But I was wrong. Although most of the time I counted points, there were many times that I didn’t - weekends, vacations, weeks I didn’t want to weigh in, etc.  I don’t think I was alone in this, as I saw many other members do the same thing.  

Why did I (and other members) do that?  Because there are days in our lives where counting points isn’t realistic, which means this isn’t really a lifestyle.  

When I didn’t count points, I felt like I had failed, regardless of what I ate.  That feeling of failure led to feeling out of control, which sometimes led to overeating crap.  

This is the reason why I and so many other people “re-joined” Weight Watchers again and again and again.  

8. The program isn’t tailored to endurance training 

Although the Weight Watchers plan allows you to “earn” activity points, I never felt like they were enough for me to fully fuel my long distance training.  

Oh, you ran 10 miles?  Go ahead and eat 300 more calories.  Gee, thanks. (slight exaggeration)  

9. I found The Daniel Plan

Here is the Daniel Plan in one sentence: Eat real food and exercise and use your faith, friends, and focus to help you through it.  

Seriously, it is that simple.  It is that easy.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  

10. I no longer wanted to lose weight.   

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I no longer feel the need to lose weight.  Do I need to lose 10 pounds to not be considered “overweight?”  Yes.

Would I look better?  Maybe.

Would I be healthier?  Happier?  Absolutely not.  

I have fully accepted my body.  You should try it too.  

14 comments:

  1. Awesome post. I did weight watchers for many years as a member nod an employee. The flexible part time work got me through grad school and until I got a full time job. When I no longer had time to work for weight watchers I gained some weight, I tried to Ho back as a member, I was running a lot but the wright wasn't coming off. I too quit weight watchers and now focus on healthy, real foods. It's amazing!

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    1. Hi Christa! Glad to hear that old leaders feel the same way. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Thank you so much for this post! These are a lot of the same reasons that I stopped going. I felt like I could never eat all of my points and would be trying so hard to get there but would feel like I was just eating anything to get there. I'm doing a lot of weight training too and all I saw was the scale going up. It was very depressing and I felt bad for my husband who would have to deal with my bad mood.

    I was waiting for this post because I wanted to know your thoughts on it.

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    1. Exactly! Weight training will cause you to gain some weight, even though that weight is all muscle. Who wants to feel bad about gaining muscle? Keep up the great work!

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    2. I like seeing the definition in my arms that I've never seen more than the number on the scale. The scale has a new place in my house.... the basement. Basements creep me out so I try not to go down there.

      I also just want to say thank you for your blog. You give me so much hope and encouragement for the future and stuff I am doing now.

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  3. When I read the title, I knew where you were going. As big of a fan as I am of Weight Watcher's, and you know I will always go to my meetings, (I actually do think I'm a Food Addict, and the meetings help me. I also think meetings can be so different from meeting to meeting.) I do agree that WW's needs to promote more Whole Foods, but I do think they have improved on that. I can relate to so much of what you said. I JUST this week wrote a blog about how they will only hire me at 150 (because that's what the BMI chart say's should be my maximum weight) and how incredibly healthy I feel at my current weight....in the 160's. That being said, I actually don't mind counting points and writing down my food. I know that I need to do that. I know I go overboard if I don't keep track. But like you, I have never counted points on vacation, or on long weekend lake trips, or on Holidays. I try to be mindful of what I am eating, and enjoy it without a lot of guilt. I love reading your blog and reading what new foods and recipes you are trying. You are the first "Blogger" I ever met and I'm so glad we've become friends. I admire you and respect you for figuring out exactly what works for you!! Loved this blog post. Love you. Thanks for always inspiring me to eat "better for me" foods and to keep exercising! Okay, I've babbled.... :) Hugs!

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    1. Aw, thanks Julie. I have to admit that I thought of you a lot when I was writing this post, because I think you do WW right! I think you are absolutely gorgeous, and wish that they would let you be a leader at your current very healthy weight and lifestyle. Please don't ever change. Love you too! <3

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  4. I commend you for this post! Different strokes for different strokes - I found success when I just did new workouts and tried to eat EASY whole food nutrition, no points needed!

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    1. You are right. It is EASY! Thanks for the back-up! :)

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  5. I totally agree with this post! When I was doing weight watchers I was very all or nothing in my thinking. If I wasn't 100 percent perfect with my points, then I was completely off the reservation. I rejoined so many times it's not funny. I also found it difficult to stick to the amount of points they assigned me. As an active adult I just needed to eat more. I also don't like fat free dairy and "diet" foods that you find so often in their plan.

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    1. I completely forgot to point out the fat free dairy - and agree that was another reason I didn't like simply filling. I don't eat a ton of dairy, but when I do, it is full fat. Mmmm!

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  6. This hits home with me. I'm a runner and feel like "real" food is the best fuel and nutrition for me even with more calories. I feel full longer, and I have much more energy. Sleep helps with that too! When I track calories or points, I tend to obsess about food, and it goes downhill very quickly.

    I've just recently found the Daniel Plan and am excited to learn more. Are you on twitter? I'd love to follow you there.

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    1. Hi! Yes, I am on twitter - http://twitter.com/runningwithrach
      The Daniel Plan is awesome - feel free to email me any questions. Thanks for reading and commenting! <3

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  7. I just came across this post and know exactly how you feel! I recently made the final cut from Weight Watchers do to being "pointed out". I think WW is a good program for someone who needs that structure but at some point it stops working, it doesn't transition to a lifestyle. It was a hard cut to make, but was best for me. I use SparkPeople now and really like that I can look back and see where my problem areas were (bad carbs are normally my downfall); something you never learn from a point!

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