Feeling Reassured After Weight Gain

I just had an odd thought.  I was reading someone talking about having regained some weight and knowing what to do to get back to goal.  Reading that made something click for me.  As I’ve posted here, I gained some weight during November and at my weigh in the first Saturday in December I was up to 145.6 pounds, which is 5.8 pounds above my low weight since I got back to goal.  Now, I was still below my official goal weight of 146 pounds, but given my tummy tuck I didn’t really need to be gaining that (my new baseline after the tummy tuck was 140 pounds).

But, I was surprisingly cheerful as I started to work on getting back to where I was in August (139.8 pounds).  This was something I know how to do.  I’ve lost that weight before.  I know how to do it.  This is a comforting feeling.  I am reassured that I know how to do this. [Read more…]

2017 New Plan Materials & January Weigh In

I went to my first 2017 meeting today and received the new plan materials for 2017.

Weigh In

As I expected, I was up from my December 17 weigh in.  I weighed in at 144.2 pounds, up 1.4 pounds.  I expected this because I had just a terrible week from Christmas Eve until the 30th.  At one point I was up more than 5 pounds from where I was on December 17.  However, from New Year’s Eve on, I’ve done really well and this last week was great.  So, most of that up 5 pounds is gone, but there is still a little left. As a lifetime member at goal, I only have to weigh in once a month.  My official weigh in for December was at 145.6 pounds and I am still down 1.4 pounds from that.  Overall, I’m happy with December.

And, let’s put it all in perspective.  My first January weigh in while doing this blog was in January of 2014.  At that weigh in, I was at 185.8 pounds (and that was after losing over 20 pounds). In January of 2016, I was at 146.2 pounds so I am done 2 pounds from them. Yes, I had help from the tummy tuck but I am still happy with it given out surgery decimated so much of exercise for 2016.

Plan Materials

With the New Year, new 2017 plan materials were received.  Ongoing members received 4 new booklets.  While there are new materials there are no substantive changes to the plan.

The leader said that one of the complaints from new members was that they felt they received too much material when they first joined.  So, they received the Meet Your Plan booklet and during orientation would get the Eat Better booklet.  They will get the Move More booklet at week 4.  There is also a Shift Your Mindset booklet, but she didn’t say when they would get it.

Meet Your Plan Booklet – This booklet gives an overview of the plan and generally describes how Daily SmartPoints and Weekly SmartPoints work.  There is a list of the 100 foods that members track.  FYI, the top 5 are: banana, egg, black coffee without sugar, cooked chicken breast without bone or skin, and apple.

Then there is a section about tracking and about the value of meetings and the weekly booklet.  Then there are 3 pages about digital tools, tracking online, and Connect. Finally there is a summary at the end about SmartPoints, tracking, and online support.  One thing that I found interesting (maybe it was there before and I didn’t notice it) is that you can schedule a free Getting Started Call with a Weight Watchers coach to get a personalized introduction to the program.  This has to be done within the first 30 days.

Eat Better Booklet – This booklet is the heart of the food program.  Examples are given of foods for different meals and how to build a meal.  There are also several recipes.  There are a couple of pages of 0 or 1 point flavor boosters such as condiments  or small amounts of cheese or nuts.  Several daily menus of 30 points are given.  There is an everyday menu, protein lovers’ menu, carb lovers menu, and a vegetarian (includes dairy) menu.  There is a 2 page shopping menu and some tips for dining out.  The dining out section has a couple of pages of point counts for different types of fast food.  There is not a separate booklet or listing of foods except for the top 100 in the Meet Your Plan booklet and the few things list in this booklet.

Move More Booklet – This booklet focuses on activity. It gives reasons for activity and there is a quiz to assess your activity level.  Based upon the result, it tells you to check out activities marked either A, B, or C.  A is basically for those who aren’t exercising.  B is more people who engage in everyday activities.  C is for those already exercising.  Throughout the rest of the booklet, there are examples given of possible activities and each is marked with an A, B, or C.  There are a couple of pages of toner exercises.  There are examples given of ways to increase activity whether you are looking at A, B, or C activities.  Oddly enough, the booklet has a couple of pages of fast recipes.  Unlike past program materials that give a chart of how many FitPoints you earn doing activity, this one doesn’t give that information.  There is a brief indication that while Weight Watchers encourages “physical activity for its own sake, you also have the option of swapping earned FitPoints one to one for SmartPoints” once you’ve earned the equivalent of 3000 steps to account for everyday movements.

Shirt Your Mindset Booklet – This booklet focuses on the mental side of weight loss.  The mantra is: What you think determines how you fell and how you feel determines what you do.  I do think that is important, the booklet goes through a number of things that relate to thinking and feelings such as identifying thought, being self-compassionate, living mindfully, embracing happiness, etc.  In the Eat Mindfully section, there are a couple of pages of recipes.

My Thoughts on the Materials

It is a little hard for me to assess the materials like a new member would do.  But, I will try. In comparison to past years, these materials seem skimpier.  There is no long list of foods with point counts. [Edit: Per the comments, apparently they do still hand that book out to new members.  They didn’t give a new copy of it to existing members.]  There is no chart of how many FitPoints you earn for X minutes of activity.  For me, none of this would be a problem.  Before I got back to goal, I was a monthly pass member with access to both meetings and online tools.  Looking up foods online or using the calculator on my phone was fine.  My Fitbit syncs with Weight Watchers and gives me my FitPoints.  And, if I am not using it for whatever reason, I can search for an activity online and record the FitPoints.

Things are now more difficult, though, for the meeting only member (or the member who has access online but doesn’t want to use those tools).  You can still buy a book that has the SmartPoints for various foods.  And you can buy a calculator that will calculate SmartPoints. I don’t know if there is any way to calculate your FitPoints earned except online.  Maybe that chart is in the paper tracker?  I don’t know since I don’t get a paper tracker any more.  If anyone gets a paper tracker this week, look and let us know in the comments.

Again, I understand this since I do everything I can online.  Still, I would prefer it is they still had the more extensive list of points in paper form and I think the Activity booklet should give the chart showing how to calculate FitPoints earned.

I like the Mindset booklet.  I honestly think that this is a very important part of weight loss.  So many people want to focus on the food plan, but I think that if you don’t get the mindset right then the food plan doesn’t matter.  Of course, having a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss.  But, there are many food plans or ways of eating that will lead to a calorie deficit.  But, having the right mindset and mental and emotional outlook is also key to getting to that calorie deficit and keeping it going.

Overall, I do believe that thinking influences feelings and that influences our actions.  And, if we change our thinking we can change our feelings and then our actions.  I do agree with this. And, this is the essence of Cognitive Behavioral Theory which works on changes thinking to then change feelings and actions.  I strongly believe that this is helpful for many people and I think it has clear application to weight loss.  In particular, I enjoy Judith Beck’s writing (daughter of the founder of CBT), particularly her book The Beck Diet Solution.

2017 Goals (January Anyway)

It is that time of year again.  Goals.  I’ve not really done well with goal setting since the start of this blog.  This is my 4th go at it.  And, I’m not really happy with how I set goals in past years.

The first year was 2014 soon after I started this blog.  That year I had huge list of goals and then set monthly interim goals.  That was sort of OK, but I had a leg injury during the year that made many of my goals impossible or inappropriate.  But, I felt sort of locked into them since they were annual goals.

So for 2015, I decided to do quarterly goals recognizing that a year is a long time and stuff happens.  I also reduced my total number of goals.  Even so, I felt I still had too many goals.  I do better if I focus on 1 or 2 things at a time.

And, that leads to 2016.  I set 2 annual goals — improve body composition and live a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and activity.  I then chose 2 actions that I intended to work on to progress on the annual goals – increase the number of calories burned daily and cook more real food at home and eat out less.  I planned to update the actions throughout the year.  But, then I had plastic surgery and that derailed all that.  I think my problem was I had forgotten that annual goals were really not a good idea.

Where does that leave me for 2017?  This year I do remember that annual goals don’t work for me.  I certainly have aspirations of things that I would like to see happen during this year.  But, I also think that goals should be behavior oriented.  That is a true goal to me is a behavioral goal not simply a wished for result.  Trying to set a goal for the whole year is unlikely to be a good behavioral goal.

I think I was on the right track in 2015 when I did quarterly goals.  But, I really think even quarterly is too long a period for me.  And, I think I was right in 2016 to want to focus on a couple of things at a time.  I do better when I do that.

And, that leads to 2017.  Instead of annual goals, I am going to have monthly goals to work on 2 or 3 things.  As I start consistently doing something from a behavioral standpoint I will change the goal.  If it is something that I have now made a routine habit, I will still do the action but remove the goal from the next month.  If it is something that I am making progress on, but want to do with greater intensity I will change the goal (for example, if I had a goal to strength train twice a week and achieved that I might make a new goal to train 3 times a week).

With that my January goals are:

  1.  Cook more food at home and make freezer meals for future use.  A couple of years ago I really started working on reducing my eating of processed foods.  And, I started cooking more at home.  I didn’t do as much as I wanted but I was going in the right direction. But, over this last year with the surgery I got out of the habit of cooking.  And, I went back to eating more frozen foods and eating out a lot.  This year I want to cook more.  I don’t like to have to spend a lot of time cooking when I am hungry right then so making batches of things and freezing them for some meals works well for me.
  2. Rejoin the YMCA and start strength training again.  I was regularly going to the Y before I had surgery.  I worked with a personal trainer on strength training twice a week for almost a year.  And, then, I couldn’t do that type of exercise for months.  I can now do some strength training and need to get back to it.  I dropped my Y membership when I wasn’t able to use it.  I want to rejoin and start going at least a couple of times a week.

I have started out with a little progress on the food part.  On Wednesday, I made my Turkey 3 bean chili and froze several extra batches.  And, then a made chicken/bean/rice burritos and froze those as well.  These make good healthy meals that I can heat up quickly.  I still need to do more, but it is a good start.  I haven’t done the Y yet.  I actually went in to rejoin in late December, but they said they were about to have a special where there would not be a joining fee so I decided to wait to join.  I’ll probably go by there this weekend to rejoin.

[For those who might wonder… No, I am not going to set a weight loss goal for 2017.  While I am at my Weight Watchers goal weight I do actually want to lose a few pounds.  In short, I don’t set weight loss goals because weight loss isn’t a behavior.  I talked about this at length in this post.]


2016 in Review

2016 was an interesting year.  From a weight standpoint, on the surface, things were kind of quiet.  At my December 2015 weigh in I weighed 145.4 pounds, which was just under my Weight Watchers goal weight of 146 pounds.  At my last December 2016 weigh in, I weighed 142.8 pounds.  Not much change there. My highest Weight Watchers weigh in was 147.8 pounds just a few days before my tummy tuck/breast lift in July.  My lowest weigh ins were 142.8 pounds in both April and December.

Plastic Surgery

My plastic surgery was really the dominant event of the year.   Losing over 65 pounds has been great.  But, weight loss just exacerbated my loose skin on both my face and body.  I worked with a personal trainer for almost a year and I got stronger.  But, it didn’t do anything to repair my abdominal muscles and loose skin that I had had ever since pregnancy.  Losing weight had helped get rid of fat, but it didn’t get rid of the loose skin.  That was like an elastic band that had been stretched out and that would never return to what it had been before.

I had been thinking about surgery for years, even while I was still losing weight.  As I got smaller, I felt my tummy still looked fat.  I read on blogs and websites (I especially liked Realself) about tummy tucks and thought it might be what I needed to get rid of the loose skin and repair the abdominal muscles.   As I read on Realself, I started to read about people having facial cosmetic surgery.  I hated my turkey neck and my sagging eyelids.  Even when I was much younger, I felt my eyelids drooped.  But, I hadn’t really thought about doing anything surgically.  At some point, I realized that if I did the tummy tuck, I would still hate looking at pictures since my face didn’t really reflect how I felt about myself.  So, I decided to do facial surgery. [Read more…]

The Perils of Faulty Planning

So, not exactly the best day:


So, Tuesday was not exactly the best day.  In fact, I think it is probably the highest point day I’ve had.  92 SmartPoints used, putting me at negative 119 for the week!  And, that is with my points set at maintenance level!

How did this happen?  I usually do well in the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  I am usually very vigilant because I know this is a dangerous time of the year foodwise and often do well because of my vigilance.  And, actually, I was doing well right up until Christmas.

And, then it unraveled.  Christmas itself was a high point day, but that was really OK.  If things had stopped there.  But, then I overate Monday and then Tuesday was the worst of all.  So what went wrong? [Read more…]