It’s easy to find studies reporting that obesity has become a major health problem in the United States. It wasn’t as easy for me to admit I was obese. The numbers on the scale had been creeping up for years, and I constantly had to buy clothes in larger sizes. Despite this evidence, I denied that I needed to lose weight. When I finally asked my doctor about dieting, she recommended Weight Watchers. In her opinion, it was the sanest way to lose weight because Weight Watchers doesn’t forbid you to eat carbs or require you to you only eat grapefruit for a month. Instead, the program teaches you how to identify the caloric content of the food you eat and offers support as you make adjustments to your eating habits.
I didn’t like the idea of talking about what I ate to a group of strangers, so I signed up for Weight Watchers online. The website offered some great tools. I could record what I’d eaten for the day, search for low calorie recipes, and get ideas for quick, healthy meals from other members.
I lost about 10lbs the first two weeks, but then I started sneaking higher calorie foods (cookie dough ice cream was my downfall) and not bothering to record them. No one was the wiser.
Within a month, I had gained back the 10lbs I lost plus a few extra. The weight gain I experienced is known as yo-yo dieting, which is a catchy way of describing the inevitable weight gain that follows ending a diet program. Yo-yo dieting is the reason that most diets, including Weight Watchers, don’t work for the majority of people. Most of us don’t want to diet indefinitely, so we end a diet regime and go back to the unhealthy eating habits we had before we started the diet (plus a few extra cookies to reward ourselves for the good work we did while dieting).
I had greater success with weight loss when I learned that I could only keep weight off if I changed my eating habits permanently. To be fair, Weight Watchers does encourage its members to use their patented points system to reach their weight loss goal and then maintain their weight.
However, I’ve found that learning and implementing healthy eating habits is a more effective way to lose weight and keep it off. Weight loss also becomes easier when you incorporate exercise into your daily routine. While Weight Watchers encourages exercise, it’s not a primary focus.
By not dieting, I’ve lost 40lbs and am no longer considered obese. I make healthy eating choices and exercise. It took some time for me to learn about what foods are truly healthy, but there was no monthly fee involved.