Thursday, November 29, 2012

Week #48 - What's Your Holiday Plan?

I hope everyone survived the Thanksgiving holiday with minimal damage, and that you're not letting one holiday turn into a spiral of food and shame that you'll emerge from, bleary-eyed, at the beginning of January!

To help with that we talked about having some sort of a plan for the rest of the month. I definitely encourage you to take a look at your calendar for this next month or so. See how jam-packed it really is. How many days/meals do you have an event, and how many days will be Business As Usual? Those BAU days are perfect opportunities to stay focused, get active, and eat healthy. In fact, schedule that activity right now before anything else can take its place!

To help you survive the holidays (and beyond) Weight Watchers is going to be rolling out something called Weight Watchers 360 - I guess if our CEO can write about it, so can I! As they say, PointsPlus taught you how to eat, this new stuff we'll be delivering will now help you figure out how to live.

We'll be focusing more on helping you develop and maintain healthy routines. Sure, you know what foods are good, but how can you ensure that they are the foods you actually choose? And yes, you know that movement is good for you, but maybe you haven't found a way to regularly just get it done. The new mental tools we'll be rolling out (and we've already started to sort of go down that road in the past month or so) use the latest in habit research. David Kirchhoff is a huge fan of books like The Power of Habit and others that dive into behavioral science, so it's no surprise to see it infiltrate our Weight Watchers program.

Losing weight is not just a matter of having willpower. In fact, it's about making the need for willpower as small as possible! Develop routines and spaces that support making healthy choices, track what you eat, and there's no way you won't lose. So stick with me this holiday season, and I think you'll like what you see.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week #46 - Why?

I hope that after this week's meeting, you will spend some time reflecting on why you originally joined Weight Watchers, and why you continue to spend Wednesday mornings with us.

Preparing for and delivering a meeting every week gives me a chance to reflect as well, and I spent a little time remembering what was going on in my mind back in October 1996, when I (re)joined Weight Watchers the time I made it to my weight goal.


Yep, I joined Weight Watchers because I didn't like the way I looked. I'd seen a photo of myself in a sleeveless shirt and was not happy. My clothes were tight, and I knew that wearing ill-fitting clothes wasn't really doing me many favors.

As many of you may have discovered, the original reason to join is often not enough to be the reason to sustain. So the question I then reflected on this week became "why is it I've stayed with Weight Watchers for so many years?" And there are a whole host of answers and reasons.

From a health perspective, things are 100% different. I was inactive, didn't care about what I ate, and based on family genetics was probably on track to develop high cholesterol and heart disease. Now I am consciously eating a well balanced diet, and get regular physical activity. When I go to the doctor, my vitals are always impressive. In short, Weight Watchers has given me good health.

Weight Watchers has helped me develop a community of like-minded people to surround myself with. Some of my really good friends are fellow Weight Watchers employees. Because I am now regularly active, I've met and formed friendships with people who enjoy working out and eating healthy. It has enabled me to build a village of people whose goals are similar - some form of healthy living and eating. That makes it a million times easier for me to stick to the routines I built while losing weight.

One other thing I'd like to attribute to Weight Watchers is confidence. It could just be coincidental, that I became a Lifetime Member at the age of 23 in the midst of developing my entire personal and career identity. But knowing that I could accomplish something like changing my lifestyle was huge for me. I'd always been the fat couch potato...and now things were changing. I was now the healthy eater in the office. The one who always had some sort of workout scheduled.

And most importantly, working for Weight Watchers gave me my voice. Remember those people in school who were the WORST public speakers? The nerves, the quivering voice, that was me. Thinking about speaking in a room of 50 people I didn't know was frankly a fate worse than death. The training, mentoring and practice I got from becoming a Weight Watchers leader means that in my "real job" I'm the person to volunteer for the job of presenting. Small talk is still something I can't say I'm thrilled about having to do, but practicing it each and every week has made me so much better at it than I used to be.

Had I known back in October 1996 that all this would have happened, I'm not sure I'd have believed it. So if you're ready to change, get out there and get on it. What do you have to lose? And more importantly, what's out there that you have to gain?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Week #45 - Power Foods!

When I am eating food that is healthy and filling, life is a lot easier. I have the energy to do what I need to do, and I spend far less time thinking, obsessing, and jonesing over food. I am physically satisfied. I don't need to go looking for anything else. So it's really no surprise that I tend to eat a lot of Power Foods - those foods that Weight Watchers has identified as the healthiest and most satisfying!

This entry is about to turn into a linkapalooza. Weight Watchers can do this stuff WAY better than I can!

Here's a great article from the Weight Watchers website: Power Up With Power Foods Within the article there are links to more information and suggestions for how to incorporate Power Foods like eggs, sweet potatoes and Greek yogurt into your day.

I love trying to cook with as many Power Foods as possible. Just this week, dinner was Tuscan Casserole, which is almost completely filled with Power Foods. That particular recipe is one I've made multiple times...and I don't often repeat!

Finally, if you're ever in doubt as to what qualifies, check this list: PDF list of ALL Power Foods - use it as a basis for your shopping list!

Eat more Power Foods, feel much better? Lose more weight? It couldn't hurt to try!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Week #44 - Take 5

When I was preparing for this last week's topic, I was excited. I am a huge proponent of checking in on how things are going, and laying out a plan of attack. That's mostly because I am a big time planner. I plan things well in advance - whether we're talking Weight Watchers or just the family vacation!

But as I was sitting in my own meeting yesterday morning, I realized one area that I could focus on more: checking in AFTER THE FACT. While it's second nature to me to check in beforehand to figure out what my strategy is, I don't as often check in after an event, or at the end of the day to assess how it all went. So that's my own personal focus for this week - take some of those five minutes to not only look at what's coming up, but to look at how everything went.

In my time internetting these past few days, I found this article Why the Fitness Habit Is More Important Than the Plan. It really struck a chord with me, and it dovetails nicely with what Weight Watchers has been training staff on recently.

You will (maybe) notice a little bit of a shift in the way we tackle our meeting topics. We're going to be focusing on teaching you how to adapt your behaviors and habits so that being healthy becomes a no-brainer. It's not going to be about sweeping changes that totally turn your life upside down. It's going to be about small, doable changes that you can make and incorporate into your existing lifestyle. There seems to be a lot of research out there regarding creating and maintaining habits, and I'm happy to see Weight Watchers incorporating this into our message. I didn't maintain my weight loss this long by working my fingers to the bone every single day on it. I did it by creating habits that are now second nature. I'm absolutely NOT saying that it is easy, but there are plenty of things I do to support a healthy lifestyle that I really don't even need to think about at this point. And that's what I will be endeavoring to help you do, too!

We're also going to incorporate the concept that "adults learn by doing" which means that we're probably going to see more hands-on activities, small group discussions, tasks where you jot down an action plan in your Weight Watchers Weekly. Because those are things I've not typically done very often in the meetings I lead, that might seem different, too. But the end result is to get you committed to the changes that will improve your health!