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7 truths for new Weight Watchers members

Track, track, track! 
1. You’ll quickly feel overwhelmed. From the outside, the program seems simple. Count points, lose weight, right? Not exactly. I think a lot of first timers have trouble sorting out all the “rules,” and sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to even begin. Don’t freak out! Over time, you’ll know the points values of your favorite foods by heart, and IT WILL GET EASIER. (NOTE: If you choose to go to meetings, the leader will always offer a new member orientation after the regular session. Don’t miss it!)

2. There will be food you don’t know how to track. Weight Watchers has a list of millions of foods in its database, but it doesn’t know the recipe for Aunt Susie’s strawberry cheesecake lush – and neither do you. Rather than freak out over calculating the precise points values, find a substitute or make a best guess. Tracking estimated points values – even if you’re wrong – is better than not tracking at all. Don’t sweat it. 

3. All of the Weight Watchers food will be delicious – and expensive. Yes, the free food samples in the meeting rooms are yummy. And yes, those SmartOnes meals are a bargain at the grocery store sometimes. But NO, you don’t need to buy them to lose weight. There are plenty of alternative snacks and meals out there, and they are just as low in points and A WHOLE LOT cheaper. I’m not saying you should avoid the WW products, I’m just saying they’re not necessary for your success. 

4. You'll have bad weeks. Translation: You will gain weight. In a perfect world, we’d lose weight every single week and be successful all the way to our goals. In the real world, however, there are ups and downs. My weight tracker chart looks like it’s doing the wave over the last two years – up, down, up, down. But overall, the trend was more down than up. So don’t get discouraged by a bad week – or two, or three. Use those weeks as learning opportunities and motivation to get back on track.

This is what three Weight Watchers memberships over five years looks like ...

5. You'll have good weeks. Translation: You will lose weight and feel like a rockstar. Those weeks when you hit a magic number or drop more than you expected will make you feel unstoppable. Reflect back and think about what you did that week to make it happen. Then celebrate! Be sure to share with your meeting group, your friends or anyone who will listen! Every bit of weight loss (even when it's tiny) is awesome. 

6. You’ll think you can do it alone. I know countless people (myself included) who have gotten on a roll with the program and decided to do it “on their own” by counting/logging points with a good old notepad and pencil. Great, that *might* work for a while. But the support from meetings or online groups will be GONE, and the accountability of paying for a program will be lost as well.  Even at my goal weight, I’ve found the extra support of my Friday meeting to play a crucial role in my success. I'm not saying it can't be done – it can. I just think paying for a membership has benefits that are well worth the cost.

7. Eventually, you'll understand what they mean by LIFETIME. Yes, when you reach your goal, you are considered a Lifetime member and don't have to pay a membership fee anymore (THANK GOODNESS!). But the BIGGER benefit is that you have learned the strategies you need to make a permanent lifestyle change. No, there's no guarantee you'll keep the weight off, but I truly believe all of the tools and lessons you gain from being a Weight Watchers member are designed for long-term change, not short-term results. Isn't that what most of us are looking for?

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