Breaking Up With Weight Watchers via @Ash_and_Diz

And now… I break up with Weight Watchers

I don’t advertise this much on the blog but up until August I was a lifetime Weight Watcher member. I feel like weight loss is such a touchy subject and sometimes I just don’t feel like sharing (or opening the door for criticism).

But now… I am.

I started WW (Weight Watchers) right before my first marathon in 2008. Just 4 months after I got married. I had gained back about 20 lbs of the 40 lbs or so that I had lost before getting married. It worked great for me. I lost weight. I had to change my goal weight a few times to figure out my “sweet spot” (the weight that’s maintainable for me – leaving me happy & healthy). When I finally got to my goal weight – it was like I gave up. I was so sick of tracking and worrying about points. I took a LONG time in maintenance phase – I’d gain a lb, lose a lb, gain 2 lb, lose 3 lb, gain some, lose some. Then, when I managed to get 6 weigh ins at maintenance weight – all hell broke loose. I almost immediately started gaining again. Nothing major, just a few lbs (enough to kick me out of maintenance weight). For those of you who don’t know about WW Lifetime, you only have to weigh in once a month to maintain your status. If you are over your goal weight, you pay the weekly fee. So when I knew it was coming time for me to go weigh in, I’d go CRAZY trying to lose a few lbs. I’d do 2-a-day workouts or runs, longer runs, cutting back food, etc. Which is completely unhealthy behavior. (I’m well aware of how bad that is. It took me a long time to be able to admit it. Let’s not beat a dead horse, mmkay?)

Which is basically what I’ve been doing for the last year. It really pissed my off when I started CrossFit – busting my tail at the box and still trying to run every morning and I still wasn’t losing weight or even maintaining at my goal weight. I’d have some good weeks where I’d track all my food and keep working out, but still wouldn’t lose any weight. I even tried to go PaleoΒ (and still wanted to track WW points – which let me tell you – they are NOT compatible)Β – which lead to my Paileo Fail-eo.

Over the last year I just haven’t been committed to WW. I’ve gone to meetings and just been frustrated with the message I was getting. Hearing other members talk about getting the kids meals at McD’s or Wendy’s – and I just wanted to scream out – WHY are YOU STILL even going to fast food joints? Or when the leaders would talk about exercise – now, in all fairness, the meeting I went to most often was full of elderly ladies – but I had such a hard time getting excited for doing “arms curls with water bottles during TV commercials” – umm, I run (or used to! ha) 30 miles a week and CrossFit 4-5 times a week. Water bottle arm curls ain’t gonna cut it for this girl. Could I have found another meeting time? Yes. But this was the most convenient for my crazy work/gym schedule and I could go during my lunch hour. And after a while the message of getting the most “bang for your buck” regarding foods just feltΒ wrong. We’d all figure out these ways to make foods/meals with as little points as possible, cutting a portions size down by a little bit to subtract a point. I was sick of fat-free, sugar-free, (added) high-fiber foods. The fake chips, fake fruit snacks, fake candy, fiber-one bars, just sick of it.

So I’m breaking up with Weight Watchers.
We’re over.

 

Breaking Up With Weight Watchers via @Ash_and_Diz

 

All that being said, I still believe that Weight Watchers is a wonderful weight loss tool. I DID lose weight on the program. I do like the accountability of weekly weigh ins. They offer a lot of support through meetings and the online forums. And I still believe that food journaling (of some sort) is the best tool to use when trying to lose weight.

But right now, it’s not a good fit for me.

After reading It Starts With Food, I know I’m ready to try something different. I start the Whole Life Challenge on Saturday with Diz and we are both looking forward to seeing some major changes in our bodies (inside and out).

I suppose Weight Watchers and I can still be friendly. We can be civil. I won’t bash them too much as long as they don’t bash the Whole30 or Whole Life Challenge.

 

Who is a WW fan? former fan? Let’s discuss it (nicely) in the comments! πŸ™‚

***disclaimer – I do not claim to be an expert, or have all the answers when it comes to weight loss. I have no background in nutrition (save for the one class in junior college – many, many years ago) or in exercise. I know what works for me (and what doesn’t). Please consult your physician before starting any diet or exercise program.***

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49 thoughts on “And now… I break up with Weight Watchers

    • Ashley says:

      Jen!! heeey Soph’s momma!
      I’m glad to hear you are going back. I know you were very successful pre-baby and I have no doubt you will rock now. I’m sure the last 20lbs will come off without a problem. Good luck! πŸ™‚

      Like

  1. Elle says:

    I have been a lifetimer well below my goal, for about 25 years now. I go to meetings to weigh in at least once a month, usually more often cause I love the new little newsletters that started with Points Plus.

    I eat pretty clean, mostly whole foods… freggies, lean meats and dairy, few grains and have just gone gluten-free. I don’t follow the program to a T anymore but I dont’ consider WW a diet at all… to me it meant a lifestyle change. I don’t eat a lot of of processed junk and find that the WW boxed snack foods are the same as any low fat snack foods on the market. They are not meant to be used as meals, just snacks, and for the most part, I don’t bother with them at all.

    I think WW would be very Paleo friendly. Cannot see a conflict there at all as freggies are basically zero points.

    I wish you luck with keeping your weight to normal, whichever healthy way you choose. WW works for me, though. I am happy to have it to rely on cause I do need an accountability partner.

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    • Ashley says:

      Elle – thanks for your very insightful post. I’m glad to hear you eat a clean diet and can still manage WW. I don’t know why – but I just couldn’t do it. I always seemed to go over in points and that gave me such guilt. Honestly, I’m very thankful that I started WW when I did. It did teach me a LOT about food and making food choices. And I’d have no problem suggesting it to someone who was interested in a lifestyle change/wanted to lose weight, because it did work for me. I’m just ready to try something new.

      p.s. I think “freggie” may be my new favorite word.

      Like

  2. Kris says:

    Every day you impress me. I am watching my boss struggle with nutrisystem mostly cuz it’s not teaching her what to eat. I have thought WW & JC were good for accountability, but I think I needed more than a weekly mtg. Good Job on the break up, you got this!
    see u at the box =]

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      Kris – you are too sweet.
      I’ll be at the box on Wed with Diz (to cheer him on) and HOPEFULLY Thurs for a WOD. πŸ™‚

      and FYI – You impress me EVERY day!

      Like

  3. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama says:

    WW does work for some but not all. If I ever went to a meeting and they told me to do bicep curls with water bottles, I would walk out the door. Obviously for an active person, that’s not going to cut it. Good luck in finding what works for you!

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      It was sometimes a little frustrating when stuff like that happened. When fellow members found out I ran marathons – they looked at me like “why are you even here?”. For me it was never a problem with activity – it was a problem with food. (which I will discuss in another blog this week – if I can get it written! ha!)

      Like

  4. Glenneth says:

    i am a WW lifetime member over my goal. the program worked for me years ago, but not now. i certainly think WW has its place and helps many people. you just have to find what works for you.

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      I agree with you Glenneth. WW is the kind of program that you have to do 100%. You can’t count points sometimes. Or go to meetings sometimes. You have to track. You have to weigh in weekly. When I stopped doing that – it stopped being the best program for me. Thanks for the comment chica. πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Teri says:

    I tried the WW priogram and don’t even now how many Times!! Ugh !! Life has so many Challanges, And we all keep at it!! GL! I enjoy all Ur comments!;-)

    Like

  6. Carrie @Shrinkingcarrie says:

    I think WW is a great program for people who know nothing about nutrition and fitness and need to start somewhere. A lot of people I know who have done WW (me included) evolved over the program over time, and started to do more research finding that there are other ways for more productive weight loss that is also healthy for your body and not just about losing weight. I believe that there are a lot of ways to lose weight, but they don’t necessarily promote life longevity or helping to prevent disease later in life.
    I do have a hard time with the fact that WW promote processed foods and the exercise that they suggest is a bit of a joke. Although, I think in the last 5 years they have really evolved and started pushing fruits and veggies more.
    I can’t wait to see how the Whole30 program works out for you and your hub’s! Good luck!

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      Carrie – I agree with you. WW is a wonderful place to start a weight loss journey (and some are completely satisfied with what their results are – I am not). Thanks for your support!!

      Like

    • artifactsofexperience says:

      Hi Carrie @shikingcarrie,
      What did you find in your research? Two days ago I started tracking again (online) and also started up a WW support group (because I live overseas and there are no meetings)–we’ve met once so far. To both you and Ashley, I gave up tracking because I got so burnt out with it! I found that the quality of points-look up leaves a lot to be desired. It seems like garbage-in, garbage-out. WW doesn’t “vet” the data entered by users and it’s just a huge accumulation of repeated information (about point values). I also completely agree with Carrie that WW is a great place to start for those unfamiliar with good nutrition and exercise. And I really think it is of value for letting people know about the difference between counting points (for nutrition) and counting calories because not all calories are created equal! There are other helpful things now, like fitness tracking. Also, I just found out that they have live chat available for online users which seems huge! I used it this morning when trying to figure out a problem with the iphone app syncing with the online tracker. Anyway, I appreciate both your comments. BTW, Ashley, I found you by doing a search on WW images. Your break-up photo came up. Also, Ashley, I’m curious about your numbers such as cholesterol, etc. If they are in the good to excellent range, because of the amount of activity you do, does your “weight” really matter? Best, Karla

      Like

  7. Ann says:

    Hi bestie –
    Like you, I’ve had varying success with Weight Watchers. Losing 40 lbs and getting close to goal, and ballooning up and continuing to attend meetings… mostly out of guilt.

    I applaud you for your (respectful) viewpoint of weight-watchers and Whole 30. True – they are both different plans and I think the MOST IMPORTANT THING is wanting to make a healthy change – having that desire to live a “healthy” life – which certainly means different things to different people. The desire, the support system, and the tools to reach your goals – no matter WHAT specific program – are like the magical recipe to success. πŸ™‚

    Love love love you and SO EXCITED for your Whole Live challenge!

    Like

  8. Katie @wishandwhimsy says:

    Great post. I’ve had similar situations where it’s not the right fit any more. It got you started on the right track, but now that you know more, you can do more of what you want to do and how you want to live. Way to break up! I think that shows that you’ve learned a lot about what your body needs.

    Like

  9. Lily says:

    I am a foodie, as big as they come. I enjoy food and sometimes my weight can go up and down. Its annoying. I’ve never done weight watchers, but I think I told you I read a book last spring called “the new ME diet”. ME standing for metabolic effect. Written by 2 doctors, who also weight lift like mad, and their fitness competitors wives, who are also x-college track stars. It talks about the hormonal effects that all the different foods have on our bodies. What foods sways up to either burn or store fat. They have a clinic in Winston-salem where they treat people with weight issues. They are so awesome. I think we can never get enough knowledge so you should definitely read the book! There is even a little 20 question quiz that you can take to help you determine what kind of metabolic burner you may be. Then they list the whole foods you can consume and how much. It worked because the week I started my personal metabolic burn type to the T (the food lists) I lost 4 lbs between monday and friday. And I weight lift everyday to so I have to get the right amount of carbs to protein ratio. I kept all my lean muscle and lost fatty patty. Anyway, I also work with Lindsey Matthews, ever heard of her? She lives in Springville and works out at Golds. She’s a certified sports nutritionist and personal trainer. I just do the meal plans with her (all clean food). It works! I just know from her: oats or ezekial bread and fruits in the morning, no carbs after lunch while transitioning into lean meats, green veggies and healthy fat in the late afternoon and dinner. Try not to eat after 7. And it works. This aspect of a chics life is sooooo hard! Trying to stay fit! I love your blog btw. Just love it! I still love me some crossfit too!

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      That book sounds similar to It Starts With Food. Especially with the way our bodies react to certain foods with regards to hormones. And switching our bodies to run on fat rather than carbs. And I’ve never heard of Lindsey, sounds like she knows her stuff, though! πŸ™‚

      and yes. being fit and being healthy can be hard work – but definitely worth it. & thanks for the blog love! πŸ˜‰

      Like

  10. Megan D says:

    I did WW before I got married as well. I wanted to get back down to my happy weight before I put on the dress. Funny thing is, I did get to that weight, but didn’t feel much different. I remember being SO hungry because I exercise a lot (NOT with water bottles, lol) and those points I was allowed just didn’t cut it. Plus, I could never justify the points to eat my beloved nuts…and a life without nuts is just not worth living πŸ˜‰

    I think the concept is great and it most definitely works for some people…and it is a lot better than a lot of other diets/’lifestyles’ on the market, but like you, it is not for me. I would rather eat a handful of nuts that has the SAME calories as the ‘ice cream sandwich’ recipe I remember making that used chocolate graham crackers and COOL WHIP (so full of crappy stuff) but it had less points because there was no fat. I am about the same weight now that I was when I was on WW and got married, but I FEEL so much better, stronger and in a pant size that is smaller no less…even though I weigh the same as I did when I did WW and got married. The # on the scale can be so deceiving.

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    • Ashley says:

      OMG. that wanna be ice cream sandwich. that’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

      and I’m ready to break up with my scale, too. I’m so sick of that number RULING my life.

      Like

  11. Aly says:

    I’ve never done WW, but I have had weight issues too….my weight kept going up a little bit at a time while dating my (now) husband. I was able to lose some of it after cutting back a bit on desserts and working out for longer, but I still plateaued. Then, I don’t know exactly what happened recently, but I was able to get to my lowest weight since I can’t even remember when! I think part of it was realizing what food portions I need to feel satisfied but not stuffed, and mixing up the workouts some more. I’ve had to cut back on cardio because I injured my foot, but my weight has still been good, so who knows? I think it’s all about finding your balance, whether it’s with a program like WW or something else. And as others say, weight isn’t everything. I know my weight should be a bit higher than when we dated because I have more muscle now, so that’s something that could be tricky at a weigh-in.

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    • Ashley says:

      Great points Aly! I’m trying to take the focus off of the scale and hoping to just lose size (if that makes sense?). I’d like for clothes to fit better and lose my muffin top!

      Like

  12. Kira says:

    Hey Girl! I enjoy your blog.. and I agree that you have to do what’s right for you. We are all born different, all different shapes, sizes, and colors and what works for one may not work for another. I’ve never done WW, but I do like that it’s been around for a while. I feel there is too many trend diets that like everyone else stated above only work for ___ amount of time. The goal is life time. I’ve had body issues, and eating issues, and the biggest thing to me and NEVER using a system that makes you feel guilty. If counting points/calories makes you feel like a failure every day, then its very motivating to do any better. For me, I just choose things that are low(er) in calories (but with out counting them through out the day), I choose things that have fiber/protein/calcium or vitamins in them that my body can use. I still sometimes have diet coke (one or two for the whole week) and I allow myself a very good dessert for the week. As long as I don’t feel deprived, its easier for me to make healthier choices through out the day. I’m not perfect either, but who is? Just keep trying! You’re doing great!

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      Kira – thanks for your support. You are so sweet. I’m over the food guilt. I just want to eat and be satisfied. That is the goal of my Whole Life Challenge. πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. Elizabeth says:

    When I started loosing weight, I lost about 15 pounds in 4 months, started using WW and lost about 20 lbs in the next 4 months. It was mind blowing in regards to learning about portion control! I was stunned! Despite the 20 lbs it helped me loose, I was never really that pleased with it. I was usually hungry, and would pick low point foods that were not good for me. Because I wanted my life to be about more than being ‘thin’ or ‘goal weight’, I used WW as a stepping stone and moved on. It was a stepping stone that got me into the habit of keeping a very consistent food journal, which now as I focus on gaining muscle in strength training and marathon training, has been hugely beneficial because I’m already attentive to what I eat when, and it makes focusing onthe ratio of proteins/carbs/fats so much simpler.
    My goal is to create a healthy lifestyle in which I am active, a healthy weight/body fat and I enjoy every day- the clean eating & tail-busting workout days AND the cheat meal & sweats and movies days.
    I guess in summary; I think WW is a great tool for people who are just learning about health, nutrition or fitness. It’s an excellent tool for learning to become aware of what we put in our bodies, but I think most people who are serious about health and fitness will over-time outgrow it, but it will always remain a great diet/weight loss tool.

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    • Ashley says:

      who doesn’t like a good ‘sweats & movies’ day?! Great points Elizabeth! And I think I will always use food journaling as a tool to keep myself in check. It’s the most effective weight loss/maintenance tool out there (regardless of counting calories, points, macronutrients, etc).

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  14. Elizabeth says:

    I just recently read It Starts With Food, too– though I am a vegetarian and have trouble following paleo/paleo-ish diets, there’s something to be said for cleaning up my act. Eating mindfully has always been the best bet for me– I’ve never had luck with “diets.” Good for you for breaking up with what doesn’t work. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      Oh! I hope you like It Starts With Food. It’s really changed my mind and made me realize how I’ve been eating has not necessarily been the best for me (or my health). Thanks for your support!

      Like

  15. Ericka @ The Sweet Life says:

    I’ve taken bits and pieces from various eating plans over the years and I think that’s the way to do it. You learn about different methods and then make them all your own. I think ti’s great that you’ve thought this through and are doing something different. I’m sure you will do great and I look forward to hearing about it!

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      As always, thanks for your support girl! I appreciate it. πŸ˜‰
      I think we owe it to ourselves to be as educated as possible and make the best decisions when it comes to our health. (I have a lot of life left to live, and I want to be healthy so I can ENJOY it!)

      Like

  16. Missy says:

    Hi – I’m Missy. We met when you were in MN hanging with Ann. I was working at the Mall of America – at Loft. I’ve been secretly stalking you since then ;o) Anywho.

    I like the WW for the accountability. I don’t love a ton else about it… I actually just had that eye-opener today when I realized I was at SUCH a better weight (and mind-set) when I was eating real, natural food but not counting points. And so I’ll keep going to the WW for the weekly weigh-in/accountability and the motivation from the leader and others but I’ll mostly focus on eating REAL food in healthy portion sizes.

    Great – honest post!!

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      Missy! I remember you! I love secret stalkers! πŸ˜‰

      and I know exactly how you feel. I love the accountability of it, but I just haven’t been digging the message lately. So I knew it was time for me to move on.

      p.s. so glad you commented – now I can stalk you!

      Like

  17. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes says:

    Oh gosh, good for you! I think things like WW are helpful for certain people for a certain amount of time and then can become unhelpful. I just finished my Whole30! I think you’ll love it as it definitely supports the goals you mentioned.

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  18. Maureen says:

    I did WW in my early 30’s and hated it. I am not bashing, because I know people who have been successful with it. BUT when I was sitting there hearing everyone talk about their 100 calorie packs and how they could have 3 of those a day and not go over points, I just couldn’t handle it. Maybe times have changed and they are pushing real, whole foods, but it was NOT for me!

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    • Ashley says:

      A lot of the WW program has changed to promote lean meats and lots of fruit and veggies, but the message of 100 cal snack packs and similar items were still around in my meetings. And it drove me batty. But it did work for me in the beginning, so I’m thankful for my time with WW, but it’s time for me to move on. πŸ™‚

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  20. Nicole says:

    Ashley,
    I am a new CrossFit member as of about a week ago and actually a WW member for about 3 weeks. I have only lost 4.5 lbs on WW. And now with CrossFit I feel like I may actually end up gaining weight if I push my self to be where I want to be, in the sense that I’ll be gaining muscle. I am sort of stuck wondering if I should try to stick with WW or just ditch it and stay with working toward my goal at CrossFit. I see so many people there that are super fit and toned and they say they don’t follow any sort of dieting regimen. Just simply try to eat healthy.

    Like

  21. Eranhern says:

    Old thread, but I had to comment.

    I was a WW member for some time; I lost 80 lbs on the program and in that way, was very successful. However, the more I lost, the more I wanted to lose; the point tracking, weigh-ins and focus on a weight “number” didn’t mix well with my already anxious and meticulous personality, and I began to suffer from severely disordered eating, including purging and binging–waiting to eat all my points in one sitting (dinner) so I would feel full after half of them and not have to use my whole allowance. Not only was I physically unhealthy, but my inability to “succeed” by losing the way I should tortured me mentally as well. It was not a good place for me, unfortunately, and stepping away from controlled eating was the best decision for me, both mentally and physically.

    This isn’t a problem solely with WW–the problem lay with me, and the program just exacerbated it. I’m still a great advocate of Weight Watchers, and I encourage people to try it, but I do caution them to not let the success dictate their self-worth like it did for me. I was curious to see if any one else struggled with the program in this way, though.

    And the really funny thing is that I think I’m in better shape and healthier NOW then when I followed the program. I’m heavier, no question; but I can run farther, do CrossFit 5-6 days a week, and enjoy eating delicious veggies and fruit as much as I enjoy cheese and fried chicken. And the best part: I’m more at peace with myself. I don’t feel like I have to control my diet and exercise for a number. I make the choices because they make me FEEL good, not because I have a dress to fit into πŸ˜‰

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  22. Jen @ Thingineering says:

    I’ve got to agree with you, the 2 pound up or down rule for lifetime members is very constricting. I would bet its a business decision, so that they can occasionally get a weekly fee out of the lifetime members. My husband also lost 80 of his 220 lb with them, but he did it online. We’ve chosen to continue to pay the monthly fee rather than try to fit into their little window of acceptability. He can shift 5 lbs just with sodium and water intake!

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  23. Ally says:

    Oh my goodness. I feel like you have given me an epiphany moment! I have wrestled with weight up and down and up and up for years. WW had worked well. Made goal and confidently set it 3kg above my own goal. Ha! Week after week I would always be just over. Creeping back up. Paying full price. I’m still just in range 3 years on. As you, I workout hard,bootcamp. Running. Half marathons. To see no loss. I’m Tired Of constantly feeling like I’m not measuring up. Never losing. I go one week drop then miss a week. Back up. Rigidly stick to the plan and work my butt off but still gain. I know all the stuff about muscles weighs more than fat but I’m tired. Fed up of constantly tracking… but if I don’t….? I Guess When food is more than Just fuel its a never ending battle. ..

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