Weight Watchers

Can’t Ignore It Anymore

I’ve alluded to it many times on here, but I am officially back up several pounds over my goal weight and am not happy about it. I am extremely gifted at coming up with excuses and blaming the stresses in my life as reasons for why I’m struggling, but I can feel myself slipping back into my old habits and to be honest, I feel like I’m finally waking up. I knew that maintenance was going to be hard, but I didn’t realize just how easy it was going to be to slip into the old mentality of using food for comfort and finding ways to justifying overeating.

Besides wanting to get back to my goal weight for personal reasons, I have to be there in order to work for Weight Watchers, and for good reason. I am supposed to be a role model to the members who come to my meeting and be a “real life success story” to show that the plan works, so it makes sense to me that it’s a requirement. While I still weigh drastically less than I did when I first started Weight Watchers, my weight has been slowly creeping up over the last few months and I’ve been back burner-ing and ignoring the issue, as if that is going to help.

One of the things you have to do as a WW employee is weigh in monthly to show that you’re within 2 lbs of your goal weight, and I’ve been barely been squeezing along with a few extra pounds for the last several weigh ins. This month, I couldn’t squeeze by anymore. I’m honestly not sure exactly where I am and will be weighing in later today and then weekly going forward, but I need to get back to my goal weight to stay in good standing for Weight Watchers in addition to the fact that I just want to be back there. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the 10 pound range, but I am not certain.

I can blame it on the fact that my grandmother just passed away, that I’m single and have been struggling with being social and keeping my drinking/eating under control when I’m out, or that the holidays just passed and everyone overdoes it during the holidays. But those are just excuses undermining the real problem: my eating has been out of control.

The one good thing I’ve been doing is consistently exercising. I’ve continued to workout 3-5 times a week and have been doing a great job sticking with my half marathon training plan, so for that I am proud and know that I’m still in good shape athletically.

Outside of that, though, I’ve been eating like crap, and I know that weight loss and weight maintenance is much more about what I’m eating than how much I’m moving, so working out 3-5 times a week isn’t going to cut it.

In order to get my weight back in control, I am going to be doing weekly employee weigh ins starting today. I know exactly what I need to do – track EVERYTHING I eat even if it’s not pretty, take advantage of the accountability that weighing in once a week gives me, up my water intake, and drink less alcohol. For my own sake, I’m going to be doing weekly menu plans every week until I am back at goal, and will report on my progress each week on here as well.

While I am pretty disappointed that I let myself gain back some weight, I also feel pretty relieved that it’s finally out there and that I feel ready to do something about it. I do have a lot of things coming up in the next several weeks that are going to make it a struggle, including friends visiting from out of town and a work trip to San Antonio, but I am 100% committed to making it happen.

Who’s with me?

Weight Watchers Roundup

I know I’m not alone is setting New Years Resolutions for 2012, and I’ve been getting tons of questions about Weight Watchers because I know this month is a big one for people to join! Some get annoyed that so many people start the year with high hopes of losing weight/changing their lives and hate the lines at the gym or the lines to weigh in, but I totally embrace people who start fresh in January. I was one of them!

Three years ago in January 2009, I set my resolution to “get healthy”. I had no idea where it would lead or exactly what it would entail, but I know that my life hasn’t been the same since. That January, I joined a gym and started working out, and then two months later joined Weight Watchers on March 3, 2009 and haven’t looked back.

With my niece Claire during the 2008 holidays:

with my niece claire

With my nephew Harper on New Years Day 2012:

2011 holidays

Well, that’s not exactly true, because I actually quit Weight Watchers for a while there, but with the roll out of PointsPlus and finding the scale creeping back up once again, I rejoined in December 2010, got to my goal weight in May 2011, became Lifetime in June 2011, and have been struggling to maintain ever since.

I thought it might be useful to do a post with links to past posts of Weight Watchers resources, but please don’t hesitate to ask any questions if you’re just joining Weight Watchers, are thinking about it, are a WW veteran and have a question, are thinking about wanting to work for them at some point, or just want to know anything about the program in general!

Weight Watchers General Info

Weight Watchers Meal Ideas

Working for Weight Watchers

Do you have any motivation quotes that you love and care to share?

I shared mine yesterday: If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Plans for the New Year

Happy New Year!! Can you BELIEVE that it’s 2012? I cannot…

I know a lot of people are against setting New Years Resolutions, but as you probably have guessed by now, I am all about making attainable goals to keep myself on track. I think as we get older, time passes so quickly that if I don’t have my eyes set on some goals in the future, it just goes by and I’m in the same place I once was.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

So true.

So, in light of the new year, I’d like to put some goals in writing so that at this time next year I can look back and see how far I’ve come (or not come). Here goes:

1.) PR in my third half marathon March 17th.

I already posted about my training plan and goals for the race this time around, and while I don’t want to set a specific time goal because then I’ll just set myself up to fail, I do want to finish faster than my second half, which I finished in 2:10:43. I have a good training plan in place, and if I stick with it, I really think I can accomplish this one!

2.) Get back to my goal weight and maintain it throughout the year.

I have been struggling with a few extra pounds since September, and it’s time to get back to goal once and for all and stay there. Ideally, I’d like to get around 160 (164 is my official WW goal weight, which is the highest for my height of 5’8) so that I have a little leeway in case a few of those pounds creep back on like happened this time around.

3.) Keep strength training a part of my exercise routine.

In the last several weeks I’ve been strength training at least once a week and have been loving the results and how strong it makes me feel. Before a few weeks ago, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d strength trained consistently, so I’d like to keep it up for all of 2012 and continue to strengthen and tone my body.

4.) Get completely out of debt.

I posted about my battle with credit card debt here, here, and here, and I was actually on schedule to be out of it by the end of 2011. Because I unexpectedly had to move and come up with a security deposit for my new apartment, that set me back a little bit, but my goal is to be out of it in the first half of 2012. I am down to about $2,500 in debt, from where I started at $11,000.


This is a big one. I have an emergency fund set up already, but ideally I’d like to have 6 months of expenses in savings by the end of 2012.

6.) Plan a vacation abroad.

I’d love to actually take a vacation overseas in 2012, but I’d settle for having one on the books by the end of the year. I haven’t been on a real vacation since March 2010 (!!!) and I really need to get one on my radar.

I still want to continue to set monthly goals that will feed into these ones (and weekly as needed!) but these are the BIG things I hope to accomplish in 2012! I know that if I focus on dedicating myself to these goals, I can do it!!

7.) Read more and watch less TV.

I’ve already made a big improvement in this category since getting rid of cable when I moved into my new apartment, but I miss those days where I would come home from work and plop down on my couch excited to dive into a book, rather than get through the current series I’m watching on Netflix.

8.) Go to bed earlier.

I’ve found myself staying up way too late during the week for no particular reason. I’ll be poking around on the internet, watching a TV show I’m not that interested in, or just randomly doing something around my apartment instead of going to bed. I don’t mind going out a little during the week and staying up later if I’m doing something fun, but if I’m just putzing around, I’d prefer to just go to bed earlier! I want to aim to be in bed around 11pm or earlier most nights during the week when I have nothing else going on.

What is your biggest goal for 2012?

2011 Highlights

2011 was a BIG year for me. It’s crazy to look back and see how many great things happened for me this year, and that all my hard work actually started paying off! It’s also hard to believe that this will be the last post of 2011… the new year is so close!

Some highlights from 2011 include…

I hit my goal weight.

Two years, two months, and nine days after joining Weight Watchers on March 3, 2009.

I made Lifetime at Weight Watchers.

I started working as a receptionist for Weight Watchers and also trained to be a Leader.

I’ve led two meetings so far and should be up and running with my own meeting early next year!

I had my first speaking engagement at the Healthy Living Summit.

I got a promotion at my day job in August after two and a half years at my company. Woohoo!

I ran my second half marathon and shaved 5 minutes 32 seconds off my time from my first half.


I appeared in two magazines, one big local magazine and a national one!

The Washingtonian in September 2011:

And Fitness Magazine in October 2011:


My blog was also featured on several media sites in 2011, including:

I’d say 2011 was pretty good to me!! I feel so lucky to have had so many great things happen this year, and I want to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of YOU for reading, commenting, emailing, and tweeting me while I change and evolve and go through this journey called life. I am so excited to have a platform to share my successes and struggles, and the fact that people actually come here to read about it still blows my mind! I am so grateful!

How was 2011 for you? What is the biggest highlight from your year?

Is Every Holiday Party a Splurge?

We see it EVERYWHERE and while the exact numbers vary from study to study, one thing remains true:

The average American gains a significant amount of weight between Thanksgiving and the New Year each year.

When I was losing weight, I’d normally pick one time during the week to go all out with food/drinks and use it as a cheat meal/day/night. Since I was weighing in on Thursdays, it would normally be Thursday immediately after weigh in, and I’d eat any and everything I wanted until I went to bed that night. If I had a happy hour/party going on sometime during the week, I’d usually change it up and move my cheat day to the day of the event. This strategy helped me to stay on track for the rest of the week while not feeling deprived because I still had my splurge time in the week to eat and drink anything I wanted.

The problem with this strategy is that now that the holiday season is upon us, we all get SWAMPED with parties, luncheons, happy hours, and events, involving everyone from coworkers, to friends, to family. If I end up going all out with eating/drinking for every single holiday event I have, I will definitely end up several pounds heavier and start the new year in much worse shape than I am right now, which is not something I’m willing (or able!) to do.

When I was leading my second Weight Watchers meeting a few weeks ago, the topic was Budgeting for the Holidays, and how to make the most of your PointsPlus during the holiday season. We talked about different strategies for holidays and when I asked the group what their strategies were in approaching the season and managing their points, many people had great ideas.

    • Make it a point to get a workout in the day of a party so you earn extra Activity Points/burn extra calories to prepare for the event.
    • Don’t go to any events hungry – eat a snack beforehand so you’re not starving when you get there.
    • Alternate alcoholic drinks with seltzer or water so you’re staying hydrated/not getting as tipsy.
    • Bring a clutch that you have to carry (as opposed to one you can sling over your shoulder) so you only have one hand free for food or a drink, not both.
    • Focus on the company and people there, rather than the food/drinks (easier said than done).
    • If it’s a potluck, bring a healthy dish so you know you have at least one “safe” option.
    • If you’re hosting, use Weight Watchers recipes for some of the dishes but don’t tell anyone because they’ll never know.

One of my favorite tips that was given was this:

“I try to remember that not every holiday party is a splurge. I take a look at my week/month, and pick the events where I really want to go all out, and then try to stay on track for the other ones.”

While that idea makes PERFECT sense, it’s something I really struggle with executing because I tend to have a hard time not thinking about parties/gatherings as splurges. Sometimes, I’d rather avoid going to a holiday party all together rather than try to be moderate at it. Even typing that out sounds ridiculous – like I don’t trust myself after all this time to “behave” at events!

So this year, I am really going to try to adapt this strategy and realize that I can still have a fun time if I don’t eat and drink too much.

My first test was last night. I had a holiday party a good friend of mine was throwing for her colleagues/clients/friends. I have several events going on later this week, including holiday parties on Friday and Saturday, so that one was not the one I wanted to go all out for. I wanted to have fun of course, but wake up feeling good about myself today rather than feeling guilty for overdoing it when I didn’t want to.

Here’s how it played out:

I had to go to a Weight Watchers training thing right after work/before the party, so I brought a significant snack with me to eat while at the training (a 5 pt+ Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Larabar – YUM) so I didn’t show up famished to the party.  I got there and ordered a glass of seltzer with lime and walked around saying hi to everyone that I knew. I had never thought to actually wait a minute to get a drink, but it really made a difference!

After making the rounds, I switched to a glass of white wine (3 pts+) and then went over to assess the food situation. There was a tray of fresh fruit, plus an antipasto plate that was loaded with eggplant, artichoke hearts, tomato mozzarella, and marinated mushrooms, so that’s where I put most of my attention. I had a few plates loaded up with the fruits and veggies, and then threw out my plate and fork and called it a night eating wise.

I ended up switching back to seltzer after the first glass of wine, and realized I actually felt pretty good and decided to stick with seltzer. I think that’s the first time ever, in a party setting, where I actually managed to have just one drink and feel good about it! I stayed at the party until just after 9, and then I headed home feeling good and not stuffed or even a little tispy.

Some of the tricks that I used to make last night’s party a success:

  • As cheesy as this sounds, I actually visualized myself having a good time at the party WITHOUT overdoing it with food/alcohol. Visualization is one of the “tools for living” that Weight Watchers uses, but I had never really tried it before. I normally just picture myself elbow deep in the buffet, throwing back glasses of wine like it’s my job, but this time I really pictured myself being moderate, and I think it helped!
  • I actually rode my bike to the party because it was the quickest way to zip around from work, to Weight Watchers, to the party. Being mindful of the fact that I had to bike home really helped me to not overdo it.
  • I signed up for a 7am Body Pump class this morning, which as I’ve mentioned before is really hard to get into, so having that class in the back of my head helped too.
Overall, I am really impressed with myself for actually exercising moderation. I still had a great time, had a glass of wine, ate the food at the party, hung out with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, but managed to leave feeling good about my decisions health-wise, too. That’s the first time I’ve done that in this type of setting in I can’t even tell you how long. Yay!

What is your holiday party strategy?

Five Friday Firsts

Happy Friday! This week presented quite a few firsts for me, some for the first time ever, and some for first time in a looong time. Here goes.

This week was…

The first time (ever?) I’ve tracked every single thing I ate ALL week.

When I first started Weight Watchers, I used to have a free day/night/meal and would just assume I’d used up all my extra points (and I’m SURE I did!) and try to stick to my daily points for the rest of the week. This past week, I tracked everything, down to the few vodka sodas I had, grilled cheese and fries out at a bar with friends, and the quesadilla and cajun fries I split with another friend (also over the weekend). I ended up being 13 PointsPlus in the red, meaning I not only used ALL my 49 weekly points, but also the 34 activity points that I earned, and then 13 more… Yowza.

The first time I’ve actually lost weight in a LONG time.

I guess there’s something to be said for tracking what you eat (you know, the whole premise behind Weight Watchers) even if you’re not on your best behavior. So, even though I ate more than my allotted points by 13, I ended up losing 2.6 pounds this week! I am SO happy. I’m still 6 pounds over my goal weight, but 2.6 pounds less than I was last week!

The first time I’ve ever worked out over lunch.

Yesterday, I took a 12:15pm spinning class and it was an awesome middle of the day pick-me-up! I have never worked out during lunch before, and logistically it was definitely a bit challenging. The spinning class was a tough one and had me dripping sweat (and burning 444 calories according to my Polar HRM), so showering/blow drying my hair/getting back to work was really tough to do in my hour lunch break. I definitely don’t think it’s something I can do every day or even every week, but every once in a while it’s a nice change!

The first time I’ve gotten in a morning workout in months.

Wednesday morning, I ran 4.6 miles in 45 minutes (on the treadmill – it was POURING!) and it felt SO GOOD to have my workout done first thing in the morning, despite the fact that running was not the original reason I was at the gym at 6:50 am (see below).

The first time I’ve gotten on the list for BodyPump.

On Tuesday morning just before 7:30am, I called to get on the list for Wednesday morning’s 7am BodyPump class. Despite the fact that the list opened up at 5:30am, I was number 30 on the list calling less than two hours later! Miraculously, I actually woke up and got the gym despite the pouring rain, and when I checked in at the front desk, the class was canceled!! I was SO mad because I’ve been trying to make it to BodyPump for what feels like months now, but I tried to make the best of it and ran for 45 minutes instead (see above). I called yesterday morning to get on tomorrow’s 10:15am BodyPump class and was number 18, so fingers crossed that tomorrow marks the first time I actually TAKE a BodyPump class!

Did you have any firsts this week?

PointsPlus 2012 Breakdown

I’ve gotten a LOT of questions about the new Weight Watchers program that rolled out this week, so I figured I’d do a post addressing the changes and see if you guys have any additional questions!

PointsPlus 2012 is very similar to PointsPlus, it just has a few minor tweaks from the original PointsPlus to make it a little bit more flexible. Since PointsPlus was the biggest change to the Weight Watchers program since it started, they wanted to test it out for a full year, get member feedback, and then go from there.

The basic premise is still the same – every food has a PointsPlus value that is calculated from looking at the macronutrients (fiber, fat, carbs, protein) and how hard your body has to work to break down the food. The values nudge you towards foods higher in fiber and protein, and lower in fat and carbs, but nothing is off limits.

Each day, you have a PointsPlus target that you have to eat at minimum, and then you get additional weekly PointsPlus that you can use or not use. You also have the opportunity to earn additional PointsPlus through activity, and as long as you stay within your daily, weekly, and activity pointsplus, you should lose weight at the recommended rate of half a pound to two pounds per week, over time.

So, what changed with PointsPlus 2012?

1.) New Daily Minimum

With the original PointsPlus, the minimum Daily PointsPlus Target (DPPT) was 29 PP, but with PP 2012, it has been lowered to 26. After a year, Weight Watchers was able to determine that people could still get in all the required nutrients per day with 26 PP. I am sure that largely has to do with the 0 PP fruits and veggies!

2.) Flexible Daily and Weekly PointsPlus Target

You know your body better than anyone. Everyone’s DPPT was recalculated this week, and some people who were at 29 PP were switched down to 26, 27, or 28. This number is FLEXIBLE, so if you were losing weight at 29 and were adjusted lower, feel free to switch it back up! This has more to do with people who were eating 29 PP and weren’t losing.  Also, the weekly target is now flexible. For some people, the 49 Weekly PP was too much. You can adjust this down from 49 if you feel like that’s too much for you, or else keep it the same.

3.) PowerStart

The Getting Started Session has been replaced with a 3-week PowerStart Session. Members felt like too much information was given at the GSS, so it has been broken down into three rotating sessions that have activities and are geared at program basics, bonding with the leader and other members, as well as focusing on managing your environment. After meetings, the Leader will go through a PowerStart session with you. These are GREAT and really let you walk away with something you can do right then to set yourself up for success!

4.) Activity Points Goal

Before, the idea behind activity was to “move more”. There was no target besides getting up to 28 PP over time (4 PP per day), but the new weekly PointsPlus target has been set at 14, which is about 2 a day. If that is too much for you, it is certainly flexible, but 14 is a good place to start.

5.) Switch between tracking and Simply Filling by the day

Besides the well-known tracking method, Weight Watchers has a method for people who don’t like to track called Simply Filling. The idea behind it is that you focus on eating Power Foods and eating until you are satisfied. You still get your weekly PP allowance, but you don’t have to track anything that is a Power Food.

Previously, you could only do Simply Filling/Tracking for a week at a time if you wanted to move back and forth. With PointsPlus 2012, you can do it by the day. So, if you have a party you’re going to and you don’t want to track, you can only eat Power Foods and not worry about tracking!

6.) Free E-Tools for Lifetime Members

This is AWESOME. Before, Lifetime members had to pay for E-Tools, which are the online tools for tracking your food, activity, and creating recipes, but for Lifetime members who stay current with their weigh ins, you get them for FREE. Woohoo!

So that is it! Nothing major, just a few things to make the program more flexible for the members. As you know, I am a HUGE fan of Weight Watchers, and I feel that these changes are great additions to the program. I think they will only help with member success, which is Weight Watchers #1 company value (for real).

Menu/Workout Plan and Weekly Goals

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend… I know I did! It was pretty low key, but was just what I needed. I managed to make it out both Saturday and Sunday for a super hilly 4.5 mile run outside (the same route both days) and I was really proud of myself for being active both days. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve done that!

Yesterday I spent a little time doing meal planning for the week and then headed to Trader Joe’s for shopping. I made this incredible Chickpea + Date Tagine last week from Vegetarian Times Magazine and it was SO delicious that I was dying to make it again. Since Trader Joe’s didn’t have dates, I ended up swinging by Whole Foods to get some – that’s how good it is! I’ll be posting the recipe later this week, so stay tuned.

I also broke out the slow cooker this morning for the first time in ages and currently have Sweet Potato and Red Bean Stew cooking in there and I cannot WAIT for dinner. I can’t tell if it’s funny or sad how excited food makes me… but assuming it turns out as great as I hope it does, I’ll be sharing that recipe as well.

Here’s the meal plan for the week:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Pumpkin Oats w/Cottage Cheese Leftover Chickpea + Date Tagine (recipe coming) Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Red Bean Stew
Tuesday Greek Yogurt w/Berries + Cereal Sweet Potato + Red Bean Stew Tofu w/Delicata Squash and Zucchini
Wednesday Pumpkin Oats w/Cottage Cheese Leftover tofu + veggies over greens Chickpea + Date Tagine over spinach
Thursday English muffin w/pb + banana Chickpea + Date Tagine over spinach Sweet potato stew
Friday Pumpkin Oats w/Cottage Cheese Sweet Potato Stew w/salad TBD


As you can see above, I basically made it so that I am only cooking one night this week (tofu tomorrow night), and will be working off the slow cooker stew and leftovers from last night’s Chickpea + Date Tagine all week. Hopefully I won’t get sick of any of it, but judging by how good the stew was smelling this morning and how delicious I know last night’s dinner was, I don’t think I will! This will also free up my evenings so I can take it easy this week, which is important because this will be the last week for a while that I don’t have a lot going on during the week nights.

Workout Plans:

    • Sunday: 4.5 mile outdoor run (Check!)
    • Monday: Club Strength + Cardio Kickboxing
    • Tuesday: Rest
    • Wednesday: Body Pump?
    • Thursday: Spinning
    • Friday: Outdoor run

This will be my fourth week in a row going to tonight’s Club Strength class and I am really proud of myself for being so consistent with it! I normally really struggle with strength training but now that I’ve found a class and instructor I really like, it makes it a LOT easier to stick with. Ideally I’d like to be strength training at least twice a week, but once is way better than zero. AND, I am hoping to make it to my first ever Body Pump class Wednesday morning – let’s hope I can get in/wake up in time to go!

Weekly Goals:

I mentioned during December’s Goal Post that I’m going to be setting weekly goals this month because I really need to make progress on my weight and know that setting smaller goals will help feed into the larger one of getting back to my goal weight. Monthly goals are usually good enough for me, but since I’ve been struggling lately I need to set weekly ones as well. My plan is to check back in on the goals on Friday to make sure that I’m sticking with it!

Here goes:

    1. Stick to 26-29 PointsPlus per day Monday through Friday. PointsPlus 2012 launches this week, and the new daily minimum is 26 pts+/day. I still get 29, but would be comfortable with 26 if I feel satisfied.
    2. Limit drinking to 1-2 glasses of wine per night (at most) Monday through Friday. This one shouldn’t be too difficult since I don’t have any happy hours/holiday parties going on this week! Can’t say the same about the rest of the month…
    3. Take only 2 days off from working out Monday-Friday. Last week, I only worked out Monday and then not again until the weekend, and 4 days off in a row is too many for me.
    4. Get at least one morning workout in this week. It’s been far too long since I’ve done that…
    5. Drink at least 64 oz. of water while at my desk each day this week. Need to get back on that, especially now that my skin is so dry from the winter/cold!
    6. Be in bed by 11pm the latest each night Monday through Thursday. All bets are off for Friday. =)

So that’s it for today!

What’s one goal you want to focus on for this week?

PS: Happiest of Birthdays to my sister Wendy!!!

Take Two: Leading a Weight Watchers Meeting

The smile on my face while walking out of yesterday’s Weight Watchers meeting was a drastic change from the near tears I was in when I walked out of the first one I led last week!


There were a lot of reasons why yesterday’s meeting was more successful than my first attempt.

To start, the topic of the week was something I was a lot more comfortable with – the flexibility of the PointsPlus program and how it’s easy to mold the program to fit your lifestyle. I really live and breathe Weight Watchers and do believe it’s a super flexible program that can fit into almost anyone’s lifestyle, so it felt a lot more natural for me to be presenting it.

On top of that, I had a really good opening and theme idea that I found online (there are TONS of resources for Weight Watcher Leaders for meeting ideas!) so I just felt really familiar and confident with the topic.

Outside of that, I was in a familiar space (the one where I attended meetings as a member and also am a receptionist for a meeting each week), which helped me a lot in feeling comfortable and moving around the room. Despite the fact that I had to arrive at 7am, I also was a lot more upbeat and enthusiastic; aka much more like myself than the awkward person I was last Monday during lunchtime.

The big things that I changed from last week were:

    1. I incorporated movement and tried to walk around the room so I was spreading my attention around and appearing more confident.
    2. I wore a watch so that I knew roughly how long had passed, which helped me to be less nervous about filling the time.
    3. I had a ton of great questions in store for when silences came up.
    4. I delved deeper into members responses by asking follow up questions rather than changing the subject.
    5. I asked follow-up questions to the group at large so that members started talking to and relating to each other.
    6. I was more confident and upbeat like my normal self, rather than reserved and quiet.
    7. I made a few jokes and laughed with the group, which made everyone more comfortable.
    8. I mostly avoided awkward topic transitions.

Don’t get me wrong – it was only my second time leading a meeting, so I still have a lot of room for improvement – but I felt like I did a really good job incorporating feedback from last week’s meeting into this one, and I also got additional feedback from yesterday’s meeting that I can incorporate into my meetings going forward.

I think the biggest difference between walking away from last week’s meeting compared to this week’s meeting is that I now feel confident that I will be a great leader one day. I am so excited to have the opportunity to pay forward everything that Weight Watchers has given me because it really has changed my life completely. And of course selfishly, I am also excited to continue to be involved with the program as it grows and evolves so that I hold myself accountable and continue to keep healthy living and weight loss top priorities in my life.

PS: Two blog readers were actually at the meeting!!!! Sooooo surreal. Hi guys!! =)

I Am Awkward

It’s true. But so is the word awkward. This family photo probably takes the cake though:


Back to the point at hand… yesterday’s meeting did not go NEARLY as well as I was hoping.

To give a little back-story for newer readers, I’ve been working for Weight Watchers as a receptionist since March of this year. I’ve always wanted to be a Leader, but had to hit my goal weight and Lifetime before I could move forward with Leader training. I reached my goal weight in May 2011 and then became Lifetime on June 23, 2011.

After I hit Lifetime, I got the go-ahead to move forward with Leader training. I was assigned a Leader Coach, Sarah, and was sent to Basic Leader Skills in Chicago in October 2011. This was an intense three day training, and you can read about the experience here.

Yesterday marked the first time that I actually delivered a meeting, and it was rough.

I got REALLY awkward up front, and I think there were definitely a few things that contributed to it.

    1. It was not my meeting, so the members felt a little less comfortable with me than their normal leader, which in turn, made me uncomfortable.
    2. I was being observed by both my Leader Coach and my Territory Manager and they were taking notes on me the whole time, so that made me nervous.
    3. It was my first time giving a meeting, so that made me nervous.
    4. We were in a conference room, and I wasn’t familiar with the space at all.
    5. I was trying really hard to wait for people to talk (which is harder than it sounds!), so I came across as lower energy than I am naturally.
    6. I was hoping the members would talk more, so didn’t have enough questions in my arsenal for when I needed to dig deeper and encourage them to speak more.

That said, there were SOME positives of the meeting:

    1. As a Leader during At-Work meetings, you do both the weigh ins and deliver the meeting. I did a really good job with the weigh in portion since I’ve been doing that for so long and really came across as myself during it.
    2. I have pretty solid presentation skills, so I kept my voice up and did a good job listening and making eye contact with the members throughout the presentation.
    3. I had some good questions, and did a pretty good job with follow up questions some of the time, helping the members to have more to talk about.
    4. It came across that I really love Weight Watchers and know the program really well.
    5. I did a good job telling my story with Weight Watchers and my weight loss journey.
    6. My territory manager said “You are right where you should be” as feedback.

But, there were definitely a lot of negatives, as well:

    1. I was a lot more reserved than I am in normal situations, and this came across as being low-energy and not very enthusiastic. If you ever met me in person, it would surprise you to hear me described like that!
    2. I stayed in the SAME exact spot for the whole meeting, rather than moving around like I should have. This would have helped a lot with my energy/enthusiasm.
    3. I made a really awkward transition during the presentation from asking questions to giving awards for weight loss (it was literally out of nowhere and not smooth at all).
    4. I didn’t have a good sense of how long had passed, so was nervous that I was going over and then was shocked to see how little time had passed and got myself worked up over it.
    5. It was showing that I was pretty nervous during the presentation.
Overall, I think I’m probably being a little harder on myself than I should be. I am just ready to be a really good leader, and I’m not there yet and still have a lot of room for growth. This is probably to be expected as it was my first meeting ever, but still – I feel like I should be good at this naturally!

So, what happens next?

I am delivering another meeting next Tuesday morning, and I have to work on all the improvements and incorporate the feedback I got from this go-round. My territory manager will not be observing again, and I’m much more familiar with the space than I was with yesterday’s meeting, so I am hopeful that it will go a lot better! Depending on how the next one goes, I’ll either lead another meeting and be observed again, or else they’ll have me move forward with my own meetings.

And to be honest, I’m not really in that much of a rush. I want to be GOOD before they give me my own meeting, so I’m trying not to be so hard on myself and trying to take it slow. I have enough else going on this week, so I don’t want this to become a source of stress! Which, coincidentally enough, was actually the topping of this week’s meeting – Holiday Stress.

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