Weight Watchers Free: DIY Guide
Two friends and I (2 males, 1 female) decided that we understood the concepts behind Weight Watchers fairly well. We had friends, who had undertaken the program successfully and had a firm grasp on nutrition and exercise ourselves.
So then we figured, why not start our own team and do our own version of the Weight Watchers program for FREE!?
Not only will we not have to feel the burnt of monthly fees, but by following the program ourselves we felt empowered and more likely to make positive permanent change. In our humble but supportive little group of 3, we felt like we were already half way there.
Weight Watchers puts emphasis on the idea that all 4 pillars are equally important, but we still think that the support component is the glue that binds them all together. As I explain how we went about our weight loss you will see that the support and encouragement you get from a team is the underlying consistent feature.
How Did We Get Started?
Talk and Plan
- Establish goals
- Start a basic document/spreadsheet
> Record goals
> Record BMI
- Discuss weight loss methods
Start a discussion on what each of you would like to achieve and document this. You may want to drop down to a specific weight, target fat percentage or fit into certain size clothing. Throw around some ideal but realistic dates based on the idea that healthy weight loss is no more than 2 pounds (0.9kg) per week.
- Document your starting weight and we strongly recommend you measure your body fat percentage. We think this is the best measure of performance as your overall weight is determined by muscle and fat weight amongst other things. We are concerned with fat lost above all things, losing muscle is not the ideal way to lose weight.
- Motivate and get excited
It sounds silly to suggest you get motivated and excited and I’m certainly not suggesting that you fake it. But just remember, you are going to be working as a team to achieve your goals to be healthier, better looking and happier people, it’s not hard to be motivated and excited by this prospect.
What We Did
- Set our goals to 5 months
- Developed a spreadsheet for the 5 months to input our data and formulate weight loss (click here to see our spreadsheet)
> Found the BMI (Body Mass Index) ranges
18 - 25
14 - 17
25 - 31
21 - 24
> Established our basic BMI goals
> Weight, Weight Loss %, % Body Fat, Muscle (To do this accurately, we were lucky enough to have quality scales).
4 Pillar Approach
So now that the initial planning and discussions are well and truly in motion, we will now cover our team approach to the Weight Watchers four pillars. The summary within each of the 4 pillars below is base on Weight Watchers principles and I follow them up with the specific steps that my team took to satisfy the Weight Watchers approach.
For a separate guide to my Weight Watchers Journey, click here.
- Discuss dietary habits
- Establish foods to avoid or eliminate
With your team you can have discussions about your diet. The types of foods you like to eat and eat regularly and consequently what foods you need to be more conscience about cutting down or avoiding altogether. Run past each other what meals you are eating throughout the day and during conversations you will naturally start to share ideas and tips.
- Know Your Calories
We did not have a points system like weight watchers and decided to keep it simple by predominately choosing low fat healthy food. Calorie charts and understanding the calorie content of the foods we were ingesting became crucial to our diets also.
This calorie calculator is an excellent tool that will help you understand how many calories you need to consume in order to keep losing weight for the duration of your goal.
- Enjoy your food
If you do not enjoy your food then your efforts to eat better will fail. There are many foods to choose from and you will need to find the foods that you enjoy.
- Don’t starve yourself
Not eating is one of the worst things you can do. You will feel physically and emotionally unbalanced. You will crave bad food, your metabolism will slow down and your body will go into starvation mode holding onto fat stores. Eat small amounts and often.
What We Did
- Discussed the foods that we enjoyed
- Focused on adapting to smaller servings of food, more times throughout the day
- Larger meals early in the day – light meals in the evening
- Because we were friends, not only was the conversation surrounding the weight loss very easy and fun, but we ate out together regularly, making better choices consciously together. We could also discuss the types of choices that we made when eating out with other people and pin point problem areas in our diets.
- Drank plenty of water
- It was important for us to try many healthy foods and to give them a good chance. If it turned out there were certain foods we did not enjoy eating – then we would not bother with them
- Listed the foods we would eliminate or enjoy only occasionally
> Soft drink
> Milk tea
> Roast duck
> Oily or fatty foods at restaurants
> Buttered popcorn
> Baked pastries
> Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
> Fried chips
> Potato crisps
> Sugar as an ingredient
> White rice and bread
- Listed the foods that we would eat more of and incorporate into our diets
> Brown rice
> Rice Cakes
> Drink more water
> Salmon and Sashimi
> Whole grain bread with seeds (I’m a big fan of the “Burgen Wholemeal and Seeds”, very tasty and healthy)
> Bircher muesli for breakfast
> Clear soups
> Tuna – from a can, in a pasta dish (click here for recipe), in a salad, or with brown rice and vegetables just to name a few examples
> Honey as a sweetener
> Tea – even better without sugar, herbal such as green
- One Meeting
- Same Time
- Every Week
Decide on a day each week to put aside to meet, discuss your weight loss efforts and for the all important weigh in. The day of the week should be chosen carefully to ensure the meetings will occur every single week of the competition. Make the meeting a high priority, just as losing weight and being at your healthiest weight is a high priority itself. It’s also a fantastic excuse to get together.
Try to mimic the exact same conditions for the weigh in each week. Preferably the same time of the day and before you have a main meal to ensure that results from the weigh in are more accurate.
“Many people who have achieved sustained weight-loss with Weight Watchers tell us that they believe attending the Meetings was the single biggest reason that they were successful… People who attend meetings lose 3 times more weight than those who go it alone”
What We Did
- We decided to weigh in on a Monday. We enjoyed our meetings and it was a good motivating way to kick off the working week.
- It became a fun Monday tradition to meet at my office, conduct the weigh in, document our results then depart for a dinner and movie. A fun way to spend an evening.
Discouragement is one of the key setbacks for weight loss which is a main reason why having the support of friends who are sharing the weight loss experience is so beneficial. Having people to motivate and encourage you to do your best and to pick you up during moments when you feel discouraged will help keep you on track.
- Reward and penalty
Friendly competition is a common motivator for many people (not so much for others) and for my friends the thought of beating each other was sweet while the thought of being left behind, not so much. A competition can be set up with rewards and even penalties if you wish.
Of course there are other ways of rewarding yourself for healthy consistent weight loss. Indulging in fatty or sugary foods should not be one of them.
Tracking your progress is very important. It will show your team if you are moving in the right direction and whether you need to change your approach.
- Weekly Weigh In
The main event of your meeting will be your weigh-in which can be an intimidating experience, even amongst friends. Losing weight will make you feel ecstatic, but not losing weight or putting it on is a completely different story.
Despite knowing the logic behind weight loss and the nature of fluctuations, it is still all too easy to become discouraged. Having your friends there to support and reaffirm the nature of weight loss is extremely important.
“Fundamental to the Weight Watchers meeting experience is a weekly weigh-in to track progress… Many people find the accountability of being weighed by another person helpful to their weight-loss efforts.”
What We Did
- Met once a week for weigh in – same day, same time, every week
- We tracked our progress on spreadsheets which we filled in together at our weekly weigh-ins. It helped us to establish
> If we were well on track to achieving our goal within the specified amount of time
> If we were progressing at a suitable rate and what types of changes we needed to make.
- Our Weight loss took the form of a friendly competition
> Reward: The person who lost weight would be immune from putting money in the prize kitty
> Penalty: The other two team members had to put a specified amount of money into the prize kitty
> Reward: At the end of the weight loss competition, the person who had lost the most weight would win the prize kitty
- After weigh in we had dinner and caught a movie, a good opportunity to make better food and snack choices together
- Burn more then you eat
In order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you are putting in, so the need to exercise to lose weight is very important. Not only that, it is of enormous benefit to your overall physical and mental health.
The more active you are, the more calories you can and SHOULD consume. Remember, you don’t want your body going into starvation mode. (you can specify your level of physical activity on this calorie counter). It is the same as using exercise to increase your Weight Watchers point allowance.
- Some form of exercise every day
- Intense exercise a few times a week
Once you start to exercise it will raise your metabolism and losing weight will be easier. You will also feel much better.
Being active with your team mates or on your own are both fantastic and we decided that a balance was good. Exercising by yourself is a nice way to relieve stress and to clear your thoughts while exercising with your team is a lot of fun and motivating.
- Cardio AND Strength training
Both Cardio and strength training contribute to weight loss with muscle helping you to burn more calories throughout the day and just doing wonders for your overall health
- Have Fun!
The same rule applies to exercise as it does with diet. If you hate it, don’t bother. There are many ways of being active and exercising; you just have to find the one you enjoy. It might seem unlikely for some people that they will find a physical activity they will enjoy, but once you get started, give it ago and start to feel healthier and more capable, you will be very surprised.
Give cycling, jogging or cycling a try on routes that you find interesting or scenic, preferably close to your home. Many people find walking or jogging with music very enjoyable. Give group activities like mountain climbing, tennis, kayaking etc ago. It could become a very enjoyable weekly event.
What We Did
- Walked or cycled to and from work
- Our team took up intensive boxing lessons in the park with our own trainer
- Changed the intensity of our workouts often relating it to our diet
- We tried different sports such as squash and mountain climbing
- We recognised the necessity of both Cardio AND Strength training for females also!
- Established a list of the exercises that we enjoyed, ensuring they covered the different parts of our bodies
- Changed the exercises we did regularly so that we would be pushed and tested in different ways. This maximizes the efficiency of exercise.
- Made an effort to do 2 cardio and 2 strength training sessions per week
- I personally do not like the gym, so I do all my cardio at the park and my strength training at home with free weights and other exercises that don’t require equipment. My team mates on the other hand preferred the gym.
- Weight Watchers Free - Intro
- The Plan - Weight Watchers DIY Guide: Current Page
Two friends and I (2 males, 1 female) decided that we understood the concepts behind Weight Watchers fairly well. So then we figured, why not start our own team and do our own version of the Weight Watchers program for FREE!? So how did we get started?
- My Program
The following is a summary of the approach my team took to weight loss based on the Weight Watchers four pillars. But first, I will take you through the basic premise behind our competition.
- The Results
We felt extremely confident on reaching our goal weight. We had a whole 5 months and just 5 or 6 kilos to lose each, coming out to just 250 grams a week. Here are our results
- Download Results
Right-Click, Save to download our spreadsheet for detailed week by week results.
- Download Blank spreedsheet
Right-Click, Save to download this blank spreadsheet for your own use