I’ve only ever used Weight Watchers and I want to explain a little about why I chose it initially and why I have stuck with it.
What is Weight Watchers?
The principle behind Weight Watchers is pretty straight forward: everything that you consume has a numeric value which is recorded as points.
The points value of a food item or a drink is derived from its nutritional information.
Once upon a time the key elements were Calories and Saturated Fat. In the US Fibre was also considered. These days that method of losing weight with Weight Watchers is referred to as the vintage method. You quite often find sites dedicated to Vintage Weight Watchers and Vintage Points.
It was an extremely simple method of losing weight that I clung to and lost around 52lbs (just under 4 stone).
Depending upon your starting weight, age and sex you are allocated a set number of points each day. As I recall I was on around 42 points a day. In addition you get a bank of points which you can go into if you shoot your daily allowance. The bank was around 49 points.
You have to use all of your daily points allowance.
I found it exciting that I could leave a huge portion of my weekly bank for the weekend and still enjoy a good night out every now and again.
As long as you are aware that a pint of beer or a bottle of wine contain ‘so many’ points then you can measure it and still have a great time.
Little surprise that abstaining from excessive alcohol and takeaway pizza for three months saw the weight fall from me.
A number of years ago Weight Watchers changed things and their algorithm shifted to incorporate Carbohydrates, Protein and Fibre. It still works a treat but just takes a little longer to derive the points value when you’re looking at a packet of food.
If you’re a fan of the Vintage Points method please check out my Vintage Points Calculator app on the AppStore.
Why I chose Weight Watchers
My mind works best when there’s little to digest and I opted for Weight Watchers all those years ago because I loved the way that I could look at food as a number. I’ve spent years programming computers so I feel totally at home in the company of numbers!
My initial understanding of how other diets worked way back when was that they didn’t distil food down into numbers in quite the same way. So I signed up for Weight Watchers and stuck with it.
As a disabled guy with limited mobility I found that the daily routine of recording numbers was simple and highly effective.
Before long I was enjoying shopping for clothes and feeling great about myself in public. I’m always conscious of how I must look on crutches in public so to at least have the confidence of looking in reasonable shape went a long way to maintaining my self esteem.
Maintaining self esteem
The self esteem part there is crucial for me.
I’m a naturally shy guy and don’t at all like having any attention drawn to me. Walking with crutches and clearly struggling some days naturally draws some attention and in general only from those well meaning souls who want to ensure that I am comfortable or have enough access. To those people I am hugely grateful.
I cling to my diet and cling to certain foods that have become my staple. In the back of my mind I’m conscious of losing the control and feeling of wearing the clothes that I enjoy wearing.
But there’s another side to it – a crucial side.
Walking with additional weight when you struggle to pick your feet up is hard, damned hard. Losing the equivalent of a couple dozen bags of sugar from your body plays a huge part in maintaining what mobility I have.
Exercise in the traditional sense is difficult for me. With the correct guidance I can use certain equipment in the gym or perform physio routines, but I’m an independent bloke and wanted to retain as much control as possible. Possibly I’m a little too stubborn or proud to seek the help that I need. Possibly. But following the Weight Watchers diet – which does indeed reward you for exercise – but doesn’t depend upon it, has benefited me enormously in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy mindset.
In forthcoming posts I will reflect on some of my favourite meals and share their points values for anyone interested in following the same path as me.
If you prefer a different diet, such as Slimming World, please do share your own experiences. This is by no means a Weight Watchers blog. I want us all to encourage each other through healthy and fun food tips.