Jan 27, 2009

Mailing it in: Toastmasters edition part 3

Having been tied up with many things this evening, I'm going to shamelessly mail it in. One of said things was the writing of a Toastmasters speech that I'm going to deliver tomorrow. It's entitled "Weightwatchers 101", and the purpose of it is to get the audience laughing early on. I have included it after the break for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Fellow Toastmasters, I love food. You can probably tell by looking at me, that I've loved food for quite some time. But lately, I've noticed that my size is starting to take a toll on my body. Nothing major, but being 25 and hearing my knees click when I run long distances is something of a wake up call for me. As such, I recently joined Weightwatchers as I had heard good things about it from friends, family and co-workers. Today, I hope to tell you more about the program and give you an idea as to how it works.

What is Weightwatchers, you ask? Well, I wasn't so sure myself at first. You see, when I went to the first meeting they were talking about food and points like it was some kind of game - like Candy Land, minus all the candy.

And the people there were... interesting, to say the least. At one point during the meeting, the conversation had turned to reasons why we eat, and we were encouraged to share some of the reasons we eat. People were giving the usual reasons: hunger, celebration, boredom. But out of nowhere, a woman behind me shouts "ABANDONMENT", which had to be the funniest thing I've ever heard at a meeting. As I was stifling my laughter, which is horrible of me to say and would be the equivalent to heckling someone here at Toastmasters, all I kept thinking was "this woman's in the wrong meeting... she needs a hug, not a diet".

But despite these initial impressions, I came to understand exactly what Weightwatchers is. First off, it's not a diet... at least, not in the traditional sense. I'm not regulated to eating only rice cakes or being deathly afraid of carbs. I can eat largely what I want - at a cost. Every food has a point value, and I need to eat exactly (or a little over) certain number of points a day. Good choices, like fruit, vegetables and lean meats are worth less points (so I can eat more and feel more satisfied); poor choices like pizza, ice cream and Taco Bell are worth more points (so I can eat less).

More than anything, the strength of this program is that it enforces 2 behaviors: making conscious, mindful choices; and having the diligence to track your progress. Making conscious choices means that you understand the point value of the foods you're eating. I've looked at more nutrition facts, online and on the food packaging, than I ever have before. Did you know that a regular cheeseburger at Chili's is almost 800 calories? Or that the Aussie fries at Outback have roughly 2,900 calories and 182 grams of fat? Knowing what you eat allow you to make better choices for yourself.

But knowing is only half the battle. The other half is having the diligence to keep track of what it is you're eating. A rule of thumb on Weightwatchers is "you bite it, you write it". Tracking food throughout the day gives you a good indication of how you're doing on your choices and lets you know exactly how much more food your body needs for the day.

I can say from personal experience that Weightwatchers works. My body just feels healthier, and I've lost a good amount of weight so far in the short time that I've been there, and I expect to lose even more as I continue on with the program. In my first week on the program, I lost 7.4 pounds. Even if don't think this program is for you, I ask that you take away from this what I take away from the program: be mindful of what you eat, and be diligent about how much you eat.

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