Year 1: My Story
Little more than a year ago, I learned from a doctor’s visit that I weighed at least 20 pounds more than I had ever weighed. At that moment, I decided to make the change because I was struggling with breathing and I wasn’t sleeping well. A few days later, I committed myself to Weight Watchers (it wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time I did it seriously) and chose August 8 as my starting date. 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 Weight Watchers Year 1, I’ve realized just how much my life has changed over the last year beyond the weight loss.
Year 1 Face Changes – Starting Weight, 6 Months, 1 Year
Starting the Journey
I logged onto my Weight Watchers 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 spending almost $50 a month on Weight Watchers. 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.
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.
Year 1 – Body Changes, Starting Weight, 6 Months, 1 Year
Year 1 Results:
Since that last Saturday in September, I have lost another 40 pounds which makes me pretty happy. More importantly, I haven’t missed a meeting at all, attending meetings even while on vacation in California in December, May, and July (not as good as my own, but it keeps me accountable and ensures I step on the scale). In total, I’ve lost 58.3 pounds over the last 365 days, averaging a little more than 1.1 pounds a week.
The thing that has helped me more than anything else in this journey is the fact that 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, it’s a single data point during the 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 it was for me to stay the course even in the weeks where I didn’t see results because I know that I’ve reset and that the next Saturday is a chance to see a better data point. I survived Year 1 because I knew from the start that it was going to take years to get where I want to be.
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’ve lost 15 pounds since that reset.
Year 1 Non-Scale Victories:
One of the biggest surprises of my journey is how much I’ve come to value non-scale victories (NSVs), even the most simple ones. I’m looking back on my journey, and it’s those simple ones that are just as notable as the bigger ones.
Some NSVs I tracked:
- 10K steps a day (week 2)
- giving away a 9 SP bag of nuts (week 4)
- my bath sheet wrapped almost entirely around me (week 7)
- walked without feeling out of breath (week 8)
- 63 resting BPM (week 8)
- underwear, jeans, bathing suit significantly looser (week 14)
- moved my Apple watch to the 3rd hole from the 2nd hole (week 17)
- bought size 26 pants (week 27ish)
- moved my Apple watch to the 4th hole from the 3rd hole (week 30ish)
- bought size 2x ladies shirts at Disneyland off the rack (and fit into them right away) – (week 35ish)
- bought size 5 in Torrid leggings/already wearing size 4 within a month (week 35ish)
- went down half a shoe size (week 44)
- wearing 22/24 T-shirts that I bought back in May, expecting not to wear them for at least six months
- so close to moving my Apple watch to the 5th hole (I can do it, but it’s still just a little too tight for daily wear)
- all pants I own fall off me – I now have to wear a belt with almost every pair of pants I own
- 55 resting BPM
- walk 15K at least 2-3 times a week, occasionally hitting 25K without Disneyland inflating my numbers
Year 2 Goals:
With the close of Year 1 and the start of year 2, I’m determined to keep my health going in the right direction, but with some added goals that will hopefully be more achievable.
- Lose 100 pounds total (down 40 in year 2)
- Make the gym an actual habit (2-3 times a week) rather than pushing the goal further off
- 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
- Participate in a 5 K (walk or run) by next April
- Limit my eating out to less than five times a week
Perhaps most importantly, I hope to continue on the path of success that my Year 1 journey has taken me on so far. It’s much less about the weight and much more about remaining healthy and building up my physical endurance.
Drop a note in the comments below to let me know how your health journey is going and what you’d like to achieve in the next year.