Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why I Joined Weight Watchers

My height of six feet and five inches puts me at the upper limit of a number of bike manufacturers' standard frame sizing with many manufacturers choosing to ignore riders my size. In addition to bike sizing, I have always needed to take care when selecting components, such as wheels, to ensure they will be durable under even at my ideal weight.

Adding to the challenges created by my height, my weight has been an issue for some time and my efforts to manage it have resulted in large seasonal swings. A swing from a winter high of over 250 pounds to a late fall low of less than 220 pounds is not unusual for me. So, in general, I don't have problem loosing weight when I am most active during the warmers months, but the short cold winter days are a killer.

Over the years I have found the swings getting more pronounced and key health metrics, like LDL, Triglyceride, H1C, and blood pressure following suit. At the end of this winter I hit a new high of 260+ pounds. So there I was facing the need to suffer through loosing 50+ pounds in a few months and that large amount of weight really hampering my ability to enjoy the warming weather.

Of course anyone that struggles with his or her weight probably already understands both the short and long term health issues associated with it. Like myself, they have probably read books on the subject, consulted their physician, and they have tried some number of quick-fix diets that all failed in the long run. With all this being common knowledge its not worth repeating here.

All that said, there I was...literally too fat to fully enjoy my passion for cycling knowing it is also harming my general health. Clearly, I needed to do something significantly different or face the same problem next year and likely worse.

With failure comes knowledge and in my case loads of knowledge of what was not going to work to keep me from the seasonal weight gains and subsequent efforts to quickly take it off. Packaged meals, low carbohydrate diets, and diet shakes all work, but not for the long haul because who can live like that? Then there are the more wacky ineffective and even dangerous products based on junk science or pure snake oil that can be eliminated out of hand. What is left is pretty much one program, Weight Watchers. Beyond selecting it by elimination, I found their flexible program based on good science and would provide me a good opportunity to learn to eat better, enjoy what I eat ,and maintain a health weight for a lifetime.

Upon joining Weight Watchers, I found the many benefits including the support provided in the weekly meetings, on-line tools, fantastic recipes, and simple to use Points Plus economy are helping me stay the course. So much so, that in the first few weeks I lost 20 pounds without starving myself as in past years. Of course I expect the next 30 pounds to be harder to loose, but I am in it for the long haul. More good news.... The benefits so far are just not all weight loss! With the loss of my first 20 pounds, my doctor has noticed the difference in my HDL/LDL, Triglyceride, H1C, and blood pressure pressure numbers.

Disclosure - My spouse was my inspiration to join Weight Watchers. Having struggled with her weight most of her life she finally found success with their program. Now 60 pounds lighter and much healthier, she works part time as a receptionist at one of their centers.