Testing Weight Watcher’s Simple Start Over The Holidays

Simple Start

Weight Watchers just rolled out its new Simple Start program. I’m giving it a spin for the next two weeks.

I’m convinced that eating healthy on the road is possible. It just takes a bit of effort and planning. To help me out, I decided to give Weight Watcher’s new Simple Start program a try over the holidays.

It’s a 2-week starter plan where you choose from a list of meals and snacks suggested by Weight Watchers. The meals focus on power foods – vegetables, veggies, and lean meats.  Power foods fill you up faster and help you stay full over time. So the program doesn’t focus too much on tracking or portions (except for healthy oils and the indulgence foods that made the list).

Minor Concerns With Simple Start
As for portions, the program is geared towards a 10-inch plate, 12-oz bowl and a 12-oz glass. These are your guides and not the standard measuring.

Hmmmm…that’s nice, but I’m going to stick to measuring. It’s a good habit I got into and I don’t want to break it after two weeks of this program.

Simple Start meals

Simple Start provide meal and snack options to choose from. I plan to avoid the high carb meals.

The other area I’m concerned with is amount of high-carb whole grains, pastas and breads in many of the meal options. Yes, I’m doing Weight Watchers, but I’m also counting my carbs. Carbs trigger a rise in insulin, which in turn stores the fat in cells. Since pasta, breads and most grains are trigger foods for me, I’m avoiding them, unless I eat them right after a muscle workout.

Even then, I’m limiting my choices to steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, bulgur or barley. No rice. And absolutely no pasta.

Indulgence Points
The only points I’ll track are the “indulgence” foods. Little things like chocolate or wine. On Simple Start you’re allowed just 7 points of indulgence foods. Any extra food I eat or if I swap out ingredients in the recipes for items not on the approved list are counted towards those 7 points.

Basically Weight Watchers took the 49 weekly allowance points and broke them up across a week.

This is a toughy!  I use regular cheese and butter on the PointsPlus plan. I’d rather spend my points on the real stuff. It helps me feel satiated. Low fat foods, loaded with carbs, don’t fill me up. A big no-no for me.

I’ll need to watch my cheese intake for the next couple of weeks.

Simple Start App
The program includes an app. While I’ve set up my log in, I haven’t explored it just yet. I begin Simple Start on Saturday so I’ll start playing with the app later in the week. I’ve got too many things to do before our trip and getting sidetracked by another app won’t help.

Initial Thoughts
After sitting through the meeting where our leader went over the new program, I must admit I had serious misgivings about it.

I get the need to make a weight loss program as easy as possible for people, but not so easy that it requires no thought.

Losing weight is hard work. If it wasn’t no one would talk about an obesity epidemic in our country.

But weight loss is 95% mental. I don’t mean will power (there is no such thing). There is a huge learning curve to losing weight. You need to know why portion control is important, recognize that not all calories are equal, and grasp why we get fat in the first place.

Tracking what you eat is a big part of that earning curve.

Since I’ve had a few days to look over the Simple Start materials, I’m a little more open to the idea.

  • It’s designed as a starter program. If it helps someone take those first steps on their weight loss journey, that’s a very good thing.
  • If you’re stuck on a plateau, this is a great little shock to the system to give your body the push it needs.
  • If you are looking for a super easy program to help you drop the pounds, I’m sure this fits the bill. But will you keep it off? Hmmmm.

I’m giving Simple Start a try. I’ll post reviews of the recipes as I go along and of the program at the end of my 2-weeks.

Who knows, Simple Start might make me a believer.


Water Weight Vanquished; Finally Below 240 Pounds

The water weight is gone and I'm now officially below 240 pounds!

I controlled my eating on Thanksgiving and my water weight is gone. I’m now officially below 240 pounds!

While I attended my Weight Watchers meeting last week, I decided to use my free pass and not officially weigh-in. While I didn’t over do it on Thanksgiving, I suspected I’d show a lot of water retention with all that tasty turkey day sodium. Sure enough, when I got home from that meeting, I stepped on my home scale and saw a 6 pound gain.

No one gains 6 pounds in one day. More water weight. Basically I needed to flush the excess water and salt out of my system before getting a more accurate weigh-in.

I worked hard this week to stay on my food and exercise program.

The result? I’m down 2.2 pounds from my earlier weigh-in.  Awesome! That damn water weight is finally gone (for now).

What makes me happy is that I’m finally below 240 pounds. Woohoo!

I know I dropped below 240 a few weeks before Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t let myself get too excited until that holiday was firmly in my rear view mirror.  I needed a post holiday weigh-in for confirmation.

Missing My 3-Month Goal
I’m not going to reach my 3-month goal of dropping about 20 pounds before the end of the year. I’m not being  pessimistic, just realistic. I’d have to lose 14 pounds in 3 weeks. That’s nearly 5 pounds a week…not very healthy (or smart!).

Am I disappointed? Sure, but I was overly aggressive in setting that goal mid way through October. But I’m not beating myself up over it.

Besides, I’m happy I controlled myself over Thanksgiving.  That gives me a lot of optimism for the rest of December.

I’m revamping my expectations and shooting for 6 more pounds by the end of the year. Still a tall order considering 2 pounds a week is at the top of the range for healthy weight loss.

I think an extra spin class can help.

Nov. 9 Weekly Weigh-In: I Lost Nearly 3 Pounds

weekly weigh-in, weight loss, losing weight, weight watchers

I lost 2.8 pounds this week, bringing my total weight loss to just under 84 pounds.

I had a great week and it showed on the scale — I dropped 2.8 pounds!  That puts my total weight loss at 83.6 pounds.

Body Adjusting To New Routine
I don’t think it was the spinning class that caused the big drop. I expected a bigger dip during last week’s weigh-in. But thanks to sore muscles and working out before stepping on the scale, I retained a lot of water.

This week I recovered more quickly from my workouts and didn’t exercise before my Weight Watchers meeting. So I expected, and got, better numbers when I stepped on that scale this morning.

I noticed that my weight loss is more consistent since I started weight training 3 times a week. Prior to working with my trainer, I’d seesaw between losing a few ounces one week and nothing the next.

My body adjusted to my workout and diet. Another awful plateau was around the corner. Thankfully the weight training gave my body the jump-start it needed to let go of the fat.

Reaching My Year-End Goal
I set a 3-month goal of dropping 19.5 pounds by December 31. As of today I’m 5.6 pounds closer. That gives me 7 weeks to reach my goal. It’s a tall order with the holiday’s coming up.  But I’m up for the challenge.

Nov. 2 Weekly Weigh-In: Down 1 Pound

weight loss, weekly weigh-in

Dropped 1 pound this week. Need to lose 16.7 lbs. by Dec. 31 to hit my 30% weight loss goal. Fingers crossed!

I’m down a pound this week! That brings my total weight loss to 81 lbs. And with this week’s loss, I now need to lose 16.7 lbs. to hit my 30% weight loss goal by December 31st.

Considering the average weekly weight loss is up to 2 lbs., 16 lbs. is tall order since I’d need to drop the max weight each week for the next 8 weeks...hmmmmm.

I’m game!

Too Busy To Weigh-In? Poppycock!
The last time I officially weighed in was Oct. 12.  Yikes! Between the 5Ks and family trips, this is the first weekend in weeks with no plans.

I can’t believe I let two weeks slide without going to Weight Watchers. I really hate missing my weekly meetings. It’s always good to check in and see how I’m doing. The accountability keeps me motivated. Plus, the energy from the meetings give me the kick-start I need for the week.

Although my weekend dance card fills up quickly, I need to work harder to keep my Saturday morning date with the scale.



Taking A New “After” Photo

weight loss before and after photo

Down 82 lbs.! I can’t believe I weighed more than 300 lbs. Look for more “after” photos as I continue on my weight loss journey.

I cheated this morning. For some reason, I stepped on the scale. I never weigh myself midweek or use my scale. I always face the scale at a Weight Watchers meeting. And only on the weekend.

After yesterday’s 2 hour workout, I woke up feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. I needed to go open my presents now.

So I stepped on the scale and saw I lost 2.6 lbs. so far this week. If that holds (or improves) by weigh-in day, then that means I’ve lost 25% of my original body weight.

I’m cautiously optimistic.

Oh, hell I’m ecstatic!  So much so I decided it’s time for another “after” picture. My husband snapped my  last “after” photo 7 months ago when I weighed 260 lbs. Unofficially as of this morning I’m 243.6 – a loss of 16.4 lbs since that first “after” photo. Nice!

Looking at the March and October photos, I can see a slight difference in my torso. I’ll love documenting the weight loss with pictures. Photos every 6 seems about right. Next time I’ll break out the good camera, not the one on my iPhone.

Fingers crossed that those numbers either hold or improve by this weekend for the real weigh-in.

Dropped Nearly 2 Lbs. This Week

1.8 lbs. drop this week! That puts me 17.7 lbs. away from my 3 month goal and 106 lbs. away from my goal weight.

1.8 lbs. drop this week! That puts me 17.7 lbs. away from my 3 month goal and 106 lbs. away from my goal weight.

I decided to weigh-in a day earlier than normal since I’ve got the 5K tomorrow. I must say, I’m very happy. I’m down 1.8 lbs this week. That puts my total weight loss at 78.8 lbs. As for my 3-month weigh loss goal, I only have 17.7 lbs to go.


Food Journal Day 6: App Fail

To correctly track my food portions in Carb Masters, I need to key in the following data for my foods. Not very helpful at all!

To correctly track my food portions in Carb Masters, I need to key in the following data for my foods. Not very helpful at all!

While I’ve tracked my food for the last six days, today seems like a real tracking day.  Thanks to the dental work, I was severely limited in the types of food I ate. Today is the first day I can eat normally.

I’m only half way through the day and all I can say is the Carb Master app is annoying as hell.

I love that it provides a net carb count. However, the food library, while large, doesn’t allow me to select my portion size. Example – today I ate 1/2 C of chopped cucumbers for a morning snack. The app provides pre-designated portions and 1/2 C is not an option. The solution, I created a customer food called “Chopped Cucumber” but I had to key in the data (Net Carbs, Calories, Fat, Saturated Fat, Protein, Sugars, Fiber, etc.).

I ended up asking The Google the nutrition info for 1/2 C of cucumbers and keyed those numbers into the app.

Really? The whole point of mobile apps is convenience.  It ended up taking about 15 minutes to key in everything (damn you auto correct!).

It took less than 1 minute to record my food in my Weight Watchers app. The food journal in My Fitness Pal got the job done easily enough. Hell, writing it down in my Fit Book took less time…just sayin’.

Adding a favorite recipe into Carb Master? Well you can name the recipe and the ingredient.  How much of an ingredient and how it’s prepared? Not so much. Ugh!

The carb count changes if you eat a vegetable raw, steamed, or grilled.  Yet, I can’t key in how to prepare those vegetables in a carb counting app. It’s almost as if the folks who created this app don’t know anything about low carb eating.

Carb Master is an epic fail.

Keeping A Food Journal: 12-Week Challenge

Doubling down on food journaling! Today kicks off the start of my 12-Week Tracking Challenge.

Doubling down on food journaling! Today kicks off the start of my 12-Week Tracking Challenge.

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m horrible at tracking my food. I don’t know why. I seem to go through cycles. Some weeks I am the most awesome tracker in the world. Others, I completely suck at it.

Guess what cycle I’m in now?

I know tracking works. When I track, the pounds fall off. It’s that simple.

Over the last 2 weeks, I went from tracking everything everyday to just a couple of meals a day to no tracking at all.

A part of me just thinks I don’t have to write it down. I can count my points and carbs in my head. Ha! I ended up snacking all last night and lost count sometime between dinner, the jello, the almonds, the wine, and the late night chicken wings.

Tracking Challenge
I decided to create a 12-Week Tracking Challenge using both paper and my iPhone. I want to reinforce a good habit…hence the 12-weeks. I’m tracking:

  • Food (PointsPlus and Net Carb)
  • Water
  • Exercise
  • Goals
  • Weekly Challenges

Paper Journal Vs. Apps
Conventional wisdom says apps make tracking “easier.” But I’m not so sure.

I find with paper, I’m actually thinking about what I’m doing. With the app, it’s more like I log it and think more about improving the app, not myself.

Since I’m tracking both PointsPlus and net carb values, I plan to use Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal and Carb Master apps during the first phase of the challenge.

Truth is no one app does what I need it to do – calculate PointsPlus and net carbs, and track my activity. My Weight Watchers’ app is my workhorse for tracking, but it doesn’t count carbs (please WW gods add this feature!).  Friends recommended My Fitness Pal and Carb Masters. So I’ll also review the apps during this challenge.

Behold the Fitbook! My paper food journal for the next 12 weeks.

Behold! My paper food journal for the next 12 weeks.

I know paper isn’t a walk in the park either. I don’t know the PointsPlus value or net carb count of everything I eat. Paper is so DOS!

But again, if I write it, I tend to think about what I’m doing. Thinking is key to living healthy.

For the paper tracking, I settled on using Fitlosophy’s Fitbook. It’s a 12-week fitness and nutrition journal. It includes long- (3 months) and short-term (weekly) goals. It’s very clean and allows detailed info. It’s small enough to fit in my purse so I can take it with me.

The challenge starts today and ends December 18.

Weekly Weigh-In: Slightly Bloated

Thanks to water retention, no change in weight this week.

Thanks to water retention, no change in weight this week.

Yesterday my fingers swelled slightly and my ankles puffed up a bit. That continued this morning, right on cue for my weekly weigh-in. Awesome.

Thanks to the water retention and my pig-out fest on Wednesday, I feared the scale this morning.

Turns out I’m up 0.2 lbs. So basically the same as last week. I’ll take it. I lost nearly 8 lbs and I kept it off. I’m happy.

Weight Loss Lesson Of The Week
Eating right every meal except for one this week didn’t upset the apple cart. That’s why it’s important to get back on track immediately.

I’m expecting water evaporation in a few days. So I’m hopeful the scale will show me some love next Saturday.

Weekly Weigh-In: Down 7.6 Pounds, Baby!

Below 250 lbs for the first time in 10 years! Bye-bye plateau.

Below 250 lbs for the first time in 10 years! Bye-bye plateau.

When I woke up this morning, I had a great feeling about stepping on the scale.  I arrived at my Weight Watcher’s meeting to find the building empty.


Then I remembered that the meeting relocated due to renovations. But I couldn’t remember where. Thankfully, my trusty Weight Watchers app pointed me to the temporary place.  Come hell or high water, I was stepping on that scale today!

I arrived with a few minutes to spare. I stepped on the scale and experienced my second shock that morning. I knew I’d lost some weight, maybe a couple of pounds. Ha! I dropped nearly 8 lbs. this week. I did a little happy dance as I stepped off the scale.

After 4 months of battling this plateau – bouncing between 252 – 255 lbs – I finally broke through the 250 lbs. barrier. I feel awesome.

When I started this little journey, I set a goal of losing 185 lbs.  I knew I needed to break my weight loss into smaller chunks so as not to feel overwhelmed. I settled on 5% increments. So when I started, 5% of my total body weight was 15 lbs…10% equaled 30 lbs total, and so on – very doable chunks.

Since January, I set my sights on hitting 250 lbs. The last time I weighed 250 was my wedding more than 10 years ago. So 250 a milestone?  Oh, a big one.

I’ve finally crossed the my weight loss Rubicon!

My total weight loss is now 78 lbs. I am 4 lbs. shy of losing 25% of my body weight.

Well, if 250 lbs. is my Rubicon, then hitting 200 lbs. is my white whale (just without the personal destruction).

Happy hunting!

Related articles