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Weight Watchers -- Success in 9 Weeks

by Debra Hughes
(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

What four-letter word conjures up boot camp images for some and doorways to a new lifestyle for others? Why, diet, of course!

After the birth of my second daughter, I saw a picture of myself taken at Christmas. I was wearing a white turtleneck and dark pants.

I was standing next to my sister who seemed to be able to live on fast food and still look like a model. Her face had prominent cheekbones. My face was round. I had hidden my neck in my collar. Her collar was open, revealing a beautiful, slender column of neck that I would have killed for.

I didn't see a protruding tummy on her that had to be hidden in dark pants like mine. My shirt wasn't even tucked in. My sister wasn't holding a glass of wine. I was. How many calories were in that beverage?

"That's it," I decided, "I'm going on a diet."
But, which one? The Zone diet seemed effective for some, but I didn't like the idea of cutting out anything that wasn't protein or carbs.

I didn't know enough about the South Beach diet to consider trying that. I wanted a diet that used everyday foods, and didn't cut anything out. I was looking for balance. I thought it would be healthier if my diet was based on Canada's Food Guide.

My husband and I discussed it the weekend before Valentine's Day. We had plans to go out for a steak dinner that week. I wondered if we should postpone the diet until after the holiday.

I changed my mind, though, thinking that there really wasn't a good time to start a diet. If I postponed it until after the holiday, something else would come up and stop me from starting again. I might as well do it now as after Valentine's Day.

My husband gingerly brought up the idea of Weight Watchers, while we talked. I knew of them. They were the oldest surviving weight-loss centre I knew of. They had a program that obviously worked, having been in business for as long as I could remember, and their program was based on Canada's Food Guide. Could I handle being a Weight Watcher alumnus, though? I had one way to find out. I would join.

They were friendly. They were positive. They welcomed me. The room that Saturday was filled with people of all sizes, shapes, and included some men. Thirty minutes after I joined, I was feeling like part of a dynamic group that supported each other. It was just great.

I went home that day ready to write down everything I ate. Tracking is an essential part of losing weight. I calculated the number of "points" I could have per day, and had some extra ones to do with what I wanted. I could use them on the weekend, or have a few extra every day. I didn't have to use them at all if I didn't want to.

I knew, though, that boot camp had started. My extra points went to The Keg and my steak dinner, then, per the leader's advice, went back on the straight and narrow.

I stuck religiously to the program I had chosen. There were two at the time: I could use the points system, and eat any kind of food as long as I stayed within the daily allotment and weekly allowance, or I could go on one called "Core" and eat only core foods, but not count points. I liked the points system best.

When I returned for my weigh-in the next Saturday, I had lost seven pounds. Nine weeks later, I had lost nineteen. I had hit my goal. I became a lifetime member.

I could have joined Jenny Craig, but I didn't like the idea of buying the food from them. Everyday foods were better because I wouldn't have to transition back to them after I had lost the weight.

I took my points calculator with me to the grocery store to calculate the number of points certain foods had. Soup was good, although a bit high on the salt. Salt increases a body's ability to retain water, and raises blood pressure. Canned goods are usually high in salt, as are packaged foods.

Fresh food doesn't last as long as packaged, but is healthier. I learned all that at Weight Watchers.

I am proud to be a Weight Watchers alumnus.

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