My WW combo program

A week and a half ago, a friend and I rejoined a popular weight loss program with the initials WW. I’m not entirely following the program and yet I’ve found something that is working really well for me. Partially though I know that I had to get to a place where I was just ready. I’ve been thinking about it for years but just haven’t been ready to do it again.

Part of it is that the “core” program is so much easier for me than counting points because I don’t have a good memory and I’m too much of a spaz to go write everything down all the time. Also, the other factor that helps is that it dovetails nicely with the nutritional program I’m trying to adopt for our family.

Overall, I’m eating little in the way of processed foods, breads, and grains; more vegetables; more fat that WW suggests; and lots of whole foods. I’ve not had any cravings all week. (I was at a friend’s, and she was serving Oreos, which are not my favorite but usually when I’ve had little sugar, are still very compelling…I didn’t really even *want* them and didn’t eat any).

Basically, here is what I do. I’ve almost entirely eliminated trans-fats and “white” products except occasionally as treats. I limit almost all the cereal and bread grains to once a day and only whole grains. WW allows whole grain cereal without sugar, and Susan and I have decided we will substitute sprouted / healthy whole grain breads on some days. Dinner starches are limited to brown rice or potatoes, once a day.

What I am not “compliant” with WW is the amount of healthy oils I am using – I’m using quite a bit more than they suggest, and I’m going by different definitions of healthy that includes grass-fed beef and dairy fat, coconut oil, and fats from free-range chickens and pigs (bacon fat), because it has a lot of important vitamins in it (which are not nearly as present in traditionally raised animals).

Also, I’m learning more and more about getting better nutrition out of my food, through fermentation and alternate cooking methods. For example, adding vinegar to chicken broth and slow-cooking it (24 hours in a crockpot) pulls out a lot more minerals. Fermenting dairy (in the form of kefir) produces probiotics, and sprouting grains and fermenting vegetables brings out B vitamins.

Although I’m just beginning to count “extra points” in my head (since the core program allows a certain amount per week of off-program foods), I’ve been aware of them since I started. What I’ve ended up with is that I don’t count points for some extra healthy fat here and there with my whole foods at home. But if I’m eating out or eating traditional processed foods, I do, for a few reasons. First, I know my body. It loses weight well on high nutrition, pretty-high-calorie programs. (I’ve never gone as low in calories as WW recommends). But without the extra nutrition those “empty calories” add up and they don’t make me as satisfied, and so I need to track them. Second, I need the motivation right now to steer me toward whole foods that I’ve prepared at home – there needs to be a payoff other than the lack of cravings that I’m experiencing. Third, when I go out is when I need to make hard choices and sometimes choose not to, and choosing not to can get me off track very quickly.

So for example, I didn’t count the bacon fat I sauteed my onions in, nor the bits of chopped bacon that I put in my split pea soup. But if I were to go out and get a bacon-wrapped lean steak, I would count the bacon. Ditto for the butter the vegetables are sauteed in – if I ignore that, and still eat the bread, have a drink or two (counting points for those of course), my program will suffer. I need to make choices.

Speaking of drinks. I have been drinking very little alcohol, but I’ve thinking I may allow a limited amount of red wine without counting, while counting all other types of alcohol. Again, this motivates me toward the healthier choice (at least according to my acupuncturist…though she also says dark chocolate is good for me in small amounts, but not counting that would certainly be taking it too far, for me personally).

As for how this has changed my diet, honestly, the main meal I had to change was lunch, since I usually use my extra points in the evening and in little splurges through the day.

Breakfast wasn’t too hard. I will have oatmeal with some coconut oil (which is claimed to promote weight loss), or an egg, or a smoothie with raw milk or kefir and frozen fruit and coconut oil, or some combination if I’m rather hungry. Plus I almost always have tea or coffee mixed half with milk. Usually that will hold me through lunch but if not, I’ll have fruit, more tea & milk, a little cheese, or some combo for a snack. (I’ve eliminated crackers until I can make my own using high-nutrient sprouted grains, and then I will have those if I didn’t have grains for breakfast).

Out of habit, I’m used to using tortillas, bread, or other starches with my lunch, so this one is a bit tough for me. I am learning to train myself to prepare things in advance that I can pull out something healthy. (I’m also learning to use my 11 o’clock hunger signals as a signal to start chopping lunch vegies instead of munching on something, but the irony is that my 11 o’clock hunger has virtually gone away!) Soups are a great boon, and I’m not too fanatic about making sure they have only “core” ingredients if they are whole foods, even canned. A typical lunch would be a large salad with some raw cheese and chicken; or soup with some vegies or a glass of milk; and/or dinner leftovers.

Dinner has not been as hard as I expected, though to be honest we are not eating out very much lately so that helps. One night we had salmon, brown rice, and suateed greens (leftover broccoli for the guys who don’t like greens). I steamed the salmon in a little wine, lemon, and garlic, then added raw cream to the pan drippings for a sauce (and didn’t count the cream). Only problem was my son stole half my salmon! I made a huge pot of chili the other day, as we eat that a lot. Last night I picked up Quizno’s for the guys – I ate a 1″ slice but otherwise had a salad and leftover split pea soup with milk. One night when we were out and about, I picked up sushi at Sunflour market, because they have brown rice sushi and I didn’t want to have to count white rice. When we had lasagna, I simply counted the noodles.
I’m sure I’ll make refinements over time – it’s only been a week and half. But so far, I’m feeling satisfied, and the scale is going down. Perhaps not quickly, but the tradeoff is that the program is something I can maintain, at least that is my hope.

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