Weight Watchers Update!

It’s been nearly a month since I started Weight Watchers, so I thought I’d give an update on my progress so far. 

Right to what you really want to know – how much have I lost? So far, 11 pounds. Just over 20% of my goal! Not too shabby. I lost faster in the early weeks the last two times I did Weight Watchers, but I’m actually happier with my progress this time. I’ve already seen a dramatic shift in how much I’m eating over the course of the day, and I’ve figured out some good, relatively quick go-to meals that are plenty filling and reasonable portions. There’ve been many days where I felt perfectly full all day and still had 10 or more Points to use on treats after dinner. In the past, I don’t think the lifestyle shift was as genuine. I was focused on what I couldn’t have, and not on finding interesting ways to use healthy ingredients. The fact that I’m now a stay-at-home mother and not in a high energy daycare full of carb-loaded snacks is definitely a factor. I have time to do the often tedious meal prep that ensures I can make better choices. 

One of the major bonuses of doing Weight Watchers is that it encourages me to spend the extra time cooking a meal, versus slapping together a sandwich, so many of my meals are actually more pleasurable than they were before. I love breakfast sandwiches, in a big way, and with some tweaking I’ve been able to enjoy them even more than I had in the past. Even more than that, I’ve been enjoying some healthier twists on eggs Benedict. It’s become my almost-daily lunch choice. I don’t think I’ll get sick of it, because it’s so easy to swap out ingredients for new flavors.

First I toast an English muffin – I was using the Thomas’ brand light ones at first, but discovered that for half the price, only one more Point, and, in my opinion, better flavor, the Kroger brand whole wheat ones are more worthwhile. I fry two eggs with just the tiiiiiiiniest bit of butter to grease the pan, leaving the yolks slightly runny. I split one slice of white American cheese (or a sprinkle of sharp cheddar) between the two halves of the English muffin and add a thin slice of tomato to each. I top these with an egg, and give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I eat this with two or three links of Johnsonville turkey sausage, and, if I'm particularly hungry, a banana. Super filling, and it feels like you went out for brunch every day. I usually have seltzer and coffee or tea. 

I’ve also had success with some vegetables hashes with an egg and cheese on top, big batches of shredded chicken to use in different ways, and the fact that our normal hot dog brand is only 2 Points per hot dog. And a big pot of meatless chili, at only 4 Points a serving, one week, too. 

What works:

  • Eating lots of English muffins, bananas, eggs, apples, string cheese, and broccoli. 
  • Having the app to track on the go. HUGE help for me.
  • Paying close attention to portion sizes. They will blow your mind.
  • I don't need even close to a serving size of peanut butter.  A serving is two tablespoons and I usually use two teaspoons.
  • The barcode scanner in the app. It’s addicting! 
  • Eating a very light lunch in exchange for a more satisfying breakfast and dinner. I tended to do this anyway, but it’s especially helpful when I know I’m going out or there’s a special dinner planned. 
  • Popcorn! I love popcorn, and it’s a very Points friendly option for a chip replacement or after-dinner treat.
  • Werther’s, Werther’s, Werther’s! They’re only 1 Point each, and they’re so rich and decadent and last so long, they feel like a full dessert. Plus they taste like childhood in the best possible way. 

What doesn't work:

  • Skimping on coffee add-ins. I love coffee, and I like it to be sweet and rich. Trying to lower the Points value of my standard coffee prep from its usual 3 down to 1 or zero was just making my mornings feel sad. Same for trying to go with a completely unsweetened almond milk latte for my weekly Starbucks outing with my friend. I’d rather eat one less snack and have a coffee that feels like a treat. Soy milk and one pump of cinnamon dolce seem to be the, pun intended, sweet spot. 
  • Pasta. One serving of pasta is not a serving. This is the biggest portion lie in history. Just....not even close. 
  • Yogurt, This makes me sad. Before Weight Watchers I would eat a yogurt with breakfast every day. The not-so-healthy kind, usually Chobani, and often the Flip ones with the extra crunchy goodies on the side. I can still eat yogurt, of course, and I’m not opposed to the plainer varieties. But I really don’t like the light ones with sugar substitutes in them, and plain, plain, plain yogurt is still a few Points and just not quite worth it. A few of the Chobani fruit flavors are 4 points a cup, so they make a decent treat a few times a week. But still...it feels a bit like a loss. Other options are more filling for the same Points value, so it’s just not making the cut very often. 
  • Going to my parents' house unprepared. They have too many snacks on hand, all of which are Points vampires, and the temptation to snack mindlessly is enormous. From now on I'll pack some good choices with me for my weekly Wednesday visits.
  • Budget. It is incredibly difficult to make filling, healthy meals on a budget. Accounting for satisfying dinners, my husband’s work lunches, and things my toddler will tolerate makes those dollars feel awfully thin.

So, I’m still excited and motivated and confident! I need to start adding in some exercise, which for now will definitely take the form of bringing my daughter for walks on the Greenway during the day. Now that it’s finally cooling off, that will be much more appealing. I’m still obsessing over food all day every day, but at least now it’s in terms of finding new ways to cook healthy meals and pack lots of flavors into the not-so-exciting stuff. I bought a cucumber for the first time in my life. I’ve never been a fan. But now we sometimes eat them with hummus or dressing on the side of a meal, and it’s not too terrible. I’m encouraged by the fact that my husband and I are both noticing how much less we eat over the course of a day, and that we’ve both lost about 10 pounds already. I’m also glad we’re training ourselves to set a better example of healthy eating for our daughter. I’m also encouraged by the fact that during our anniversary vacation last week, I had no internet to track points, I ate two huge chicken parmigiana subs (different days!), french fries, a Pepsi, and a mini blueberry crumble pie, and managed to maintain my 11 lb weight loss for my weigh-in this morning. I’m not at all worried that I didn’t lose any, with a week like that. The fact that the rest of my meals were more sensible than usual so I didn’t gain anything back is a sign of very positive changes happening. 

All good news, so far! Some minor hiccups, but I’m still absolutely sure – this is the time, this is me now. 

KN does WW

The older I get the more comfortable I am saying this: I am a big person. I am not curvy. Well, I am in a few places. Not my butt. Sadly my ass is just flat and wide. But mostly I'm just round. Soft and squishy. Arms. Thighs. Belly. Face. Round. Squishy. There's no point being wishy washy about it. It's plainly evident to anyone who's ever seen me. And I'm mostly okay with it. I'm not burdened with a huge amount of insecurity about how I look, because I'm a firm believer that you can be perfectly lovely at any size and shape.

I've been the chubby kid since I was, ehh, I don't know...eight? Nine? I don't think I was really aware of it till middle school. I sort of smoothed out in high school, without realizing it. Don't you hate looking back on old pictures, and you want to just smack your old self and say, “You were so freaking cute!” Oy. But ever since college, and recovering from my first serious battle with depression, the plumpness seemed to be there to stay. I've fluctuated over the years, like anyone else. Successfully lost significant weight a handful of times. Ballooned up, from being too poor to eat much beyond eggs and pasta. Slimmed back down. Same old story, you've heard it a thousand times.

I may need to stop painting so many donuts. Or maybe I should just paint one every time I wish I could eat one.  BRB, painting 1,000 donuts.

I may need to stop painting so many donuts. Or maybe I should just paint one every time I wish I could eat one.  BRB, painting 1,000 donuts.

We didn't know it until I was about 20, but my childhood weight gain was caused by the incurable underlying source of this struggle of mine, PCOS. Without carrying on too much here, the basic gist of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is that you don't ovulate regularly, your eggs instead become tiny cysts. It's a genetic condition with no known cause or cure, just a whole lot of symptoms and subsequent symptom management. It throws your hormones all out of whack, which in turn messes with your insulin. It causes weight gain and makes it particularly hard to lose weight, and keep it off. Don't get me wrong, some of the squish is also the direct result of family behavior patterns, not so great decision making, and too much enthusiasm about donuts, egg rolls, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I won't pretend it's entirely out of my hands, a medical inevitability I am helpless to change.

Which brings me to my real point, which is that I have just signed up for a three month Weight Watchers plan. I've done Weight Watchers twice before. Once I went to meetings. I was about 19, and it was just all wrong for where I was in life at the time. The second time I was in my mid twenties. I did the online program and lost thirty pounds, fairly quickly, and kept it off for quite a while. I know the system and that it works for me. This time...I don't know how to explain it, but this is the time. Maybe you know – I hope you do, because it's an empowering thing – that feeling when doubt vanishes, everything seems to click into place, and you know that your time has come. It's how I felt when I started using watercolors. There's no one clear thing saying, “it's time. You have arrived.” You just feel it. That sense of, to quote Bob's Burgers, “This is me now!”

Decided the visual pleasure of crossing out each pound I lose might be a good motivator. 

Decided the visual pleasure of crossing out each pound I lose might be a good motivator. 

Well, this is me now. I'm the girl doing Weight Watchers. I'm the girl who has set a goal to lose a minimum of fifty pounds before I turn thirty. Fifty is a big number. Fifty of anything is a lot. But I've lost thirty pounds before. I know I can do thirty. And once I hit that thirty, well, I know I can lose twenty, too. Not so hard, right? HA. This is going to suck. I have no doubt about that. But I'm ready to deal with the suckfest. I'm happy with my family, my home, my neighborhood, my art. I want to be happy about my body, too. It'll certainly be nice to shop for smaller clothes. Don't even get me started on the plus size clothing industry. I will rage. But I'm not really looking for skinny. I have never, ever cared about being thin. Again, I'm usually pretty okay with how I look. But my kid is fast, and I need to be able to keep up with her, and I definitely want to eliminate a bunch of health risks before they get a chance to do their evil deeds. And a decrease in my PCOS symptoms would be, in a word, sublime.

I'm a little nervous about this. Not that I'll fail. I'm nervous about succeeding. Something that people who haven't spent most of their lives as a plus size person in a thin-worshipping society cannot possibly understand is how much it molds your personality. I am terrified of how different my life will be if I'm not the chubbiest person in the room. I am terrified that maybe without my weight, I'm not really that funny, or friendly, or creative. All these traits that I've subconsciously cultivated as compensation for not being the typically attractive one in the group. Maybe, hopefully - I'd like to think probably - that's all nonsense, and I'll be the same as I always have been. But if you've ever wondered why big people don't seem in a rush to lose the weight, that may be a huge part of it. I do not know who I am as a non-plump person. That version of me has never existed. I'm excited, but I am also full of fear.

I'm making this journey public, because a) I'm not ashamed of my weight or the fact that I need to lose some, b) people knowing what I'm doing will help to hold me accountable, and most importantly c) ain't no way I'm gonna be able to stick with this unless I can celebrate and bitch about it here and through my art.

Couldn't help myself. 

Couldn't help myself. 

All my posts about my adventure with Weight Watchers will be tagged here and on Instagram as #kndoesww. I'd absolutely love for you to follow along. I'm also definitely open to tips, tricks, healthy snacks, stories of your own weight struggles, you name it. I want to talk about this. It's time. Fifty pounds. I got this. I can do this. I'll probably always be squishy, and lord, have mercy, I love food. But it's time. I'm ready. This is me now.