After feeling lousy about my weight and just plain feeling lousy, I finally decided that I needed help shedding some extra pounds. Free weight-loss apps like My Fitness Pal and SparkPeople were great, but I couldn’t seem to stick with them. I tried doing it on my own by cutting sweets and snacks. That was ineffective.
I decided to return to Weight Watchers meetings. I’d gone to meetings and lost 22 pounds back in 2003 and kept it off until I started having kids in 2005. From that point on, I’ve battled the same 30 pounds. I had already done a couple of rounds with Weight Watchers Online , but ended up quitting because I just stopped logging in.
Even though it is considerably more expensive ($44.95 a month vs. $18.95 per month), I needed the face-to-face meetings. I needed the camaraderie of people who lived and shopped in my community. I needed that support. I love how simple the Weight Watchers program is to follow and I love having the app on my Smartphone wherever I go.
I’ve lost a total of 30 pounds over the course of a year – a nice, slow steady weight loss – and I feel great! I’m now a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and I’m committed to keeping the weight off.
The last time I did the meetings, I was young, married, working and no kids. We ate a lot of convenience meals that just wouldn’t work for a family of five both nutritionally and financially. This time around, we’ve had to figure out how to feed our entire family on a budget while sticking to the Weight Watchers plan.
How to Do Weight Watchers on a Budget
Sign up through Ebates. Take a little bit of the sting out of the first month of Weight Watchers by signing up for it through Ebates. You’ll earn $8 cash back when you sign up. Pick a month when Weight Watchers waives their registration fee (they do those promotions fairly often), and you’ll get a much better deal through Ebates than going to Weight Watchers directly.
Select the right program for you. If you’re a super busy person who loves using their smartphone, Weight Watchers online may be the best choice for you. If you’re like me, and you need face-to-face support and encouragement, then sign up for the Weight Watchers Monthly Pass Meetings option. If you do the meetings option and achieve Lifetime status, you won’t have to pay for meetings as long as you stay within 2 pounds of your goal weight. Pick the program that will work best for you, and you’ll find it to be a good value.
Avoid buying processed foods. Once you’re on the program, it’s easy to get caught up in calculating points for all kinds of snacks and foods. Most of those foods are overpriced and overrated. Look for what Weight Watchers calls “Power Foods” – things like lean cuts of meat, fruits and vegetables, and you’ll eat healthier and save money on your food budget. We have our own garden, so we are able to eat “on program” for very little money during the summer months.
Measure out your portions yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating the healthiest food on the planet, if you’re eating too much of it, you’ll won’t lose weight. Measure your food carefully to make sure you’re not eating too much of a good thing. And if you are buying things like snacks and cookies, don’t buy the single serving packages. You’ll pay 10 times as much for considerably less food. Instead buy the regular size and package up the correct portion size in reusable containers.
Take advantage of free and low-cost exercise. A gym membership is great… if you use it, but there are plenty of other great ways you can stay in shape on a budget. Walk, ride bike, or do an exercise video you borrow from the library. Stream workout videos on Amazon or find fitness videos online. Make a conscious effort to be more active in everything you do. Your body and your wallet will thank you.
Stick to the program. Don’t want to waste money on Weight Watchers? Then follow the program! Use every resource Weight Watchers gives you and if you’ve plateaued, ask for help. When you follow the program, the weight does come off, and the sooner you reach your goal, the sooner you can stop paying for Weight Watchers.
I viewed my membership in Weight Watchers as an investment in my physical and mental health. It was an expense I didn’t enjoy paying, but I do enjoy feeling better and that made it all worth it. I’m eating intentionally now. I am aware of why I’m eating (i.e. whether it’s stress or boredom or hunger), and when I do splurge on a special treat, I feel good that I planned for it instead of guilty for making a poor choice.
It is possible to do Weight Watchers on a budget. And when you do lose that weight, you will find that you will save more than just money on medical bills. You’ll save yourself.
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