Here’s the thing: You want the truth? Can you handle it? I’m not sure you can.
The truth is: I hate Weight Watchers. I know I’m supposed to say that Weight Watchers is not really a diet. That it’s a “lifestyle change” and that it’s the most undiet-y diet ever to exist in this carb-loathing, sugar-free world. But I’m going to give it to you straight – Weight Watchers, no matter how much it fully weaves into your otherwise diet-free life, is at its core, a diet. Is it the best of the diets? Well, yes. It is the best of the diets in the same way that Chad Kroeger is the best member of Nickelback.
I would like to preface the rest of this by stating that I’ve successfully lost just over 80 pounds on the Weight Watchers Points Plus program over the course of two years. For those of you who have never been on Weight Watchers, I hate you forever. (Just kidding. Kind of.) For those of you who have, or are continuing along with me on the journey of points calculation and a “fail-to-plan, plan-to-fail” food mentality, you know that maintaining an 80 lb. weight loss whilst still trying to lose an additional 40 lbs. is a gargantuan task.
I feel like I have to provide the disclaimer that I am quite possibly the worst spokesperson for Weight Watchers there could ever be. My experience should in no way be taken as representation of how any other person should approach the program. I have seen myriad firsthand success stories and clapped along at meetings with men and women who have triumphed doing Weight Watchers the right way.
So how bad am I? Suffice it to say that on more than one occasion I have forsaken an occasional breakfast, mid-day snack, and lunch’s worth of points for a dinner that consisted of a jar of Trader Joe’s cookie butter eaten with a spoon, and sometimes a fork if the spoons were all dirty. If I know I am going to be enjoying a “tasteful night out with the girls”, I will eat a banana for dinner so I can enjoy an RBV at the bar (RBV= Red Bull Vodka. An essential Weight Watchers Power Food™). Sometimes I follow the program to the letter all week, weigh in and lose a remarkable 3-4 pounds, then go to Chipotle and eat a burrito bowl the size of a small child, followed by a Crumbs milkshake cupcake. It’s never pretty, and my local Weight Watchers flagship store will probably not be calling me to lead a team meeting any time soon.
I will be the first to admit that the problem with people who have disordered eating habits is that their lives revolve around food. I once had a conversation with a friend in college that went something like this:
Me: They had me working an 8-hour shift yesterday. I almost got fired because I ate a chicken nugget while still in uniform.
Skinny Friend: Oh. Yeah. I was studying, like, all day yesterday and last night. I forgot to eat dinner.
Me: You what?
Skinny Friend: Forgot to ea-
Me: I HEARD YOU.
The thing is, it was truly incomprehensible to me that someone could just “forget” to eat a meal. Breakfast was the entire point of the AM hours. Lunch was the zenith of an otherwise boring school day. Dinner was something delicious to look forward to after class. How could you FORGET dinner? To me, that was like forgetting how to pee.
You see, I also hate exercise. Any time I read an article in a magazine where a starlet claims she doesn’t need to exercise, she just “runs around after her kids” or “loves taking her dog to the dog park” I want to literally shove a pencil in my eye socket. Regardless of whether you like to work out, on Weight Watchers, it’s a necessary evil. So just get on the elliptical and do it. It sucks. I know it does. Just do it, and be done with it, and then humble-brag about it on Facebook. For every time you publicly check in at your local gym, one of your leg muscles gets exponentially less sore.
Skinny people will tell you that you should “eat to live, not live to eat.” The inherent problem with this is that even on Weight Watchers, your ENTIRE life still revolves around food, just in a different way. While your skinny friends might be able to inhale a Shackburger and fries without giving it a second thought, while on Weight Watchers, you are undoubtedly doing one of three things:
- 1. Eating the burger and fries and hating yourself for it
- 2. Abstaining from the delicious burger and fries and hating yourself for it
- 3. Mentally counting points like some sort of foodie Rain Man trying to figure out if you’ll have enough left over for a reasonable dinner that isn’t a 100-calorie pack or Chobani yogurt after eating said burger and fries.
But what can you do? You eat it or you don’t. That’s your choice.
For all the complaining I’ve done about the program, you may ask me: What’s the alternative? The alternative is that you can eat whatever you want, and you don’t exercise, and you stay fat or get fatter. I have always been envious of girls who are content with their current body size and shape. I have never had that luxury – and until I got thinner, I was going to be unhappy. So I did what I had to do. After college, I followed Weight Watchers. I did it my way. And while my life still revolves around food, I chose the lesser of two evils. 80 pounds “lesser”, to be exact.