A Day in the Life of...A Weight Watchers Leader

What it's like to have everyone in your life staring at your plate—every day.
Weight Watcher Leader LizA Day in the Life of

“The POINTS® values become secondary to behaviors—it’s almost the opposite of obsessing.”

Becoming a Weight Watchers leader doesn't mean you're suddenly immune to cravings for vanilla ice cream drowned in hot fudge, or that you never give in to those desires and gain back a few pounds.

The truth is that meetings Leaders are human and have to cope with the same temptations and pressures as members—but that's what makes them such a valuable resource. They haven't just been in difficult situations before — they're facing them every day. We talked to meetings Leader and WeightWatchers.com Success Story Coordinator Liz Josefsberg to get the scoop on what it's like to live life under a food microscope.

Are people ever surprised by what you eat?
I've been a Leader for five years. Every friend, family member, remote friend, cousin and several hundred members know me as a Weight Watchers leader, so I'm always under a microscope with what and how I eat. At family events, people will ask, "You eat that?" or tell me, "You're off tonight!" Or they'll say, "You can have a little, you look great!" The responses range from "You should eat more" to "What are you eating that for?"

Even at the office, people will comment on what I eat. Sometimes they'll ask if I'm allowed to eat a particular food, and I tell them I can have whatever I want! Of course, no one but me knows what I've eaten that day, or whether I've gone to the gym and earned activity PointsPlus values. Those questions don't bother me anymore. It's all just a part of the job.

Does being a Leader make you obsess about your PointsPlus values?
It's pretty automatic now, actually. I just know the PointsPlus values of foods. Instead of dwelling on the numbers, my focus shifts to thinking more about the food, especially when I'm eating out. Now I know exactly where to look on a menu. I don't even see things like lasagna. Instead, I look for dishes like whole-wheat pasta with a simple tomato sauce. The PointsPlus values become secondary to behaviors—it's almost the opposite of obsessing.

What food do you have the hardest time keeping in your house?
If I had chocolate cake in my house, I'd have no control whatsoever. So I never keep it around. Basically I have a hard time resisting all baked goods. I'm lucky that my family is supportive. My husband is an actor and has to watch his weight, too. And we're raising our son on whole-wheat pasta, veggies, fruits, lean meats—Power Foods, basically.

What's your favorite easy-to-make dinner?
Anything in the slow cooker. I do a lot of turkey or bean chili and use them for the week. My favorite no-cook dinner is frozen black-bean burgers on light English muffins with a little avocado and salsa. I also use the Ziploc Zip 'n Steam bags to cook fresh veggies, which saves time. Another simple meal idea is to toss cooked whole-wheat pasta with a really high-quality jarred tomato sauce and top it with some fat-free ricotta and a little grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil—delicious! Both my husband and son love it.

What is one dessert you have to order if you see it on the menu?
A warm brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. I had one Thanksgiving weekend. My parents were visiting and we went to one of those chain restaurants where it's always on the menu. Five of us got one to share. I haven't had one by myself in years. Before Weight Watchers, I would have ordered it myself and stabbed my fork at anyone who tried to take a bite.

Be honest, do any takeout places know you by name or by your order?
We actually don't get takeout often — maybe twice a month. But when we order Chinese, for instance, I always get whatever I'm in the mood for (shrimp, chicken or beef) steamed, with brown rice and veggies on the side. If I'm craving sweet and sour chicken, I just ask for some of that sauce on the side.

Do you ever go "off plan?"
To me, going "off plan" means eating more than I should — past the point of fullness, without counting PointsPlus values. I don't always try to be perfect, so that happens sometimes. Like at Thanksgiving dinner, I ate whatever I wanted and didn't count PointsPlus values. But I woke up the next day and my breakfast was right back on plan.

When I know I want to "slide" a little, like for a vacation, I try to plan for indulgences in advance and compensate by being more active than usual. Over time, though, I find I go off plan less and less. When I do, it starts the slide in the other direction, and it can be hard to summon the energy to get back on track.

About the Writer
Amanda Genge is a freelance writer (and Weight Watchers member) based in New Jersey. In addition to WeightWatchers.com, her work has appeared in Woman's World and Martha Stewart Living magazines.

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