Not Sorry for Wanting to Change

by Emmy on January 11, 2016

scale with measuring tape

This evening as I finished off a bag of marshmallows that only just came into the house a short while ago, I was reminded of the problems I have with food. Once again I was feeling an awful sense of defeat, and at the same time knowing that I will continue to work at this until I make a change. It also made me think about a new trend I’m seeing.

Oprah’s announcement of purchase, and subsequent marking of Weight Watchers has opened her up to a whole new level of criticism. I don’t need to defend the mighty O, because she’s proven time and again that she can handle her own. But the criticism she’s receiving is opening my eyes to people who seem to want to judge you for needing the help of a program. Even more than that, judgment for wanting a different body than the one you’re currently sporting.

Now, I’m all about loving yourself as you are. You’ve got to get to a place where you love yourself in any shape or size before you’ll be able to make any lasting changes. But loving yourself as you are doesn’t mean you have to want to stay exactly as you are. That’s true of any aspect of your life, including how you look. I’ve been seeing a lot of comments about how Oprah has spent so much time telling people to be authentic, and live their best life, and how they’re disappointed that she’s endorsing something from the diet industry, and suggesting that she’s somehow not good enough because she feels trapped in an overweight body.

If you want to be disappointed in her…fine. I doubt she cares. But this is one area where I can truly relate to her. I don’t have her money, or the experiences she has had. I’ll never know what it’s like to be famous, or meet the people she’s met. But the feeling of being trapped in your body is something I can relate to. I know what it feels like to look i the mirror and take stock of your accomplishments, but still feel like you’ve failed. I know what it’s like to be totally out of control with food. To eat to a point where you’re sick, and only because it temporarily soothed some other problem in my life. I know how it feels to not want to go out and be around other people because you don’t like how you look. You can think you’re the most amazing person in the world, but still want something to change. I get where she’s coming from, and I don’t think the criticism of those feelings is fair.

I’m not going to feel sorry for wanting to change my body. I don’t think Oprah should feel sorry either. I don’t think wanting to conquer this part of our lives means that we aren’t loving ourselves, or being authentic. I don’t think it means that we are bowing down to societies standards of beauty, and think we must look a certain way. I think Oprah long ago accepted that her body wasn’t going to look the way a fashion models body looks. I know I’ve accepted that fact too. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting the best body you can have. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, or with wanting to feel confident.

Oprah has found a tool in Weight Watchers just like I did. We’ve accepted that we are not people who can easily make healthy decisions. Trust me, I’d love to be one of those women who eats mindfully, and can always choose a healthy balance for her body. But I’m not. I might not ever be either. I hope with time, with self love, and with work on the issues that impact my weight, I can be one of those people. I believe Oprah would probably want that for herself as well.

But I’m not there yet, and I’m not going to feel sorry. I’m going to find tools, just like Oprah has, to help me on this journey. I’m going to admit when I need help, and seek it out. Wanting change, and needing help to get there doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It’s my belief that self love really means recognizing who you are and giving yourself the tools to succeed in whatever you desire. Your tools may be different than mine….and that’s nothing to be sorry about.

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The New Weight Watchers

by Emmy on December 14, 2015

feet on scale

I’ve written about my love/hate relationship with Weight Watchers in the past. After struggling to lose weight on my own, I decided to join again. I’m in my tenth week since I joined and I’m down 10.8 pounds. That’s great right? It is for me. I feel so much better, clothes fit better, I feel more in control in general. All should be well. It’s not though. Last Sunday they rolled out their new Smart Points program. Despite an enormous amount of technical difficulties, I was able to start tracking in the new app. I assumed this meant that the change to the program was largely superficial as it generally is each year. Every December they make some sort of change to keep things fresh, and encourage new enrollments. Rarely is it anything big that requires you to purchase all new materials. It’s usually just cosmetic and small tweaks. The last major change they made was their switch from Points to PointsPlus.

As it turns out, it wasn’t a small change, it was a huge change. One of my biggest complaints about WW was that it was too easy to lose weight by eating a lot of processed foods. I felt that members could live on pre-packaged dinners and still lose weight, and I knew that was the goal that WW had for it’s members. So, when I heard that SmartPoints would steer people away from that I was excited. But the thing I love about WW is that I’ve always been able to work it into my life. I’ve never felt like I was on a diet, or that I couldn’t find a reasonable choice in a difficult situation. Kids want ice cream? OK, they can get a sundae, but I can still make it work with a small cone. I also liked that WW worked for me as a vegetarian. People often think that vegetarians are stick figures who need to eat more, but vegetarian’s can make a lot of unhealthy choices and still avoid meat. WW helped me be a better vegetarian.

This article gives a breakdown of all of the changes that come with SmartPoints. They sound fantastic right? Well let me put it into perspective from my day on the plan so far. I eat nearly the same foods all the time. I do that partly because I like them, and partly because I like not having to really think about meals. They work for me, and while there are variations, I can use my day as an example because it’s usually very similar. Since rejoining, I’ve only gained one week, and lost all of the other weeks at a reasonable 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. So, PointsPlus was working for me. I’d use my daily points every day, about 1/2 to 2/3 of my weekly points, and none of my activity points. On PointsPlus I had 29 daily points, and 49 weekly points. With SmartPoints I have 30 daily, and 42 weekly. Apparently I’m lucky, because some people have almost no weekly points.

So let’s get to my food today…

Breakfast – Nearly every day my breakfast consists of 1/2 cup of rolled oats (not instant, just plain oats), 2 Tbsp’s of raisins, 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one medium apple.

Snack – I usually have a piece of regular string cheese as a snack

Lunch – I make a big batch of soup that includes kidney beans, pinto beans, corn, diced tomatoes, onions, a bell pepper, mushrooms, and some spices and eat a serving for lunch. I also had the generic equivalent of a Fiber One brownie. I know that fruit would have been a better choice, but I felt like this was a small treat and not much harm in the overall scheme of my day. Again, it’s why WW has been working. I could have that without guilt.

Snack – I often have veggies and hummus, but got busy and had another piece of string cheese.

At this point on PointsPlus I would generally have about 10 points left for dinner. I felt like I could probably make some improvements to those meals, but overall that was a good day before coming into dinner time. It’s a far cry healthier than I used to eat for sure, and still let me have a little treat. So where am I on SmartPoints with these foods? I have 3 points left for dinner. Yes, 3 points! I ventured over to the WW Facebook page to see what others are saying and not a lot of people are happy. This is especially true for vegetarian members. Lean protein went down in points. So now you can eat chicken and tuna all day, and still have lots of room for your tiny 4 point brownie. But if you don’t eat meat, you’re kind of screwed. Beans went up, rice went up, quinoa went up. Meat substitutes went down, but I don’t really consider them a better choice than beans. All of the foods that were delivering a consistent weight loss are now out of budget for me even though they’re really not unhealthy. Sure, I could drop that brownie, and I’ve been wanting to give up dairy so the cheese could go. But neither of those things are awful choices that I should feel bad about making. However, eliminating them would have meant a 10 point savings in my day on SmartPoints. The responses from Weight Watchers to comments about the plan have all been that you can eat more lean protein, and still fit the higher point things into your plan. That’s true if you eat meat. Tuna is now 1 point per serving. But beans are now 3, so there’s no tweaking for me.

Weight Watcher’s biggest draw has always been that it is something you can work into everyday life. I spoke to a co-worker whose wife has lost a lot of weight on PointsPlus. He said once a year she eats a piece of cheesecake around Christmas while she shops with her mother. That piece was 11 points and something she could plan for and work into her plan easily. On SmartPoints it’s now 27 points and more than eliminates her weekly points, as she has far fewer than I do. This means she either eats it anyway, and cuts into her whole week in a major way, or she opts not to eat it, and feels left out of a tradition.

One leader I spoke to said that in test groups people have lost more weight on this plan than any other. I totally believe that, but I don’t believe that it is at all sustainable. There are people in this world who eat perfect, and a processed food never touches their lips. But for the majority of people who seek out a program like WW this is not something they can do, or they wouldn’t be there. They need something that helps them make better choices, while still allowing them to feel like they don’t have to give up every food they’ve ever enjoyed.

In an effort to not be totally negative, I’ll reiterate that I like the fact that they’re trying to steer people towards whole foods. I also like that they’ve changed how they look at activity. They want you to set goals with that as well, but not necessarily exercise just to earn more points for food. They’re also really trying to take the focus off the scale, and move towards an overall feeling of wellness.

But let’s be honest, people walking in that door almost always need help learning how to make livable changes. I don’t think SmartPoints will help them reach that long term. I’m struggling with where I should go with the program from here.

Have you tried SmartPoints yet? What do you think of the changes?

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MealEnders Review and Giveaway!

December 9, 2015

I have a major sweet tooth! At the end of every meal, even if I’ve eaten past the point of feeling satisfied, I’m looking for something sweet. This can pose a problem, because I’m just needlessly consuming calories that I don’t need out of habit. Recently the fine folks over at MealEnders sent me all […]

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I Quit the Gym and Workout More!

November 24, 2015

I really love lifting weights. Because I love lifting, I am one of those people who actually enjoys going to the gym most of the time. But, I recently quit my gym, and an odd thing happened…I started working out more!  I was going to a really cheap gym so that I wouldn’t feel guilty if I […]

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Everything in Moderation Right?

October 27, 2015

I recently posted a link to an article over on my Facebook page, about the announcement that processed and red meats are as bad for you as smoking. I shared the article because it was pretty balanced, and gave the facts of the announcement. As a vegetarian, I never enjoy sensationalized headlines about the effects […]

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Oprah Joins Weight Watchers

October 25, 2015

Even if you’re not a Weight Watchers member, you’ve probably heard that Oprah recently purchased 10% of the company. Not only that, she will be on their board, and serve as an adviser. There’s not been any real mention yet about how much endorsement she will be giving publicly, but it’s very important to note […]

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Book Review: It Was Me All Along

September 15, 2015

I recently finished reading It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell and thought I’d share my thoughts on it with you. This book was suggested to me by a woman I used to see at Weight Watchers meetings. She had been following the authors blog, and said that she really liked the book, […]

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Freekeh Review and Giveaway

September 10, 2015

The great people over at Freekeh Foods sent me a few packages of their product to try out, and let me tell you, you’re going to want to get your hands on this stuff! What is Freekeh you ask? “Freekeh is an ancient roasted grain that is a great improvement to rice or other grains. It […]

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#LoveBulu Bulu Box Review

August 30, 2015

As a proud member of the #SweatPink community, I was recently given the opportunity to review a Bulu Box. Bulu Box is a health and fitness subscription box that contains four or five samples each month. It is designed to let you try new products before you buy them. Once you have tried the products […]

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Melissa McCarthy’s New Clothing Line

August 19, 2015

News of actress Melissa McCarthy’s new clothing line is all over my Facebook news feed right now. Her line Melissa McCarthy Seven7 will range in sizes from four to 28. She says that her reason for creating the line is that she’s tired of women’s retailers ignoring the fact that the majority of women wear […]

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