Weight Watchin', week four: No Words

Big work project.

Worked 135 of last 228 hours.

All out of wording.

Week 4 thingy: 194.1
Total blah thing: 10.9


Weight Watchin', week three: The Agony of the Scale

When I'm not doing a weight-loss program, I barely step on the scale. Makes sense, right? I might check in every now and then, just to see if my weight is still hovering in the same five-pound-or-so range, or to find out if an illness or a huge meal made any big difference.

Weight Watchers asks you to weigh in once a week; if you're doing the online program, you can log your weight more often, but I've been sticking to once per week for now. Monday is my tracking day (and therefore, my blog posting day).

When you're taking an active interest in your weight, there's a little bit of internal calculus that goes on every time you prepare to step on the scale. Last Monday, my thoughts were on the previous night's Indian takeout, a 17-point indulgence that (combined with Easter dinner and wine with my family) had eaten up most of my remaining weekly points. But balance that against my six-mile run and the entire week of healthy eating before that, but subtract happy hour on Friday, divide by two, carry the one ...

At any rate, I expected a small loss, maybe a pound or even less. I stepped on the scale.

200.0. A tenth of a pound higher than last week.

1.6 ounces made the first number of my weight a 2 instead of a 1.

I know that there are good scale days and bad scale days, but I really, really didn't want to go back to having a 2 in front. So I did a very silly thing. I used the bathroom. And then I weighed myself again.


OK, really?

Finally, I did an even sillier thing. I recalled that the previous week, my bathrobe was hanging on the wall behind the scale instead of in a heap on the bathroom floor. I hung it back up and tried again.

And I must have slightly shifted the way I was standing so as not to wind up with a face full of pink microfiber, because the scale read 199.5.

Eventually, I will see this episode as a pithy reminder that the numbers on the scale really, truly do not matter. Weight Watchers uses those numbers because it's a lot easier to measure your weight than things like "how loose my clothes are" or "how much energy I have" or "whether my knees hurt as much when I run." I know this.

But for now, I think I'm going to buy a thicker robe.

Week 3 weigh-in: 198.6 (no do-overs this week!)
Total pounds lost: 6.4


Weight Watchin', week two: Points, Glorious Points

If you know anything about Weight Watchers, you probably know that the program works by assigning a point value to various foods. You're allotted a certain number of points per day (I get 33, based on my current weight and lifestyle), plus a weekly points bank that you can dip into if you need it (49). Exercising earns you extra points.

Losing weight is, at its simplest, a math problem. Take in fewer calories than you burn; watch the pounds drop off. The points system just makes the equation a little more explicit.

That's why Weight Watchers is a pretty good system for a nerd. If you like collecting XP, you will probably enjoy figuring out what you can do to have as many extra points as possible. Taking a 20-minute jog means you're rewarded with 5 points. Getting the salad instead of the burrito bol at Chipotle conserves something like 10 points. Skipping their dressing and using a lighter version saves even more. (Dressing is the real X factor when dealing with restaurant salads. I bought a bottle of light vinaigrette and am keeping it in my desk at work in case of any impromptu lunch outings.)

So, in much the same way as another nerd might become obsessed with the details of the Enterprise-D in the HD re-release of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I am now obsessed with points.

My poor friends.

So far, I've been able to keep it down to once every 10 seconds.
Weight Watchers has revamped their points system since the last time I've been on the program. Five years ago, points were calculated based on calories, fat, and fiber. Now calories aren't even accounted for - when I'm adding a food the online tracker hasn't heard of yet, it asks me for fat, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. Under the new system, it appears carbs are the devil itself. A baked potato (absent any topping) used to be worth two points; it's now five. White rice, brown rice, quinoa - all carbs I've looked up so far are at least five points per serving. It's not a day-ruiner by any means - it just means you get the most food-bang for your point-buck by sticking to lean proteins (low points) and veggies (no points).

Oh, and fruits. Somehow all fruits (even the relatively calorie-packed banana) are zero points. (I told my co-worker Matt, "Apparently I can eat as many bananas as I want." He replied, "Tell that to my intestines.")

Week 2 weigh-in: 199.5 (though not at first; more on that next time)
Total pounds lost: 5.5


Weight Watchin', week one: Back in the Saddle Again

A certain sister has been on my case to get back into the blogging game. OK, Katie - this one's for you.

I've been on Weight Watchers twice in the past five years or so. The first time I lost around 20 pounds:

Look, Ma, only one chin!
The second time, I didn't take it seriously, and I lost zero pounds:

OK, there probably are pictures, but there just wasn't an easily accessible memory associated with them. "Remember that time you didn't lose all that weight?" doesn't work all that well as a mnemonic.

Anyway, over the past couple of years the numbers on the scale have been creeping up steadily, and the last few months in particular have had me feeling guttular, blorpy, and other adjectives Cute Overload makes up to describe roly-polyness.

So when my mom asked me if I'd like to do Weight Watchers' online program with my dad, I agreed, and I started the program last Sunday.

Doing Weight Watchers online is a big different than the traditional meeting-based program. Essentially, you're on the honor system to weigh yourself in each week. I'm OK with that, though - the meetings never really did all that much for me. I don't need to slay my personal weight-loss demons - I just need the structure of a program and the will to follow it.

You also track your food and fitness activities online - just five years ago, all that was manual. I toted around a little booklet and wrote down everything I ate. Weirdly, the online system might prove to be less convenient in the long run - it's a little tough to track when I'm out and about. There's apparently a sweet app for iPhone, but none for Android, and I haven't been able to load the mobile site on my phone. But so far, I've had access to a computer everywhere I've been, so it's been fine.

More next week!

Starting weight: 205
Week 1 weigh-in: 199.9
Total pounds lost: 5.1