No, this isn’t a Facebook app that’s hijacked my account. No, I haven’t discovered some secret weight loss method. And no, you won’t be seeing me late at night pitching my latest weight loss infomercial at 3:00am. But the fact remains that on Jan 1 (the day all resolutions begin, I weighed in at 204.8 and today my scale read 189.6! Any way you slice it, that’s 15.2 pounds.

Scale 2011-1-29

So how did I do it?

First, I signed up (ok, re-signed up) for Weight Watchers. I started WW back in 2007 when I weighed a whopping 232 lbs. and I lost 40 pounds on the program. With the magic of Photoshop, here’s a picture to show you the before and after results. One picture is from 2007 and on the right, 2009.

Weight loss 2007-2009

This time I decided to go with just the on-line version. No meetings, no weigh-ins, no motivational speakers… just me and my computer. Of course signing up does not mean weight loss. You still have to do the basics or all you’re doing is sending WW a monthly check – which might make your wallet lighter, but it’s not going to do anything for your success on the scale. Unless you weigh yourself while carrying your wallet. (It’s a lot like joining a gym and never going… and who hasn’t done that)

The basics are so simple…

Track your food
Get active

As you probably know, with WW you are given a number of points to use each day. By tracking your food, you can see the errors of your ways … once identified, you can make changes. It’s frustrating to have to lose “points” for something you ate impulsively and having to forgo that glass of wine you were sooooo looking forward to with dinner… and another glass with TV later in the evening to stay within your points. (Although WW has a solution for that too!)

By being active, you can effectively “earn” more daily points that you can use to splurge on… well how about more wine! So, back to that glass of wine while watching TV? How about 30 minutes of exercising and using the TIVO to record the show you were about to watch. Just like tracking food, with the online WW program, you can track your exercise too. Use the points you just earned right away (that glass of wine) or bank them for the weekend. We all know how hard the weekends are… even more wine, right?

Get a new scale. Just kidding, but I think 2 of my 15 pounds were the result of using a different scale than the one I started with. Being over weight, I was convinced my scale was part of the problem and I found a new one that gave a better answer… or at least the answer I was looking for… but now I’m thinking the first scale was probably telling the truth.

Finally, and this is just for me… I saw a doctor to re-check my thyroid. I have suffered from hypothyroidism for 20+ years now and every once in awhile my meds need to be adjusted. I had recently gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time which triggered my trip to the doctor. About a week into the new dosages (lower T4 and more T3 if you know about thyroid meds), I saw the weight start dropping.

So I’m sorry I don’t have a quick fix for anyone looking to drop a few pounds, but I do have a plan.

Watch what you eat. If you consume less calories in than you burn… you will lose weight. If you want to keep eating/drinking as much as you do now, then you need to start burning more calories. I’m pretty sure we learned this basic arithmetic in 1st grade… there is no algebra or calculus in this equation… just simple arithmetic. But before you can figure out how much to burn, you have to figure out your intake… To get started, just track your food for one week… track everything! Do you sample the food while you’re cooking dinner? Those little “tastes” do contain calories… they aren’t free! And at the end of the week, you’ll be amazed at what you learned. It really is an eye opener. Turns out all of those ridiculously small pre-packaged portion sizes that are 150-400 calories with 2 servings per package (you know what I’m talking about), really are two servings. So skip the junk food and grab an apple… less calories, more filling, and much healthier.