I know it sounds cheesy, but I made a New Year’s Resolution for 2017 to take better care of myself. And a big part of that was to lose the baby weight which I’ve gradually gained from birthing and breastfeeding two kids in four years. But mentally and physically, I was ready to make a change. Here’s a busy breastfeeding mom’s review of Weight Watchers.
I have been given no money nor other incentives to write this post, so trust that it’s honest and unbiased!
Honestly, I didn’t start out with Weight Watchers (WW); I’d used the program years before and loved what I’d learned, but I felt like I needed to try and lose the weight on my own without paying for a program. So, for a few months, I just used My Fitness Pal and tracked on my own.
I did lose about 10 pounds without much difficulty but my body quickly stalled out; I needed to do something else. I really needed to lose another 65+ pounds and be healthy for my kids! (And I’m breastfeeding too, so you know I’m starving 24/7.)
At my mom’s encouraging, I bit the bullet (figuratively) and decided to sign up for WW with their online-only program. And here I am!
How Weight Watchers Works
Weight Watchers is a really logical, simple, customizable plan which allows people to still live their lives and make heathy choices in the long run – we’re talking for life, people.
Essentially you’re given a budget and a weekly balance, and in order to lose weight you must balance your body’s checkbook every week. Makes perfect sense, right?
You’ll get Daily Points (varies from person to person based on starting weight, goal weight, if you’re breastfeeding exclusively/partially, etc.), and Weekly Points like an extra allowance. You can do whatever you want with those weeklies: blow them all on one day or two, use a few a day, or not eat any at all. You can also earn Fit Points for doing exercises or being more active: again, makes sense if you’re burning more calories, you should eat more calories.
For example: I get 36 dailies, plus 35 weeklies, and I try to earn about 50-65 Fit Points every week. A normal day for me has about 40 points in it, give or take.
You choose a weigh-in day and set that in your app: that’s Day One. Your points all reset on that day, too. I chose my day as Tuesday so that if I have high point days on the weekend, my body has a bit of time to adjust itself before I step on that scale!
What’s a Smart Point?
Smart Points (SPs) are the value of every item. If we’re continuing our balance analogy here, this is the price of everything you eat/drink, and everything you do.
What I love about WW is that it takes lots of food’s qualities into account when deciding the SP value for that item. Protein makes a food item lower in points since you’ll be full longer; things like carbs and sugar make it costlier, to deter you from consuming too many.
What’s even more beautiful is that a ton of stuff – like all fruit and most veggies – are 0 SP. Ze-ro. This was a huge motivator for me; when I was just doing My Fitness Pal I wasn’t any more tempted to eat a banana than some crackers. But with WW, a banana is free while a crackers would cost me. And if you’re looking to lose weight, you want to get as much for “free” as possible, right? Especially as a perpetually ravenous breastfeeding mother. Free is good.
What Do You Get From Your Membership?
There are two membership options: the more affordable is online-only, where you get the app and all the tools to track on your device or just in a browser. You also get an account on Connect, which is basically like WW Facebook. It’s a forum where you can interact with others, search #hashtags, get tips and tricks, show photos, and make friends! It’s really helpful and I often peruse it while on the treadmill.
The more expensive version also includes a weekly meeting, where you get weighed in privately and you have access to the support from a meeting leader, as well as the charms and other rewards for achieving weight loss goals.
For me personally, the meetings wouldn’t really be easy to do since I have two young kids; additionally I have a reliable scale at home, and I didn’t feel like I got much out of the meetings when I had them years ago. To me, the face-to-face interactions didn’t really help and I felt the meeting topics were really basic, like “Hey let’s not eat out every day this week, ok?” I do wish I could get the charms and other WW bling, though!
Everyone does get access to the app, where you can track your foods and plan meals, search WW recipes and restaurant choices, track your weight and see graphs, check on the Connect forum, and get online help. You can even scan barcodes and get a food’s SP when you’re shopping! The app isn’t quite as intuitive as the MFP app was for me, but I’ve gotten used to it and I like it okay.
What I Love Most About WW
I love that I feel like a real human being in the real world. I can eat pizza, ice cream, and drink a half bottle of wine without sabotaging myself or undoing weeks of dedication. It’s all about balance, so as long as I “save” and plan ahead, I don’t feel restricted.
This is so important for sustainability, because I don’t want to lose this weight only to have it creep back up on me. And if I starved myself or was really unhappy with my “diet”, I’d only be that much more tempted to stray or to cheat. So WW is teaching me balance: I can’t eat everything I want all the time, but I stay satisfied. And when I’m out of points, I don’t starve – I just quit eating points!
Don’t worry, I’m writing another article soon about my favorite WW hacks, tricks, and tips!
I also love that it takes into account if you’re breastfeeding – and not just breastfeeding, but if you’re nursing exclusively or not. It’s great to know that you get extra points when you’ll be making milk! It is not recommended to use WW (or any diet program) while pregnant, or up to six weeks post partum.
What I Don’t Like About WW
It took a while for me to just buckle down and track everything. In the beginning this is really tedious, especially when you’re caring for young children, and it just pissed me off. (I also don’t like the WW tracker as much as the one on My Fitness Pal, which seems much more extensive and intuitive.)
And I’ll say because it’s true: unless you’re morbidly obese, you won’t lose a ton of weight every week. Yes, this is the healthy way to lose weight, but I feel like for all the good choices I make, I wish the weight would come off a bit faster! WW advertises that you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week if you follow the plan correctly, but for me it’s more like .5-1 pound/week. It’s happening, just more slowly than I’d like! But hey, now I can look ahead to next spring and summer! And this is something I’m doing for me, for life.
And As a Busy Breastfeeding Mama…
I can honestly say that I feel like Weight Watchers does a good job of accommodating breastfeeding moms. Other apps (like My Fitness Pal) and programs might give you additional calories, but I think there’s a lot more support here. You can adjust if you’re exclusively breastfeeding or just part-time nursing (once your baby’s started with solids), and you can search all of the #breastfeeding or #breastfeedingmama hashtags for advice and support.
And as far as being busy… you know, like running after two little kids while balancing all of the chores in the house and still trying to maintain sanity… WW makes it quick and easy! Once you get the hang of tracking, it’s super quick. You can search for new recipes or save your own, use the barcode scanner while you’re shopping, and track for future days to save time. If you’re online-only like me, you can track your weekly weight at home, too.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with WW. It’s sustainable, it’s enjoyable, and it’s working – even on those weeks when I have a crazy high point day, or I don’t work out at all. I’ll continue on the plan and do an update post once I’ve been on the plan for close to a year!
To get information on memberships and if Weight Watchers is right for you, check out their website here.
Are you a Weight Watcher? Do you like the program? Let me know in the comments!