How I lost weight on Weight Watchers without losing my mind – Part 1 of 2

Earlier this week I posted that I recently lost forty pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 6/8. My plans for installing one of those airport people movers in between our family room couch and our refrigerator have now been put on permanent hiatus. That enormous sob of relief you hear is Nate who, apparently, was lying when he said Sure honey, I’ll gut and remodel the family room for easy access to your triple brownie fudge ice cream! BECAUSE I PROMISED TO LOVE YOU IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH AND IN IMMENSE GIRTH.

I thought I’d share with you some of the things that worked for me during the ten months it took for me to get to the point where I could bend over and see my toes without asphyxiating myself. Today, I’ll talk about the program I used and in Part 2, I’ll talk about the food I ate and the exercise I learned not to despise. However, I feel the need to preface what I’m about to say with a few disclaimers:

  • This is stuff that worked for me and I’m about the farthest thing from a nutrition, fitness and/or health expert you can possibly find. In fact, I find it hard to even type those words on this blog without laughing hysterically and if you know anything about me, you know that when I laugh, I lose all motor control of my thumbs and tthhheeeen it’sss harrrdddd ttoooooo tyypppppee.
  • I am not a spokesperson for any product I mention. No one pays me or compensates me in any way to say anything about anything. That being said, Nate is open to any and all offers to get me to shut the hell up. Send your proposals to

I’ve already described in excruciating detail my first obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive ride on the Weight Watchers merry go round from seven years ago so I won’t rehash that here. You’re welcome. Suffice it to say that this time around, I reigned in my OCD tendencies and approached the program with a good degree of moderation. As I did last time, I attend meetings, not because I discover anything earth shattering at any of them since I don’t, although I do occasionally learn something new, be it a recipe, a food, a different strategy, etc. No, I attend the meetings because (1)  my ass needs to be removed from my office chair and see daylight every once in awhile; (2) it makes me feel like I’m getting every penny’s worth of the $400 I’ve spent on this program thus far; (3) getting weighed by someone other than myself holds me accountable for my choices and if I’m up, chances are I’m much less likely to punch a stranger in the face than I am myself; (4) I can celebrate a loss or commiserate a gain with people who know exactly how hard it was for me to eat just one piece of lasagna instead of gobbling down the entire pan after everyone went to bed; and finally, (5) sometimes, I simply need to sit in a room full of people who are bigger than me, because losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.

I work the program this way: I eat what I want, when I want. This includes creamy sauces, stuff made out of gooey chocolate and things that have seven layers of cheese. I bought one Weight Watcher’s cookbook and was unimpressed. Instead, I make the same meals that I’ve always made for my family – I just make them healthier, substituting lower fat and/or healthier options when possible. Probably the single most important thing I do is pay attention to portion control, weighing and measuring when needed.  As for eating out … I’m not about to go to a restaurant and pay $16.95 for a grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies because steamed veggies are gross and make me gag and if I’m going to be grossed out and gag, I might as well do it at home at a fraction of the cost. When I go out to eat, I want something that I’m not about to cook myself. So I order what I want, be it chicken marsala or pasta bolognese or whatever. But I will eat only half of it and take the remainder home for another meal. I also try to eat only one piece of bread instead of all the baskets within reach and I try to share a dessert instead of inhaling mine and both the kids’. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes the kids go home hungry. It’s a crap shoot, really.

Some weeks I gained, some weeks I stayed the same and still other weeks, I only lost .2 pounds and I’ll admit that my first instinct was to stomp out the door screaming I DID JILLIAN MICHAEL’S 30 DAY SHRED IN ONE WEEK AND FOR WHAT? .2 POUNDS AND A HERNIA? SCREW YOU AND THE SCALE YOU RODE IN ON. WHERE’S THE FRIGGIN’ CHEESECAKE? But then I calmed down and tried to remember that every new day was a fresh start. A do-over. With every morning, I got another chance to get it right. And anytime I exceeded my daily points, I tried to go with the flow and let me tell you, coming from someone who folds her towels with straight edge, this was not an easy thing to do. But I was determined not to let this program govern my life as it had the first time around and much to my surprise, God did not, in fact, reach down from Heaven and bitch slap me for eating a cupcake. Or three.

I also learned that the scale is not the be all and end all when it comes to measuring success. There are other ways to determine your progress. Do your clothes fit better? Can you get down the driveway without calling a cab? Can you look in the mirror without heaving up lunch? Can you get out of your car without using the Jaws of Life? How about your bra?

As for plateaus … I hit several of them and I found that the only thing that booted my chubby ass off one and back into the game was to eat something insanely high in points, fat, cholesterol, sugar or some kind of combination thereof. Eating three huge pieces of gooey pizza and washing it down with four or five thick brownies was kind of like having the Incredible Hulk perform CPR on my metabolism. Again, this worked for me. I have no idea if it would work for you so please, no emails with I DID WHAT YOU SAID AND GAINED FIVE POUNDS THIS WEEK. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME, YOU MISERABLE HAG in the subject line, OK?

I found the Weight Watchers points calculator invaluable. Even if I’m alive, you usually have to pry money out of my cold dead hand with a pair of vice grips so buying a gadget like this was big for me. But it was worth it. Mine isn’t the newest version pictured here, but it does the same thing. I found it so much more convenient than using that cardboard slider thing, especially while grocery shopping. It fits right in my purse, turns off automatically and I no longer have to stand in the pasta aisle of Wegmans shouting I LOST MY SLIDER! DID YOU SEE MY SLIDER? WHO’S GOT MY SLIDER? SOMEONE CALL SECURITY.

I bought the Biggest Loser food scale for our kitchen. It’s small and lacks the bells and whistles of most food scales out there but it does what I need it to do and for $20, I couldn’t exactly expect Jillian or Bob to come prepackaged with it.

Damn it all to hell.

I hate tracking my points. HATE IT WITH THE HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS. And even if I was tech savvy enough to use the Weight Watchers app for it, I have nothing into which I can download the app. I am app-less. So instead, I track my points the old fashioned way, with pen and paper and this works well for me. But … I don’t use those dinky little weekly paper trackers that Weight Watchers gives you at weigh-in because damn, they’re small! How can I fit all my snacks on that one tiny little page? I prefer to use a pretty journal. It makes the whole tediously mundane task of tracking not so God hideously awful. Again, losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.

I think there are great things about Weight Watchers, like being able to eat normal food you find at any grocery store, and I think there are not-so-great things about this program, like having to stay within two pounds of goal weight to maintain free, lifetime status. Speaking as a premenopausal woman who can retain more water than the Hoover Dam simply by glancing at a donut, I personally think this particular rule sucks sweaty, rancid orangutan balls through a skinny straw. But that’s just my opinion.

And probably why no one pays me to offer it.



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28 thoughts on “How I lost weight on Weight Watchers without losing my mind – Part 1 of 2”

  1. Avatar

    I am so with you – I hate the tracking part of it. But if I don’t track, I lose track, and then I am off track… And I also don’t like the 2 lb. rule. but it is what it is, I guess. I was thinking about buying their pedometer, but maybe I will check out the Points calculator when I go tomorrow. And thanks for making me feel not-so-guilty about the m&m’s I had today 😉

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    I’m on my first week of WW. I did it a few years back, before I had kids. I’m struggling already, but your post reminded me that this is a mental challenge. Thanks for the inspiration and you look great!

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    I was sooooo looking forward to this post. I’m a total type A personality too and the whole points system is what makes my eyes roll back into my head. The thought of having to keep track of every little morsel and writing it all down makes my skin crawl but I know it works. I did WW years and years ago and I lost a good 20 lbs. It didn’t seem that hard at the time but then again I was 15 years younger. Now, I’m 41 and in the midst of menopause and it takes me a whole week to lose just 1 measly pound.

    I like the points calculator and the food scale you have.

    Okay, I’m seriously thinking I need to just do this….I’m so proud of what you’ve accomplished because I know it wasn’t easy. And you didn’t manage to lose your awesome sense of humor in the process.

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    That’s exactly why I’ve never done WW. I can’t stand to keep track of what I’m eating. I’ve done the making the meals we already eat healthier, but now I need to add the exercise part.

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    Thank you for sharing all of the nitty gritty from the perspective of a NORMAL PERSON. And by ‘normal’, I mean someone who doesn’t evict everything with FLAVOR from their lives period. Thank you for showing us that you can do this without losing your ever loving mind.

    I might actually consider hopping back on the WW wagon. I did it almost 9 years ago, and while it worked–I had lost about 7 pounds the first month, the only thing I could think about was FOOD. OMGCANIEATTHATORWILLTHEYKICKMEOUTOFWEIGHTWATCHERSFORLIFE.
    It was horrible. Like you, I obsessed over the points thing. Totally OCD. I went full boar.

    Now, I am more educated in the ways of health and fitness–yet, I am still fat, figure that one out, eh? I think that if I were to try it again, I just might have more success. Just knowing that if I choose to eat whatever I damn well please is not going to be the end of the world.

    You rock my face off, lady. 😀

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    I’m starting WW this weekend…all because of you! All the skinny people I see around me, all the stories I hear of past classmates who still look like the same size in high school, do nothing for me. But Andy’s before and after pics? Knowing that you love food as much as I do and were still able to lose and look like a hottie?? Total inspiration! ::smooches::

    I’m Type A , keep track of every little crumb kinda gal too, but I’m gonna try to lighten up about things this time Around (OI was in WW before but only lost about 5 pounds before I got pregnant and quit the program). I also found a couple workout DVDs and my little DVD player I use for plane trips with the kids, so those are going out to the garage so I can workout at night when everyone is in bed and won’t wake everyone up!

    I lost 30 pounds in 2000 doing my own exercise program (and have gained 20 of it back) and only went down 2 sizes, but I felt sooooo much better about myself! I can’t wait to lose the 20 I gained back plus maybe another 10-15. I can do it! Oh…BTW…I’m printing out your before & after pics to keep on my fridge for inspiration! I’m sure my hubby is going to ask me who the hell you are, but he’ll learn to live with your face plastered in our kitchen!! LOLOLOL

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    I use a food scale for portions but I just can’t get my head into the points thing. I know lots of people who have had great success with WW and I want to try it but I just can’t bring myself to do it. One of these days I will.

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    Counting points…ugh.. The food isn’t really the thing for me. I know this. Other than my addiction to carbs not to mention the beer I consume in the (shhhh) evenings..hangs head in shame, my biggest obstacle is getting off my BUTT!! Especially in the summer. Heat makes me die…I honestly DO melt and it takes hours after entering air conditioning to harden back into a recognizable person!!

    sigh…….. I HATE Jillian!

    Congrats again girl friend!

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    ok, are you totally freaked that people are putting you on their fridge for inspiration! WTG girlie. I’m on my second round of WW in 3 years, and not back to my lowest weight yet, but it’s easier this time (a little). It’s inspiring to know that it worked so well for you – hope in another year I have before and after pics as good as yours!! Then my butt can be on someone’s fridge too 🙂

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    Good for you : ) Way to go : ) That is awesome. I am totally struggling with weight right now. I try and fail and try and fail and try and fail…well, you get the picture. Very discouraging. I really came over because I just saw at Lucky 13 you said you had a d90 and I love my d90 so I came to talk to you about that : )
    I am glad I saw this post though. You have inspired me! You look beautiful!

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    Congratulations! I am SO impressed, Andrea. You rock! I tried Weight Watchers and I couldn’t handle it. I wanted to throttle all those women who were staring at me in the meetings – we met during the lunch hour where I worked. I can’t deal with points.

    I have been losing, but the only way I know to do it is to go low carb, with a lot of help from Suzanne Somers. I eat plenty of veggies and some fruit, but I am careful about it and careful with portions. That said, I have to swig lemonade occasionally. I had two bites of blueberry orange bread the other day. I have to cheat a little, or I can’t deal with it. The next day I try to be extra extra good. That’s all I can do. I’ve lost 13 lbs. ion the last month, since I got back from vacation. Hallelujah.

    Every woman who needs to lose weight has to find out what works for HER. We’re all different.

    The hard part isn’t actually losing weight though. The hard part is KEEPING IT OFF. I will pray for you.

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    You are fantastic, inspirational and funny!!! I joined WW in January 2012 and lost 17.4 in 14 weeks. I am still losing. I can’t imagine my life without WW now!! Good luck !! U look hot!

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    Thanks for sharing your story. I just started WW….AGAIN, for the new year. Your journey is hilarious but so helpful to someone like myself. 🙂

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    I came across this while looking up success stories for WW. I am starting my 3 months program next week. I am reading this at work..and caught myself crackin gup out loud on more than one occassion. you are hilarious. Love it! Congrats on the success. And thank you for sharing your story!

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    I bought this scale and used it twice and it no longer works. I even put parchment paper over it and wiped it off when I was done using. I feel like it was a big waste of money!

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    Very entertaining. You have quite a way with words and descriptions. I enjoyed your assessment of Weight Watchers

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