Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weight Watchers Online vs Meetings

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(If you're just here to read about WW meetings vs online, scan down to the Jennifer Hudson image).

Things are cruising along with the Weight Watchers.  I'm tracking everything I eat and already have reigned things in quite a bit in an effort to stay within my allotted points.  Today started off with a whimper when I missed a bike ride with a friend.  We had plans to cancel if it rained and I was so sure it would be raining that come morning I didn't even bother to get out of bed to actually check.  And Miguel got up with the kids and let me sleep so I was even more motivated to stay put.  I finally got up around 9:45am (can you believe it?!) and saw a bunch of missed text messages from Melissa.  All day I kept glancing out at the dry sky and feeling bummed I missed an opportunity to ride.  Melissa went on a short ride on her own and was nice enough to tell me that with the cold it was miserable.

Anyway, I got on with my day, which mostly consisted of converting Marek's crib into a full size bed.  He's having a hard time going to sleep tonight, which is to be expected I guess, but I'm really ready for him to stop calling me in to his room every 5 minutes.

Ok, on to the food/exercise update.  I went to the gym this afternoon and had a feeling that I'd have a good run.  And I did.  I ran 3 miles in 32:30, a tad over 5.5 mph.  And, more importantly, I felt great.  The run was easy and relaxed.  I found myself thinking about the 10k that's coming up in two weeks.  There are a lot of hills on that route.  I mapped it and this is the elevation profile:

Looks like fun, right?  So during today's run I was wondering if I would be suffering during the 10k because of all the hills.  I suppose the amount of suffering is totally up to me.  I can always walk, and likely will.  I've ridden my bike on those hills plenty of times and at least one of them I don't think I can run up and over.  Anyway, I finished up my run feeling fabulous and then started into weights - back/biceps/core.  I had a good workout and, after stretching, headed back home to my family.

Food-wise I'm doing great.  The good thing is that WW does not mean you have to be restrictive.  Last night I went to dinner at a friend's house (Hi Joan!).  Joan makes a fabulous risotto.  It's so good I pretty much demand her to make it when I go there.  This time she made a mushroom, sausage risotto and it was as good as ever.  I had that with garlic bread, and super yummy roasted brussell sprouts.  Top it all off with a healthy slice of lemon tart and a small glass of wine and I was stuffed!  My stomach hurt so I know I ate a bit more than needed but I was "fat and happy" as they say and I had no regrets.

This morning I tracked it all and went about my day.  Today I only went over my points by 3 and with my APs I could even eat more if I wanted.  But I'm not hungry and about to head to bed so that means no more food.

This is getting to be a long post but before I wrap up I want to share some of my thoughts on WW meetings. Nicole (aka Running While Mommy) asked what I thought about meetings vs. online. When I re-joined this time I thought about doing online-only because finding time to go to a weekly meeting seemed too onerous. But in the end I decided the meetings were important. When I started WW in 2005, for me, the meetings were the foundation of the program. I committed to going to that weekly meeting come hell or high weigh-in, and that was key. Before I go on, I have to add a caveat to what I'm about to share. If you are not a food junkie like me and are doing WW to lose a stubborn 10-20 pounds but have never been really fat, the pros I mention might not apply to you. Then again, maybe they will, who knows? Well, I suppose you do, right?

What it comes down to, for me, is merely getting information vs. getting support, accountability and making it very, very real. Something about going to the meeting, seeing others on my same journey, getting on the scale in front of another human being (the weigh-ins are private, the person checking you in sees it and writes it in your book) and being inspired by the success of others - it all has a way of putting my week in perspective and helping me to stay on track. If it were just me and E-tools I could see myself quitting when the going got tough. And it will get tough (and better, and then tough again - it's the nature of the game).

The meetings are not group therapy, you never have to say a word if you don't want to and some people never do. I do more listening than I do talking, that's for sure. Different leaders bring different things to the table so if you don't like the leader try a different meeting. Each week the leader will cover a different topic and I'm often nodding my head in agreement. There are no group hugs, though there is sometimes clapping. When someone passes a 5 pound mark of weight loss they get acknowledged and everyone claps, "Sally has lost a total of 26.4 pounds!" Clap, clap. That happens at the end of the meeting so you could leave if you wanted. And if you didn't want to be acknowledged you just tell the person checking you in. But who doesn't want to be recognized for your hard work? The clapping is nice, I think. 

Weight Watchers materials often point out that "people who attend meetings lose 3 times more weight than those who go it alone." I read the study on which this is based - turns out that at the 1 year mark people who attended weekly meetings had lost 9.5 pounds and those who did not had lost 2.9 pounds. Yes, technically 3 times more weight but not exactly 60 pounds vs 20 pounds. In any case, it all comes down to you. You can try online-only and if it's not working, or more importantly, if it stops working, you can try meetings. Or, if meetings won't be too hard to get to, I say go to the meeting.  You might like it more than you expect.

Update, 11/2014. I wrote this post in 2012, five years after I started WW. I slowly stopped going to meetings after being a Lifetime member for a while. I would go now-and-then but mostly I didn't. Eventually I stopped altogether. Things were going great and I was maintaining my weight. Then I hit a bump in the road of life and the pounds started to slowly come back. I tried using a calorie tracker (My Fitness Pal) but that didn't stick. When my weight gain was closing in on 10 pounds, I decided it was time to go back to meetings. I've been back for a couple weeks now and I love it. I'm back to eating better, tracking (for as long as I need to) and feeling great.


  1. Thanks for you blog!..I've been going to WW for 4 weeks now and have lost 11 pounds. Our leader is great and I love this points program with WW.

    I get the monthly pass so I can use e-tools that keeps track of my meals, my weight etc.

    This is the best program I have ever tried!

    Happy WW'g! ;)

  2. Thank you for this I am going to do meetings! you

  3. I live 70 miles from nearest meeting. If I go online how do I get all the materials and curious about effectiveness of online verses the long drive. We live in snow country so the driving is an issue as well.

    1. When you join online they give you all the materials digitally. The effectiveness of meetings vs online is a tiny difference. The main thing is your commitment to keep trying no matter what. Best wishes to you!


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