The amount of health and diet information available on the market is overwhelming. I find the tricky thing is distinguishing fads from sustainable healthy lifestyle changes. I am pleased to say that having been introduced to the new Weight Watchers Your Way Program, I found a holistic approach to wellbeing.
After reading the new Weight Watchers Program guide cover to cover, I’m genuinely excited. It’s a holistic and personal lifestyle approach. It’s not a diet. I know from my own health journey that getting into a healthy routine doesn’t happen over night. What resonates with me about this new Program is the fact that it isn’t a quick fix, it gives you the tools to make lasting change in your life.
I want to relay some of the key changes to the new Weight Watchers Your Way Program in the post to give you the information you need to see if it’s right for you.
It’s a way of living. It’s not a diet. It’s not a quick-fix. It’s about falling in love with food again, enjoying getting active and discovering how good you’re meant to feel.
How you fuel your body, how you move, how you feel: these three areas are key to sustaining long-term positive health changes.
What has changed?
Your Way is the new Weight Watchers Program, underpinned by three core pillars: FOOD. FIT. FEEL.
Weight Watchers is well known for its ProPointsTM food grading system. The innovative Your Way Program is based on the most current scientific information and has a new unit of measurement called SmartPointsTM. With the new Plan, foods are assessed to encourage healthier choices that are lower in sugar and saturated fat and higher in protein. I like how the SmartPointsTM Plan is focused on the nutritious value of foods, rather than being just a low kilojoule diet.
Perhaps the most significant change is the focus on fitness and the introduction of FitPointsTM, which measure the amount of activity you do. The Program sets you a weekly personalised FitPointsTM goal and equips you with activity ideas to help you achieve it.
I like that FitPointsTM are not designed to be swapped for food (SmartPointsTM). The reason for this is it’s important not to link exercise with food rewards. Exercise AND fuel is important for overall health. They are both tools in their own right that work together to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Mindset is what makes change sustainable in the long term, and the FEEL pillar focuses on eight key areas:
- Be kind to yourself
- Manage your stress levels
3. Find non-food ways of coping
- Be mindful
- Get some sleep
- Maintain your motivation
- Eat to feel good
- Ask for help
Looking for potentially unhealthy patterns and more importantly WHY they happen is an important skill I’m still learning. With the WEIGHT WATCHERS Your Way Program, you can track:
- Try to aim for 7-8 hours each night.
- Use emoji faces to look at how your mood affects your food and exercise decisions.
- Stress levels. Use a scale of 1-10 for the same reasons.
- When you use food to feed your emotions. Make a note of the occasions you use food as an emotional crutch to help you recognise the triggers.
- Water intake. Keeping hydrated will keep you alert and feeling good.
All tracking can be done through the Weight Watchers website, smartphone app or My Tracker book. It’s a clever way to tackle and retrain the mind, which plays an important part in living a healthy lifestyle.
Finding Time For Fitness
I resonate strongly with how the Weight Watchers Your Program is designed because of the three pillars FOOD. FIT. FEEL and how they each stand alone, and also affect each other. I know from my own experience that putting effort in one basket without being aware of the others doesn’t work long term. It’s the difference between a fad and a lifestyle change.
When I exercise regularly, it’s easier for me to eat well, and I always feel better and less stressed. It doesn’t work the same way if I only focus on eating well and don’t exercise regularly. Finding that motivator to be active every week was a big key to my own fitness journey.
The challenging thing about fitness as a Mum of young children is time (alone!). I think the most important thing is to cultivate an active mindset, and then to be realistic and flexible about each stage of parenting and what you can achieve. I’ve set out below how I developed a fitness mindset:
- A first step is to work out and make a list of activities you enjoy and what you don’t.
- Then, look for ways to incorporate activity naturally into your day. Don’t underestimate the value of taking the stairs or going for a 10-minute walk with the baby in the stroller. It all counts!
- Take it further and plan regular exercise each week. Work with activities you enjoy. For example, if you like being social, group sessions are fabulous. There are many mums and bubs classes available, and I especially found them helpful when my son was still at home during the day.
There are many ways to plan exercise, from joining a gym, working out with a small group, or even at home.
Weight Watchers Director of Program and Content, Martha Lourey-Bird is responsible for creating workouts for the Weight Watchers members and she shared one of the many work-outs that can be done at home, or in the park. I’ve done all of these exercises myself.
These at-home exercises target the whole body.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Find a broom, a book, a bucket of water, a soft cushion and any weights you have handy, such as shopping bags half-full with grocery items or bottles of water.
Do this circuit 2-3 times a week, performing each exercise for 1 minute each or longer for the stair runs, repeat it several times for more benefits. To warm up, do 10 minutes of energetic housework before you begin.
1. STAIR RUNS
USING a flight of stairs. Running up and down stairs for 1-5 minutes is a great cardio workout and perfect for strengthening your legs and toning your bottom.
HOW TO Move your whole body – not just your legs. Drive your arms as you take each step. Step off on your toes, not your heels. If the stairs are not steep, try taking them two at a time.
2. WALKING LUNGES
USING heavy shopping bags.
HOW TO Keeping your shoulders back and leading with your heel, take a big step forward and bend knees down into a deep lunge. Make sure your front knee is directly above your foot and your back knee is just above the floor. Push back up to the start position. Repeat with the other leg walking forward one lunge at a time.
3. UPRIGHT ROWS
USING a bucket filled with water.
HOW TO Holding a bucket filled with water, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout this exercise. Start with your hands together in front of you and your arms straight. Raise bent elbows towards the ceiling and lift your hands to the top of your chest. Slowly lift and lower the bucket, keeping your chin tucked in and your movements controlled at all times.
4. NARROW SQUATS
USING a broom held lightly across the back of your shoulders.
HOW TO Squat and lower your bottom as if to sit in a chair. Keep your back long, chest open and weight evenly distributed through your heels. Keep your knees directly above your feet. Straighten legs and clench your glutes on the way back up.
5. BICEP CURLS
USING two 1L bottles of water.
HOW TO Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your arms tucked in by your sides, bend your elbows and slowly raise your fists to shoulder height. Slowly straighten your arms to return to the start position. You can alternate the arms or do them both together.
6. WIDE SQUATS
USING a wide cushion and a heavy object, like a book, against your chest.
HOW TO Stand feet apart on each side of a cushion, with toes pointing outwards. Squat down keeping your back straight, knees above feet, heels flat on the floor. Hold for a few seconds, feeling a stretch along your inner thighs. Slowly straighten your legs and return to the starting position.
USING a cushion and a broom.
HOW TO Lie on your back, head on a pillow, arms straight out from your shoulders, broom resting between bent knees. Engage your core, lift your shoulder blades off the floor, curl up until your hands are just past the broom. Keep your chin tucked in. Hold for a couple of seconds and release in a controlled way back to the floor.
This workout from Martha Lourey-Bird is one of many on the Weight Watchers website.
How Weight Watchers Your Way Works
There are many different types and levels of coaching that suit you and your lifestyle. If you’re after simplicity and convenience, you can do it all online. There’s an app available with all the support tools you need to record and track your progress, keeping you accountable. If you want more support you can join group coaching which gives you all the benefit of online, plus unlimited access to weekly group meetings. Alternatively 1 on 1 coaching means you’ll have all the online tools plus personlised support from an experienced coach each week. It’s up to you!
For more information visit www.weightwatchers.com/au