Sunday, 26 September 2010

S.M.A.R.T Goals

On Saturday morning, one of my members said to me that she wanted to take her weight loss a stone at a time. Another said, she just wanted to lose every week.

I encouraged them both to make SMART goals for themselves. Setting unrealistic goals (in ANY situation) can put pressure on a person, and make them more likely to give up before they succeed.

A stone doesn't always seem that much, but it can be a lot, especially at a pound a week. And saying that you want to lose every week sounds great, but there may always be circumstances beyond your control, which may affect that, and then you could end up disappointed.

So set yourself a SMART goal:

S = Specific. Be specific about the amount. Your 5%, the next shiny 7, a certain number of inches, the next dress size, into the next stone bracket....
M = Measurable. Be able to measure it. If it's a weight goal, your Leader can use her scales, if it's inch loss, you can measure it with a tape measure. If it's about clothes, you can "measure" it by trying on those new trousers etc..
A = Achievable. Can you achieve it? Don't make your goal something that you won't achieve.
R = Realistic. In particular with regard to weight loss. If you stick to your Points allowance, and don't frequently have many Points less than you should, you can lose up to 2lbs of fat per week. So saying something like "I'll lose a stone in 4 weeks" (unless it includes your first week on the plan) is NOT a realistic goal. As with "achievable", make it something realistic, such as perhaps 7lbs in 10 weeks. And anything on top of that is a bonus!
T = Time bound. Give yourself a time scale to do it. As in the example above, 7lbs in 10 weeks. Don't just say you want to lose 7lbs and don't give yourself a really long time either, otherwise you'll become complacent.

Make your goals SMART and you will achieve them.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Secret is out

So I think the secret is out. It's all over eSource now.

It's quite disappointing really. It seems from posts I've read that Leaders around the country have been actually telling their members all about it. Maybe not giving them names, but dates, and lots of details.

Do people not know what "secret" means?

Added to which, it seems the online community just can't wait to find things out. They've obviously heard the term and looked it up and now have posted it around and about for everyone to see. (I suppose details are relatively easy to come by as Europe have been on the new innovation for a year)

I'm just so disappointed.

What I ate...

I know I told you I'd used all my available *Points last week and STILL managed to lose a pound (LOVE this new innovation) but I don't think I actually told you WHAT I'd been eating did I?

My week starts on a Friday, as I get weighed on a Thursday and straight away on Friday I went out for lunch with my friend in town and had a dressed salad. Friday evening was tapas (including baked Camembert for a starter *licks lips!*) and wine - including champagne in our limo cruiser on the way there and back!

I also had 2 Chinese takeaways, a meal out in a pub.

Gah... this post is being interrrupted....

Ten Percent

So have you lost 10% of YOUR starting body weight yet? I've done it twice now and earned myself a very funky (not to mention handy!) keyring from my Leader too.

The health benefits are so rewarding, less risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, less risk of type 2 diabetes, less pressure on your joints and the list goes on and on, and you'll find that you have your OWN benefits too - not necessarily all of them health related.

A member in my meeting this morning gained her 10% this morning, a whopping 22lbs! She had "only" lost 1/2lb this week and seemed quite dejected, but when I reminded her what this meant she soon perked up and started smiling.

We talked in the meeting discussion about what 10% meant to everyone who had gained it so far. The member who had just received hers said she was already feeling less out of breath when she had to go places quickly, which made me think of when I used be rushing out and maybe I'd left something upstairs. When I was overweight, I would just leave it, because there was no way I could get it quickly without being in pain and out of breath from rushing. Then as I began to lose weight, I would get the thing I'd forgotten as I would be less out of breath, and as more weight came off I would find I could run up the stairs to get the thing! (Now I'm working on NOT forgetting things!!!)

Another member recalled on how 10% for her meant not having that big dam of water behind you in the bath. You know the one? When you've pulled the plug and you think all the water has drained away, but then you stand up and all the water that was stuck behind you is suddenly freed and comes swooshing down the bath. I recalled the other bath story, where you reach down to turn off the tap and then you scoot back and a tidal wave of water goes over the back of the bath!!! To both stories, there was a lot of nodding and laughing in agreement.

These are the things that make us laugh because we've nearly ALL been there, we've all had these experiences, and we all want to NOT have them again.

That is why I love WeightWatchers and the meetings. Because we are all in the same boat. And that boat is getting lighter all the time! ;-)

Friday, 24 September 2010

"Lose for Good"

Bit of a play on words by the American WeightWatchers - they are running a campaign over there at the moment where they are getting members to lose weight for charity: Lose For Good

It's a truly great cause and I think something that the UK should be a part of, with the chosen affiliated charity, the British Heart Foundation. I would love for 2011 to be my year to try and make something happen and maybe get this going.

In other news...

As part of our training on the new innovation, from Conference to soft launch in November, all the leaders in the area have to literally "Live the Plan".

I have obviously been doing so, and have basically been like a new member again. Weighing, pointing* tracking, and, most importantly, LOSING WEIGHT!!! (Which is great because I gained 8.5lbs on holiday and needed to shift it!)

The first week, Conference was on the Sunday, so I weighed myself as I got home to start Monday morning. Weigh-in is on a Thursday and I had lost 4.5lbs.

Week two, another 1lb off, and THIS week after using every single Point* available to me, going over by a couple EVEN AFTER USING THE EXTRA POINTS* I EARNED FROM ZUMBA (where is my embarrassed smiley?!?) I still lost another 1lb!!

This plan is the best thing I have ever seen. I want to tell everyone about it SO much, but I can't.... and the members in my meeting just need it, they need the inspiration....  Just another month to go.... ish!

*The new innovation will not use any version of Points terminology!

Week 38 - Savvy Shopping

This week's meeting topic is all about being "savvy" in your shopping habits (hehe, I always think about Johnny Depp in 'Pirates of the Caribbean' when I read that word!)

The idea behind this is to 1) see how the members avoid the pitfalls of shopping without a plan! and 2) give and share our tips for not falling prey to BOGOFS and special offers, or if we do, what happens to all the food/drink? Things like that.

I turned my shopping table - normally in a sort of curve around the corner of the meeting room - into 2 shopping aisles with special offers (Buy 3 for £5, and half price cookbooks!) on the ends of the aisles. The members all commented on how they liked this layout! It worked well at this meeting, not sure how it will fit in the room on Saturday.

We then did an "impulse buy" by the "till" of the product of the week - the Menu Planner - which, strangely, nobody bought, even though we really said how great they were.

Then (and I need to credit a fellow Leader for this idea) we used Supermarket slogans and catchphrases and turned them around to help us with our shopping planning, and also to link back to our WeightWatchers journeys as a whole. For example:

ASDA - POCKET THE DIFFERENCE. Put your Points Calculator in your pocket before you go to the shops and you'll be able to see the difference in what you're buying before you get home and it's too late! Do a shopping list before you go and you won't buy more than you need when you get there, saving you money - pocket the difference with Monthly Pass!!!

TESCO - EVERY LITTLE HELPS. (A lot of these came back to the same thing) I always talk about small steps, changing one thing at a time... so change a small thing like eat before you go shopping so you're not tempted by the food as you go. Plan a menu each week, so you can make a shopping list of JUST the things you want.

ALDI - SPEND A LITTLE, LIVE A LOT. Spend a little time looking through the Shop Guide (or on eSource) choosing your favourite foods / drinks to have as treats and find the lowest Points alternatives. That way when you get there, you know what you're looking for and when you get home you know what you've got in the house and how many Points there are in those things that you love... You're not depriving yourself - you're "Living" but you're spending very few Points too!

MORRISON'S - THE NATION'S FAVOURITE. This was in there just to emphasise the fact that WeightWatchers IS the nation's (and in fact, the world's) favourite - and leading - weight loss service. It is the Gold Standard in weight loss.

and my personal favourite:

MARKS & SPENCERS - THIS IS NOT JUST FOOD..... Losing weight, particularly with WeightWatchers, is not just about food. It's about our four-way approach. You need to eat healthily, up your activity levels, change your behaviour and get support - from home, from meetings, from fellow members.

I linked in with this last one because next week it's all about Saboteurs (my least favourite topic) but support is SO important. If you find something hard to do WITH support, imagine how hard it would be without.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Worst Kept Secret....EVER!

There are a lot of emails flying around between leaders at the moment, about how all the members seem to know about the new innovation coming into effect. Some are mentioning the date, some even mentioning it by name!!

It seems everybody is doing very well at feigning innocence and ignorance, but it still makes one wonder how all these members know so much already?

I guess I'm quite lucky that nobody has asked me yet.... I've been asked about the guide books, pedometers, scales etc being out of stock, but I've just said that they're being re-branded and re-marketed - only a little white lie really!

However, we're all going to be "teasing" our current members soon enough (after the training in October") so I say let them think whatever they like!


So I was talking about exercise in my last post, and how you have to find something you really love.

I think I finally have. Having tried everything - walking, running, step aerobics, all sorts of DVDs, even the Wii Fit - a friend of mine (who had lost over 100lbs on WeightWatchers and is now pregnant with her fourth child) recommended Zumba to me. This was a while ago, but I had been absolutely determined to try it.

Three weeks ago, literally the day before the first class, I booked it and went. I spent the entire hour exhausted, sweating and smiling and laughing the whole way through - something which I can't remember EVER doing with any kind of exercise before.

If you haven't heard of Zumba, here is the official site: It's a fitness workout for sure, but the great thing is, you don't know you're doing it!! You are dancing the whole time and it's incorporating all sorts of different dance styles and rhythms. We do hip hop, belly dancing, flamenco, latin, merengue, Bollywood, reggae, slow and fast...

Here are a few examples of songs we dance to:

I definitely recommend this to everyone who likes a dance. Leave your inhibitions at the door - it's VERY freeing! - and don't worry about any wobbly bits, they'll soon go! I've dropped a jeans size already in 3 weeks, which is no mean feat when I am more or less at goal weight!


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Eat Less, Move More = Lose Weight.

That's our WeightWatchers ethos simplified into a little nutshell.

Can't see that ever becoming an advertising slogan(!) but basically, that is what we're aiming for. It's not that simple, to which I can attest, but these are the two things we need to really stick to in order to keep at our goal weight for life....

"Eat Less" - Weight loss happens when we take in less calories than we burn on a daily basis (calorie deficit). In order for this to happen, we need to eat less. Simple as. There are other slimming clubs which say "eat as much as you like of this food - as it's 'free' so you can", but although it may be 'free' on their plan, some people have trouble controlling the amount of food they eat, so telling them to keep eating as much as they like is not helpful, surely? Eventually even 'free' vegetables eaten in total abundance can put weight on a person. I used to eat pasta until it came out of my ears because it was classed as a 'free' food on a certain day. It didn't help me to learn control. I was never a particularly unhealthy eater, I just always ate TOO MUCH.

"Move More" - Getting your body moving is good for you. Even if you simply do SOMETHING more than you would normally do each day, like going to the upstairs toilet every day instead of the downstairs one, or walking to get the kids from school rather than driving.... a little goes a long way and exercise keeps your heart, body and mind healthy. I will freely admit that I lost the majority of my weight without lifting my bum off the sofa. I was slim, but I wasn't remotely fit. I wanted to change that, so I began training for the Race for Life this year, which I completed (running at a steady pace) but I didn't enjoy running really, so I'm doing something else now!! Which reminds me - if you're going to some proper exercise make sure it's something you enjoy!

A New Dawn....

On September 5th, I went to my very first WeightWatchers Leader Conference in Newcastle (upon-Tyne!) On this particular Sunday, it was only for my Region - region one - but I still got into the room and suddenly was very aware of the scale of the company I work with. Self-employed or not, I am part of something so huge and I'm very proud to be a part of it!

Anyway, Conference happens once every two years and is the time when awards are given out, such as long service awards, Diamond Leader awards and the very prestigious Jean Nidetch award. It is also the time when the new "innovation" is revealed to the Leaders across the country. (At the moment, this blog is set to private so I will be saying what I think and revealing how I'm getting on with said new innovation, but just in case I've got the settings wrong, I won't give anything major away!!)

Two years ago, it was the launch of the Discover Plan. Before I became a Leader and, from a member point of view, this was, a great updating of the programme. I really enjoyed the Points/Core flexibility of the Switch plan, but Discover was fantastic for me, combining the best elements of both.

But THIS??? Well let me tell you.... they have truly outdone themselves with this one. The biggest change since Points were introduced 15 years ago. A total re-vamp of everything. It will mean forgetting everything you know (well not EVERYTHING, but the core elements!) and starting from scratch - a fresh start for everyone, members AND Leaders alike!

There is a completely new found freedom with this new plan. They have made it more flexible, more liveable and, most importantly, much more up-to-date than ever - it fits in with current science and everything that is known about nutrition, which has changed SO much in the last 10 years. It has been in development for the last three years, and has had clinical trials, been rigorously tested and has even been in place for almost a year in Europe so there's no doubt it works!!

As always, the Leaders have to "live" the new plan to really get to know it inside and out before they can give it to their members. So I have been doing that for the last 3 weeks. So far, I've lost 5.5lbs! It's like being a totally new member again! I'm loving it so much!

I just want to tell my members now, but I CAN'T!!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

My Weight-LOSS Journey

So my last post ended as I joined my first WeightWatchers meeting!! This was in the very last week of September 2007.

I remember buying all the tools that were available to me. I joined Monthly Pass so I was saving money AND it ensured I would go each week, I bought the essentials pack with all the guide books and a 12 week track book (all of which I found recently), lots of chocolate bars and crisps with low Points values which were only available in the meeting and then I sat down to my first meeting to learn what was going on.

I was made to feel very welcome and enjoyed my first meeting, even though it went by in a bit of a blur and set about my first week on WeightWatchers feeling inspired and knowing that this time I could and WOULD do it.

My first week, I lost 6lbs, which was a great start. (Not everybody has a start like that, and it doesn't mean that it isn't working - it is all down to how your body works) and then I was off. Not long after, seeing my success, my mum joined the same meeting and began to lose weight very successfully too.

As I reached the milestone of losing 10% of my goal weight, my leader took a photograph of me and sent it off to WeightWatchers magazine. A little while later I received a phonecall from them, inviting me to London to be the first person in their new feature "We're on our way!" about people along their weight loss journeys (rather than just those at goal). So in January 2008, I travelled down, was interviewed, had my hair, style and make-up done, photographs taken and appeared in the May 2008 issue of the magazine!

I was very focussed and also, I think, very lucky that I didn't have any hugely tricky situations such as holidays to contend with. I managed to navigate my birthday, and Christmas, but that was all I had to plan for (and I did plan... and track... and point!) Let's say I took the "straight down the motorway" route as I say to my members!

I did have the odd wobble, and I had the odd tantrum as well when I'd be within half a pound of a major milestone, like a shiny 7 award or my 50lbs certificate and even my goal weight! In fact, the week before I achieved my goal weight, I actually broke down at the scales - the reason for which I believe can be attributed to what came next!!

On 15th July 2008, I stood on the scales (with my trousers on the floor next to me!!) half a pound UNDER the goal weight I had set for myself, at 12st and half a pound - a total loss of 65lbs!! My leader had popped a party popper and was crying and hugging me! I was crying and so happy!! (And very relieved too as I was going on holiday the following week!)

In the weeks that followed I maintained for a couple of weeks, and then whilst on holiday in France, I managed to gain 11lbs!! My leader nearly collapsed, but I reassured her that there was a reason!!

On July 14th 2008 (the day before I reached goal) I had taken a pregnancy test which was positive! So I was pregnant when I got to goal!!! But I didn't tell her or my fellow members for a few weeks, because pregnant people aren't allowed in meetings and I wanted to get to the "safe" point before I left.

Throughout my pregnancy with Harriet, I put into practice everything I'd learned at WeightWatchers. I didn't deprive myself or my growing baby, but I tried to exercise control and to eat healthily as much as possible. As a result, I didn't put four stone on as I was panicking that I would, just 2.5 stone.

Also, during this period whilst I was pregnant, WeightWatchers magazine and I had another first!! I was the first visibly pregnant woman (apart from the CocoaButter ad woman!) to appear in their magazine - in a feature with the rest of my family and my leader, who between us have lost over 17stone!!

**Pictures to come**

In the January of 2009 (before Harriet was born in March) WeightWatchers introduced the Discover Plan and I was keen to get started on it. I got all the information I needed and started almost as soon as I had given birth. And by the time Harriet had her 6 week check, I had already lost 19lbs (some of this being post-baby fluid weight). At this point, I promised myself that I would get back to goal and then I would become a Leader, something I had been inspired to do by MY leader.

I lost 40lbs this time in total, and applied to become a leader. I was accepted and did my training almost straight away and started running 2 meetings in January 2010 - arguably the hardest time to start in the year, plus it was made more difficult by all the snow this year!

I have now been a Leader for almost 9 months. Some days I love it so much, some days I am stressed beyond belief!! But nothing compares to that feeling of seeing the joy on a member's face when they've lost weight and remembering how it felt for me.

My Weight-Gain Journey

I have struggled with my weight ever since about my 4th year at secondary school (when I was about 13). I went to boarding school, and so had all my meals there. I ate a LOT. I guess it was when puberty hit me that I started to gain weight - maybe I was craving more food? Or maybe it was just readily available. (We also had a tuck shop, where I worked and they paid me in food! GREAT!)

Anyway, I got steadily heavier and heavier because I ate more and one day I remember being in a toilet stall and looking down to see some pretty horrific stretch marks on my stomach. They were very dark red and looked like something very horrible had happened. I went to another slimming club at this point, weighed in at around 13st 11, lost about 40lbs pretty quickly to get to my target weight, but I wasn't happy with their maintenance plan and I quite quickly put it a lot of it back on again, this all coinciding with meeting/moving in with/breaking up with a man and eating more again - simply put I lost control.

I didn't really think about my weight too much after that. I wasn't particularly happy with my weight, but I wasn't depressed about it either. I met my husband (to be!) in January 2001, and we married in 2003... I didn't look particularly overweight on my wedding day - I don't know what size my dress was as it was custom made.

However, on the weight crept again. We all had another go at the "other" slimming club, but by this point I had tried it so many times, that I was convinced (as so many of us are) that I could do it alone.

I couldn't. I lost a few pounds, but nothing to write home about, and the meetings were less than inspiring - the "image therapy" part going on for ever, and each meeting lasting at LEAST an hour (not including the weigh in) Sometimes we weren't getting home until around 9pm.

In August 2006 I became pregnant with our first daughter Penny. The NHS don't routinely weigh pregnant women now except at the first booking-in appointment. At MY booking-in, I weighed in at 15st 7lbs. I couldn't quite believe it. I am 5'8.5" so reasonably tall, and all my weight is carried in my trunk really, but I had never imagined I would be that heavy. Throughout my pregnancy, I didn't worry about what I was eating, although I wasn't too unhealthy, and after I had given birth by Caesarian section, I weighed in again and found I had only gained about 6lbs throughout the entire thing (as overweight women tend to do)

STILL I did nothing. At Penny's baptism four months later, my dad and my brother took a lot of pictures. My before picture (which is now my official "leader" before picture!) was my last straw picture. (You can see it on the side of this blog. I was so shocked at what I saw, I knew I had to do something, but I just couldn't face going back to the previous slimming club again.

My sister-in-law's sister was a WeightWatchers leader and said "why don't you come to one of my meetings?" I always used to swear that I'd never weigh and point everything, but a change is always as good as a rest, so I decided to give it a try.

The next Tuesday I went, signed up and found out my weight was 16st9.5lbs. How I didn't break down there and then I don't know......

A little about me

So... the reason I'm starting this blog is to keep on top of everything I'm up to at the moment in the world of WeightWatchers.

The reason it is private for now, is because there is something very special happening and we're not allowed to spill the beans just yet, but I want to blog about it so it's staying under wraps until everything has been revealed!

I won't be mentioning any members of my meetings (or the meetings themselves) by name unless anyone gives me permission to do so.

And let's just see how often I keep THIS blog up to date!!