Thursday, 17 July 2014

Life \\ Diet : Slimming World vs Weight Watchers - My Experience (Part 2)

Hi everyone,

About a month ago I posted up about Slimming World vs Weight Watchers and what I provided was just a general overview of how both diets work, what you can eat and what I find to be the positives and the negatives with both diets (click here if you want to check out my post before carrying on with this one).

I previously stated I wanted to tackle my diet post in two parts, one being a general outline of what they both entail and then a second post on how I found my experience on them both.

I just want to state again I have picked both of these diets to share with you guys not only because I feel I have good experience with both of them but I do not actually see either of these as 'diets' in the traditional sense of the word, they are more just looking at what you're eating, cutting back a little bit on the naughty stuff and making healthier choices.

I personally feel there is is a bit of a stigma around diet clubs and attending them and I don't feel there is enough positivity about going to diet clubs.  Before making the decision to join, whenever I would think about attending a diet club I just used to associate them that with the sketch out of Little Britain (dust) and I just want to reassure anyone reading this that it is not like whatsoever.  It is just a group of woman and men who just like you want to feel a bit better about their weight and the club meetings are done in such as way that even if you don't get the result you wanted that week, they get you to look and where you may be going wrong or just assure you that we all have weeks where we do everything right and it just one of those things.

There should not be any feeling of embarrassment of saying you attend a diet club and you should feel proud of yourself that you are making steps to feel better about yourself and improve your life in a healthier way.

I just want to state also that although I understand they are quite popular among celebrities right now, I do not condone any type of juice cleanses or milkshake replacement meals because it is not a sustainable way of life.  You may find you lose quite a lot of weight in a short amount of time but this ultimately is not how you will eat forever going forward and therefore I do believe the only way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss is to make more sensible, healthier choices with food (but also still enjoy a little of what you like) and also exercise regularly.

Here is my story on both diets and at the end I will draw a conclusion of both my experiences and how they fit with my life.

Slimming World

I joined Slimming World in April 2013 and the main focus for doing was this was because I was attending Wireless Festival and wanted to lose a stone in order to just feel a little better about myself.

I have already explained the ins and outs of what the Slimming World diet contains in my previous post (click here to find out) but to give you an example of what I would eat on a daily basis

Breakfast: Fruit salad with yogurt
Mid-morning snack: Alpen light bar (one of two which is a B Choice)
Lunch: Salad i.e. lettuce, cucumber, tomato, with Salmon or chicken breast.
Mid-afternoon snack: banana or another fruit medley
Dinner: Chips (using ActiFry frier - *God send* - link here) with eggs, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon or Pasta in tomato sauce with chicken, steak and chips with roasted vegetables.
Drinks: tea, coffee (with A Choice being milk), soft drinks such as sugar free fizzy drinks or squash, fruit teas.

As you can see, I did not eat an awful lot during the day but I did fill up in the evening and this worked well for me because I go to the gym every lunch hour so I knew when I got home I would be starving and already worked off a good meal.

I managed to lose a stone between April and August. I was doing very well and it suited my lifestyle however I had reached my interim goal weight and I had a festival to go to and although I was maintaining my weight really well I did unfortunately have a car accident (nothing serious!) and my only comfort during that time was food.

I am the first to admit that I am a walking cliche and do consider myself an 'emotional eater' and although it seems like an excuse I just found I could not concentrate on dieting during what was a pretty stressful time in life for me.  So after I tried to still keep going to meetings and not seeing much improvement I decided to give up in November 2013 and go back in the New Year.  Needless to say when I did eventually go back to meetings, there was an inevitable gain of a stone and therefore I was back to square one.

I really wished I had not have let myself slip so badly however what was done was done so I tried to get back into a diet which I knew had once worked really well for me.  This time round though I was either really not following it or I was following it really well but not getting any results.  I was used to losing 1 or 2lbs a week and there were weeks now that I was doing my absolute best and just managing to stay the same weight.

I am not sure why it did not work as well for me going back to Slimming World.  I think I was trying so hard to lose weight that I wasn't following it right and I was not actually eating enough to balance out the amount of exercise I did.  I wouldn't fill myself up on the things I knew I could during the day because I felt if I had too much of them then it wouldn't work and I would't lose weight when in reality if I had tried eating a bit more I may have had more energy for the gym and lost slightly more.

I decided at the beginning of May 2014 I needed to approach my diet in a different way and joined Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers

After I had completely given up on Slimming World and decided that was not the one for me, a couple of days later I joined Weight Watchers.  I decided not to have a few weeks off or give myself much time in between to pig out because I knew if I did that then I wouldn't ever join a different diet club.

So back at the beginning of May this year, I took the plunge and joined Weight Watchers which I knew had a new approach then just the points system and that was called their 'Simple Start'.  Simple Start is extremely similar to the whole Slimming World diet in that you can eat potatoes, pasta, fruit, veg and meat in whatever quantities you want.  I was not keen to do this at first but you can also incorporate brown bread (this can be sandwich thins which are so yummy and also Weight Watchers own brand pitta bread) and also skimmed milk and you can also consume as much as you want of these, within reason.

I must admit my first week on Simple Start I struggled with but I knew I had to give it a go.  For the first week I would have shredded wheat with banana with skimmed milk for breakfast, a pitta bread or small brown loaf with ham or chicken and lots of salad, tomatoes, cucumber and then dinner would be similar to Slimming World i.e. steak and chips (cooked in oil or fry light which is a low fat cooking spray) but you can also have two additional treats a day this could be a chocolate bar from Weight Watchers meetings (surprisingly very nice!) or a tablespoon of mayonnaise with your salad (it only lists out certain treats you can have for your 'treats').  In my first week of Simple Start I managed to lose 5 1/2 pounds and I was so pleased and that really gave me the kickstart I desperately needed and the encouragement to stick with Weight Watchers.

After your first week on Simple Start you then have a choice to go onto Pro Points or Simple Start but with additional 49 Pro Points instead of your two 'treats' a day.   I decided to stick with the Simple Start for one more week and with the additional 49 Pro Points which meant I could have a sauce with my pasta or still carry on having a chocolate bar in the evening after dinner or a packet of crisps with my lunch.  I enjoyed this week much more and the good news was when I went to weigh in then I had dropped another 2 lbs which meant I had lost over half a stone in two weeks which I just thought was amazing progress.

I am now sticking to Pro Points and I have 26 Pro Points (which is based on my weight and height) a day, an additional weekly allowance of 49 (which every one gets) and I can also earn myself up to 25 extra Pro Points in just doing exercise (3 x spin classes & 1 x conditioning class a week).  They say you are not allowed to go below your daily allowance because this number has been worked out based on your height and weight and is the right amount of points for your body to be healthy but still manage to lose weight.

A typical menu for me would be:

Breakfast : porridge with skimmed milk and a sliced up banana or crumpets with jam / marmite / marmalade.

Lunch : Warburtons Sandwich Thins (which are really good!) with a Dairy Lea light triangle
 and ham packed with tomatoes and cucumber with a packet of Skips, a Weight Watchers bagel with Dairy Lea and some yummy smoked salmon (this is my favourite thing!) and a packet of Walkers Sunbites or Weight Watchers / any low fat range soup with a sandwich thin.

Dinner : ready meal from any supermarkets' low fat range - I always find Sainsbury's Be Good To Yourself range the tastiest.

Snacks and Drinks: pre-packed fruit salad, bananas, apples, fruit tea, normal tea (with milk calculated with Pro Points), black coffee with sweetener, water and lemon, diet fizzy drinks and no added sugar squash.

I have now lost a total of one stone and 1 pound up until the end of June and I treated myself to a week off at the beginning of July because I had Wireless Festival to attend and I also came down with the dreaded 'Festival Fever' afterwards and I just wanted comfort foods to see me through the week.  I haven't yet gone back to find out the damage but I am back on Weight Watchers this week after a week off and not finding it particularly difficult to get back into which is a good sign.

So, whats the best choice?

Well that really depends on what you find personally better.

I think Slimming World is great in that you can eat as much as you want of all the basic food groups and its great for people that have the time to think about new recipes but can be difficult to grab something out and about for lunch when you're at work and you don't really get rewarded for doing extra exercise.  Whereas Weight Watchers gives you extra points to eat when you're working out and it is also super easy to find things out and about in Boots or your local supermarket at work that have very reasonable Pro Points values.

In my opinion as much as I loved Slimming World the first time around I think the lack of over all choice in the diet and the fact that you can eat as much as you want didn't help me.   Unfortunately when I am told to eat as much as I want, I really will do that and it therefore does not teach you about portion control which I believe is key to success of a diet and having a good attitude to maintaining the weight lost.

With Weight Watchers, I am not limited in anyway as long as I track my points and I am not bored by what I consume.  I feel confident that once I do reach my goal (which is only another 11 lbs) that I will be able to maintain due to the fact that I do exercise regularly but a lot of the foods I eat currently are items I could enjoy going forward i.e. porridge for breakfast, or a Weight Watchers bagel with salmon.

I hope this post helps you if you're thinking about joining a club or thinking about trying the other one and hopefully this can give you a little extra insight or just some extra ideas.

If you have questions then please feel free to comment below or tweet me I'm always happy to answer you guys :o)

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