Just like that silly commercial "How do you eat a Reese's," everyone who has been around people who do Weight Watchers long enough knows that there is the official plan and then there's what people really do. Hang around the Weight Watchers message boards for a while and you'll learn about all kinds of mythical plans like the Wendie Plan, the C.J. Plan, etc., that people have invented by "tweaking" the basic Points system. There are also always people looking for materials from some old Weight Watchers plan that brought them success in the past.
I'm no exception. I got to Lifetime using Winning Points, so I am now doing a modification of the Flex plan that is more similar to that plan but that still fits the rules of Flex. Every time that WW revamps their plan, they make some people happy and a whole lot of old-timers upset.
Overall, though, I try to avoid messing with the plan. I have found that it's easy to make an adjustment here, a tweak there, and end up turning it into the way that I would eat normally, on my own. If I eat the way that I would eat normally, on my own, I will weigh what I did normally, on my own.
I have been on and off WW several times in the last few years. After I made Lifetime, I started letting things slide and regained some weight. I joined and quit WW at least 5 or 6 times since then. One thing I have finally figured out is that you have to be willing to let yourself be a little bit hungry at first. One of the lies I hear die-hard Weight Watchers tell is, "I was never hungry." Sure, veggies are pretty unrestricted, so you can eat as many of them as you want, but snacking on a huge bag of baby carrots just leaves me bloated and unsatisfied.
For the first few weeks of the plan, I am hungry sometimes. Not ravenously hungry but a little bit hungry. If I am really going to have a problem, I will eat something, even if I don't really have the points for it, but mostly I try to let myself get used to that feeling of being just a little hungry and remind myself that, to paraphrase a friend, "hunger is not a terminal condition." Sometimes it is really hunger and sometimes it's just habit. I try to wait it out for a while to see if it will go away if I forget about it.
After that first few weeks, the hard part, I start to adjust to the smaller portions and the new way of eating and it's not so bad, unless something doesn't go according to plan. I almost took my husband's head off one night when he wanted to push dinner back a couple of hours, because I didn't have enough points for a snack and dinner and I was hungry. I also get into trouble if I don't plan out my meals or don't keep the pantry stocked with the foods I need. Or if I go out to dinner when I wasn't expecting it.
The funny thing is that sooner or later, as Vickie said in a recent post, my body rebels if I try to go back to the old way of eating. I found that out last night after I went to Tony Packo's (for the first time, even though I've been in the Toledo area for my whole life) and had a beer and a bunch of cheesy, greasy food. My body just can't take it anymore. I hated the feeling of my stomach being so full it felt stretched. At least it kept me from snacking later that night.
Those kind of controls can remind us of the right way to eat, if we listen to them. If not, just like those gastric bypass patients that learn how to eat through their discomfort, we stretch our stomachs back to the point where we started. This time around, I refuse to go back through the hell of the first weeks of WW. I learned my lesson.