After 20 months on Weight Watchers, I wanted to share my reflections on my WW experience because it is such an essential part of my quest to find balance these days.
WW Reflections: My Story
Almost 2 years ago, I learned from a doctor’s visit that I was the heaviest I’d ever been. At that moment, I decided to make the change because breathing became noticeably difficult when active. A few days later, I committed myself to WW. It wasn’t the first time, but it’s the first time I’ve taken it seriously.
On August 8, 2017, I stepped on the scale and watched as the blue lighted numbers came up: 343.9. The number was worse than I had expected (more than 30 pounds over my highest weight up to that point). In my reflections on the first year of WW, I’ve realized just how much my life has changed over the two years beyond the weight loss.
WW Year 1 Face Changes – Starting Weight, 6 Months, 1 Year
Starting the Journey:
I logged onto my WW account (inactive since 2015) and signed up for the online plan, opting to give myself a couple of months to get used to the program before I committed to going to WW meetings. As I adjusted to the plan and what I could eat and could not eat and what a blue dot was, I committed and stepped on the scale after a week, shedding 8.6 pounds (most of which was probably water weight). The change and the ease with which I found staying on the plan made it easier for me to commit to the three months I had paid.
The First Weeks:
During those first weeks, I focused on blue dots more than anything else and can count on one hand the number of days I missed. At the same time, I also used Connect on the Weight Watchers app to find a supportive community and learn other hacks like whys and non-scale victories. I built a bullet journal specifically for taking control of my eating and finding balance, tracking my whys and my non-scale victories. I put up progress photos every week on Connect. These tools were essential to getting me through the first few weeks (and my first plateau in week 5 and my first gain in week 6), but I also wanted to take it to the next level by week 7 and try out meetings.
After asking for a diverse meeting in Boston on Connect, someone recommended a Saturday meeting. Waking up bright and early one Saturday morning, I navigated the transit system and arrived to try out the meeting. I looked around the room and fell in love with the diversity of the group and the warmth of my leader and the community. My decision seemed made until I learned that Weight Watchers makes it super difficult to join in person. Ugh, I had to call before I could officially enroll due to my online account. By the time the next Saturday rolled around, I was committed to meetings and stepped on my first official Weight Watchers scale. As it turns out, I lost 18.1 pounds over the first two months.
WW Year 1 – Body Changes, Starting Weight, 6 Months, 1 Year
WW Reflections: Year 1
Since that last Saturday in September, I had lost another 40 pounds before my anniversary date in August 2018. More importantly, I haven’t missed a meeting at all, attending meetings even while on vacation in California. They aren’t as good as my own, but it keeps me accountable and ensures I step on the scale. In total, I lost 58.3 pounds over the first year, averaging a little more than 1.1 pounds a week.
Grace has helped me more than anything else during this journey. I gave myself grace from the first moment I started. I decided practically from the first day that I wasn’t going to dwell on the number on the scale. As my leader points out, the scale gives me a single data point during the long journey. The grace I’ve given myself over and over again this year has unquestionably been a form of self-care, one that I take very seriously.
I cannot stress enough how much easier grace kept me on track even in the weeks where I didn’t see results. Knowing that the next Saturday potentially means a better data point makes the journey more manageable. I survived Year 1 because I knew from the start that it might take years to get to a healthier place.
Challenges and Surprises:
There have been many weeks and periods of time where the data points were progressing in the direction that I wanted. The biggest problem has been adjusting to Freestyle – I lost 15 points in the great purge of points, an adjustment that took several months to reach. It hasn’t always been easy to stay on plan, but it was surprising to me that even when I took a break from tracking in February and March, I remained mindful and mostly maintained during that time. I spent those two months gaining and losing the same 5 pounds before doing a hard reset in mid-March and finally dropping below 300 for the first time in ages. That hard reset worked pretty well, and I lost 15 pounds since that reset between then and August 2018.
WW Reflections on Year 2 Progress:
However, the scale absolutely refused to move much from August 2018 to February 2019. I went back and forth with the same 5 pounds for six months or so. Part of it was my depression which hit particularly hard from June through the end of December. I struggled much less with the scale during these months as I was trying to survive my mental health. The other reason: my body was changing even if the scale wasn’t. I dropped 3-4 sizes between September and March 2019 in spite of that pesky 5 pounds.
The plateau ended in March 2019 for several reasons.
- First, I spent December through February focused on getting my depression under control through therapy, medication, and resolving family issues.
- Secondly, I participated in our work step challenge (which included several forms of activity) and saw amounts of activity I had never seen before. I averaged 25K steps per day. In fact, I won the step challenge by 200K steps worth of activity. I happily scored a free 60-minute massage.
- Thirdly, I really focused on eating better in March and achieving blue dots during the week.
As you can see from this list, I generally spent a ton of time in the first quarter of the year, focusing on the three pillars of WW: food, activity, and mindset. Overall, I lost 9 pounds in the last four weeks as a result (and another clothing size).
WW Reflections on Year 2 Goals: 8 Months Later
With the close of Year 1 and the start of year 2, I stayed determined to keep my health going in the right direction. In Year 2, I updated my goals to more achievable ones. These are the goals I set with individual updates.
- Lose 100 pounds total (down 40 in year 2)
- 4/6/19 – I’m down 69.3 pounds, down 11 pounds in year 2.
- Make the gym an actual habit (2-3 times a week) rather than pushing the goal further off
- 4/6/19 – Since early January, I’ve done water fitness 3 times a week.
- Do a better job of controlling my weekends since I don’t do a hard reset on the week until Monday even though I weigh in on Saturday.
- 4/6/19 – My Sundays have improved, but I could definitely more mindful.
- Participate in a 5 K (walk or run) by next April
- 4/6/19 – This won’t happen this month, but I’m hoping to do it by the end of 2019.
- Limit my eating out to less than five times a week
- 4/6/19 – This also hasn’t happened, but in my quest for better financial self-care, it will be a priority over the next three months.
Perhaps most importantly, I hope to continue my so far successful journey. As I’ve learned and showed, my journey demonstrates that my priority remains healthy habits, not just weight loss.
Drop a note in the comments below to let me know about your health journey and what you’d like to achieve in the next year.