In 1999 my sister and I embarked on ‘The Cabbage Soup Diet’. It is as ludicrous as it sounds but the fact that someone somewhere had written it’s what the health professionals recommended obese patients, we thought we’d give it ago. Neither of us was obese nor under doctor’s orders but back then when strong wasn’t the new sexy my perpetual yo-yo dieting – ergo my unhealthy obsession with obtaining the unobtainable – was only just beginning.
Fast forward 10 years and Kate Moss was quoted in a fashion magazine saying the now infamous words “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and I remember thinking that in order to be a waif-like Goddess I was going to have to survive on mere lettuce leaves with a side of thin air for the rest of my life.
10 years of diets.
10 years of cabbage soup, Atkins, South Beach, Keto, Blood type. Even The Caveman Diet which is gross when I think about it; I’m a vegetarian now. Not a diet.
And this is the thing.
I will never be waif-like, my body is just not built that way and it’s taken me a really long time to realise that’s ok. While I don’t have much weight to lose, after housing 3 humans, birthing them, nourishing them with my own body. Well, life (and weight) has taken its toll and I simply could not rotate the same two pairs of jeans for any longer.
Weight is subjective though, isn’t it? You might look at me and think ‘she’s not that big’ but I wasn’t my normal and I was uncomfortable and unhappy because nothing was working. I say nothing, but for the last couple of years, I haven’t done a whole lot of anything. I’d fallen into a trap of the awful juxtaposition of not caring yet caring SO MUCH.
There’s that yo-yo again.
Then I joined Weight Watchers and I won’t make you ‘fast forward’ to the end of this to find out…I lost 9 pounds in 4 weeks! It works.
It is not a diet.
And here’s why.
What is Weight Watchers Flex?
Weight Watchers Flex is the most flexible programme ever that builds on the hugely successful and effective SmartPoints system (more on that later). You can eat anything. Let me repeat that in big shouty capitals for extra emphasis. YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING.
Hey Weight Watchers: You had me at anything.
No food is off limits. No food is a ‘sin’, bad or banned. But, as with anything worth working for, you have to put the leg work in. You need to use the app to track the SmartPoints and the most sensible thing you can do when following Weight Watchers Flex is fill up on the zero points foods which include lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. It isn’t hard because there’s more than 200 of them. No weighing, tracking or measuring.
I know, amazing right?
“The Weight Watchers programme is always based on the latest nutritional, activity and psychological science and current health guidelines,” said Zoe Griffiths, Head of Programme and Public Health at Weight Watchers. “WW Flex expands our range of zero Points foods to guide members toward a healthier pattern of eating. It offers the freedom and flexibility they need to make significant lifestyle changes that have positive benefits beyond just weight loss. The results are the best we’ve ever seen for a Weight Watchers programme in a clinical trial.”
How does the Weight Watchers Flex app work?
First thing I did when I embarked on the plan was to download the app and really familiarise myself with the zero SmartPoints food list. My top tip is to keep SmartPoints to a minimum throughout the day and then use the bulk of daily points for your evening meal. SmartPoints are specifically tailored and based on your individual needs and activity levels. I was allocated 23 SmartPoints a day and found that it wasn’t hard to roll over up to 4 of them to be banked and used later for special occasions (or that bottle of Sauvignon that teases me every time I open the fridge.)
This is a completely personalised approach to weight loss. As well as the allocated daily SmartPoints you also get a weekly buffer which is especially handy if, like me, you like to indulge in an Indian takeaway at the weekend. Who doesn’t?
Go veggie by the way guys, it’s much healthier and there are far fewer SmartPoints in a Lentil Dhansak than a Chicken Tikka Masala, let me tell you.
Make use of the app, track everything and learn from my mistakes. I unwittingly put two heaped teaspoons of coffee whitener in every single coffee (read: buckets full) for the first week when I was on this programme. It turns out that after some investigating with my Weight Watchers group leader, Sian, the reason I only lost a pound that week could have been down to the fact I’d managed to rack up a whole day’s worth of SmartPoints on bloomin’ coffee mate!
The whole point of something like this is that it’s a learning curve and little (sometimes big) habits can contribute to weight gain without us even realising. The app, in that respect, is a Godsend because it takes away the guesswork and is instrumental in helping you see results.
Not only does the app track what you’re eating it also scans barcodes. Gamechanger. You could be going around Tesco doing your weekly shop and merrily scanning as you go. It’s fabulous and such a brilliant feature. But that’s not all, the app has loads of recipes with full ingredients and instructions to help guide you and it makes it so easy to decide what you’re going to eat because the SmartPoints are listed too.
You’ll also be encouraged to find what moves you, whether you’re a gym bunny or walks in the countryside are more your thing. You can and will achieve your goals with unique FitPoints to support your fitness. Activity can be monitored in the app and it is so helpful and motivating when it comes to goal setting.
What support will I receive on Weight Watchers Flex?
Shall we talk about the meetings? I was a little apprehensive because walking into a room full of strangers is not my favourite. On my first time, I was greeted at the door and welcomed in. Lovely touch. I signed up at the desk and joined the queue for my first weigh-in. My coach, Sian gave me the warmest smile, I got weighed which wasn’t made into a big deal (one of my concerns before-hand) we chatted about my goals, my kids, my job. She was just so nice, and I thought to myself I’d got really lucky with the gold standard of Weight Watchers coaches.
Sian knew all the people in the group by name, she had a little chat with everyone that walked through the door and I found the meeting to be positively inspiring. There were a few people in attendance at their goal weight but they still choose to go along to meetings for the support and the camaraderie.
That speaks volumes to me.
What can I eat on Weight Watchers Flex?
You can eat anything.
The Weight Watchers Flex programme is the most livable and flexible ever. As I said I have been making the most out of the zero SmartPoints foods so a typical breakfast for me would be fat-free plain yoghurt with berries. Lunch of Ryvita topped with tomato and chilli salsa and homemade baked beans for dinner.
If you’d like more ideas then do check out my Instagram stories and look at my profile highlights where I’ve diarised my Weight Watchers Flex journey and you know me, I love a good food flat lay.
I also captured 1 second of video footage every day for four weeks to give you an idea of what being on Weight Watchers Flex looks like for a busy working mum.
Does Weight Watchers Flex work?
I can promise you it works. I lost 9 pounds and it only took 4 weeks. My goal weight is 10 stone but at the moment I’m happy to see 10 stone something on the scales. It’s been a while! I’ll never be the 8 1/2 stone I was when I got married. And I’m ok with that so I’ll keep going until I reach my goal.
Weight Watchers will fit in with your lifestyle and give you the flexibility to enjoy food with freedom. I’m a foodie, a ‘feeder’ I love to cook and bake, I’m a food blogger, it’s my job.
That’s how much I love food.
I want everyone reading this blog to be encouraged, to get in the kitchen and try new things. I want you to love food too.
Take it from me: don’t spend 10 years of your life on diets that don’t work.
Weight Watchers is so much more than a Weight loss programme; it’s a way of life. And I want in. Do you?
*This post was commissioned by Weight Watchers.
For more information on the Weight Watchers Flex Plan and to find your nearest meeting visit www.weightwatchers.com