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.