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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Counting calories does not always work

Many of us have let our bodies go a bit, we gained some weight, indulged in to many "treats" and just stopped finding or making time to exercise.
 SO like many of us, we turn for support or help. In my 30's I turned to Weight Watchers. I did terrific on weight watchers, I lost 20lbs in 8 weeks, I walked daily and added exercise back in my life, and really pushed myself to make the meetings. I felt the speakers were inspiring and I loved hearing the other members tips. What I never really liked was the counting of calories and the obsessing about what went in my mouth. I felt it was defeating the purpose of what food is. It's not exactly for pleasure although it can be, it is to fuel us, give us energy. To help us live?
  I used post-it's in my pantry on all the cookies, crackers and 100 calorie snack foods. Everything was a number. I didn't mind the food journal, and still use food journaling in my practice.
I then stopped weight watchers because my work schedule changed and I couldn't make the meetings and soon, I gained back a lot of the weight. Jump forward ten years to now, I am a health coach, I do a program very similar to weight watcher 360 I have meetings and group sessions. I work with clients one on one. I give them recipe ideas, and help them meal plan. Many of them choose Weight watchers over my program. I asked myself and other health coaches why they think that is?  Most of us believe it's because they don't have to have a lifestyle change.  Some of them evaluate their current lifestyle, behaviors and relationship to food. They learn how to achieve balance and tune into their body. IF you really do this you can see what foods you thrive on, and what foods bring you down and that is different for everyone. It's what I like to call Bioindividuality. ( a phrase from my School, IIN)  Most of what weight watchers offers is packed, prepared foods and I understand as women we are overworked, over stressed and short on time so we need convince. But many of the convenient food Weight watchers promotes is full of chemicals, sodium and your are microwaving it.
David Kirchoff, president of Weight Watchers has said "Calorie counting has been unhelpful."

IF we have a 100 calorie apple in one hand and a 100 calorie pack of cookies in the other, we view them as "the same" because the calories are the same, it says everything that needs to be said about the limitations of just using calories in guiding food choices."

I am NOT saying weight watchers is not a good program. Weight Watchers has been around for 40 years. Weight Watchers is more than a diet. It's a a weight-loss program. The weight loss community and support is terrific, but Weight Watchers isn't for everyone.

I also feel like the on-site weekly weigh-ins, although confidential, can be a downer if you are not meeting your weight loss goals or are ashamed of your weight. In my coaching practice I ask clients to share their weight with me at the time of our first session, some choice to tell, other's don't . Then I ask them not to get on a scale again till our 6 month program is over.  I think inches and BMI are more important, along with movement. It is up to the individual to make healthy choices. Do not make your food choices based on points alone. Read labels before purchasing things and limit your fat and sugar intake.

The yo-yo effect is dangerous. The results that can be achieved from counting calories are temporary. Once you stop counting and limiting your calories, you can easily go back to your previous weight, and in many cases even beyond that weight. Your old habits need to change for life, and you need to really figure out if you are hungry, stressed and or emotional eating or binging.

So all and all, I applaud every man and women who do Weight Watchers and lose weight and keep it off, I just feel like these same people would have even better success if they worked with a health coach who could help them- move away from processed foods and who could teach them how to meal plan and who would listen to them, for one hour twice a week. They could still get support and recipe and inspirational tips, and most Health coaches are cheaper than weight watchers, in the end.

Weight watchers is an impressive organization but you have to ask yourself as a mother and a women, they are not pushing whole foods and plant based diets- and why is that???

I am always happy to see vegan and vegetarian dishes on their websites, but no specific meetings for vegans or vegetarians and no support system for people choosing Vegan or Whole food Plant based- and let me tell you when you first transition from processed food to plant based you need SUPPORT.

I contacted someone from my local chapter about the lack of WFPBD ( whole food plant based diets) and they told me there was not an interest in this in our area.  I think some time they might offer this, but just not sure when.  They could make a huge difference in the global shift, as mothers and women decide they are not going to serve processed food any more and they are going to have Meatless Monday's for there families. They could make a huge influence that could manifest across the country in many ways... I hope they see the light... but in the mean time ~ if you are a WFPBD eater or family.. check out a health coach... your listening to one talk right now... and I do phone, skype and in person sessions.

what could a health coach do for me ?
A holistic health coach is responsible for educating and encouraging individuals in multiple areas of wellness, such as balancing work and life, nutrition and meal planning, exercise, medications and self-esteem. These professionals guide people with this health approach because they believe that all parts of health are connected and that looking at one individual area of wellness is not sufficient. As part of her work, a holistic health coach also engages in other activities related to business and health services, such as coordinating with physicians on behalf of the client and keeping client records.

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