Friday, April 27, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I have felt a bit stuck with regard to my health and fitness goals ever since the December holidays. I've had a few good moments, but not enough of them to add up to significant progress. Finally, on the day after Easter I made my way back back to a Weight Watchers meeting and signed up for the new program. I can already tell it was a good decision. The iceberg I was headed for wasn't lettuce.

I had been thinking about returning for a while, not only for the support but to learn the new PointsPlus program, as there have been quite a few changes since my last experience with Weight Watchers.

One day last month, I found myself next door to the local WW center and stopped in to inquire about the weekly meeting schedule. Among other things, I learned that lifetime members at goal weight now have free access to all the great WW etools, including the points tracker, as long as they continue to weigh in once per calendar month and stay within 2 pounds of their goal weight.

Free access to etools is a nice perk for lifetime members. In fact, it had been something of a pet peeve of mine that we had to continue to pay each month to use the online points tracker even after achieving lifetime status. I paid to keep using WW etools for an additional year or more, but after a while enough was enough, so I discontinued my subscription--and tracking all my food. Having now rejoined the program, I'm looking forward to not having to pay once I make it back down to my goal.

Another thing I'm excited about is that on the PointsPlus program (unlike the original Points program on which I initially lost my weight) most fresh or frozen fruits and non-starchy veggies are ZERO points. Not only does that encourage healthy eating, but it means I never have to worry about having what I used to call a "hungry day," when I was out of my budgeted daily points but still craved something far more substantial than celery or sugar-free Jello! On the new program, there is always something you can eat without going off the program. Somehow, just knowing that makes the fear of getting hungry less of an issue.

It also makes tracking your points less tedious because you don't have to account for every bite of cantaloupe or broccoli you put in your mouth. There's less to track and less to measure. I especially like that it encourages you to listen to your body for signs of satiety rather than relying entirely on external measures and daily allotments. At the same time, it does help you establish appropriate boundaries and healthier thinking about food and activity. I was impressed with the program before, and I'm even more impressed now.

My husband decided to join and go to meetings with me this time around, which will be great for both of us! It's so much easier when everyone in the same household is on a similar food and exercise plan.

So, as of April 9th, I'm back in the saddle, as they say. So far, I'm not losing weight quite as quickly in my 50s as I did in my 40s, but at least I'm on track and losing again--not to mention consistently making healthier food choices and already feeling better. It's not a radical departure from how I was trying to eat and move anyway, but I now have better tools and support in place to do so more easily and consistently.