After moving back to America from China in July 2015, I quickly gained around 30 pounds, going from ~190 pounds to ~220 pounds. I'm a little over six feet tall and broad shouldered, so I can carry a lot of weight without looking especially fat, but I began to feel uncomfortable (even my "fat" pants didn't fit) and decided to lose all the extra weight.
I didn't join Weight Watchers, I simply got their Getting Started guide, Complete Food Companion, and Points Finder card. You can find these cheaply on eBay, mine is the 2001 edition. I don't need the support group or peer pressure aspect of the program since I'm self motivated.
Because I started at ~220 pounds, the program gives me a daily "point range" of 24 to 29, and they suggest targeting the middle of the range, i.e., consuming 26.5 points of food a day. Obviously the reason anyone gets fat is because he is overeating. The great insight of Weight Watchers is that you should not undereat, that is, you must consume at least 24 points of food every day. Vegetables are zero points so you can consume an unlimited amount of them.
I had tried eating only 500 calories two days a week (Monday and Thursday) earlier in the year, but it was a disaster. I would eat twice as much on the days preceding or following the fast day. It was an idiotic idea. It figures that I learned about it, while browsing People magazine in the supermarket checkout line, from a late-night talk show host. Fasting occasionally might make sense if you are very fit, but it's a terrible idea if you are fat.
You must keep a detailed food diary recording your points consumed. You need to be honest with yourself and strictly record everything. If you cheat, you will fail.
You can gain points by doing exercise, but not a lot. I row every day (Concept2), always have, through fit and fat. A gentle 30 minute row will give you two extra points, but I still shoot for my 26.5 point goal despite gaining these points. I suppose some people might want to consume those extra two points since they "earned" them, but I simply "bank" them.
Here are examples of what I eat every day:
Breakfast (6.5 points total)
- Egg fried in 1/2 teaspoon of butter: 2.5 points
- Slice of rosemary olive oil bread, toasted (no butter): 3 points
- One boiled egg white: 0 points
- One orange: 1 point
Lunch (8 points)
- Beef tenderloin (or chicken breast) fried in 1/2 teaspoon of butter: 3.5 points (three ounces cooked weight)
- Salad (only the avocado, olives, pesto, and dressing have points): 4.5 points
Supper (10 points)
- My wife cooks supper so there's a lot of variety here, but I'm always careful about counting the points accurately and sizing portions appropriately.
Snacks (2 points, some examples below):
- Apple: 1 point
- Orange: 1 point
- Cup of grapes: 1 point
- 1/2 banana: 1 point
- 3 cups popcorn (oil popped): 2 points
- 1/8 cup Craisins: 1 point
- 1 tablespoon hummus: 1 point
Tips for Success
Bubble tea straws, carrot sticks, and Ricola Honey-Herb cough drops. When I started out, I was eating a TON of carrot sticks every day (zero points) just to have something in my mouth -- some kind of oral fixation thing, I guess. The other tip is sucking on Ricola cough drops (I only like the Honey-Herb flavor). Again, they are sweet and satisfy some oral craving, and you can suck on them a long time (I think five of them equal one point, but you only have one from time to time).
Drink water with every meal. A bubble tea straw will help you consume a lot of water very quickly.
I started on the Weight Watchers program on December 1st, 2016 at 217 pounds and weighed in on the 31st at 206.5 pounds, so I lost around ten pounds in one month, which is a lot! The interesting thing will be seeing how things go in the second month now that the "easy" weight has been lost. I will continue to report my progress (he says hopefully) at the end of January 2017.