Update to WW In-Person Meetings (May 15, 2020)
Weight Watchers (WW) has announced that studio meetings will be starting again soon after closing for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WW closed its 3,000 physical locations in the U.S. in mid-March and quickly took its 30,000 weekly workshops virtual using Zoom. The WW studios will start to reopen in phased approaches with an eye on social distancing and sanitizing. So, if you prefer in-person meetings rather than Zoom video group chats, then you’ll be glad that the studios will be open again soon. Remember as a Lifetime member, your status has been maintained as the studios were closed. However, when the studios open, be sure to drop by for your monthly weigh-in.
How to Stay at Lifetime Status and Maintain Your Goal Weight
What does reaching Lifetime status at Weight Watchers mean? Is it a secret society? What does Weight Watchers provide to Lifetime members other than the privilege that they reached their weight goal?
For all those Weight Watcher members among our FitFortyForever audience, reaching and staying at Lifetime status is a big deal. Congratulations if this is you and keep trying to attain Lifetime status if you are a WW member. Staying at goal and keeping your Lifetime status year after year is an even bigger accomplishment. This means you have successfully lost weight, reached a healthy goal weight, and you are keeping the weight off.
(Here’s a secret! Subscribe to FitFortyForever’s free weekly email with a low-point recipe and healthy lifestyle tips! Plus, you’ll receive our free eBook (a $9.99 value) to get you motivated just for signing up! Free email sign-up here!)
How to Qualify for Lifetime Status at Weight Watchers
With Weight Watchers, a member qualifies as a Lifetime member, once they reach their goal weight and are successfully maintaining their goal within two pounds for six weeks. (Note: this option is only available to members weighing in at Weight Watchers centers. Lifetime status is not available for WW app users.) At the end of the maintenance period, a WW member will become a Weight Watchers Lifetime member. There are many benefits to achieving WW Lifetime status and maintaining your goal weight, such as:
Unlimited Weight Watcher Meetings: Attend and weigh-in at as many meetings as you like anywhere in the WW world.
Free WW Digital Tools: If you weigh-in within two pounds of your goal each month, a Lifetime member will receive a voucher for free e-Tools that’s valid for eight weeks of free meetings and weigh-ins. (It’s very easy to redeem the voucher online so that your meetings are free. WW will ask for a payment method, but you will not be charged…unless you are two pounds over goal.)
Weigh-in Monthly: Lifetime Members are required to weigh-in only monthly to keep their Lifetime status free. More on that later.
8 Sure-Fire Ways to Keep Your Lifetime Status (and Maintain Your Loss Forever!)
#1 Keep Trackin’ (or What You Did to Lose Weight Is the Same to Maintain Weight!)
As you know, what you did to lose the weight is the same process to maintain your weight loss. Therefore, you’ll need to create a lifestyle that is not about deprivation. Overall, what how you lost the weight is what you do to maintain. There are really only two states of weight management – losing or gaining.
Very few of us weigh the same day in and day out. You might be up half a pound the next morning after a salty dinner. Or you may lose a few pounds because you’ve been exercising more. Ideally, you learned how to manage your weight when you are actually losing. For instance, maybe after eating pizza or having an extra dessert for one week, you find your weight is up. Another week, your weight is down as you purposely drank a lot of water.
When you lose weight, you need fewer calories as you require fewer calories to maintain a lower weight. Therefore, to maintain your loss, you’ll still need to follow the same weight-loss steps and be aware of your weight and food intake.
That’s the beauty of Weight Watchers! As you are losing, you are learning how to manage your weight. For many successful people who maintain their weight over the long term, they are eating wholesome food 80-90% of the time and incorporating treats 10-20% of the time. It’s a balancing act.
#2 Weigh-in Once a Week at a Weight Watchers Center
While Weight Watchers only requires Lifetime Members to weigh-in once a month “officially” at their centers, you’ll need to weigh-in more frequently to avoid large weight gains. Some experts recommend daily weigh-ins and there is some truth to that. However, if you get very anxious about weigh-ins, you might prefer to weigh-in once a week, preferably at a Weight Watchers Center. It’s free as long as you are within two pounds of your weight. This will be documented in your Weight Watcher’s booklet and in your app.
By weighing-in at the Center weekly, you can stop any weight gain before it becomes overwhelming, out-of-control or depressing. It’s much easier to work on a three-pound weight gain from a weeklong vacation than to lose eight pounds after a month of “I’ll start again tomorrows” (which can happen with a monthly weigh-in). Also, you’ll get “wins” from weighing frequently at the centers and attending meetings. This is a great way to continue your WW success and get great rewards.
It’s also helpful to weigh-in regularly at home. The most successful maintainers weigh the most frequently. This is one of our favorite scales that connects to your wifi and connects to your fitness and food tracking apps.
Food journaling is a key success factor for longtime maintainers. To have achieved your Lifetime status, you probably tracked your food intake daily. When you track your food intake, you know have another data point to work with for maintaining your weight. In addition to the WW app, there are other apps that you can use to measure track portions and calories. Here are some cool apps that you might find helpful to supplement the Weight Watchers App:
If you struggle with food, dieting, exercise, and body image, you need this app. Not only can you log your food, but you can add the location, who you were with, and how you were feeling at the time. It’s self-monitoring homework, a cornerstone of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and designed to help people dealing with eating disorders.
See How You Eat Food is a simple and easy-to-use photo food journal helping you to eat healthy and smart. At the same time tracking your meals. You’ll see your daily meals at a glance. By photographing your meals, you may track more effectively especially at restaurants.
Lose It! is a fun food and weight tracker. After downloading the app, enter your profile details and goal weight, and the app calculates your daily calorie budget, set your goal and track the foods you love to lose weight It also links to your iPhone to allow for steps.
#4 Exercise (Almost) Daily
Exercise contributes to much more than just a calorie burn. Working out frequently contributes to both your physical and mental well-being, plus heart health and toning. After you reach your goal weight, continuing to exercise is very important for maintaining your weight loss. In fact, research shows that working out for more than an hour per day is necessary to weight maintenance
Scientists from the National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a study using the successful contestants from the Biggest Loser television show. The scientists calculated that an increase of about 80 minutes per day of moderate physical activity or 35 minutes per day of vigorous activity was necessary to maintain lost weight. These amounts are much greater than the current recommendations for daily physical activity. Exercise has shown again and again to be an extremely effective tool for weight maintenance (less effective for weight loss).
Once the excitement and “congratulations” die down when you’ve reached your goal weight, you’ll want to continually set new goals – big and small. Trying new exercises, new recipes, reading the latest fitness and healthy food information (including this blog!) and maybe even training for a 5K or 10K will keep you focused on staying fit. Hiring a personal trainer to freshen up your routine might even help you feel reinvigorated. The key to weight maintenance is to consistently set new mini-goals and maybe a few big goals related to keeping your weight off. Here are of our best articles to keep your motivation alive:
#6 Eat Plenty of Lean Protein and Vegetables (Limit Carbs)
As women age, your nutrition requirements and ability to burn calories change. You may find that the hamburger bun, even whole wheat, that didn’t impact you before, is now causing a weight gain. Or having an entire baked potato with your dinner is also taking a hit at your scale. Now, just having a couple of bites or sharing a dessert seems to be about all your body can handle.
To keep satisfied, focus on lean protein and vegetables. Chicken, fish, eggs, salads, grilled vegetables are always excellent choices and are low calorie and low point options. Helping you to keep off your weight, these FItFortyForever recipes are delicious options that can become part of your weekly menu:
These Light Egg Muffins bake quickly and puff-up when they are baked. Delicious served hot or cold. For a high-protein weekday breakfast, warm up a couple and enjoy with your favorite fruit. For lunch, serve with a green salad. Either way, you will love these Light Egg Muffins which are zero points each.
Light, crunchy and delicious! The LA-based restaurant, Chin-Chin, still serves their famous Chinese chicken salad to their celebrity clientele. Their version has higher fat and loads of rice sticks as well as chow mein noodles. Our version, Light & Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad, shares many of the same ingredients including the delicious, sweet-spicy taste of ginger, but with fewer calories. This Light & Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad will definitely keep any star fit, including yourself! Enjoy for lunch or dinner, side or main!
This recipe for Mexican Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes made with 99% fat-free ground turkey, picante sauce for a kick, and light cheddar cheese topping. Each is only 80 calories each and three of these “cupcakes” make a meal at 240 calories.
Additionally, strength training is an excellent way to add diversity to your workout routine and keep your metabolism going. There is solid research that strength training after weight loss is more likely to keep weight off by maintaining muscle mass. In 2001, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommended a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity for overweight and obese adults to improve health. However, 200-300 minutes per week was recommended for long-term weight maintenance.
More recent evidence has supported this recommendation and has indicated more physical activity may be necessary to prevent weight regain after weight loss. To get you started with weight training, read our posts: Benefits of Weight Training for Women over 40 and Toning Exercises After Weight Loss.
Once you reach Lifetime status, it’s important to continually keep motivated about sticking to a healthy lifestyle. You’ll see that you’ll get back on track in no time. Here are some weight maintenance tips from our post, 10 Amazing Weight Maintenance Hacks.
There are a few common reasons why people gain back the weight they lose. (Remember if you weigh more than two pounds over your goal at your weekly weigh-in with Weight Watchers, you will pay for that weigh-in) They are mostly related to unrealistic expectations and feelings of deprivation.
- Restrictive diets: Extreme calorie restriction may slow your metabolism and shift your appetite-regulating hormones, which are both factors that contribute to weight regain. This is the beauty of Weight Watchers. You craft a lifestyle in your weight loss journey, one designed to keep the weight off forever.
- Wrong mindset: Don’t think of losing weight as a short-term effort. Maintaining a weight loss is a long-term solution to improve your health as well as reduce your weight. With this attitude, you will be more likely to give up and gain back the weight you lost.
- Lack of sustainable habits: Many diets are based on “willpower” and deprivation. However, your lifestyle needs to permanently change to new healthy habits. They focus on rules rather than lifestyle changes, which may discourage you and prevent weight maintenance.
However, with Weight Watchers, you develop lifelong skills. Take the following three lifestyle changes to keep your weight off forever:
#1 Food Eat the foods you love. Incorporate the foods you love and treats into your food plan
#2 Feelings: The right mindset. Have a journey, lifestyle change in mind rather than a quick fix when losing weight and reaching your goal
#3 Fitness: Long-lasting exercise habits. Refresh your exercise routine and set new goals to achieve them.
Conclusion: Weight Watchers Lifetime Member Support
It would be great if Weight Watchers provided more support for Lifetime members. The meetings are tailored for weight loss and not weight maintenance. However, if you are a Weight Watchers Lifetime member, take advantage of your membership and weigh-in a few times a month, attend meetings when you need support, and enjoy your free etools (if you are within 2 lbs. of your goal weight). Plus, you can continue to earn “wins” for special rewards. And, of course, keep reading FitFortyForever, which is designed to keep you motivated and fit for the rest of your life.