Now that we’ve covered the eating part, it’s time to talk about an equally important part of a healthy lifestyle – activity. WeightWatchers have always been at the forefront of ‘healthy living’ plans, and exercise is no exception. WWs were one of the first to encourage people to get off their backsides and move to aid in weight loss and create positive habits for a lifetime of good health. The tweaks to their very successful plan are no exception. Nowadays, it’s a well accepted fact that exercise is a necessary and inevitable part of a normal lifestyle. Up until now, activity points have been ‘earned’ and were freely available to gobble up for parties/events/Saturday nights.
The nice thing about the new approach is that not a lot has changed really. It’s more the attitude towards moving more that’s changed. The WWs app will now give you a weekly fitpoints target to aim for. If you ask a leader now about ‘eating’ your fitpoints, the answer will be “If you are running on zero, they are there as a backup”. This is fundamentally important. It gets rid of the ‘reward’ cycle mentality. Previously, it was very easy for members to say “Oh, I did two classes at the gym today, so I’ll have an extra helping of dessert” – thus a member was basically undoing their hard work and congratulating themselves with the very thing that caused them bother in the first place.
We should not think of exercise as ‘work’ and think that we should be entitled to some sort of prize. That’s not how it works. Unfortunately, in modern sedentary society, taking some form of brisk exercise is a requirement of not being a lardass – something that no Weightwatcher wants to be. So stop rewarding yourself because you’ve been to the pool twice this week. If you have a rigorous training regime you will need to eat more – remember, the key to losing weight is an energy deficit in the foods we consume versus the energy we put out. When the boundaries of this are pushed by strenuous exercise it’s inevitable one would need to eat more. Monitor it – it’s very easy to get carried away and land back up where you started on the scales.
You can’t avoid it now – WWs are even giving you a target to work towards to get you moving! Everyone’s level of fitness and ability is different and this is recognized by height, weight, age and the survey questions you answer. So your fitpoint goal should be within realistic reach. Exercise is something (luckily) I’ve never had a problem with. I’ve always loved it, particularly anything that involves being outside. I understand that not everyone feels the same. One of the most common excuses I hear is “I’m too big to (insert activity here)”. I call pants on fire, liar liar. If you recognize this, stop it. Right now. Would you rather not do something in case an occasional person who has nothing to do with your life says something unsavoury and just stay overweight? I ran my first half marathon nearly two and a half stone heavier than my ideal running weight. Surprise, surprise, I didn’t die. Or get laughed at. People were impressed. Be brave and go for it, whatever ‘it’ is. The satisfaction you’ll get from seeing progress is worth it.
The key to fitting activity into your life on a regular and permanent basis is simple. Find something you enjoy. It might take you a while to find out what it is, but you can have fun trying. If you don’t enjoy yourself, it becomes a chore very quickly and that’s what you don’t want. Be brave, try something you wouldn’t normally do. Walk. Swim. Cycle. Yoga. The possibilities are endless. Once you find something that you are passionate about, you are on to a winner. I can promise that before long, you’ll look forward to it.
The final point about regular activity is the effect it has on the brain. Regular readers will know I’m a huge advocate of exercise for a healthy mind. It helps keep me balanced. Sciency stuff tells us that moderate exercise on a regular basis lifts mood by stimulating the feel-good hormones which outlast the period of exercise. I’ll vouch for that. I’ve also found it has a relaxing effect, allowing me to sleep better (something I’m not very good at) and generally be a more chilled-out chapette. It also has a temporary appetite-suppressing quality with may or may not help with controlling the volume of food we eat after exercise. Aside from this, the sheer sense of achievement you get from doing something that requires effort and perseverance is the best mood-lifter of all. Whether it’s perfecting a dance routine, upping your reps or simply walking faster and further. Once again, well done WeightWatchers. Bravo.
So why is all this mood-lifty nonsense important? Keep your eyes peeled for Part 3!