Monday, April 9, 2012

Pros & Cons of My 90/20 Regimen, Part 1

I had a lot of views on my post yesterday and plenty of offline comments asking about my experience with both Weight Watchers and P90x. Today I will discuss my top pros and cons for Weight Watchers and tomorrow P90x. Please keep in mind these are my own opinions based on my personal experiences with the programs. Since everyone has different lifestyles, these programs may not work for you, as many other programs do not work for me. It's a lengthy post, so bear with me!

Let's get the party started, shall we?

Quick Info: Weight Watchers assigns everything edible a points plus value based on fat, carbs, fiber, and protein. You can eat a certain number of points every day. Your daily point value is based on your gender, height, and age. You also have Allowance Points for the week. This enables you to splurge a little here and there. As long as you don't go over your Allowance Points every week you will most likely see results. Daily Points and Weekly Allowance Points do not roll over into the next day/week. Also, when you workout you can add on points to your day based on the intensity of your workout. In college I went to meetings but now Andrew and I subscribe to the online version. If this is your first time on WW, I highly suggest going to the meetings. It is incredibly motivating, and don't worry - you never have to share your weight with anyone there. Healthy loss is 1-2 pounds per week. It is natural to have gains and hit plateaus. The body is a curious thing, and the scale sometimes doesn't reflect your efforts.

Why I chose it: I love food. I love eating socially, alone, to celebrate, to kill get the picture. I also use it as a crutch and eat my feelings. I am not disciplined when it comes to eating, so WW provides a structure for me that is easy to stick to since I track it all online or on my iPhone app.

Why I keep going back to it: Again, it's the discipline. Sometimes you don't realize how much you eat until you measure it. When I am not conscious of the point value I will eat more. It's as simple as that. When I'm on WW I just feel better. Plus, I try to use WW as a lifestyle, not a diet. I think dieting is silly because once you're off the diet you might keep up with healthy living, but I sure don't. I revert right back to overeating, using food to celebrate, eating unhealthy food, and drinking too much too often. When I stop WW, I keep the healthy lifestyle in mind, but I actively choose to ignore the points, thus jumping back to my bad habits. They die hard, friends, they really do.

Pros: There are so many! First and foremost, I have not completely cut out any of my favorite foods when I eat out. I'm serious! I either "healthify" them, coordinate my eating around them, or plan ahead.

For example, when I want pizza, we order thin crust, one-topping pizza instead of the pan pizza with breadsticks I love so much. I still get my pizza and as long as I limit myself to a reasonable portion, I stay within my daily limit. For Chipotle I only get the burrito bowls without cheese, sour cream, or guacamole. I know those are the best parts, but I really don't miss them. Plus, sometimes Andrew and I get chips and guac, barely eat half of the bag of chips between us, and I put some guac on the bowl. Sure it's extra points, but it feeds my craving so I don't overdo it the next time I'm there. During this 90-day period I had two huge cravings for pasta and a club sandwich. Huge. I got pasta one time, ate less than half of the restaurant portion and saved the rest for later. Another time I had a club sandwich, bacon and all. I ate half of the sandwich and got a salad instead of fries. In all of these examples I went into my allowance points for the week, but I also fed my craving, which is the most important thing. I have found that when I crave something long enough it's worth the "healthified" splurge. Otherwise I know myself enough to know that I WILL overdo it the next time the craving hits; aka I will make excuses, eat the whole sandwich with fries, etc., and feel awful the next day. Being smart makes me feel better while I enjoy my favorite foods.

In terms of cooking, Gina's Skinny Taste Recipes are insane. You would never know you're eating healthy food. We have made a number of them and wow. Just wow. I started to follow Chocolate Covered Katie and the dessert recipes are WW friendly, too. If I ever get around to baking, you can count on reviews from me.

Fruit is zero points!!! When I started senior year the points formula was different and basically every serving of fruit was 2 points. It was rough getting my 5 servings of fruits and veggies in every day! Now, I can eat fruit to hold me over until my next meal.
Cons: Measuring and tracking points are annoying, but it's not that hard once you get used to it. The hardest part for me is how difficult it is to stick to WW in social situations. It's tough to politely reject those freshly baked cookies or dips or delicious punches at parties, it sucks being "that girl" at the bar ordering a salad, and it is difficult to be spontaneous with meals. You know what, though? It's worth it. That's the point, friends: it's hard but it's worth it. There is no miracle formula for losing weight.

Tips: The biggest tip Andrew and I remind ourselves of is this mantra: Don't demonize food. Maureen (sorority sister who lost 85 pounds on WW and has kept it off!!!) taught this to me and she is spot-on. You are allowed to enjoy your life, and sometimes that means enjoying food. Demonizing your eating choices makes you feel bad about yourself. That's a slippery slope to giving up completely.

I have tons of grocery store finds that are WW-friendly, too. Connect with me and I will be happy to share!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I discuss my pros and cons for P90x!

1 comment:

Blue Dog Belle said...

I completely agree with you on all of this. I've been on and off weight watchers for the last 3 years. So far I've lost 25 lbs (about 75 more to get in the healthy range if that gives you any idea where I started) and mostly kept it off for the three years. But last spring in the wake of getting laid off my weight jumped almost 20 lbs in 4 months. I still haven't gotten back down to where I was at my lowest (-40 lbs) but I'm getting closer day by day.

Weight Watchers is great because it really is a journey. If anything it keeps you aware, and helps you find the positives in a journey that can so often be discouraging and disappointing.