Back at the very beginning of December, I attended a secret event with Weight Watchers at the Cookery School just off of Oxford Street, to find out all about the brand new plan which will be greeting members new and old in 2014. I'm a Weight Watchers member myself and so the invitation was pretty exciting. I didn't even know Weight Watchers had been planning to change up the plan in 2014, so I was really excited to find out all about the new plan and see how much had changed from my beloved propoints. Before the event I knew very little about the new plan, so everything on the night was actually quite the educational experience - I learnt so much, not just about Weight Watchers but food in general. Plus, there was a little surprise to come later in the night in the form of the new Celebrity Chef Ambassador! When I arrived I was greeted with a lovely glass of bubbles and offered some delicious canapes and little bites of incredible looking food. Little did we know as we all eagerly tried the different yummy options on offer, that these would be the basis of the evening ahead.
Once we'd all indulged and started to get to know one another, we were gathered around to begin learning all about the new plan. The new plan is wonderfully named Simple Start, and it's really a perfect way to describe the plan because it really is an incredibly simple plan to follow. The idea for Simple Start came from listening to Weight Watchers members who had voiced concerns that the propoints plan was too hard to get to grips with. To make Weight Watchers both easier and quicker to get to grips with, Weight Watchers have created the new plan to help people achieve their goals without any overloading of information. It's a simple start to reaching your goals in a healthy way. So how does Simple Start work?
THE SIMPLE START PLAN
A straightforward and easy to follow plan, Simple Start provides you with a healthy, filling, wholesome list of foods, all of which are basic proproints foods. There's also spices and herbs, general seasoning, which are referred to as Flavour Boosters, which you can use as much as you need of! Simple Start tells you which foods are great for your body and weight loss and which we should eat often to fulfill our bodies needs, as well as which won't be so good and might be best as a treat. You don't have to worry about propoints, all you start with is a list of foods and drinks, along with some incredible recipes and meal ideas, and your ready to go! You can choose any of the foods from the basic Filling and Healthy list, and eat them at any time of the day, whenever you want! Then, if you fancy a snack or a late-night treat if you're anything like me, then you have a list of Extra Treats, which lets you use two 'treat points' a day to indulge in extras for meals or sweet and indulgent treats. Simple Start requires no weighing or measuring, there's no restrictions - just stick to the food lists provided.
Now, I'm sure there's a few of you, who like me will be thinking to yourselves, "But how can I lose weight if I eat everything I want?". Well, that's the beauty of Weight Watchers, of all the plans they've had past and present, Weight Watchers doesn't stop you eating a single thing nor does it tell you you must avoid some foods or you must eat others. It's all about eating in moderation and to help you get there, the Filling and Healthy food list is full of fruit and veg which is good for your body, and still tasty to eat. If you want something naughty? Have it, but use your two treats to have it! Eat what you crave, but in moderation you can have those treats whilst still losing weight. I don't know about you, but that's a pretty good way for me to lose weight! There's too many things I couldn't live without. After a couple of weeks on Simple Star Filling and Healthy list, you have two options - also really easy to get to grips with.
Option One: By sticking to the foods on the Filling and Healthy food list, you've now learnt which foods are recommended as great for protein and all other nutrients you'll be used to. Then, by sticking to two treats a day from the Extra Treats list, you've seen you can indulge and have what you want, but in moderation. Option One allows you to stick to this method of eating and losing weight, but instead of two Extra Treats a day, you are given weekly allowance of 49 propoints. Don't get scared at the mention of propoints - by this point you've already been using propoints, you just didn't realise it. All the foods on the food lists, have propoints values, you see. Sneaky Weight Watchers! You can use your weekly allowance for any treats off of the entire propoints food list. You can use all in one day, or spread out over the week!
Option Two: The second option after you've got to grips with Simple Start for a few weeks, is taking the final step over to propoints and eating by daily and weekly propoints allowances. This might sound scary, but I personally adore propoints and yes, it can take a few days to get your head around but once you know the basics, you're ready to go and it'll come so easily. For me, my weight gain throughout my life has largely been due to portion sizes and my complete lack of portion control. Propoints allows me to eat whatever I like, but teaches me how to do so in moderation and in a healthier way for my body. If you decide to go with option two your leader will calculate a daily propoints allowance. This is based on several different factors including your age, height, current weight, level of daily activity. This daily allowance is to be used on each day, and if you don't use up all your points you lose them - you can't save them for the next day. That's where the weekly allowance comes in again - this you can use any time, any day - it's literally like a piggy bank for treats! The difference between switching completely over to propoints is that you will need to weigh your food and in some instances, use the super easy Weight Watchers propoints calculator to work out points by inputting a few bits of info from the nutritional information. I actually enjoy weighing my food and working out the points - it's definitely made me realise where I used to overeat!
After Simple Start have been explained to us, we were ready to start our cooking lesson! As we arrived, the new Weight Watchers Food Ambassador was announced; the lovely Shelina Permalloo, chef, book author and winner of Masterchef. Shelina was absolutely lovely and incredibly down to earth. She introduced herself, telling us a little bit about her background (which was handy for me who doesn't watch TV), before introducing some of her brand new recipes specifically made for Simple Start. All those delicious nibbles and canapes we had at the beginning of the evening were Shelina's recipes, all recipes for the Simple Start plan that you can make at home yourself. Getting to eat wonderful, delicious food and it still be good for you? Yes please!
Shelina talked us through a recipe we would be creating with help from her and the fab Cookery School team. Working in pairs, we each had our own work stations with the exact ingredients we needed to create our Simple Start main course, including fresh pineapple, herbs and seasoning, turkey mince meat and corn on the cob as well as a whole other host of lovely ingredients! Our task was to make turkey patties with blackened sweetcorn salsa, with a side (or a dessert) of beautifully seasoned pineapple cooked to perfection. It really was delicious, and I plan on recreating the recipe at home myself soon - so keep an eye out and I'll try and get a full recipe up to share with you all!
After learning about Simple Start, meeting Shelina and learning all about the tasty recipes she has created, as well as how really easy the Simple Start plan is, I would definitely say it's worth giving a go if you've been thinking of joining. For me, Weight Watchers isn't a diet. It's a decision to make a positive and healthy lifestyle change and make the right decisions now, to benefit you in later life. Weight Watchers allows you to lose weight and reach any goals you have, whilst enjoying the food you are eating. Simple Start is the start of a journey, but a journey filled with delicious food which teaches you how to enjoy food in moderation. As a member myself I know how daunting it can be to join Weight Watchers and go to that first meeting, not knowing anyone. But all of the Weight Watchers leaders and the whole Weight Watchers team in general are super lovely and welcoming, and members of meetings just as lovely. All of the ladies in my weekly meetings I see as friends, not strangers - we're all in this together. I have a wonderful leader, and I really do believe I wouldn't be able to get where I want to be, without my leader and my weekly meetings. Signing up is also really easy, you can do it online or in the meeting. There's a full list of meetings, where they are held, on what days and at what times on the Find a Meeting tool. You can find out more about Simple Start here, and if you'd like to join Weight Watchers yourself, you can find out more here.
From January 1st I plan to do a fortnight on Simple Start, and I'll be sure to do a post letting you all know how I got on following the Simple Start plan!
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*I attended this event as a guest of Weight Watchers. I have not been compensated for writing this post. For more information, please check my full disclaimer.