If you had asked me five years ago, I would have described myself as someone who has struggled with their weight their entire life. Thanks to good old time (being in your thirties is awesome), a lovely therapist, and a new appreciation of my body that comes with growing a tiny human, I cringe at the fact that I ever let food or my jean size define who I was. I now know that whether or not I have balance with food does not define me as a person.
But when I started 2023, I took a long look at my daily routine and how I was prioritizing myself and didn’t like what I saw. I saw a version of myself that was over-extended. I wasn’t dropping the ball on work deadlines, quality time with my significant other, or being a mom to my tiny human or dogs. What was slipping through the cracks was me. When my day was jam-packed, I’d find myself canceling a workout class or relying on iced coffee instead of a balanced, nutritious meal. As I reflected, I realized I was more concerned about how I felt than how I looked. I knew then that I needed to prioritize myself and that losing weight was the right decision for my health.
When I decided to make my health a priority, I had no doubt about the program that I wanted to use to help me achieve my weight loss goals: WeightWatchers. I’ve used the program throughout the last ten years and it has been a game-changer for improving my relationship with food. I love how simple WeightWatchers makes prioritizing your health because no food is off-limits. There are no good and bad foods—food is just food. It’s meant to be nourishing and enjoyable. You don’t have to skip happy hour or restrict yourself because the program is rooted in balance. It takes the focus off negativity and shame and helps you reach your goals in a way that works for your life.
Losing weight isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. I’m simply sharing how I’ve successfully used WeightWatchers over the past ten years (in many phases of my life) to meet my health goals and sustain lifelong habits that have improved my relationship with food. Losing weight or adjusting your lifestyle isn’t a one-time fix. What worked for me at 23 won’t work for my body or my life now. WeightWatchers meets me where I am now and is helping me get to where I want to be.
What exactly is WeightWatchers?
The WeightWatchers program is rooted in a Points® system. You’re assigned a budget of Points (for the day and week) based on a variety of personal factors like your age, activity level, health conditions, and long-term health goals.
Every food is assigned a Points value, so you can “spend” your budget however you want. The Points are based on their science-based nutrition plan. Added sugars and saturated fats will increase the Points value of food while fiber, protein, and unsaturated fats lower the Points.
There are over 200 ZeroPoint® foods (most fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry, beans, and more!) that you can eat as much as you want, so you never have to worry about feeling limited or hungry. ZeroPoint foods serve as the foundation of healthy eating, providing you with a streamlined bank of options to help you feel full and add flavor to your meals.
You track your meals, drinks, and snacks in the WW app and get additional Points for how active you are. Don’t use all your Points in one day? They roll over into a bank that you can tap into whenever you want that week, ensuring you don’t have to worry if a slice of cake or an extra order of queso is going to keep you from your goals.
How WeightWatchers Improved My Relationship With Food
It takes the guesswork out of eating healthy
I am a girl who loves consistency. I like to get the same flavor of ice cream, I wear black more often than not, and I need to be in charge. I am who I am—and I am not a person who can dive into a fad. Anytime I hear about someone cutting out an entire food group, my brain immediately switches to white noise Charlie Brown sounds. When it comes to my daily routine, I want to eat food I like and I need a sustainable lifestyle. Other programs tell you what to eat (and often a long list of what not to eat), but WeightWatchers helps you learn how to eat in a way that works for you. It’s no different than budgeting your paycheck and deciding what spending priorities you have.
The Points system makes healthy eating easy because it does the work for you. WeightWatchers determines the Points based on the nutritional makeup of the food: calories, protein, fat, fiber, and sugar. I can focus on eating what I want as long as I land within my designated Point range. And because so many fresh, nutritious foods are zero Points, you end up building most of your meals based around them. And this doesn’t mean eating salad for every meal. Although I do love a good salad, so for me it might. Omelettes? Grilled chicken or shrimp? Tofu? Yogurt? A cup of grapes? All ZeroPoint foods. Oftentimes, I’ll have an incredibly filling meal that’s barely any Points, which is probably why I have never felt hungry or deprived when I have been on WeightWatchers.
It also helps me make better decisions about the food I think of as healthy. For example, a protein bar could be the same amount of Points as a grilled chicken wrap which helps eliminate food guilt when you’re traveling or on the go. I can find options that keep me within my program even when my choices are limited. The app makes it easy to consider my options and simplifies the way I look at food.
My eating habits became more intentional
I’m going to be honest: some days, logging your food feels like a fun game of Points. Other times, it can feel tedious. But that is less about the act and usually a reminder of when I would have let myself fall down the list of priorities. The act of logging Points was the accountability partner I needed to continue working on better habits and the proof that I was prioritizing myself.
Working toward a goal isn’t easy every moment—but the WW app makes it as easy as possible without coming to your home and making the meals for you. The app is designed to make calculating and tracking Points as simple and fast as possible. You can save favorite foods or recipes for quick adds or use the barcode scanner. The app is also linked to thousands of restaurants so you can type in “Chick-fil-A” and see a variety of meal combinations and their correlating Point values. Instead of thinking that fast food is completely off-limits, you can build your meal based on what sounds best to you. Some nights I choose grilled nuggets (zero Points for 12) so I can have fries and an ice cream cone. When grilled nuggets don’t sound as appealing, I’ll choose regular nuggets and make it a small fry to cut down on some of the Points. And when it all sounds good? I order it, use my bank of extra Points, and enjoy every single bite. The accountability of checking in before I make a choice has helped me stop and choose an option that I really want and feel good about. I’m more intentional about how I’m planning my week and if I’m showing up for myself.
When I do make the choice to indulge, I don’t do it zoned out or in a rush: I am intentional and present. Food serves as a reminder to pause, slow down, and enjoy. For instance, I love to have candy after dinner—it’s one of my favorite treats that I never felt pressured to “give up.” Instead, I realized through tracking Points that I felt just as satiated with a handful of Sour Patch kids as I did sitting down with the bag and zoning out watching Real Housewives. Little moments like this have helped reinforce that there isn’t any food sitting in my pantry cackling like a villain—they just have different benefits from a health perspective. Whether it’s my after-dinner candy or a big salad, I eat until I’m satisfied and not overstuffed. WeightWatchers helped me find the amount, time, and method of eating that works best for my body and lifestyle. When you start to let go of referring to food as good or bad and move away from restrictive tendencies, you innately become kinder to yourself.
It expanded my go-to recipes
If you don’t like grilled chicken, but think it’s the only way to meet your health goals, think again. If you don’t like something, don’t eat it! Forcing yourself to eat certain meals or ingredients will only lead to cravings and frustration. WeightWatchers has thousands of recipes to keep you inspired. When I’m staring at the fridge unsure of what to make for dinner, I like to sort them by ingredient. When I’m craving comfort food, I search for their healthy alternative recipe suggestion. And when I want to try something new, I browse their curated collections by chefs or theme. I want to shout it from the rooftops: eating healthy doesn’t mean boring. My vegetable-hating husband still compliments me on my signature green bean recipe. I take all the credit, but little does he know it evolved from a WeightWatchers recipe.
Trying new recipes or meal suggestions has helped me expand my palate and rethink what’s in my pantry. I ordered my Chipotle bowls differently (and love them more now!) and learned to prioritize fruits and veggies in a way that felt daunting before.
I am able to lose weight while maintaining balance in my life
I’m not canceling date night at my favorite restaurant. I know I’m going to order cocktails and desserts, so I’m mindful all day of eating foods that help me feel good and work within my Points budget. I don’t feel the need to announce that I’m trying to lose weight to my friends at happy hour. I can plug in the restaurant ahead of time and WeightWatchers gives me a list of healthy options so I can pick one that sounds good and takes the guesswork out of what to order. No more all-or-nothing—instead, I’m making the decision to prioritize myself while still living my life. I am in charge of my food choices and I am more successful at accomplishing my goals because I am accountable. Eating healthy doesn’t have to feel like a seesaw and thanks to WeightWatchers, I am able to repeatedly practice showing up as my best, balanced self. I no longer feel like the least important part of my to-do list. The additional reward? I’m losing weight at a manageable pace that I know I’ll be able to keep off.
This article is intended to provide inspiration to help you reach your health goals, not as a treatment for an eating disorder. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or with disordered thoughts or behaviors regarding food and eating, please seek help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 for support, reach out to a qualified medical professional, or, for a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
This post is sponsored by WeightWatchers, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.