Food

Everything is still on the menu

Eat what you love and reach your goals with the Weight Watchers approach to food

Losing weight shouldn’t be about depriving yourself of your favourite foods – it should be about living a full and fulfilled life with food that nourishes your body and mind.

“Weight Watchers helps us to see weight loss as a lifestyle change,” says Traci Boiselle, a Connecticut-based Weight Watchers receptionist, meetings leader, and at-work leader.

“What Weight Watchers does is show us how to be mindful of what we put into our bodies at each meal, to be aware of portions and the healthy things our bodies need.”

Boiselle says Weight Watchers changed her entire outlook on weight loss and her body. As a former body builder and figure competitor, she used unhealthy techniques – like extreme calorie restriction and supplements – to lose weight for years. Because of this, Boiselle says she developed a poor body image and an exercise disorder, until one day she walked into a Weight Watchers meeting seeking help.

“Weight Watchers has changed my life,” she says. “It has taught me to have a healthy perspective on food and eating, as well as to finally be comfortable in my own skin and appreciate what my healthy body is capable of.”

The Weight Watchers approach to food is all about being balanced, conscious and aware of what you are eating. Each food is assigned a SmartPoints value based on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein, and this SmartPoints value gently nudges you into making healthier food choices – without sacrificing satisfaction, taste or your favourite treats.

Each Weight Watchers member has a daily SmartPoints target assigned, which Boiselle likes to think of as a chequing account. Additionally, members also get a weekly SmartPoints allowance, which Boiselle likens to a savings account, which can be used for treats, festivities or more decadent foods.

“On the Weight Watchers plan, no foods are off limits,” Boiselle says. “Members simply need to budget their daily points in order to enjoy their favourite indulgences.”

And there are other ways to get your indulgence in without going overboard. The Weight Watchers website and app are filled with more than 4,000 recipes for plan-friendly meals.

How to set yourself up for success

  1. Stick with tracking – Record what you eat in a food journal or in the Weight Watchers Tracker on weightwatchers.ca or in the mobile app. Tracking helps make you aware of what and how much you’re eating, and is tied to weight loss success.
     
  2. Eat slowly and mindfully – By slowing down and being present while you eat, you will enjoy your food more and studies have shown that people who eat slowly tend to eat less.*
     
  3. Choose what you like – Don’t deprive yourself! Deprivation may backfire in the long run. Don’t cut something out of your diet that you can’t see yourself living without, as this can lead to over indulgence and a negative mindset.

The best thing you can do to stay on track during the holidays, and any time of year, is to remember that every day is a new day, Boiselle says.

If you know a big meal or party is coming up, she suggests eating healthy meals early in the day, getting in some extra movement, or simply tracking your food and moving on.

“The fact that Weight Watchers has a ‘nothing off limits’ approach to food is why the plan works!” she says. “When we feel deprived, resentment reigns and binges happen. Having the treats that we want, even if we go over our SmartPoints, is not a failure that should lead to giving up!”

*Robinson E, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of eating ratio on energy intake and hunger. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul; 100 (1): 123-51