Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weight Watchers & Steroids

I attended my second Weight Watchers meeting last night. According to their scales I am down one pound since my last weigh in with them - and their reading of 179 pounds is exactly what my weigh in at the hospital was on Tuesday night. So, we are all on the same page, or, well, should I say on the same weight???!!!

The meeting was packed - it is a very large group. We celebrated some successes: 5 pounds, 15 pounds and obtaining goal weight. It was nice to outwardly and publicly recognize people who are succeeding on program. (more on that later!) The main topic of the meeting was on tracking and the difference between journalling everything you eat and the simply satisfied strategy. I am a tracker - and I NEED to be a tracker - so, the meeting simply helped me to further commit to writing down EVERYTHING I eat and drink. By tracking and documenting and portion control, I think my weight loss will continue.

The team leader, while not super thin, was very energetic, encouraging and enthusiastic. I enjoyed her style and look forward to our next meeting.

Two side bars:

  1. My co-Weight Watcher joining friend had a GREAT first week - she lost 3 pounds!!! Ya for DC!!!!!! (hope you do not mind a call out in this forum!!!!) LOVE YA! See you tonight for our walk!

  2. I mentioned my blog at the meeting last night - hello all new Fringe Walkers - Welcome! It felt a bit strange to publicly mention and give the url of my blog to basically a room of strangers - but I look forward to meeting new Fringe readers and sharing, learning and loosing together!

Ok - now, back to my post for today.

Did you see my title? Confused? No, Weight Watchers is not pushing steroids! No, when I applied, interviewed and accepted a spot in my Weight Management program I figured the 2 hour weekly meetings would be like Weight Watchers' meeting - only kind of like WW Meetings on Steroids. I was excited - I am an extrovert and thrive on group discussion and such.

As I mentioned the other day, I only have one more weekly session for my program - then I have 6 additional sessions. Overall, I am very disappointed in the weekly sessions. Over the last 25 weeks I have committed to the program and have not missed one session. I have learned new strategies and have taken new lessons from many of the sessions - but overall, I found the sessions unprofessional and basically lame.

Initially, I was super excited about having sessions by a behaviour specialist, a nutritionist, and an exercise specialist. Very quickly, it was apparent that the nutritionist was the MVP of this group of professionals. The behaviour specialist was very nice, knowledgeable, and able to draw on her own experiences on the product - but she lacked a dynamic feature that the Weight Watcher leaders I have seen so far seem to have in over abundance. The sessions did not have a structured flow and I felt like much time was wasted on pop-culture items such as Oprah and here weight struggles. I also found that the behaviour specialist, while very friendly and empathetic to our struggles was too concerned about being politically correct and should have been a bit more stronger in preaching concrete weight loss strategies and habits.

I was utterly disappointed in the exercise component of the program - perhaps since I have always been active - but just the same, the young, perky gal was a bit of a flutter-cake who did not deliver any of the exercise examples and programs as she promised. Three sessions were used up, when the content she provided could have been done in one session. I would have liked to have seen one intro to exercise session, one session on defining and sticking to an exercise program and one session on evaluating and setting future goals.

As mentioned, the nutritionist was great. She gave good talks with lots of information. She was very knowledgeable and friendly. I found her very approachable. I enjoyed the session on reading labels and learned so much. I really enjoyed the taste testing session where she made healthy, quick items we got to try. I have suggested they have more sessions like that in the program - one guy in the program just eats cans of beans, and perhaps if we made, tasted and saw food choices he could graduate to other items!!!! I know I always appreciate hands on knowledge gathering on food and cooking items.

Another element that I really like at WW and found lacking at the Weight Management Program was the aspect of celebrating milestones. Unless we discussed our successes, and failures amongst ourselves, the leaders rarely drew attention to our weight losses. Especially while on product, you could see the weight coming off the participants - but there was no class celebrating. I realize this was for a reason, and that Weight Watchers really totes the successes - but it is easier to stay motivated when you know your hard work will be acknowledged. For this reason, I prefer the WW method.

In terms of the doctors - I looked forward to the weekly doctor sessions - though sometimes they were a bit lame. How are you doing? Look at you! WOW. See you next week! This program is toted as "medically supervised" I think more attention should have been paid to our routine blood work and really discussing our weight issues with the doctor, instead of just reviewing scale numbers.

Also, I think a session with a qualified professional - almost like a one-on-one shrink session - would have been a great addition to the program. People could explore their eating issues in confidence and with a professional. I did not feel I could really talk about certain elements of my weight struggle in front of the group. Further more, there was a session when one topic really hit a nerve with another participant and her reaction to the topic screamed for professional help. I am certain some of her eating issues stem from abuse and having a secure, professional therapy session may have helped more than skimming over her issues in the bug group. I for one also would have appreciated the one-on-one time to discuss the more emotional and deep-seated eating issues I have been working on.

Finally, the list of additional information sessions they distributed last week was a joke. The topics covered in Weight Watchers are more concrete and interesting. I have to choose 6 sessions to attend and not one session offered this spring interests me....not sure what I will do!

OK - once again, my post is getting long, and winded. I am not even going to proof read this post since I do not want to keep adding to it!!!!!

Like every program, there are definite pros and cons to The Weight Management Program. Like I said before, I will NEVER regret participating - but I am also ready to move on. I am excited to see what Weight Watchers has to offer...and I am even more excited about keeping focused, keeping committed and succeeding in redefining my eating habits, my relationship with food and loosing more weight!

Almost 67 pounds lost...about 30 more to go!


Lauren said...

Hi Laura,
Way to go with your weight. I would love to talk with you in depth about the change over in eating plans. I have been following you on weight loss, and I am in the process of transition, after having lost 66 lbs. I am about 10 - 15 lbs from goal. I am also a live time member of WW, but opted for HMR as I needed something really drastic. You have opened my mind to other options and not just the HMR program. THANK YOU!!

Kat said...

You are doing so well. I have no doubt you will thrive no matter what program you go with. I know so many people that have had success with Weight Watchers. I hope you really like it.
Like I said, I'm sure you'll do well. :)

Laura said...

Lauren, You are doing great!!!!! The last 10-30 pounds will be the most difficult - that's what I hear! Please feel free to contact me via email and provide your email or phone and I would LOVE to chat and compare notes and strategies!

Keep up the great work!!!!

Kat, thank you. Thank you for all the wonderful encouragement and support. You are the best. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

An important point to note when going food shopping or planning your meal is that there are no foods that contain only a single nutrient, unless it has been processed and refined, as in refined sugar. Just about every natural food contains multiple nutrients, so you have to choose the food by its major content. For example, rice—which is a major carbohydrate food—contains 77% carbohydrates, but also 6% protein, and 1% fat. With beef, depending on which portion, the counts are around 20% protein, anywhere from 5%-30% fat, and negligible carbohydrates.