Diet Dispatches

Tell us about Weight Watchers

February 14, 2012 

Are you being served?

Weight Watchers overhauled its weight-loss plan just over a year ago and is getting mixed reviews. For a story, we'd like to talk with members about their experience, and what they think about the changes. Have they helped you lose weight? Or have you struggled under the new system?

Please email correspondent Joe Miller at joe@getgoingnc .com about your experience, and include your name and daytime phone number.

Lessons from Lolita

Reporter Rebecca Putterman of our Clayton News-Star writes: I've always been amazed that my 94-year-old Great-Aunt Lolita can walk the 10-plus blocks from her apartment on Park Avenue in New York City to MoMa, browse a couple of floors, and walk home after a light lunch without breaking out in more than a light summer glisten. This, she manages to do, mind you, after 20 minutes of yoga in her pajamas first thing in the morning. Her head curves and stretches forward to touch her knees.

I grew up hearing her operatic, German/Spanish/French/Queens/Upper East Side-accented voice trilling, "everything in moderation!," as the motto of her long, healthy (and happy) life. It drives my cousins who live near her relatively crazy, but to me, it's just a simple, easily remembered tip from a woman whose advice I can try my best not to take for granted.

Last November when she visited Raleigh, I was two months into my first job out of college. When she asked me if I was doing any yoga, I admitted I hadn't really developed a regular exercising habit since I started working, even though I had a membership to a gym.

As expected, Aunt Lolita scolded me. I smiled and nodded. I took it.

When I would visit her during summer breaks in high school, I took careful note of what she fed me. A normal dinner at her home is often pan-seared, fresh-caught Atlantic salmon alongside steamed vegetables drizzled with the slightest bit of balsamic vinaigrette - her dressing always made from fresh olive oil and a separate bottle of balsamic vinegar, with a pinch of salt and pepper.

But that would be boring to have every night. That's why the last time I saw Aunt Lolita, we dined out. While I salivated over all the cheesy dishes, settling on mushroom sauce gnocchi, she ordered a steak. With frites.

But she didn't eat all of it. She even asked that the bits of cheese described in the menu as delectably melted upon the salty, perfectly fried potatoes be left off. It wasn't necessary, she said. And portions today, she emphasizes every time we go out to eat, are too big. And she's right.

Which brings us to the present moment. At 5 feet 5 inches, I'm trying to maintain 130 pounds amid discovering craft brews on my 21st birthday, a year and a half ago, and my current love affair with Chenin Blancs, Malbecs and brie cheeses encrusted in ... hush, Putterman. I started college at about 115 pounds, and went up to 139 when I was eating badly, drinking a wee bit too much, and not exercising. Don't judge; it's called senior year of college.

Anyway, my partner, who discovered beer one year earlier than I and, well, gained a few pounds, is looking to go from 205 pounds to 185 pounds. The plan is to work together to lose weight and stay healthy, but also to enjoy life. So far, so good. He's at around 200 and I'm hovering at 130.

Neither of us is willing to give up craft brews and Southern cuisine to lose weight. We're both working on being Flexitarians - eating less meat than self-described carnivores, more poultry than red meat, and more locally raised, organically raised meat than otherwise.

We're also looking to exercise in ways we actually enjoy, and to find incentives to want to grab an orange or a handful of spinach in season rather than melt some four-cheese Mexican blend on a flour tortilla and sit back down in front of the computer.

All in all, we've chosen a diet plan - or should I say lifestyle - that I like to attribute to that of my Aunt Lolita: "Everything in moderation!"

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