Thursday 29 September 2016

Weight Watchers... Your feel-good summer starts here

Published 31/05/2015 | 02:30

The Weight Watchers programme has helped millions of people all over the world.
The Weight Watchers programme has helped millions of people all over the world.

We've all been there; after an indulgent weekend you're all set to start a diet on Monday. The trouble is by Wednesday you've fallen off the wagon and by Friday evening you're popping open your second bottle of wine, justifying it with the promise that you really will start again on Monday. And repeat.

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Some people do this for an entire lifetime. Others make a decision that it's time to do something different. So many people are keen to make a lifestyle change and get out of this cycle of bad eating and unhealthy living, but often they lack the tools and motivation to see it through. This is where Weight Watchers can help.

Why Weight Watchers?

The programme has helped millions of people all over the world and it is constantly being developed and updated based on the latest research in the field of nutrition. As well as that, it is staffed by leaders who were once members, so every single leader has been in the very same situation you find yourself in; they've been through all the fad diets, maybe they've lost weight only to put it all back on plus more, and they've cringed at those holiday photos. They know what you're going through, they've reached their goal and they are now actively dedicating their time and energy to helping you do the same.

What's involved?

Weight Watchers is a weekly meeting that provides you with a healthy eating programme in a supportive environment. Each week you will be weighed by your leader and your progress is monitored. After your weigh-in, there is a short talk where you will learn how easy it is to make sensible choices and eat healthily. You will also gain tips and motivational advice to keep you going throughout the week.

Do I have to go to the class every week?

No, but it is highly recommended. Some people just get weighed and leave and that's their choice. However, you might consider that if you're spending the money to come to class, then it makes sense to get the most value you can out of it, not just for your pocket, but for your weight loss. If you don't feel like you can dedicate just one hour a week to help in achieving your goal, then perhaps you're not taking it as seriously as you could be. Getting healthy is something you need to do for yourself and you deserve the required time and energy to see it through.

Will people know what I weigh?

Not if you don't want them to. The only person that you will share this information with is your leader, and he or she will treat this information as strictly confidential. Of course, if you wish to share your progress with other members of the class you're free to do that too. It's entirely your decision.

Do I have to exercise?

No, you don't, but regular exercise is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle plan. Many members start with no interest or intention of doing any kind of physical activity. More often than not, once they start to see progress with their weight loss, they decide that a regular walk will help to move things along. Some will happily leave it at that, but the vast majority will discover a new love for exercise and move on to other things.

Do I have to give up the food I love?

No, the Weight Watchers programme is flexible and specifically designed so that people can carry on living their lives and enjoying their food, while still maintaining their waistline. Weddings, parties, holidays all happen; they are part of life and it's important that you can go to these kinds of celebrations and relax without having to worry too much about what you're eating. You will learn to cope with these kinds of situations, and most importantly enjoy them.

Do I have to eat special diet food?

Only if you want to. The beauty of the Weight Watchers programme is that you can make your own choices, but you are encouraged to make more sensible ones. The emphasis is on fresh, wholesome, nutritious food that will help to keep you fuller for longer. And the occasional treat is not only allowed but advised - nobody wants to feel deprived!

What kind of progress will I make?

That's up to you, and everyone is different, but bear in mind that a healthy weight loss is around one to two pounds a week, so the best approach is to be patient and take things slowly and steadily. Remember, your weight didn't go on overnight and it's not going to come off in a flash either. Diets that claim to help you lose a large amount of weight generally don't work for two reasons; firstly, most of what you lose is water (when what you really want to lose is fat), and secondly, these kinds of diets are not sustainable in the long-term. The key is to find something you can live with for the rest of your life; this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle change.

Go Slow

Eating at a more relaxed pace gives your body enough time to recognise when it's full so it may help you eat less than you would have otherwise. Try these go-slow tactics...

• Concentrate on what you are eating and really savour the textures and flavours. Ask yourself: Am I full? If you are, stop eating!

• Sit with someone else and chat to them You'll find it naturally slows down the pace at which you eat your food.

• Try a 10-minute walk before you sit down to eat You'll approach your meal feeling calm and relaxed, and be less likely to rush through it.

• Put your cutlery down between bites or, if you're eating a sandwich, put it back on the plate between bites and don't pick it up again until you're finished chewing.

• Switch off the TV and give your meal your full attention. It will make you more mindful about the amount of food you're putting in your mouth.

Eating at a more relaxed pace gives your body enough time to recognise when it's full, so it may help you eat less than you otherwise would have. Try these go-slow tactics…

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