Are you ready to make a weight-loss comeback?
Is it time to join the movement?
Stress eating, less exercise, more wine – if that sounds familiar thanks to a little thing called the coronavirus pandemic, the results of an Australian study show you’re in (very!) good company. As a result, a large-scale survey revealed that as many as one in three people gained weight over the last few years.
WW member Elvi is one of them. “The pandemic ruined my travel career and I had to seek new employment,” she says. “I was lucky to find a new role, but it’s no coincidence I’ve gained 15kg since I started.”
Fellow WW member Rebecca can relate. “I put a lot of my weight regain down to COVID. I went from attending an office job five days a week to working from home and not leaving the house on weekends – I completely isolated myself. I struggled to find a good work-homelife balance and used food as a coping mechanism.”
Having lost 60kg on WW to get to her goal weight in 2020, like Rebecca, Elvi also puts her recent weight gain down to letting the WW program slide. “Turning to treat food and wine to deal with stress and to unwind became a habit, and soon, tracking went out the window. Not being accountable meant I was in denial and never getting on the scales compounded things, and the weight gain just grew. WW works, I just stopped following it.”
WW’s Program Manager Nicole Stride says there’s a simple explanation for what Elvi and Rebecca have experienced. “When we’re facing challenges in our lives or experience changes to our routines, it’s really easy to slip back into old habits – particularly when you consider that we’ve often had those habits for a lot of our lives.”
"It can be quite natural to experience weight gains and losses, and what’s most important is being kind to yourself in those moments."— WW Program Manager Nicole Stride
The other thing to remember is that getting to goal is only one half of the story. “For some people, learning to maintain their weight is a whole new chapter from what they learnt while losing weight,” says Nicole. “It’s why, on the WeightWatchers program, we help members with this transition, with a six-week maintenance period. It can be quite natural to experience weight gains and losses, and what’s most important is being kind to yourself in those moments. Labelling yourself as a failure is never, ever helpful.”
Own it to flip it
“This is a picture of me 3 years ago on holiday when I felt like a great version of myself,” she wrote. “I was motivated, had loads of energy and felt confident. I use this photo as my inspiration at the moment. After COVID years I wasn’t looking or feeling my best and as you guys know I joined WW to help me get back on track.”
“I was doing really well and lost 10kg and was feeling great, but to be honest, then I fell off the wagon over the New Year and started going backwards. I know so many people go through the same thing and I wanted to share it with you all – the important thing is to be kind to yourself and I have done that. I’m now back on WW and really committed to hitting my goal weight in time for my end of year holiday.”
The post (deservedly!) received a whole lot of love, and that meant it ticked two vital weight-loss boxes, because research shows people are more successful at losing weight when they’ve got social support and when they’re accountable to someone else.
Around the same time Elvi, Rebecca and another WW member, Trish, all decided to make similar ‘owning it’ posts on Connect, WW’s member-only social community.
“It was important for me to be vulnerable to the community and be true to myself,” says Elvi about a post where she shared her weight gain. “It was a way of seeking connection and support in forgiving myself and moving on. The outpouring of love and support helped me realise I wasn’t alone.”
Rebecca agrees: “I needed to be honest with myself and honest to others,” she says about why she shared where she’s currently at, on Connect. “Once I was completely honest about my weight gain, I was able to move forward and stop hiding. It was freeing! There are 24 weigh-ins for me before summer and my goal by then is to be strong, courageous and mindful – and to remember how to start living again instead of existing. Let’s do this!”
"Once I was completely honest about my weight gain, I was able to move forward and stop hiding. It was freeing!"— WW member Rebecca
For Trish, it was all about accountability. “I lost weight initially to look healthier and slimmer on my wedding day and after losing 23kg, I achieved that. But once I was married, I left WW and regained 10kg thanks mainly to snacking and not tracking. I returned to WW and needed to post on Connect that I was back and I was serious so I could be accountable.”
Nicole says it’s such a smart strategy. “It’s good to take stock of where you are now, like Jackie and many other WW members have recently done, as it allows you to reflect on the actions or habits you’re currently doing that aren’t aligned with your health and weight-loss goals. You can then create a plan for how to change those actions moving forward.”
"Research shows WW members lose eight times more weight compared to people trying to do it on their own."
5 steps to take action
If you’re ready to restart your weight-loss journey, these 5 tips are a great place to start.
1. Put your experience to work
“Try to learn from where you might have gone off track last time,” says Nicole, “and create a detailed plan for what you’ll do differently in those particular areas this time.”
2. Identify your why
“Pinpoint the reason you want to lose weight this time, which may be different from the last time, and keep reminding yourself of this ‘why’ as you start your journey again.”
3. Set realistic goals
“If you haven’t been tracking at all for the past few months, it’s not realistic to expect that you’ll immediately go back to tracking seven days a week,” says Nicole. Instead, commit to tracking a few days a week and build up from there. “Small, achievable goals can help you get back into the swing of following the program, in the beginning.”
4. Focus on ‘now’ rather than ‘then’
“Avoid comparing your progress this time around, to how you did last time. Things will be different and that’s okay! Likewise, what worked for you last time may not be sustainable or feel good this time, especially if your life circumstances have changed. Be open to trying a different approach.”
5. Get support
“Don’t feel like you have to do this alone – or in secret! The more support you get from family, friends, other members or WW Coaches, the more likely you are to succeed. Remember that research shows WW members lose eight times more weight compared to people trying to do it on their own.”