Wednesday, 30 December 2015

How to Get Back in the Zone After Christmas

Christmas has been and gone, but you’re still not back on the weight loss wagon. No matter how many days you say “today is the day,” you find yourself gorging on chocolate, cake, leftover turkey and more.

Deep down, you know you need to get back into that weight loss zone. You may have stepped on the scales and be mortified at your gain, or be scared to even see the damage.

You can get back in the zone after Christmas. Here are three tips to help you do it today.

Get Rid of It All

It sounds like a waste of food, but you don’t have to throw it all in the bin. Anything that’s not been opened can be taken to food shelters or food banks. People are always thankful for those who donate, whatever your reasons for donating are.

Another option is to give it to your neighbours or friends. What about your friends with children just to get it all out of the house?

Anything that has been opened can be put in the bin. Chances are it’s going off around about now, anyway. It’s been a while since Christmas Day!

Once it’s out of the house, you’re less likely to crave it. Even if you do crave it, it’s not there to actually eat it.

We managed to get just the right amount this year, knowing that we had a lot of family coming over. I opted against the large turkey and just got the medium sized one that would be just enough for Christmas Day and then a turkey curry the next day. There was a little extra left over for the Sunday to have sandwiches or snack on when the in-laws came over. Very little actually went to waste!

Be Realistic With Yourself

You’re not just going to stop cold turkey (mind the pun!). Sugar has been shown to be just as bad as cocaine when it comes to acting like an addiction. You will have withdrawal symptoms and you will crave it.

If I’m honest, I don’t agree with not having chocolate at all. I’ve always made it clear that everything in moderation is fine, even for weight loss. The key word there is “moderation.”

Be realistic with yourself. Allow yourself that bit of chocolate or that cake one day, but the next day you need to be strict and honest. Listen to your mind and your stomach. Does your stomach really need everything your mind is telling you that you need.

If you do give into cravings, don’t be too hard on yourself. Know that you weren’t going to be perfect. Nobody is! There’s no point feeling guilty. It’s all about getting straight back on it. Don’t let that one treat turn into a whole ruined day. Don’t let that one ruined day turn into a whole ruined week.

Get Strict With Yourself

While you’re realistic, you still need to be strict. I’ve already briefly mentioned this above, but it’s more than just ignoring those cravings now and then.

You need to avoid buying certain items in, so the temptation isn’t in the house. It’s time to learn the word “no” and use it on a regular basis.

Being strict doesn’t mean being unrealistic. It doesn’t mean being hard on yourself. You just need to have the willpower to succeed. Think about where you want to be by the summer and what you want to achieve with your weight loss. Being strict and determined is the only way you can do that.

Remember this isn’t just about food either. It’s to do with moving more and being happier within yourself. Spend time on yourself and get out to the gym, go for a walk or take up a sport you enjoy to get yourself moving more.

Now is your chance to get back on track. You just need to get back in the zone after Christmas. You can do it, and these tips will help you. Are you ready to get started today? Get that first weigh-in out of the way and start afresh right now.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Weight Watchers Tips: Snacking Ideas on SmartPoints

There’s been a huge shift recently at Weight Watchers, and now people are understandably looking for tips. People want to know the best snacking ideas on SmartPoints, because chocolate has pretty much doubled in points.

It’s great to hear that people want tips and ideas. It means they’re trying and looking for ways to still enjoy their treats and live a healthy life, while losing weight.

While I could tell you to snack on fruit and veggies, we don’t always want them. We want chocolate, crisps, yoghurts and everything else that could be “bad” for us. It’s not bad, as long as eaten in moderation. Here are some of my snacking ideas on the new Weight Watchers plan.

Danone Shape Yoghurts and Muller Lights

Shape yoghurts have barely changed in points. Most of them sit at 2sp (I’ve worked them out with the calculator), so that’s one great snack that you can have. Many others have gone up in points.

Muller Lights have gone up, but they’re still relatively low. Depending on the flavour, there are some 3sp ones. Others are 4sp. I still think this is reasonable, especially if you focus on healthy meals throughout the day. Remember, your lean meats and fish have decreased in points!

0% Greek yoghurt is still reasonably low, too. Mixed with some choc shot and fruit, you have a great snack or dessert.

Multipack Walkers Crisps

Wotsits, French Fries and other Walkers crisps like this are still low in points. Multipack versions are smaller, which means they are usually lower in SmartPoints than their single pack varieties. We always have multipacks of Wotsits in the house.

If you attend Weight Watchers meetings, the crisps available there are also great options to snack on.
These are definitely snacks worth considering. Sometimes, you don’t want something sweet. Smaller packets are also good because it’s often easier to stop. If you grab a large pack of something like Dorritos, there are high chances that you’ll just end up eating them all!

Crispbread and Salsa

Crispbread is another great option for a snack. There are lots of different brands, though, so you need to check which ones will be better for you SmartPoints wise.

I like some soft cheese on my crispbread, and having prawns or smoked salmon is great, but that’s not always the best for snacking, right? You want something quick and easy?

Well, why not salsa as a dip? This is low in points and you can make a zero pointed one if you do one yourself. There are other dip ideas, like hummus.

Hot Chocolate and Mini Marshmallows

I’ve got to admit that my go-to snack is still a hot chocolate at the end of the night. Choosing the brand of hot chocolate is important. Lighter options are lower in SmartPoints. I switched from Cadbury’s to Weight Watchers and saved 4sp!

Marshmallows with my hot chocolate is a must for me, but the bigger ones aren’t worth the points values. That’s why I now opt for mini marshmallows. I can have 20 of them for 1sp. Most of the time I don’t have the full 20!

It’s all about finding new options. Making changes is a must. After all, if you’re not willing to change, why would you expect your weight to change? There are still ways to snack on the new Weight Watchers plan. Why not be thinner AND healthier in 2016?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Should You Start Your Diet Now Or After Christmas?

Is now a good time to start your diet? With three days to go to Christmas day, you may be tempted to start afterwards. After all, now isn’t a good time when you know you have the festivities coming up, is it?

The truth is there never is a good time to start a diet. Doing it now could be perfect for you. Of course, it really depends on you and your mindset.

Here’s three reasons why I’d consider starting a diet now rather than after Christmas.

It Gets You in the Mindset

Having a healthy mindset is only a positive thing, right? I’d consider a healthy diet before Christmas Day just to get started in that mindset. It might help curb some of the unhealthy choices I’d make over the festive period.

This is especially the case with the new Weight Watchers diet. The whole approach is about being healthy—moving more, smiling more and eating better. Why put that off until after the festive season?

Even if you don’t get straight into it, getting some sort of head-start on the reading would be good to get you ready for the day after Christmas Day.

More Likely to Stick to It

Starting a new diet in the New Year is a common occurrence. After years of following the health and diet scene and a year of working with Weight Watchers, I know now that people start diets and within a few weeks bring them to an end.

Why? Because many felt the pressure to get started in the New Year. Many felt that they should do it and not that they wanted to.

When you start before Christmas, you’re more likely doing it for you. Again, even if you don’t get fully into your diet, you have the time to read through materials and get ready for a fresh start as soon as possible. You also have time to set your goals and think about why you’re really doing this.

There’s No Time Like the Present

If you’re umming and ahhing about starting a diet now, there are chances that you do really want to do this. You want to be healthier and you want to be slimmer.

There’s no time like the present to get started. You’re already in a good mindset, and you’re more likely to succeed.

After Christmas, there’s New Year, and then there are birthdays, anniversaries and sporting events. There really isn’t a good time to get started, so why not right now?

I do know people who have started their diet this week. Yes, three days before Christmas and they’ve joined Weight Watchers. Those people are in the best mindset for this time of year and are ready to start their New Year with a bang.

Will you start your diet now? I think it’s the perfect time, and that’s not just because I work with Weight Watchers. I honestly believe that there’s no bad time of the year.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Weight Watchers Hasn’t Changed to Make More Money: Why You Benefit From SmartPoints

There is still a lot of talk about the new Weight Watchers plan, SmartPoints. Some accuse the company of changing just for the sake of money. There’s this idea of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

While I do believe in that saying, the truth is the ProPoints plan was slightly flawed. I fully admit to making my allowance fit so I could have my chocolate, crisps, cheeses and alcohol. The truth is SmartPoints is needed, and it benefits you in so many ways.

Now, there are people resistant to change. They don’t like it, and as humans it’s common to like our routines. The change from Points to ProPoints was very much the same. I keep saying how I was one of those so resistant that I left, gained weight and wished I’d just kept going and embraced the changed. That’s why this time—even though I feared I might find it hard—I decided to embrace it and get stuck in.

It is because I see the benefits in SmartPoints. So, I want to focus on them to show you why Weight Watchers hasn’t changed just to make more money out of you.

It’s Encouraging You to Make Healthier Choices

This is the simple, most beneficial part of the change. There are lots of people complaining that they can’t have all their chocolate and treats anymore.

Well, guess what! That’s a good thing! Weight Watchers isn’t saying you can’t have it at all, but is encouraging you to make healthier choices throughout the day. There is the encouragement to fill your plates up with delicious, nutritious vegetables, fruits and high-protein foods. That chicken salad is going to fill you up longer than a chocolate bar, and it is healthier for you.

Do you want to lose weight or do you want to lose weight AND be healthy?

I know my answer to that question.

It means making some sacrifices, but it also means making some smart swaps. One of those was my hot chocolate. At one point I thought that was going to be completely out, especially with the marshmallows. My usual full fat hot chocolate with big marshmallows was topping the points at 8sp—up from 4pp! Now I’ve switched to a low-calorie hot chocolate and mini marshmallows and I can make it for 3sp. Sometimes I can make it for 2sp, it just depends on the amount of mini marshmallows I put in.

While making the smart swaps, I’m also looking at healthier choices. I feel better for making them—both in my head and in my health.

It’s Encouraging You to Move More

Earning FitPoints (as they’re now known) is easier than ever before. There’s no minimum amount of steps you need to take, and actually earning the points is much easier.

For just 800ish steps, I’ve been able to earn a FitPoint. Before I would have had to do 4,000+ steps to start earning anything! With seeing how much easier it is to earn the points, I’ve been more encouraged to do more activity.

This is only good for me. Weight Watchers is encouraging me to move more, so I end up doing more activity.

Right now, it’s definitely not easy. At 8 months pregnant, I am really struggling to move around a lot. Yesterday I did a little over 7,000 steps, according to my FitBit One, and today I am really feeling it in my legs. I know that’s all pregnancy related and I look forward to swimming and being able to stretch my muscles off.

I’m looking forward to actually following the plan properly and moving a lot more because I’m able to. Earning sooner will definitely get me to be more active.

While Weight Watchers recommends not eating your FitPoints, they are there if you do go into a negative balance. The main aim is to be healthier, though.

It Does Help You Lose Weight

Many people are seeing great weight losses. In fact, they’re so great that I’ve seen some people still
Image by Lexi Gunn
on ProPoints now thinking about giving SmartPoints a go.

Cutting down on sugar and saturated fats and upping protein have really helped people lose more weight. And those who already followed a low sugar/low sat fat diet anyway are still seeing their good weight losses.

That’s because the plan really does work. It can work better than ProPoints, which means you’re more likely to get to goal sooner. Guess what! When you get to goal, you don’t have to pay for classes so Weight Watchers is actually making LESS money out of you.

Do you still really think it’s all about the money?

“But I need to buy new scales and books” is the next common complaint. In the UK, Weight Watchers is offering a swap shop. You can find out more about this from the official website. But it is possible to swap your scales, calculators, eat out guides and shop guides for free. Please read the site for ALL terms and conditions.

Some people even got complacent on ProPoints. The change has meant that they’ve been able to go back to basics and start all over again. This has improve their weight loss, meaning Weight Watchers will make less money out of them in the long run.

It’s Keeping You Up to Date With Recommended Guidelines

Research continues, and new findings come out now and then. Five years ago, ProPoints was the most up to date system. Diets that were higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates were found to be better and healthier.

Now, it’s found that sugar is the main cause of obesity. That means health guidelines have changed. This is where Weight Watchers’ ProPoints system has been slightly flawed. It’s not taken sugar into account, and just total carbs.

By switching to SmartPoints, you’re being kept up to date with the recommended guidelines. You know that you’re on the most current, healthiest diet for you.

It’s not even a diet. You can still have your chocolate and cakes. It’s just all about moderation. Have a treat as a treat!

It’s Not Just About the Scales

Before, Weight Watchers members were very much focused on the numbers of the scales. While we talked about non-scale victories, there was still that element of having to lose 1/2lb or more. If we overate one day, there was that guilty feeling, knowing that we may not see the loss.

This is disappearing with this new plan. For America is “Beyond the Scales.” In the UK, it’s all about “Smile.” This is one of the books, and I love it. It’s all about spending some time on yourself, and finding something that makes you happy.

Swimming is one of the things that really makes me happy. That’s my “me time.” But I also love spending time with my daughter and doing my crafts or writing. Since the release of SmartPoints, I’ve focused on doing that a bit more and do feel better for it.

I’ve also changed my comfort eating. I’m not a stress eater, but I am an anger eater. Now that I’ve started SmartPoints, I’ve found myself not eating out of anger anymore. On Saturday, I could have given into chocolate and ice cream while out with my daughter, but I decided against them. Instead, I had some fruit when I got home and felt better in myself for doing it.

There’s that question of: will eating this really make me feel better? I knew the answer with the chocolate was no. It wasn’t going to magically make the anger disappear.

I love SmartPoints. To prove it works, I’m currently following the maintenance points allowance for me because of pregnancy and I lost 2lbs this week. It’s the first week in a while that I’ve truly stuck to it, but still had my chocolate on a daily basis. It’s all about smart swaps and sticking to the plan. Weight Watchers hasn’t done this just for money. It’s to make you healthier, thinner and happier.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Weight Watchers Plan Changes: Giving It a Go

Weight Watchers announced the new plan yesterday. It’s a holistic approach, going “Beyond the Scale.”

But there are lots of people in Facebook groups saying that they’re not going to bother changing. They’re angry that Weight Watchers has done this, saying that it’s all about the money.

The truth is, the change is all about health. This new change encourages moving more, eating foods that are lower in sugar and saturated fats (not getting rid of all treats but having them just as treats) and focusing on being happier.

What could possibly be wrong with that? Why would someone not want to give the Weight Watchers plan changes a go?

Chocolate and Snacks Have Increased

There are a lot of complaints about chocolate, snacks and wine going up in values. There’s a reason for that...

They’re high in saturated fats and sugars.

Weight Watchers isn’t just about losing weight. It’s always been about living a healthier lifestyle. The old plan—in hindsight, which I know is ALWAYS perfect—didn’t really focus on this that much. There was a lot of flexibility to have takeaways, chocolate bars and all sorts of other stuff throughout the day. In fact, on more than one occasion I looked at my meals and wondered what I could cut out just so I could have a treat.

How did that make any sense?

I still remember the old points plan before ProPoints. There was one week where I’d had such a blow out at the weekend that I ended up starving myself (literally) for four days to make sure I still lost weight. Yes, I lost that week but I didn’t feel great for it. I felt weak, tired and downright miserable.
It’s time to start thinking about what we’re eating, and that’s why it’s so important to give this plan a go.

The App Isn’t Working Properly

I understand your frustration with this. Really, I do!

I live by my app. It’s like a third arm for me. But there are other methods of tracking at the moment. The website is working and there is still paper and pen. I actually went back to paper and pen recently. It got me to focus again, because it’s so easy to click, click, click on the app and not really think about what I was inputting.

Paying for something that doesn’t work properly is annoying, but I want to put something into perspective here...

Technology fails. It’s not perfect because humans aren’t perfect. And who’s responsible for creating technology? Humans.

The developers are working around the clock to get these bugs out of the app. It means updates being pushed through. I’ve found accepting the updates and restarting my phone has cleared up most of the issues; just like I’d need to if updating software on the computer.

Patience is a virtue, and not one I really have. But when it comes to tech, I understand the issues and the fact that fixes are not always instant. The app will be back to normal.

For now, use the website. You can send off a complaint, but please keep it polite. There’s no need for the abuse some people are spouting off!

Just to put some things in perspective, though. I've had the app for just over three years and this is the first time I've seen a problem with it. Yet, I have to put up with my internet connection going down on a regular basis, and pay much more for that. Tech is great until it doesn't work.

Weight Watchers Just Wants to Make More Money

Guess what, this isn’t the case! This isn’t about getting more money out of you, but about helping you life a healthier lifestyle.

Have you noticed that the food that has gone up in points is likely the food that got you to your higher weight in the first place? By cutting that down and focusing on healthier food, you’re more likely to get to your goal weight sooner. That means Weight Watchers makes less money from you.

By the way, the plan is always tested before being rolled out to members. Leaders have been following it for a couple of months and there have been people at Head Office following it for longer than that. They’ve had the great weight losses and other health benefits, so we know that Weight Watchers aren’t doing it for money.

With being pregnant, I’ve not seen a weight loss; obviously. I’ve seen a healthy gain but that’s not the important part. Within two weeks of following the plan, my blood pressure had shot down considerably. It’s on the rise again now (but I’m in the last month), but it’s manageable and nothing like what it was during the first pregnancy. By this point, my blood pressure was through the roof! On top of that, I’ve had no swelling in my ankles. I was at a Christmas party on Saturday night and dancing away for an hour in (still very comfy) four-inch heels! This plan definitely isn’t for the worse.

What about the scales, calculators etc.? In the UK, Weight Watchers members get to switch them for free. They need to be current members, but there are options for lapsed members. Online members need to contact customer support, while in-meeting members get the help at their meetings.
If Weight Watchers really just wanted to make money from you, do you think they would do something like that? Definitely not!

It’s Not the First Time They’ve Changed

No, it’s not and it probably won’t be the last. But the changes aren’t just for the sake of changing.
I read a lot of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but what’s to say that it wasn’t broken? You may have lost weight but were you healthier for it? Were you really happier? This change is to encourage a healthier lifestyle. It was necessary.

I remember being completely resistant to the change to ProPoints 5 years ago. I tried to get into it but kept comparing to the old system. It didn’t work and I left after a while. But when I returned I was a stone heavier and wished I’d just stuck with it. That hindsight has helped me remain positive about this change. It’s made me realize that I just need to stick with it!

The next time it changes, whenever that may be, I’ll have the same mindset. Change is often good. It’s as good as a rest and could be the boost you need to see your weight loss again.

So, it’s time to look at the Weight Watchers plan changes. You’ll hear all about them this week in your meetings. I let my members know about everything on Wednesday and Saturday, and can’t wait. It’s exciting and I’m confident because I know that it works.

Please, embrace the change. It can be frustrating without a fully functioning app (but that’s being fixed and most issues are now resolved), but that doesn’t mean everyone has to be so negative about everything. Give the plan a chance, look through the books and SMILE!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Keep Your Weight Loss Going Throughout the Ups and Downs

There are all sorts of things that challenge our weight loss. It can be things going on in our personal lives, individuals not supporting our goals when we really need them to, or technology playing up like crazy.

Many Weight Watchers members have vented their frustration lately because the smartphone app has been playing up. App updates have led to various issues, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your weight loss going.

Things happen that are out of our control. Rather than complaining and letting it hinder our efforts, we need to get back on track and keep going through those ups and downs. Here are my tips to help you do just that.

Track Your Food an Alternate Way

What did we ever do without technology? I know now it seems like we’ve always add a Weight Watchers app, but that really isn’t the case.

I actually went back to paper and pen shortly before all the app updates. I wanted to get back into the habit of writing it all down and see what it was like being a weekly paying member again; they don’t have app access. It was difficult but it got me back to the start and back on track.

Instead of complaining something isn’t working or going right, try an alternate way of tracking. Pull out your books again and write it all down. Try the website rather than the app!

Remain Positive About Your Weight Loss

Happier people make healthier choices.

I’ve said in the past that you need to be positive to be successful at losing weight. When you’re positive, you’re more likely to make the good choices. You’ll have the fruit rather than the chocolate. That makes you feel good about yourself and you’ll want to continue that feeling.

You’ll soon see a great pattern.

When you’re having a bad day, focus on something positive to keep your weight loss going. Don’t give into your emotions telling you to eat your feelings. It’s not helped you in the past, so why would it now?

If you need help to become more positive, here are sometips.

Positivity is especially beneficial when something happens out of your control. After all, you can’t change something, so there’s no point letting it affect you emotionally.

Speak to Someone Supportive

It’s really easy to go off track. For some people, positivity isn’t something that is second nature. Anxiety levels can flare up with changes, and that can lead to bad food choices and a weight gain.

For me, it’s easy to say find another way to track or to remain positive, but that doesn’t mean you can instantly do it. This is why you need someone supportive to turn to. Try not to rant, but express your feelings. There is a difference! Expressing your feelings and worries will mean the supportive person can direct you in a most positive way; offering you the help and guidance that you need.

This supportive person could be anyone in your life. For my members, I want to be there to help them. When they had questions about the app going down, I was there to answer them and help direct them to another way of tracking.

You may turned to someone in your family or friend circle. Others will have people in Facebook groups to see help from.

Find support and remain positive. Ups and downs happen, but you need to keep your weight loss going throughout them all. It’s time to find another way of tracking if technology is playing up. It could help you refresh your mind of the plan and give you that boost you’ve needed for a while.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Which Slimming Plan Works Best?

There are lots of different slimming plans out there. While I’m a Weight Watchers leader, I fully respect all the different healthy eating plans available. I understand why people choose different diets and weight loss methods.

The question that many people have is whether one slimming plan works best. There is a lot of competition between different companies, all saying they are the best.

For me, Weight Watchers has always worked the best. I’ve tried different diets and healthy eating plans and not always found success. With Slimming World, I gained weight. I’ve tried the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and even the Paleo Diet but found them all far too restrictive and for short-term benefit.

That doesn’t mean everyone will find the same as me.

It all depends what you need

One of the things I’ve learned is that it isn’t a one-diet-fits-all approach. I’ve spoken to plenty of Weight Watchers members who have said that Slimming World just didn’t work for them or they had the same experience as me with the Atkins or Paleo Diets. Similarly, I know people who recommend the Slimming World plan and didn’t find the same success as me on Weight Watchers.

It really all depends on what you need and want from a diet. There is something to suit all preferences.

Weight Watchers works for me because I don’t want a diet that bans anything. I believe in everything in moderation. Slimming World works for some because there is no portion control when it comes to the healthier options.

Before you start any diet, you need to assess what you prefer from one and what you want to achieve from it. Then you can look at reviews and the plan to see if it is going to suit your needs.

It depends on motivation

Another aspect is motivation. No diet plan is going to work for you if you don’t try your hardest at it. When you lose motivation, you start going off track.
Image from Amazon

I know that when it came to the Atkins Diet, I couldn’t stick to it. I didn’t have the motivation to restrict myself. It was the same with the Paleo Diet and many others. With Weight Watchers, I had the motivation, which is possibly why it was the slimming plan that worked best for me.

Before you start any diet plan, set your weight loss goals. Give yourself something to work towards so that you can keep your motivation.

It depends on your body

Finally, I’ll go back to the one-diet-fits-all myth. There isn’t a diet that fits all because everyone is different. Some people can handle all types of foods, while others struggle with wheat, gluten, dairy and other types of ingredients.

Some of the people I’ve known struggle on Slimming World have been those with IBS or a wheat intolerance, because there is a lot of focus on pasta and bread. With Weight Watchers, they’ve been able to enjoy more of a range, without worrying too much about piling their plates with pasta.

Other people have struggled on diets where diary is limited because they need to get a certain amount. Others have had to leave diets where diary is focused on so much because they have an intolerance to it.

It’s about the maintenance options

Not all diet plans will have maintenance options. They help you lose the weight but not keep it off in the long run. The idea is to keep getting money out of you.

This isn’t the case with all, though. I will always now look for a slimming plan that offers a maintenance option. It was because of the Weight Watchers maintenance option that helped me keep the weight off.

People say that Weight Watchers, Slimming World and other similar plans are scams, but they’re really not. The problem is too many people go back to eating as they used to. Sure you may not want to stick to counting points for the rest of your life, but you really don’t have to. There are other ways to maintain your weight, and the leaders in groups can help you find the best one for you.

Always look into maintenance options before you start a plan. Find out if there is one, and what you need to do to be part of the maintenance.

When it comes to which slimming plan works best, it’s all about thinking about you. Everyone is different, so I can’t say that one will work better for you than others. I had to find out through trial and error. I was almost ready to give up until a friend suggested Weight Watchers to me and I’ve had success since.

There are some who will say that no slimming plan works, while others have their favourites. For me, it’s all about Weight Watchers, but that’s because it checks all my boxes. Which one checks all yours?

Friday, 20 November 2015

Getting Back on Track After a Bad Week

Losing weight is hard. It doesn’t matter how many “quick fixes” and “miracle cures” come out, losing the weight and keeping it off in the long term requires hard work.

The truth is nothing worth having was ever easy.

Getting back on track after a bad week as soon as possible is essential. It’s the only way you’re going to give yourself the best chance. There’s no point saying the plan isn’t working, when you know you’re not sticking to it.

Here are four tips to help you get straight back on track.

Face the Scales

When you have a bad week, it’s really easy to fall off the wagon. You think that you won’t jump on the scales to see the damage, but you’ll be really good for another week. Does it really happen?
I’ve had plenty of members come to me at the scales and tell me they were thinking of missing class. They didn’t want to see the damaged they’d done. But then they knew that they wouldn’t get back on track. The best thing they did was admit that they needed to see the damage, so they could get back on track.

You’re not doing yourself any favors by skipping the scales. I’ve had members who haven’t come for a week, thinking they’d get back on track. They’ve then missed that week and then the week after. Eventually, it gets to the point where they’ve missed a month or two without even realising, and the weight has piled back on.

Facing the scales will help you get back on track. You admit the damage to yourself, and are more likely to be in the frame of mind to lose it again.

Draw a Line Under It

Sometimes you can’t help bad weeks. In fact, you may plan them. If you go on holiday, you want to have fun and not constantly think about your weight loss.

There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re willing to do one thing: draw a line under it as soon as you’re back.

The sooner you get back on track, the sooner you can undo some of the damage. You don’t need to wait for the scales to tell you. You don’t need to wait for the start of the week. Just pull the food tracker straight back out and get writing everything down.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been off track, either. It could have been a day or a whole week. Just make a commitment to yourself to get straight back on it at the first opportunity.

Text/Chat to Your Support

You will likely have someone to support you on your journey. This doesn’t have to be someone in your house or a friend. You could have a support network online. There are lots of Facebook groups full of people on the same journey as you, and they can be great for support. You may even have your Weight Watchers leader who wants to help you get straight back on it.

When you’re struggling, don’t hide away. That negativity often just leads to you eating everything in sight. You’re less likely to stick to a plan, because you don’t feel confident in yourself.

That support can help get you back in the right frame of mind. I always tell my members that I want to hear from them if they’re struggling. They can contact me through Facebook, text or a phone call, and I will help them. I’ll go over concerns and I’ll discuss how they’re feeling about the plan and their confidence. I don’t want them to wait until the scales if it means the risk of another bad week.

Get in touch with your support. That’s what your support is there for.

Put On Your Running Shoes

Okay, maybe you don’t like running and the weather isn’t the greatest for walking, but get active in some way. This boosts your mental health and you can often feel more confident in a weight loss plan.

I love to go swimming. Just half an hour in the pool gets me back in the right frame of mind. I don’t want to ruin everything I’ve just done in the pool for the sake of a chocolate bar. Maybe you could find an activity that gives you that same boost of confidence and positivity.

Getting active is also good for your health and weight loss. It helps to boost your metabolism and will help to reduce the risk of numerous health problems. If you don’t want to or can’t get out, why not look at some armchair exercises or get the home exercise DVDs. The Wii Fit was one that I turned to for a long time before I was able to find a swimming pool that I enjoyed being at.

The best thing you can do is get straight back on track after a bad week. It’s not the end of the world and you haven’t completely blown it. Face the scales and draw a line under it. Now is your chance to lose weight.

Christmas is just five weeks away. You could lose half a stone in that time rather than putting it on! How would that feel come January?

Friday, 13 November 2015

4 Tips to Make Sure You Lose Weight This Christmas

Wouldn’t it be great to lose weight this Christmas? It doesn’t have to be a dream. Yes, losing weight over Christmas really is possible. It’s all about planning, preparing and being in the right mindset.

I’ve lost weight every Christmas but one. That year I gained, it was half a pound and was my first year back on Weight Watchers after having my daughter. Needless to say, I was making up for everything I couldn’t have the year before (pates, blue cheeses etc).

So, how can you lose weight this Christmas? Here are my top four tips to make sure you do.

Plan Ahead for the Season

Go into the supermarket with your shopping list. By planning ahead and making a list, you’re not as likely to buy the random items on offer. Just think of what that does to your financial budget!

Start by making a list for everything you’re going to need on Christmas Day. Move onto Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve/Day from there and then think about over the season. We prefer to do two lots of food shopping, so we’ll buy our Christmas stuff in the days running up to Christmas and then focus on New Year afterwards.

Stick to that list when you get to the supermarket. Yes, there will be mince pies on offer and crisps and chocolates calling out to you, but did you put them on the list? No, you didn’t forget about them! You just know you don’t need them.

Be Realistic With the Treats

You are allowed some treats when it comes to Christmas and New Year. I never track what I eat on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and I always allow myself some treats. This year, there will be no pate, blue cheeses and alcohol again, but there will be other options.

The trick is to be realistic. Just think about the amount of food you ate last year for the sake of it. How much of it went in the bin?

There’s nothing wrong with not buying those large boxes of Celebrations chocolates. Last year, we got one of the small boxes instead of the large tubs. There was enough for everyone to enjoy some and we didn’t feel deprived. In fact, we all felt better for not having a large box of chocolates waiting for everyone to eat.

Avoid the mince pies if you know they’re hardly going to be touched. Don’t bother with multiple packs of crisps. The only day that most shops aren’t open is Christmas Day. If you really want some extra treats, you can pick them up on other days. Chances are you won’t bother and you won’t miss them!

Have a Filling & Healthy Dinner

Christmas Day lunch is usually Filling and Healthy. It’s your lean turkey, potatoes and vegetables. You can reduce the amount of oils you use and make sure what you make is good for the Weight Watchers Filling and Healthy plan.

Fill up on these options and listen to your body. You’ll find that you don’t want to snack as much afterwards.

There’s always something left over for the next couple of days, so focus on Filling and Healthy dinners afterwards. Not only will they make you feel fuller, but they are also healthier options for you. Most have fewer carbs and unhealthy fats.

You can also make Filling and Healthy desserts. Try fruit salads instead of the cakes. We always buy yogurts and meringue nests to make a delicious Eton mess style dessert. It adds something sweet without it being over the top.

Get Out for a Walk

How many of you stay indoors all Christmas? Maybe this year you can do something different. Why not get out for a family walk?

Christmas Day may be out of the question, but you can always get out Boxing Day and the other days around it. You don’t even need to go anywhere specific. A local park or woodland trail would be great. Children don’t want to be cooped up in the house all the time.

Pop your pedometer on and get out in the fresh air. You’ll feel better for it and you’ll avoid eating all the food in the house!

If you don’t want to go outside, you could always do a bit of shopping. Spend that money you got in your cards and do more steps that way.

You can lose weight this Christmas. It’s not a dream. Make it a reality this year by following the above tips.

Have you lost weight over Christmas? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Managing Your Weight at the Christmas Party

The Christmas party will be here before you know it. In fact, some work places are holding their Christmas parties this month! If you’re on a diet, you may be worried and thing your options are limited:

  • Do you skip the party completely?
  • Do you limit yourself completely while there?
  • Do you have a big blow out?

You don’t have to do any of them. I’ve managed weight loss at a Christmas party. In fact, the year that I got to goal I’d had a Christmas party days before my weigh-in. How did I manage it? I used the following tips.

Alternate Your Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks are full of empty, unnecessary calories. But they’re delicious, right? How can you say no when everyone else is drinking?

Well, there are a few options here. The year that I did it, I opted to drive. I had a couple of glasses of wine with my meal and then switched to non-alcoholic drinks for the rest of the night. This year I’ll be sticking to non-alcoholic drinks because of my pregnancy.

But there have been years that I’ve not driven. Instead, I’ve alternated my drinks. For each alcoholic drink, I’ve followed it with a non-alcoholic one. It means I drink fewer calories and I can still remember the whole night. The drinks tend to last longer.

Not only do I save on the waistline but I save on the cost, too. Non-alcoholic drinks tend to cost less.
People don’t have to know you’re not drinking with each drink. Opt for lemonade or other soft drinks that look like they could have spirits in if you’re really worried.

Listen to Your Stomach

We tend to feel the need to eat everything on the plate. That’s perfectly understandable, especially if you’ve paid for the meal. But are you really that hungry?

More often than not, Christmas meals are at least three courses. You may not even need to eat everything on the plate. I’ve had one meal before that was so large that I just couldn’t physically eat it all. I ended up leaving half the main and only had a few mouthfuls of the dessert and didn’t feel deprived at all.

It’s all about listening to your stomach. This is a great way of controlling your portion sizes. If anyone asks, just answer honestly that you are full. There will likely be someone who wants to finish it off for you!

Get the Menu Beforehand

With some meals, you can make a choice before you get there. When this is the case, get the menu before you go and look for the healthiest options. If you go with a meal planned out, you’re more likely to stick to it and avoid the stuff that is going to be bad for you.

Try to avoid the meals that come in cheese sauces, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for sauces and dressings on the side. Ring ahead to find out if this is possible.
Image from Amazon

If you’re on Weight Watchers, ring ahead and ask for the nutritional information. This will allow you to work out the points in the foods, so you have an idea on the weeklies that you’ve used.

Get Up Dancing

Don’t sit down and chat the whole night. The meal is a great time to talk to colleagues, but after that you want to get up and dance. Pull up your friends and burn off the calories you’ve eaten and drunk.

If you’re dancing, you’re not as likely to drink. Some hotels and venues have a ban on drinks on the dance floor.

Now’s the time to request your favourite songs and get up to dance the night away. This is why I got to goal. I just danced the whole time. My feet ached afterwards but it was so worth it in the long run. If you have aFitBit, why not wear one for the night to see just how many calories you’re burning?

The Christmas party doesn’t mean a weight gain. You can see a weight loss at the Christmas party, and even get to goal. I managed it!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Why Blogging About Weight Loss Can Help You Succeed

For a number of years now, I’ve blogged about weight loss. I’ve shared my ups and downs, my tricks and tips along the way and anything that I’ve learned about health and dieting.

Blogging about weight loss has really helped me succeed. It’s been something that has helped keep me on track, whether I’ve tried doing it alone or done it through Weight Watchers. Maybe it’s something that you could do to help you succeed at your weight loss goals.

Here are the main four reasons blogging about weight loss has really helped me to succeed.

Kept Me Accountable

Yes, Weight Watchers meant that I had someone I was accountable to. I had my leader, and she was definitely great. Without her, I think I would have given up at times. I think I would have definitely given up trying to stay at goal and wouldn’t have become a Weight Watchers leader myself.

However, blogging kept me accountable to so many more people. Sometimes that’s what I needed. I didn’t share all my goals with my leader, but I did share them with you. That meant that I had to go through with them.

This could help you. By blogging about your weight loss and goals, you keep yourself accountable to others. This is great if you decide to try it yourself, where you don’t have a single person weighing you each week. If you don’t blog for a week, you could end up with people messaging you to find out why you didn’t share your ups and downs that week.

Get to Share Tips

How often do you share your weight loss tips? When I was a Weight Watchers member, I shared a few now and then but there were so many others that I picked up along the way. Some of them I would have completely forgotten about if it wasn’t for my blog.

I get to look back over my blog posts and see how I tackled certain situations. I get to read over old tricks that I found along the way. My memory isn’t perfect, and the blog is a great place; almost like a journal.

At the same time, the posts help others. They’ve helped a number of people get back on track or find a way around a situation.

Blogging is one of the best places to share these tips. You reach a larger audience, and you have somewhere to look back at in the future.

Somewhere to Be Honest

One of the benefits of blogging is being anonymous. Sure, I have my face on my blog and I do share on my Facebook pages and Twitter profile, but you don’t have to.

By being anonymous, you can share your honest thoughts. While there may be someone out there who doesn’t like what you have to say, others will be grateful for your honesty. On top of that, you really get to release all those negative comments and remarks. You have somewhere to vent freely.

Some people start their weight loss blogs for themselves. They have a place for just them to vent and rant. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that, because it really can help you succeed. More often than not, once you rant, you get it off your chest and can get back on track.

Build Relationships With Others Losing Weight

My blog helped me build some relationships, especially at the start of my journey. Like any friendship or connection, many of them have disappeared and I’ve built up others. The best part, though, is that there is support from others.

Getting support is often the important part of making any weight loss plan work. You need to talk to others who may be going through similar situations—or have been there and found a way through. Not everyone has the support at home, and getting it from your blog will help you stay on track.

So, it could be time to start blogging about weight loss. It really does help people succeed, and it really helped me. There’s never a time that’s too late to start.

Do you already blog about your weight loss? Maybe you’re thinking about doing it. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Bonfire Night Weight Loss Tips: Weight Loss With a Bang!

Bonfire night is almost here. It’s a night for many friends and families to get together, have treats and watch the fireworks.

Among some of the favourites are hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows, of course!), toffee apple, bonfire candy and hot dogs. It can seem almost impossible to see a Bonfire Night weight loss.

The good news is that it really is possible. With a bit of planning, tracking and motivation, you can get through the night. Here are my top tips for losing weight this Guy Fawkes Night.

Host the Party

If you host the firework party, you have a lot more control. It’s one of the reasons I used to always host, because it meant that I could control the food that was served, the desserts that were put out and where used fireworks went (there was a really bad experience with myself almost being burned because of a ‘friend’ throwing used fireworks into an open fire without me realising!).

When you host the party, think about the weight loss friendly treats that those not on diets will love. There are lots of fun ways to dress up fruit and vegetables, and you can still have crisps and treats. Just make sure they’re healthier options. On Weight Watchers, I tend to stick to French Fries crisps and Celebrations chocolates. I know there are 2pp in a packet of French Fries and 2pp per sweet in Celebrations, so I can keep track.

If you can’t host the party, ask if you can bring anything to help. I tend to take over treats or diet pop if I’m not hosting to help control something that I’m going to have.

Plan Your Meal Ahead

Not all parties will have meals but only sweet treats. If that’s the case, it’s really important to be prepared. If you are having a meal, find out what food will be on offer so you can plan.

My Bonfire Parties tend to have pies and mushy peas because that’s the traditional Yorkshire dish. In fact, my husband loves when Bonfire Night rolls around now because he knows that will be dinner. It’s higher in pro points but so worth it when it comes to the end of the night. I find it warm and filling.

And the most important thing is that I’ve planned for that during the day. I have a lower pro pointed lunch and breakfast to save myself for the night.

Planning is the best way to see a Bonfire Night weight loss. You can even plan to have room for any drinks and treats after the fireworks.

Get Some Activity In

From Amazon
Why not have some games going on through the night? These can be great for entertainment and earning activity pro points. This is great for when it comes to going over your daily and weekly budgets and needing a little help to get back on track.

I always have my pedometer or FitBit on whenever I go out. It doesn’t matter where I’m going. In fact, I have a wedding coming up and I’ll be wearing my FitBit to track all my moves. I’ve managed to see weight losses at weddings and Christmas parties because of this.

Alternate Your Drinks

If you’re setting off the fireworks, I always say don’t have alcohol until you’ve finished. Drink and gunpowder do not mix!

I know you don’t need telling that always hear of at least one horror story when it comes to Bonfire Night!

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to stay on track and lose weight when alcohol is in the way. Try to alternate your drinks, so you have a soft drink follow every alcoholic drink you have. It makes your drinks last longer and you get to enjoy the night more.

I’ve done this multiple times while out, and it really helps me remember the whole night. I love waking up feeling much more refreshed than I would have done if all my drinks were alcoholic ones, and I usually spend a lot less money.

There are chances that you’ll find tracking the amount you’ve drank during the night. Keep a reminder. I use straws for my spirit drinks while out. This is harder with a house party because you can’t always measure out your alcohol shots exactly. I do have shot glasses in the house to help with this but not everyone does.

You’ll find something that works for you. It could be keeping some sort of tally on your phone or taking photos of each of your drinks.

You can stay on track and lose weight this Firework Night. It’s time to see your weight loss off with a bang by staying in control. Hopefully my Bonfire Night weight loss tips will help you this year.