While I think the eye roll that I’m met with every time I say “Weight Watchers is a lifestyle change, not a diet” may be well deserved because of the sheer number of times that everyone has heard it, I do think that statement is extremely valid. During the two years, two months, and nine days (but who’s counting?) that I followed Weight Watchers to LOSE weight, I’ve ingrained so many healthy lifestyle changes and have totally transformed the way that I live my life.
If I’m being honest, transitioning into maintenance mode is quite scary for me, almost more so than losing the weight. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted the number on the scale to go down when I stepped on it, so there is a certain comfort and familiarity with being in weight loss mode. Looking for the scale to stay the same when I step on it is something that is going to take me a while to adjust to because it is so new.
So… how will things change now that I’m moving into maintenance mode?
Despite the excited twinkle in Wil’s eye when I told him I get to eat a bit more now, the truth is that not much will change. I’m going to continue to work out 3-5x a week and eat mostly the same things, just with a few more indulgences here and there, but more on that later.
For those of you unfamiliar with Weight Watchers, this is the way maintenance works. Once you hit your goal weight, you are given 6 more points a day for the first week, so 35 total for me. After the first week when you weigh in, here’s what happens:
- If your weight stays the same, you stick with 35 pts a day.
- If you gain weight, you reduce to 32 pts a day.
- If you lose more, you up your target to 38 pts a day.
After making the necessary adjustments and maintaining for 6 weeks within 2 lbs of your goal weight, you become Lifetime, which means you only have to weigh in once a month, rather than each week. This means I have to stay between 162 and 166 (since my goal is 164) for those 6 weeks. If I want to lose more after I become Lifetime, I can do that, but for now, my goal is to stay within those parameters.
I’ve only been in maintenance mode for less than a week so this may be premature, but I have to say that so far I’m really loving it. The 35 points a day feels like a lot and makes me feel a sense of freedom with eating. Since I’m mostly eating the same things, I’m just making small swaps and additions to account for those extra points.
For example, Sunday night I made a huge version of the Mexican Casserole with 33 points total. Instead of dividing it into 6 (still good sized) servings with 6 pts each, I divided it into 4 servings with 8 pts each. I’ve also been eating regular peanut butter or almond butter instead of peanut flour mixed with water, have been using half and half in my coffee instead of skim milk, and have been using olive oil a bit more liberally than I have in the past. These small indulgences and additions are how I want to proceed with maintenance, because it’s still within the framework of what I know and what works for me, but just with a bit more flexibility.
I’m continuing to weigh/measure my food when I can, and I’ve been eating the full 35 pts each day, so we’ll see what the scale says when I weigh in on Thursday. I’ve weighed myself on my at home scale and the numbers are staying about the same – yesterday morning it was 164.2, which is up a bit from Thursday’s weigh in but that’s OK because it’s still in the range.
I love how the WW maintenance system is designed because it doesn’t feel too different than the regular system. I don’t feel like I’ve worked to get to a goal and now I’m on my own without a plan or any guidance. That said, I do hope that one day I’ll be able to just listen to my body and stay at a healthy weight. However, I know myself and today is not that day.
I’m curious about your thoughts on tracking points/calories to maintain your weight v. intuitively eating. For those of you already in maintenance mode or who haven’t needed to lose weight, do you have any thoughts or tips on weight maintenance and what your strategy is? If you’re not yet at goal, do you see yourself struggling with this transition?