Why Weight Watchers Never Worked For Me (and What Finally Did!)

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I was a born dieter. I walked out of the womb looking for cheap diet tricks the way a bookie hustles bets. By the age of 10, I was a veteran of both the Scarsdale and cabbage soup diets, and completely addicted to Tab. Inevitably, I’d return to the Taco Bell diet, my favorite of all.

I tried and failed to get a grasp on my weight, ricocheting from restrictive eating plans to covert cans of condensed milk that my mom kept on hand to make the Spanish custard, Flan. Nothing worked. So when my parents suggested Weight Watchers™(WW), with it’s “sensible” approach to weight loss, I jumped at the chance. I was so excited I even dressed up for the occasion.

Then I got to the clinic.

My heart sank as I lined up for mandatory weigh-in, and further still when I learned I’d reached 100 pounds. Knowing my friends weighed 80, gave me a sudden craving for Praline’s & Cream ice cream. Clinging to hope, I scanned the meal plan looking for the delicious food I’d enjoy while magically losing weight only to find….

The menu was as inspiring as a walk on the beach in a bikini. There was the predictable Melba toast and cottage cheese along side “ounces” of tuna and “half-cups” of rice. I wanted to be thin, but I didn’t want to battle guilt every time I snuck 6 ounces of turkey instead of 4. I perked up though when I saw I could have WW ice cream for dessert. I wondered if eating one three times a day constituted a diet. If it’s made and endorsed by Weight Watchers™, it must be dietetic, right?

Not so much~

Weight Watchers™ prepared foods and desserts (along with all manufactured food) contain ingredients that may make it challenging to control your appetite. Take their Peanut Butter Caramel Bars. At 80 calories, they contain over 2 teaspoons of sugar. Sure, calories matter but what matters more is the kind of calories. Two teaspoons of sugar will skew your metabolism and increase cravings making you want more. It’s also unhealthy. One hundred calories of nuts on the other hand, will stabilize your appetite, nourish your body with vital nutrients and fortify your willpower.

And here’s the thing about willpower: It can’t be conjured strictly in the mind. It also needs the cooperation of your body. In order for your brain to gather its grit, it’s essential that you balance your blood sugar, which is difficult to achieve while eating refined sugar.

If you feel irritable, headachy or shaky between meals, you may have an unstable blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. And if you struggle to lose weight even after reducing calories, it’s possible your metabolism has been hijacked by sugary, processed foods, including low-fat, low-calorie “diet” foods that promise thinness.

If fat-free cookies are sabotaging your ability to lose a few pounds before summer, I’ve got something that may help you. I’ve pulled three videos from the archives that’ll explain how to achieve metabolic stability, helping you gain control over your impulses and cravings. As you practice these habits, you’ll find that the ripple effect will lead to healthier choices, allowing you to feel and look your best.

I realize that WW works for many people and I think that’s great. What works for you is what’s best. But it didn’t for me. And when I look back on my years of self-loathing, feeling flawed for lacking the willpower to sustain a diet, I feel sad for the wasted time and the slow erosion of confidence my battle engendered. My insecurity affected every area of my life, leading me to make terrible choices across the board. It was only when I decided to stop dieting and embraced a whole foods style of eating that I found the solution. This first step relieved me of my burden, taking me on the path to the life I have now. I’m so grateful.

I’d love to hear about your journey to health! Do you struggle with your weight, ping-ponging between diets only to be left feeling hungry and frustrated? Have you found a prescribed diet that works for you? Or have you abandoned dieting for a mindful approach to eating that includes a variety of whole foods? Please tell me your story in the comments below…

Wishing you peace and great health!

xo
B

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14 comments on “Why Weight Watchers Never Worked For Me (and What Finally Did!)

  1. Jess

    Hi I’ve just been watching a few of you recordings and I think you have some great information there.
    I was wondering what your opinion on fasting was? There is a lot of research coming out lately that suggests fasting is a very healthy way to not only lose weight but also cleanse and detoxify the body, especially from additives etc in foods. I don’t mean all day everyday, there are different guidelines about how to do it and it’s not about starving yourself thin. But what’s your opinion?

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Hi Jess~ I think detoxing can be great but not necessarily for everyone. People with serious illnesses and/or on medications should consult with a qualified health care practitioner before detoxing because the effects could alter systems in the body that may not be helpful to a compromised system. That being said, if you’re healthy and fit and interested in gentle detox, that can be an great way to lighten the load. I have a spring detox video in the archives you can check out for a simple and gentle detox protocol… If you do a search on the site, you’ll find it.
      I hope this helps! And thank you for commenting!
      🙂

      Reply
  2. Debra Murphydarr

    Your information is fantastic!
    I loved hearing about the need for protein
    In the morning. I bake chicken for dinner
    & enjoy it for breakfast as well. Of course
    I love eggs too. What are some other healthy
    Protein foods for breakfast? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      So glad it resonated with you! Any protein would be good. I often have salmon for breakfast, particularly when I have a long day of clients ahead b/c it helps me maintain my focus and concentration. One way I have it is with a salmon miso chowder that I call the Breakfast of Champions! The link for it is below:

      http://barbaramendez.wpengine.com/archives/healthy-miso-salmon-soup/

      I’ll also do turkey sausage with tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, basil, olive oil and a pinch of Himalayan salt. It’s really satisfying.
      I hope this is helpful and thank you again for your comment!
      xo

      Reply
  3. Pam

    I found this article inspiring. I have been dieting off and on since I was probably 16 years old. I never had a real weight problem until I was in an abusive marriage for 16 and half years. I ballooned up to 315 pounds, it was probably over that, I just stopped weighing. Then I dropped down to 250 and yo yo’ed between about 212 and 250 for many years. I tried it all. Fasting, total deprivation, low calorie, low fat, low carb. I always lost weight and then gained it back, plus a few. About a year and a half ago I had an emotional break through. January 5, 2015 I stopped eating processed foods. I started making my own fresh fruit smoothies. (I dreamed about this literally for six months before I started it) I use coconut oil instead of butter, extra virgin olive oil. Did a lot of research on healthy amounts of carbs, fats, and protein. I stay accountable at Spark People. I now weigh between 148 and 151. I do yoga every day. My blood pressure immediately dropped to where it was before I gained all the weight. This works for me! And the speed at which it happened was truly amazing. Kudos to all who make this choice.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      I’m so glad to hear of your journey! YOU are the inspiration! Wow~ What a story. It is so nice to know you got there through self care and embracing real whole food. Good for you! Continuing on this path will only mean more of the same vibrancy you’ve achieved so far. Congratulations on your big success~
      Wishing you continued health and happiness!
      xo
      B

      Reply
  4. cindy hudson

    I been noticing that when I use protein powders that I crave carbs and sugar, I’ve been having hot flashes during the night and wake up so tired…..so maybe this is the problem. I struggle to lose weight.

    Reply
  5. Louise DiSclafani

    I’ve never followed what many would call a diet. To use your words…Or have you abandoned dieting for a mindful approach to eating that includes a variety of whole foods? I feel that my background has always been my foundation. I was raised on a farm (many years ago) and benefited from good healthy food and cooking. We didn’t have pesticides etc in those days to worry about. I had homemade meals and desserts. When I did leave home to go to graduate school and work, it was hard to get what I was used to but I did the best I could. I’ll never forget the first I just ordered a piece of apple pie and couldn’t eat it…nothing like my mother’s!! I did stray a little as I got older and got involved with work etc and it was harder when I was out to eat properly. But at home, I still tried to do my own cooking and that helped me maintain a good weight. However, I did develop severe allergies and resulted in dermatitis & eczema. I got some testing and through personal experimentation, I knew what they were and avoided. It wasn’t until I went on JJ Virgin’s 7 food elimination diet that I started to lose 20 pounds I had put on…and I realized it was just inflammation from a few of those deadly foods. I’m finally totally back on track with my own healthy cooking, exercising and trying to sleep right while I still work on my business. As I tell my story to people, they are just amazed how much our foods are hurting us and how careful we have to be with our eating patterns. I appreciate all you do with the information you share.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thank you Louise! I am so inspired by your continued devotion to your health and wellbeing. So many people take their bodies for granted but you recognize that health=wealth and without a healthy body, nothing else matters. I am so pleased to know you found the road to healing in your own home, through clean, good food…
      Wishing you continued health!
      xo
      B

      Reply
  6. jeanine trainor

    Here here -for your negativity on processed foods!! I never had a weight problem till the thyroid went around 40. I don’t really have a big weight problem, but for sure I have a health problem, and it came from the “University of They Say”!! Whole foods are definitely the answer to feeling as well as we can. Exercise, thoughtful eating and snacking (as you often advise), and yes God in our lives and gratitude. I’m 66 now, and thanks to financial and circumstantial constraints, stress and age bring on all the problems “they say” won’t occur if you “do this” or “don’t do that”. In the end, as you often say, good food, moderate exercise, meditating on the gifts we do have-and thanks to God, these will make us happier and kinder to others as well.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Here here for your wisdom to heal yourself with whole foods! So many people just follow along with allopathic recommendations, changing nothing with regard to their eating or lifestyle choices after a diagnosis, relying on the health care system to heal them. Sadly, like most “systems” it’s often ineffectual. Good for you for following your inner guidance~
      Wishing you much health and peace~
      xo
      B

      Reply

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