A winning plan that set me off on my happy losing streak
Ihave never tried any kind of scheme like this before. In fact, I had always been sceptical about that “middle-agedwomen-in-the-villagehall” kind of weight-loss programme, like the one spoofed in Little Britain.
But I had found that I was gradually getting fatter. Whatever I tried, I didn’t seem able to cut down on my own. The problem is that you’re stuck at your desk all day at work and you keep thinking of what food you want to eat to break up the routine of the day.
During the morning you think about what you might have for lunch. Then in the afternoon you start to think of what you might have for dinner. My weight was creeping up, so when I found out about the WeightWatchers scheme I was keen to give it a go.
I had worried that it might be complicated and hard to stick to, but in fact the scheme has been really easy to follow. Over the past five weeks I’ve lost 8½lb, and I’m going to keep it up until I hit my target BMI. I’ve got another stone to go, but it seems more achievable now.
The basic idea is that each food has a points value. Before you begin, WeightWatchers looks at your weight and your lifestyle and calculates how many points you’re allowed each day. How they come up with this is a trade secret. I was allowed 26, my colleague Cameron, who’s also on the diet, got 39 (ProPoints are based on your height, weight and gender so men tend to get more). You’re also allowed 49 bonus points per week. You can either spread them out or have them all in one go – I’ve tended to have something extra every day.
Fruit and veg are mostly “free”, but white flour, meat and cheese are all highscoring. I’ve been having a healthy breakfast, then salad for lunch. Because salad is no points I’ve been able to eat normally in the evenings, which has been a relief. I have an 11-year-old daughter, and I think she’d have rebelled if I offered her carrot sticks for dinner.
WeightWatchers has created an app to go with the plan, so you can easily keep track of what you’ve eaten. If you have the same thing for breakfast each day, you can programme it to automatically include that.
Also, if you exercise, you can work out how many extra points you’re allowed as a result. I do a lot of dog walking and gardening. The only time I don’t think about what I’m going to eat next is when I’m in the garden. The app lets you see easily how many points you can add.
Mostly I’ve had to cut down on the amount of cheese and bread I eat. I’ve cut down on wine, too. I now think about it in terms of the odd glass, rather than bottles.
I always ate streaky bacon rather than back, but back has less fat so I’ve switched to that. I’ve moved to low-fat soya milk with my tea in the morning, too.
The hardest things to cut down on have been the sandwiches and crisps for lunch, and the chocolate bar in the middle of the afternoon. At the start you binge on fruit, because it’s zero points, but after the first week I grew a bit sick of that. And after a little while you do get a bit of a craving for a bacon sandwich, but as you go on it gets easier. You learn how to make small changes to the foods you like to make them ProPoint friendly. For me, a bad time has always been that gap between getting home and eating dinner when you’re cooking but you’re also starving: I’ve been snacking on sugar-snap peas instead of crisps to give my jaw something to do.
I did lapse once or twice: I went over my limit and then stopped counting, and carried on eating. On a camping holiday I drank wine and ate crisps for two days solid. I felt guilty, but when you’re on holiday with friends you have to join in...
My only quibble is that the app mainly features supermarket products. If you buy a Tesco lasagne, say, it’s easy to see how many points it’s worth, but I prefer to cook from scratch and it’s harder to work out. On the whole, though, it’s worked well. I’m a full-time working mother and I’ve been able to follow the plan easily, and I’d happily recommend it to readers. WEIGHT LOSS MADE EASY Lose up to 2lb a week with WeightWatchers Lose weight and still eat the food you love with these two easy-tofollow booklets that are
Points of view: these Weightwatchers meals fit easily into a daily routine – a lunchtime salad scores no points, so it’s pasta for dinner