Hey guys! So I thought I’d write a different kind of post this week. I thought it might be helpful to write a little bit about my diet when I was on Weight Watchers.
If you don’t know how Weight Watchers works, in a nutshell… based on your sex, age and weight, you get issued a number of points per day. Every food then gets assigned a point value too and the goal is to stay within you point limit each day. Simple.
There was also a weekly points allowance that you could dip into if you went over your daily allowance – which was actually a real help to keep me motivated when I went over. And if you exercise, you can gain yourself some more points to use on food or not – that’s up to you.
If I remember correctly, I started on about 50 points per day and as I lost weight, my daily allowance decreased. Not hugely I should add – I think when I finished counting I was on something like 42 points a day.
What these points taught me was basically how to fill up on lots of good foods without going overboard. Fruits and veggies were free (had a zero points value) and lean meats had a low point value. Chocolate bars, crisps and cakes etc have high points values. So for those days that had me craving (coz I have a VERY sweet tooth) it was about finding meals with low points which kept me full, but allowed me to indulge.
I guess that’s what is at the core of any diet: balance. WW is a diet that allows you to eat anything – but that anything has to be in moderation.
That’s why I speak so highly of WW – it isn’t as restrictive as other diets – it’s not based on powders, shakes, bars… it teaches you how to have a healthy relationship with food, whilst still giving you a destination; and that destination at the end of every day is feeling full and satisfied, all the while knowing that you haven’t gone overboard.
Whilst I was on the diet I cooked and ate some different things which I still eat today. I should point out at this point that there’s nothing wrong with carbs – who doesn’t love carbs? But on WW carbs have a high points value. In a way, I was learning how to control my carb intake.
Let’s talk about the two B’s: Butternut Squash and Beans.
I used the butternut squash as a replacement for potatoes in a lot of meals! I used to cube it and cook it with garlic, chilli,tikka massala spices and spinach- it became a lovely side dish to have instead of rice and chips. Or I would roast the cubes with chicken, bacon and sprouts with thyme and lots of pepper. Squash soup was a proper staple. It was my go-to lunch. And instead of bread and butter to dip in, I would use croutons (25g) or I would shred chicken breast and throw that in!
Another staple which has continued passed WW is using canellini beans – you can use beans as a cheat replacement for carbs. Warm them on the hob in their water and eat as they are, warm them through in a dry pan with garlic and thyme and crush them to have a sort of nubbly mash, add them to sauces to bulk out… actually I used to bulk out every meal with veggies or salad. That’s just good practice!
Cooking is key – I was never really into the WW ready meals – they just weren’t enough for me. I am an eater! I preferred to create dishes and cook from fresh ingredients. Having said that…
Cake. Chocolate. Crisps. The three C’s. OK so let’s address these one at a time.
Cake. There’s no such thing as diet-cake. It’s not possible. I tried a bunch of WW recipes and low fat/low sugar recipes which used sweetener instead… I was determined to find a way to have cake but not pile on the lbs. But it turns out, sugar and fat are what make cakes great. If you want cake – eat cake! Have a slice. Have a cupcake. Whatever. Either save your points, exercise and gain enough points to be replaced with the cake, or use less points the next day. Just enjoy it!
Chocolate is love. The biggest tip I have for chocoholics on WW is buy yourself some Miniature Heroes / Quality Street / Roses… these variety boxes of chocolates were a godsend for me! Instead of having a Mars bar for like 9 points, I could have a Twix, Twirl and Mars for 6 points. Bargain. Another tip is biscuits – we Brits love a dunk! Make yourself a cuppa and have a sit down with a biscuit or 2… but that’s it. Leave the packet in the kitchen!
Crisps – the best thing you can do is choose a light variety… Quavers, Skips, French Fries, Sunbites, Baked… They are less points than full fat Walkers. I couldn’t contemplate life without crisps.
OK so I’m going to round this post up soon, I’ve gone on for a while… I just wanted to throw in a couple more tips about WW.
Milk. If you’re not drinking skimmed yet then hop to it. Saves loads of points.
Pop. Diet or Max. Full fat is not an option.
Bread side dishes (Naan / Garlic Bread / Dough Balls etc) If you’re going to have them then remove at least half the carbs on your main plate.
Exercise. Diet is not everything. You will plateau. You will stop losing. You will need to keep changing what you’re doing to keep up your loss. This will mean exercise. I did cardio. Mostly bike and walking. Get yourself Runkeeper and track all of your exercise.
So that’s Weight Watchers. A diet that helped me lose 5 stone. I cannot stress enough how important Weight Watchers was to me back then. I did become a little obsessed but I think to affect an kind of change to your body or mind, you need to become a bit obsessed.