Be Optimistic and Realistic“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Enjoy Eating Out

Plan for stress-free, fun and delicious away from home dining, thanks to zero Points goods and rollovers, plus your digital tools.

Using WW Freestlye is all about being able to “live freely” – giving you the flexibility to enjoy social occasions with family and friends-the trick is a little planning.  We all know you can’t dictate the menus when you go out to eat or visit with family or friends, but there are things you can do before you go!  That way you’re prepared for anything – even family holidays.  Because eating out doesn’t have to mean a restaurant, it can mean eating anywhere other than your house.

So for us weight Watcher’s out there – we can bank our points for that special meal out.  We already have weeklies to spend, then add up to 4 unused SmartPoints values per day to that mix and you have a nice little bankroll to pull from for that meal out.  

Another thing that everyone that has been at this whole weight loss thing for a while know is that you decide ahead of time (if possible) on what you’d like to eat.  Most restaurants offer their menu online for viewing so you can take a look at what they offer so you can make an informed choice when you get to the restaurant.  You can settle on what you plan to eat, long before you sit in the seat!  Will you have a dessert, drink or both?  When you make the decision ahead of time , you can feel more confident than when you are “in the moment”.

Another great tool that many of us have at our disposal is calorie tracking apps.  for Weight Watcher’s subscribers there is the WW App, where you can look up many restaurants and see how many point s that dinner is going to be.  If you can’t find the restaurant or the exact meal you were looking for, many of these major chain restaurants also post their nutritional information on their websites, so you can also track from there.  Those nutritional sheets are frightening for most of my old favorites at the restaurant!

Then there’s another good tool – pregame your meal!  Eat a low SmartPoints snack (or low calorie for non-weight watchers peeps), if you have yourself a filling little snack before heading out to that meal you wont be ravenous on arrival at the restaurant.

Last but not least when it’s all said and done – the most important thing to remember when eating out is to keep in the back of your mind “it’s just one meal”.  If you can remember that, you’ll get through it, even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned.  The moments made with family and friends when sharing a meal are something that is far more important than how many calories you’ve consumed.  Knowing that you can get right back on your plan at the next meal is key and if you stick to that, then you’ve been successful because as one of my WW leaders once said – that was your plan – to enjoy yourself, then get right back on plan for the next meal.

What are your tips for mastering the task of eating anywhere but your home space?


Exploring Weight Watcher’s new program Freestyle.  How it gives you more flexibility to enjoy how you eat, move and lose!

So Weight Watchers tells us “Eat the foods you love!”  The newest program by Weight Watchers is their WW Freestyle.  It expands their zero point food list to allow you to eat satisfying, protein rich foods without tracking them.  The program also encourages you to move in ways that inspire you and give you joy. 

The WW Freestlye program continues to use their successful Smartpoints system to guide you towards making healthier choices, though no foods are off limits.  Each food has a SmartPoints value including that list of zero points food (that is currently over 200 items!).  Something else that is new is that you are able to carry over up to 4 unused points per day that go into you weekly SnartPoints budget.

Weight Watchers makes a few suggestions about working the new program to it’s fullest.  The first is to start with zero points base.  Layer the flavor with other zero Points foods.  Tie it all together using your SmartPoints budget.  Second is lean on those zero Point foods as a cushion.  If you run out dailies (which currently happens to me every day), create zero point meals and snacks to end your day within your budget.  The last is saving up your SmartPoints.  Pick foods that are lower in SmartPoints for breakfast and lunch to have more of your dailies available for dinner.

I tend to be a HUGE offender of overeating at breakfast.  The new program has helped me in the way that eggs are now zero points.  Which in my world is huge since they’re usually in my breakfast routine.  My next goal is to work more of these zero point foods into my day so I stop “overspending” my daily SmartPoints budget.  Dinner is another time that I struggle.  I love bread and all of it’s cousins!  But they are an easy way to go over budget everyday.  I’ve been working hard on following the plan 5 out of 7 days a week.  Allowing myself Sunday and Monday to “goof off”, then back to business the rest of the week.  These past two weeks I have been following this plan and last week it seemed to work well for me with a loss of 1.8lbs.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings for potential weight loss.  I’m struggling with the idea of “Freestyle”, mainly because I’m not feeling as “free” as the commercials make it look or even as some of my meeting room cohorts make it sound.  I admit I get a little jealous, when I hear these amazing loss stories each week, wondering why doesn’t my journey look lie theirs.

But back to the topic at hand-Weight Watchers Freestyle-what do you think?  Have any suggestions for the toddler Jenn (aka me) to incorporate more vegitables into my day?

*I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers and the opinions in this blog are my own.*

The New Weight-Loss Strategy: Just Don’t Gain Weight

Tried losing weight a million times but never had much success? You might be going at it the wrong way: Learning how to maintain your current weight helps women stick to healthier lifestyles and lose weight, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

In the study, overweight African American women were put in a program that gave them weight-maintenance (not weight-loss) pointers, such as to skip fast food, watch less TV, and cut their daily caloric intake by just 200 calories a day. They were also taught skills such as how to read nutrition labels and how to find low-calorie dishes on restaurant menus. After 12 months, 62 percent of the women were either at or below their original weight. On average, the women had dropped about two pounds each.

So why did this “maintain, don’t gain” method work? One reason could be that it’s simply easier to stick with healthy habits that control your current weight rather than those that are actively designed to drop pounds, says study author Gary Bennett, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, global health, and medicine at Duke University. Cutting only 200 calories from your daily diet is a lot more doable than cutting 500 calories, after all.

“If you’re a person who’s been unsuccessful at losing weight, the best thing you can do is try not to gain any,” says Bennett, who notes that even a small amount of weight gain can pose a major health risk. So skip soda and drink water instead, or order a side salad with your meal instead of French fries—the simpler the change, the more likely you’ll continue doing it and eventually keep off (or lose) weight.

photo: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

Published on September 9th, 2013