A win­ning plan that set me off on my happy los­ing streak

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

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

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