So, I’ve tried a lot of dieting techniques throughout the past few summers in an attempt to lose the alcohol and late-night munchies weight I put on during the school year. When people told me that I wouldn’t have my high school metabolism forever–they were right. Of all the things I’ve tried over the years, the only thing that has worked for me is Weight Watchers. So, recently I decided to go back on their new 360 plan to try and lose weight before my trip to Myrtle Beach in July.
Disclaimer: Weight Watchers doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. It’s not the perfect solution to losing weight, but it works for me. I really think that if you’ve never tried it, Weight Watchers is worth a shot, but everyone has to find a diet plan that works for his or her individual needs.
Also, I cannot stress the importance of diet AND exercise. One without the other usually doesn’t work. I know this from experience. I’ve also started running again as part of my weight loss regimen and to challenge myself to get back in shape, but my details on that are for another day.
Anyways, my favorite thing about Weight Watchers is that you can literally eat whatever you want. Each food you eat is worth a certain point value, with fruits and vegetables being free. You can use as many points as you want on one food, but once your days worth of points are used up, you’re done.
It’s like my co-workers say “‘I’m ballin on a budget.” As we know from being in college, a girl can still be fashionable while watching how much money she spends. And you can still eat what you want, while losing weight at the same time.
Similar to spending money, when you’re on Weight Watchers you have to budget your points in such a way that you can keep yourself going all day. It’s all about choices. For example, If you’re at the mall and you only have $100 dollars to spend, you can either buy a designer handbag worth $100 at Macys, or you can go to Charming Charlie and buy a handbag, sandals, and new jewelry for $100. The same works for Weight Watchers. If you have 10 points left for the day, you can either have 3/4 cup of mac and cheese for the rest of the day, or a full plate of chicken salad and a low-fat desert. It’s up to you. But, once it’s gone, it’s all gone.
Although you need to make some sacrifices in order to lose weight (or save money while shopping), if you’re smart about it, you don’t need to give up everything you love.
If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you that I LOVE Mexican food–especially Chipotle. One of my favorite things is their burrito bowl and I knew that when I went on Weight Watchers that I couldn’t give it up. So, instead of standing in line to eat a days worth of calories in one sitting, I tried making my own at home.
After a few attempts at making this with some fajita leftovers, I finally perfected the art of the burrito bowl with a few key ingredients that make all the difference. Here’s how to do it:
1. Start by cooking up half a chicken breast (3 points for 3oz.) and some peppers and onions (0 points) in a pan. I used frozen veggies here, but you can also use fresh. Spice up the chicken with fajita seasoning or your favorite mexican spices.
2. Next, make some brown rice (4 points for half cup uncooked – makes a full cup prepared). Every brand of brown rice is different, so point values may vary. I used Wegmans brand (the best grocery store chain in the U.S. for those of you who don’t know).
3. Add a pinch of fresh cilantro and the juice from about 1/4 of a lime. This was what I was missing the first few times I tried to make it. A lot of people think that things will taste the same without a certain spice or flavoring but I’m telling you, it’s not the same. It’s just not. Don’t leave the rice plain unless you like your food bland and hate making your food taste better for 0 points.
4. Get your favorite kind of salsa. Wegmans brand roasted salsa verde (pictured above) tastes REALLY similar to Chipotle’s medium salsa (It’s AMAZING and it’s 0 points).
5. My one true Mexican food love is sour cream. But, its got a lot of fat, and costs a lot of points. So, I learned from my sister that a good alternative is plain non-fat greek yogurt. It’s only about 1 point for the amount I like, but probably 0 points for the average person.
5. Put it all into a bowl together. I know it kind of looks like a bunch of crap in a bowl mixed with baby puke, but it tastes great. Trust me. You can also add some of your other favorite ingredients like lettuce, tomato or guacamole. Just remember should you chose to add shredded cheese, it can be pretty pricy if you don’t use non or reduced fat!
And that’s it! It’s not exactly like Chipotle, but it’s pretty close and less than half the calories (probably)!
Another thing I could never ever give up is sweets. I’m obsessed with ice cream, especially in the summer. I’ve tried low-fat versions of ice cream, and I’ve even tried to substitute popsicles and italian ice and other low calorie options, but nothing ever seemed to stack up to creaminess that I always crave after dinner. Well, last year I discovered Ben and Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt. Not only is it low-ish in point value, but it’s got the thick and creamy texture that you would expect from ice cream.
Last year, Ben and Jerry’s only had a few flavors, but this summer they’ve come out with a few new unique concoctions that are delicious. My favorite is Liz Lemon–and not just because I’m a 30 Rock enthusiast. The swirls of blueberry and lavender have a different flavor that i’ve never tasted before. I would explain it as almost alcoholic tasting–but in a good way. If you haven’t tried it yet I highly recommend it.
At 5 points per half cup, this dessert might come at too high a cost for some people, but for me it’s worth it. I’ve also learned to trick my brain into thinking I’m eating a lot more than I am by feeding myself straight out of the 1/2 cup measure. If you take it out of the measuring cup and into a bowl, it doesn’t look like that much. However, when it’s packed into that little cup, it seems like so much more.
To satisfy my sweet tooth I also turn to Weight Watchers candy. They’re kind of expensive at the store, but they’re worth it to keep cravings at bay. They’re also only worth 1 point (depending on the type)!
A couple of my other favorites are:
Banana peppers: They’re delicious on just about everything and they’re 0 points. They add an extra crunch and a touch of heat to a salad or sandwich. Also, whenever I’m craving something salty like chips or carb-filled pretzels, I turn to eating a couple of these babies straight from the jar.
Lite english muffins: I love these in the morning. They’re only 2 points per muffin! Eat these with a little bit of peanut butter and a banana, and you have a filling breakfast that will hold you over until lunch. Also, if you’re a breakfast sandwich fan, try a slice of WW American cheese and a scrambled egg for a 5 point satisfying sandwich anytime of day.
I hope these tips have inspired you to try Weight Watchers or find a plan that works for you!