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Weight Loss Progress

In case anyone was wondering, last year I lost 15 lbs. and 4 inches off my waist. It’s only half of the waist loss I was aiming for (I wanted 8 inches), but it’s 1 size down in jeans, and it’s more than 5% of my starting total weight.

Weight Watchers changed their plan about a month ago, and I haven’t picked it back up yet. The new plan includes counting for all foods, but there’s some leeway when you eat real food (things that were formerly on the Core plan, like lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables).

They also, in recognition that people today have more to lose, changed the initial weight loss goal from 10% to 5%. Previously, you were supposed to lose 10% of your total body weight as your starting out goal. If you were 150 lbs. and needed to lose 20 lbs to be “healthy,” then you’d hit your 10% goal and be almost done with the program. If you’re 225 lbs. and need to lose almost 100 lbs., then you have a long way to go before you even hit that initial 10%.

Whenever Weight Watchers posts a success story, they have to asterisk it with “results not typical.” I can understand that if the loss is 60 or 80 lbs. But when I see someone has successfully lost 22 lbs and results aren’t typical, I worry. 22 lbs. isn’t my total loss goal– it’s my 10%! I’m supposed to lose that much and consider it to be “a good start.” Ack!

This kind of thing keeps me from reading the success stories as motivation. If I’m already down on myself, I don’t need to see someone lose 15 lbs. and congratulate herself. I need to join the long-haul losers– we’re the weight loss equivalent of cross-country truckers. We’re endurance dieters, people for whom “plateau” isn’t an aberration, it’s a way of life. We’re the kind of people who have to look at 3 weeks of no loss as “normal” and hope that week 4 means our bodies have finally let go.

About 2 lbs. before I would have reached my 10%, Weight Watchers changed the guidelines and suddenly, I’d reached my goal of 5%. I have to admit, I feel a little cheated. I didn’t get a victory dance when I reached that 5%. I mean, I did, in a sense, because I’d lost weight that week. But I didn’t get to celebrate a milestone. And now, I won’t have that milestone at 10% to motivate me and to remind me that, now that I’ve lost that first 10%, it’s time to start exercising and training in earnest.

I know they changed the guideline for a reason. They want people to feel like they’ve achieved a big goal early on, so they’ll stay in the program and continue to pay the money and keep going and lose weight. But these people still have the same amount of weight to lose, and the gap between 5% of total and 100% of the excess…. well, it can be pretty big, can’t it?

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