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Are you wondering if the Weight Watchers Freestyle plan works? I’ve been on it for almost seven weeks, and have lost more than twelve pounds! Here’s what it’s been like.
I weighed myself this morning and discovered that I’ve lost more than twelve pounds so far on the Weight Watchers Freestyle plan! I usually only weigh myself on weekends, but happened to end up near a scale today before I’d had anything to eat or drink (rare) so I hopped on and was very pleasantly surprised that I’d lost another two pounds since last week! If I’d waited to weigh myself until tomorrow I might have had to add one more item to this list. As it is, this article started out as ten things I’d learned losing my first ten pounds, but apparently, I lose weight faster than I write.
That means that in the almost seven weeks since I joined, I’ve lost an average of 1.8 pounds per week. Here’s what I learned about Weight Watchers Freestyle—and myself—while losing those first twelve-plus pounds.
1. I don’t ever have to be hungry on this plan
Unlike the first time I did Weight Watchers about fourteen years ago, this time I can eat enough to not ever be hungry. There’s technically no limit on how many zero-points foods I can eat on the Weight Watchers Freestyle plan. If I’m hungry, I can grab some zero-point yogurt, some fruit, carrot sticks with Greek yogurt dip, or a hard-boiled egg. Those are all zero points and I keep them stocked and ready to eat at all times. I eat three or four eggs every day, and at least two or three bananas. Very filling and satisfying. As a vegetarian, I can’t take advantage of the zero-point chicken breasts and fish, and unfortunately for me I don’t like tofu, but those are also zero-point options. You can see the complete list here.
2. But I’m letting myself be hungry anyway
I have a self-imposed rule that I only eat between 9am and 9pm. Otherwise, I’d just be eating all the time, day or night. (That rule predates my time on Weight Watchers Freestyle by more than a year, though, so obviously it’s not something that will make me thin on its own. It really just stopped me from gaining even more weight.) How is this rule affecting my loss now that I’m on Weight Watchers Freestyle? I’ve heard complaints from some people that the zero-points foods caused them to lose weight a lot slower, or not at all. So understand that when I say that I can eat as much as I want, I’m talking about within a twelve-hour period each day. If I did this for all of my waking hours, would I still be having this much success? I don’t know. If you’re not happy with your rate of loss on Weight Watchers Freestyle, you might want to make your eating day shorter. Most people could probably go 8am–8pm or even 7am–7pm, but we eat dinner really late around here. At the very least you should try not to eat after dinner.
3. I’m not miserable on this eating plan
I mean, let’s face it: I consider it a mild form of torture whenever I’m not stuffing my face with whatever I want, so misery is all relative. But the impact on my mood has been small. I’m not cranky like I was when I gave up carbs. I’m not bitching about having to weigh and measure every little thing that goes into my mouth like when I counted calories, since most fruits and vegetables and some other things are zero points and I’m not tracking them at all. Sometimes I’ll make a recipe and out of all the ingredients, only one or two will need to be tracked. So, this is a bit easier mentally than other things I’ve done to lose weight.
4. I really do eat bread every day
I can’t have a ton of it like I used to, slathered with good butter, but I have toast many mornings, or a sandwich for lunch. Sometimes pasta for dinner, although that’s harder to fit in than bread. Most of the time I choose bread that’s low in points. For one point I can have a pathetically small slice of a bagel, or an entire slice of light wheat bread (Arnold Bakery Light is my favorite). It feels better to have the slice of bread. I get to chew for longer, and I can put more stuff on top of it. I make two-point open-faced egg salad sandwiches (one point for the bread, one for the mayonnaise), and if I’m having scrambled eggs I often put them on a slice of toast with a small amount of cheese (two or three points, depending on how much cheese). And toast with a very thin coating of peanut butter gives me enough of a peanut butter taste to keep me from going crazy (I used to just eat it out of the jar). I’m also a big fan of wrap sandwiches. A bunch of veggies in a small piece of two-point wrap bread tastes good even without dressing, and if I have the points I add some hummus or Feta.Are you wondering if the Weight Watchers Freestyle plan works? Amy has lost 12 pounds in 7 weeks without being miserable!Click To Tweet
5. Carby vegetables are getting me through
Corn, peas, carrots, and butternut squash are all zero-points foods, and I’ve been taking full advantage of that. On more than one occasion I’ve eaten an entire can of corn, straight from the can. A new and frequent “snack” is microwaving half a butternut squash and mashing it with salt and pepper—very filling. It’s amazing to me that I’m eating a lot of those foods and still losing weight, but I’m not going to argue as long as it keeps working.
6. I like fruit a lot more than I thought I did
I’ve never been a huge fan of fruit. I’d have an occasional banana slathered with crunchy peanut butter, or some strawberries, or a handful of blueberries, but not very often. Now, though, a typical snack for me is a huge bowl of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. I’ve even had an occasional orange, something I never would have eaten before (why would I, when potato chips were an option?). Interestingly, on the Freestyle plan if I were to take those same ingredients and put them in a blender, I would have to count all of the points. But Weight Watchers understands the psychological benefits of chewing, rather than drinking, your food. So if you’re big on getting your fruits and vegetables via smoothies, this probably isn’t the plan for you.
7. I’ve stopped eating mindlessly
Turns out that when I can’t just eat junk all of the time, I don’t eat all of the time. I actually wait until I’m hungry. But it took a couple of weeks to get to that point. For the first two weeks I was eating a lot more often than I am now. I would wander over to the fridge and pull out a bag of grapes and just eat them like a zombie, because I was used to eating all day whether I was hungry or not. That has stopped.
8. I like to save up my points for the weekend
Right now I get 23 points per day, plus a bank of 42 points per week that I can use whenever. Each day I can roll over as many as four of those 23 points for later in the week, but I can’t roll any points over to the next week. So generally, I eat 19 points a day Monday–Thursday, 23 points on Friday, and pig out on the rest over the weekend: pasta, dessert, and bread. Last Sunday, for example, I had an egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast, a small bowl of angel hair pasta and an open-faced egg salad sandwich for lunch, some homemade baguette and jack cheese for a snack, and a big delicious dinner of pasta, homemade tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, and homemade garlic bread! And after all of that I still had eleven points left that I was going to lose if I didn’t use them, so I ended the week with thirteen Cadbury Mini Eggs. Heaven! I never leave points on the table at the end of the week. It keeps me sane and gives me something to look forward to.
9. I’ve never eaten healthier in my life
The points on Weight Watchers Freestyle really make sense. Last time I did Weight Watchers, each point was roughly 45 calories. It could go up or down a little bit based on how much fiber a food had, but not much—it was a strict formula. Back then I could eat either a banana or a 100-calorie package of cookies for the same number of points. Guess which one I chose every single time? But the way the points are designed now (called SmartPoints), I get way more bang for my buck with healthier foods. I’ve found some sugary foods where a point is worth as little as twenty calories! Totally not worth it, unless I have a lot to spare. Generally, the lower in sugar and saturated fat a food is, the fewer points it is. So the SmartPoints are constantly nudging me towards healthier choices. Left to my own devices, I will never make the healthy choice. I just won’t. But with the Weight Watchers Freestyle rules in place, I’m eating a ton of fruits and vegetables. Actually, my stomach was a bit messed up for the first two weeks. I think it was just in shock and screaming “Where’s all the cheese?” But that went away and now I feel great! Sure, on days when I’m eating a lot of points, I don’t rely on fruits and vegetables as much. But that’s usually two days a week. The other five, I’m eating really healthy stuff.
10. I still bake
I still manage to fit in my homemade bread. Over the weekend I made baguettes and cookies, and had some—weighed and counted, of course. I’ve even made croissants a few times. They were worth every single point, but I had to plan for them. I absolutely adore baking and refuse to give it up in order to lose weight. It takes a few extra steps to keep track of everything that goes in, like extra flour used when rolling something out, but it’s so worth it. And I think I appreciate it more now, rather than just shoveling it in.
11. Restaurants will always be a pain
If a restaurant is a chain and is in the Weight Watchers app, then it’s not as big of a deal. Sure, the portion sizes are not going to be exact, but I can get a good estimate for how many points I’m eating. However, I don’t go to chains all that often. When I went to an Italian restaurant a few weeks ago with my family and had gnocchi in a pesto cream sauce, I found a huge range of gnocchi and sauce points in the app, and that hurt my brain. Not to mention I had to estimate the weight of the bread and how much olive oil I was dipping it in. When I’m home I can weigh and measure things, and it drives me absolutely nuts that I can’t do that when out. So, I estimate a bit on the high side and hope for the best. So far, so good, but restaurants still give me anxiety. If I’m out by myself now I’m more likely to go to a restaurant that’s in the app. Hale & Hearty has been a favorite, with plenty of low-point soups.
12. There are some fantastic low-points frozen meals
I work from home, so I’m alone most days for lunch. Sometimes I make a sandwich or even cook, but a lot of the time I grab a frozen meal. I’ve always been a big fan of Amy’s frozen foods. I always used to go for the pizzas and pastas, but now I’m eating more of the vegetable-based, less cheesy meals that I used to ignore. There’s an Amy’s bowl with butternut squash, black beans, and quinoa that’s only four points. I have that one for lunch a lot. The bean and cheese burrito is six points (oddly enough, two points less than the Light & Lean version). Two black bean enchiladas are only five points. A can of black bean vegetable soup is two points. And Amy’s chunky vegetable soup is zero points! There are also a lot of Amy’s meals, Weight Watchers meals, and other brands that are delicious and a bit higher in points (8–12) that I sometimes eat for dinner. Again, I’m only looking at the vegetarian stuff, but if the meal is in the app, then the good people at Weight Watchers have taken out the zero-points foods for you. Take the app and its hugely helpful barcode scanner to the store with you, scan everything, and make a list of low-points foods that you can grab for a quick and easy meal.
Please feel free to ask me any questions you have about the Weight Watchers Freestyle plan!