Why I Loved Weight Watchers – And Why I Quit

Why I Loved Weight Watchers – And Why I Quit

The year was 2016. It was Christmastime, and I knew I had to change something about my life. That past July, I had gotten married and moved in with my husband. I was completely, for the first time in my life, 100% in control of my life and of what we ate. And yet, I had only gained weight since we got married. I thought I was doing an okay job of eating healthy, but obviously something wasn’t working.

This wasn’t the first time I’d had trouble with my weight; I’d struggled with it all of my life. Never feeling completely in control of it, I’d resigned myself to a life of struggling with food, emotional eating, and maintaining a healthy weight.

After seeing a ton of commercials for Weight Watchers and knowing some people who had tried it, I bought my membership at the end of 2016 and started the program on New Year’s Eve. It was nothing short of life-changing.

I’m a very data-driven person, and so “eating healthy” always seemed too nebulous to me – how was I supposed to know what “healthy enough” looked like? Somewhere, there had to be a sweet spot between only eating kale and living on pizza; I just didn’t know how to find it.

Weight Watchers, if you’re not familiar, assigns, every food a point value. You’re assigned a certain number of points per day based on your weight, gender, and height, and you can eat whatever you want as long as you keep within your allotted points. Lean meats, veggies, eggs, and fruit are “free.”

The WW point system was exactly the guidance I needed. It taught me what balance looked like; I could budget my points for a night out by eating healthier earlier in the day, and feel good about a few cocktails or dessert because I knew I had the points for them. It also taught me what healthy eating looked like. I hadn’t realized how many of the “healthy” foods I was eating were packed with hidden sugars and calories.

The point system opened my eyes to living a balanced lifestyle, and with it, I excelled. I lost 40 pounds within about a year and a half, and felt amazing.

Before…

…and 40 pounds down. I’m the one in the floral (I know, we all look the same).

Fast forward to earlier this year. I’d been yo-yoing between the same five pounds or so for months. I was hitting a bit of a plateau, which is normal, but was also struggling with waning motivation and a schedule which didn’t allow for eating perfectly-prepped meals at home every day like I was before.

In addition, I’d been struggling with some skin and stomach issues. A friend of mine recommended trying the Whole 30 to figure out if the causes of my healthy issues were dietary, and I hoped that the program would not only give me some answers but would kickstart my motivation to eat healthy.

Whole 30, for those of you blessed souls who have not yet tried it, is an elimination diet that eliminates just about anything that could cause your body to be unhappy, including sugar, grains, beans, dairy, soy, and alcohol. You go without them for 30 days, then slowly reintroduce them to figure out which, if any, are causing trouble.

I went without coffee, spent way too much money on Whole 30-approved sugarless bacon at Whole Foods, and stuck to the program (I quit a little early though because I was moving and also was tired of not eating beans). At the end of the program, I learned that I needed to avoid dairy completely, and that beans probably weren’t my best friend (sadness! I love beans!). But the biggest wake-up call of Whole 30 was eating real food.

Because of how Weight Watchers calculates points, it tends to be of benefit points-wise to eat fat-free, sugar-free foods. Fats like oils, nuts, and dried fruit have high point values, so when I was on Weight Watchers, I largely avoided them in favor of fat-free vinaigrettes and other low-cal snacks.

Whole 30 was a refreshing change. I was eating fresh fruits and veggies, lots of nuts, real fats, and meats I normally avoided on WW, like pork and beef.

After Whole 30, I tried to go back on Weight Watchers while incorporating some of what I learned from the program, but struggled with consistency and motivation yet again. I was tired of counting points and constantly stressing about staying within my points limit even though I was feeding my body with good stuff. I felt like the point system had become a burden, not a tool.

I made the hard decision a few weeks ago to quit Weight Watchers. While I’d always thought I’d be a lifetime member (many people are!), I’ve realized that WW isn’t a lifetime solution for me. I want to be able to eat like a normal person, without tracking everything all of the time. I want to have a healthy relationship with food where I think of it as fuel, not as added stress. Most of all, I don’t want to feel penalized for eating real, whole foods

That’s why I’ve decided to go Paleo, or rather, Paleo-ish. Paleo means something different depending on who you ask, but for me it means no grains, soy, dairy, beans, and limited added sugars.

I know that sounds terrible, but so far, I’m absolutely loving it. I’m eating food that tastes good, fueling my body well, and still losing weight. When I splurge one day, I don’t seem to have a problem getting up the next day and getting right back on track.

They say the best diet is the one you can stick to, and I think that’s absolutely right. After almost a two-year weight loss and health journey, I think I may have finally found my perfect fit.

Don’t get me wrong; I still love Weight Watchers. I feel that it’s an amazing tool for anyone who is struggling to lose weight or has no idea where to start, and I highly recommend it to anyone who asks me how I’ve lost weight. I just feel like it’s no longer the right tool for this next season of my life.

Anyone else Paleo? Or a Weight Watchers fan? Tell me about your experience.

Life in Wyoming vs. Denver

Life in Wyoming vs. Denver

Here we go….the first “real” post on the rebooted A Cup of Tay. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to perform, so be gentle on me, guys.

For those of you that are my IRL friends or follow me on the Facebooks or the Instagrams, you know that I’ve lived with my husband in Laramie, Wyoming, for the last two years, and moved to Denver about three months ago. While I’ve lived in a big city before (college in Philly) and have spent a lot of time in Denver, living in the middle of a city NOT as a college student is very different than living in a small college town in Wyoming. Or at least that’s my experience so far.

Some of the key differences I’ve observed from my short tenure as a Denverite:

In Wyoming, people will literally stop traffic to let you in if you’re merging onto the interstate. In Denver, if you cut someone off in traffic in a PARKING LOT, they will loudly yell the F-word at you before throwing their lit cigarette out the car window at you. Or flip you off. Denver people love doing that almost as much as they love rooting for the Broncos.

In Wyoming, if you’re trying to parallel park, there’s a good chance someone nearby will spot you and help you park. In Denver, if you park poorly in your apartment complex in your very large truck that is very hard to park, someone will leave a friendly note on your car that says “You need parking lessons. It’s BAD.” I didn’t know parking lessons existed. Apparently they do.

In Wyoming (and especially in Laramie), if you need anything that you can’t find at the local Wal-Mart (or if you’re lucky, Kmart), you’re out of luck. In Denver, you can’t swing your arms around without hitting literally any store you can think of en masse. Seriously. I needed to buy a desk for our apartment and I typed “Target” into Google Maps and five came up, all 10 minutes away from where I live. It’s almost choice overload, I tell ya.

In Denver, you have to listen to the radio to get the traffic report (like you would the weather report) to know how long it will take you to get across the street. In Wyoming, a traffic jam only happens when a herd of wild turkeys decide to cross the road or when a semi truck blows over because of Wyoming’s gale-force winds (yes, this happens!).

In Denver, you can find about any type of cuisine you want, including cuisine for any diet you might be following. I had a paleo muffin the other day while out and about. It tasted like blueberry chalk but it was the novelty of the thing, ya know? In Wyoming, they sell shirts that says “vegetarian is an old Indian word meaning ‘bad hunter.'” That says about all you need to know about Wyoming’s understanding of alternative diets.

In Denver, they have a chain of gas stations called “Stinker.” I kid you not, the mascot is a skunk. In Wyoming, they have a classily-named chain called Kum & Go. I need not explain further. And I cannot decide which is weirder/worse.

So far, I’m loving Denver and Brandon is learning to love it…he’ll get used to all the people. I hope. Have you ever moved to a new city? How was it different than your old city? Share your sassy observations with me. Oh and if you’re from Denver/Wyoming, has anyone ever thrown a lit cigarette at you? Wondering if I’m just REALLY bad at driving in parking lots.

Yes, A Cup of Tay is Back!

For those of you that have known me for awhile, you’ll remember the days of old when the original A Cup of Tay was a thing. I dished out sassy posts weekly, and then less often. I shut down A Cup of Tay temporarily, then brought it back…and eventually, I shut A Cup of Tay down for good.

There was crying. There was complaining. There was rioting in the streets (okay, maybe not). The point is, people weren’t happy about it.

And to be honest, I wasn’t either. I shut down A Cup of Tay because I felt like I’d reached a writing rut. Blogging no longer felt natural or exciting, and I was struggling to put together my trademark humorous content for readers. So I called it quits.

Thinking maybe I just needed to shift focus, I started an alternative blog last year, Grace and Grace Alone, where I planned to blog about my faith. The problem was, I wasn’t feeling any more inspired to write about my faith than I was about anything else, and blogging about just faith-related topics felt too restrictive.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the itch to write again. I miss it – a lot! During a call with one of my best friends a few weeks ago, I could her her sister yelling in the background as per usual, “Where’s A Cup of Tay? When are you starting A Cup of Tay again?”

Usually I laugh and tell her it’s a thing of the past, but this time it got me thinking. Yes, it’s a little weird to revive a blog like 3 times. But it’s also silly not to give the people what they want (ha) and to pick something back up that I enjoy.

I feel like a lot has changed since last time A Cup of Tay made its appearance, so I’m going to start with a clean slate, not uploading any of my old posts. Maybe I’ll slip one or two in every once in awhile (Brandon wrote like a four-part story of our relationship, for example, and it’s freaking adorable). I’m going to blog about what I love blogging about, which is whatever the heck I want. But really though, you’ll probably find posts on married life, my faith, Thor the Dog (he may write some posts of his own!), my weight loss journey, and anything else I feel like I can make humorous enough to share.

For those of you who have become friends with me since I closed down A Cup of Tay, thanks for reading. And for those of you who have, in your own way, cried, complained, or yelled through a phone at me to keep writing, thank you.