Practical Tips for Weight Loss, Learned in a Year on Weight Watchers

3 Dec

This was not even as heavy  as I eventually got.  I gained 20 pounds during chemo, but 20 more during the next three years.

The above picture was taken of me in my new kitchen, one of the very great blessings of the year I had chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer (oh, and surgery, too).

My parents gave us money so that we could do a renovation.  We chose to do our kitchen.

So the picture shows me after having steroids to combat nausea during chemotherapy.  The oncologist guaranteed they would cause me to gain 20 pounds and she was right.  And, at the latter end of a 27-year Navy career,  I was already not a small gal anymore, even before the steroids.

If you follow my Weight Loss posts (there is a category for this), you will have seen the journal of the 90-plus pounds I have lost this year via Weight Watchers.  I started January 1.  Several friends have joined me since then, but I was determined I would do this thing, even if I had to do it completely alone.  God has been so good to let me live following breast cancer.  I felt I needed to join the fight, because my health is one thing I can actively protect, though not, of course, with perfect knowledge.

I have been putting up practical tips for weight loss this week on Facebook.  My friends are loving them.  So here are the ones I have so far.

As we say, YMMV (your mileage may vary).  Weight Watchers emphasizes that all of us who seek weight loss find our own way to do it, within their scientific rules that have been developed over about 50 years of research.

They like to ask, when someone hits a milestone, “What works for you?”  Here are a few things that work for me:

1) I don’t drink any calories.  Water and black coffee only.  Well, a skinny latte once a week, because rules are made to be broken, within reason.  I assume that I will never have a Coke again.  I used to drink a bottled Coke a day, sometimes two of them.  I can live without them.  It is a reasonable trade-off to me.

2) I substitute olive oil for butter wherever possible.  Even in baked goods sometimes.  I just experiment to see whether it works.  Extra virgin olive oil (when uncooked) seems to be turning out to be a wonder substance for breast cancer survivors.  I use lots and lots of it.

3) Lots of herbs and spices to flavor my foods.  Especially after chemotherapy, I love hot and spicy things.  I believe the chemo killed a few of my tastebuds!  Herbs and spices can do away with the need for added salt, and for much of the need for sugar in recipes.

4) I believe Weight Watchers when they make all fruit and most veggies 0 points.  I eat them like they are going out of style.  And I continue to drop weight, even after doing things like eating a two-pound fresh fruit tray at work one morning.

5) No drivethroughs.  Only for my son, every once in a while.  If I get caught inside a fast food place with a group of people, I will have a salad or apple slices or a bottle of water.  The food is not worth the points I will have to spend to have it.  If I want a burger, I will save up points and get one at Red Robin or Five Guys.  Before Weight Watchers, I used to buy a McDonald’s Big Breakfast once or twice a week in the drivethrough before work, so you can see the difference that would have made in my weekly calories back then.

6) I choose to eat dessert once a month.  When I do, it is the biggest piece of mile high cheesecake that Virginia Beach has ever imported from the Carnegie Hall Cheesecake place in New York City.  Go big or stay home!  This is just how I roll, and it is a constant source of joking/amusement at my Weight Watchers group.  Most others will adapt regular desserts to become slimmer recipes, but I choose to only have one big, calorie-laden dessert a month.

That is what I’ve got so far.  Maybe I will have more hints after I have been in the maintenance stage for a while (I just hit my goal weight four weeks ago!).






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