Life is Better With Mayonnaise

When I started Weight Watchers (yikes, has it been more than five years since I was a member?) I succeeded because I embraced every inch of the plan. I counted points, stayed within my limits, hoarded activity points and more. It worked — I dropped 40 pounds and kept it off…for a while.

But I failed in the long run because it just was not a sustainable way of life for me, nor was it a maintenance program that I could embrace. While Weight Watchers absolutely allows for you to eat all foods — even junk — I really focused in on what I thought I “should” eat, and it was a short list.

That meant:

  • very little fat
  • no white sugar/flour
  • lots of diet foods (Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice meals)
  • tiny portions

In theory, that’s an awesome way to live (the diet foods, not so much). But it’s not a very enjoyable experience.

Rock 'N' Run 5K 40

From that 2010 post:

I knew every “free” food there was — from diet sodas to non-starchy vegetables; sugar-free gum to black coffee. I bought fat-free foods whenever possible, even when they tasted like cardboard and left my tummy grumbling. I tracked down the foods with extra fiber and doubled up the servings. I turned down EVERY celebratory food (cake, champagne) and often opted out of fun events because I knew I’d have a tough time being around the food.

At the time, I didn’t know that I was on the edge of disordered eating. I mean, I was on Weight Watchers. WEIGHT WATCHERS! One of the most successful weight loss programs ever created!

And truly, it wasn’t until I got to maintenance status and became a Lifetime member that it registered that something was out of sorts.

I turned down birthday cupcakes and pizza (“I’ll just have the salad with vinegar on the side”) and second glasses of wine. And with every polite “no,” I rejected more than calories. I honestly opted out of what makes life great.


In 2010, when I wrote my original Weight Watchers review, I was moving in the right direction — embracing real foods, stepping back from restrictive eating — but I was still not really healthy. I thought I was at the time, but it’s only now that I really embrace my relationship with food (mostly healthy, some not).

Know what cured me? Pregnancy. Because for 10+ weeks, the only things I could tolerate were hummus, egg salad (with extra mayo), saltines and sour candies. Seriously, that’s the list.

Now that the morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness is long gone, I’m left with its legacy — a more balanced way of eating. I try and make wise choices — most of the time. I eat real food — most of the time. I eat a cupcake but not cupcakes in one sitting. Pizza and mayonnaise are back in my diet because they make life worth living. But instead of five slices, I try and have two and enjoy every cheesy, drippy bite.

Because for me, life is better with mayonnaise.

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  1. says

    I had the same struggle with Weight Watchers. It made me too obsessive and I stopped enjoying life. I was most successful my senior year of college but I turned down so many great opportunities with friends because I didn’t want to tempt fate and go over my points. I look back on that with serious regret.

  2. says

    Such a great, honest post, Katie. While in the moment, sometimes it’s hard for us to realize what’s going on and how we feel and look at how we’re acting from logical standpoint. I think the IDEA of WW is great (though i don’t know much about their program redesign) but I do feel like SOMETHING is lacking because while my dad lost a great amount of weight while on the program years ago, he’s gained it all back. It’s definitely missing the maintenance side and allowing people to realize it’s all things in moderation – pizza, mayonnaise and cupcakes included!

  3. says

    I actually started doing WW about 2 months ago and I really like it. For me, it hasn’t been about fake foods, just learning that if I want a piece of cake, I need to have a smaller dinner or not have a snack, or whatever. If I want a second (or 3rd if we’re being honest) glass of wine, I don’t need to have the dessert or the bread. I can see how it could make people obsessive and rely on fake foods (though they’ve changed the points program since you’ve done it and fruits and veggies are now zero points), but I think it can be done in a non-obsessive way.

    • says

      Same for me! It helped me lose the last few lbs and helped me realize everything in moderation. I eat a lot of great things, and don’t feel restricted at all. Also, they have revamped the program and I think it is very flexible in what you can eat.

  4. says

    LOVE this post!! Katy you are awesome and I 100% agree with you. It’s so important to feel great about your food choices because that’s the only way your healthy lifestyle is going to work long-term. I’ve seen this Weight Watchers struggle before and it’s so common– I believe MUCH more common than what we hear about– any time you follow ANY “diet” you are so motivated by restriction (it seriously changes brain chemistry) but then when your hormones catch up to you you’re screwed because you’ve restricted so much you overeat even more. Behavior changes and intuitive eating are such important keys to weight loss that most “diet” programs don’t provide. And now I am going to go have banana pancakes for breakfast and feel fabulous about it :)

  5. says

    I love this post on so many levels! I think that so many people get caught up in “dieting” – which they can only hold on to for so long. It’s better to focus on what you can eat for your lifetime. Everything in moderation! Yes there is room for pizza, cookies and – mayonnaise :) Thank you for being honest and I truly hope this post speaks to many!

  6. says

    I just wanted to say Love the way you write! Verry fun to read and follow! Wish you goodluck with food and running. All goes with ups and downs and i am glad you found your balance. Greets from me in the Netherlands

  7. Kim says

    Amen to the mayo! I’ve had big food aversions in the first trimester and one thing that was fully satiating was my mom’s homemade egg salad on white bread. Something I’d never seen in our kitchen full of organic-vegetarian-whole grain yada yada, but it was just what I needed. Funny how moms already know all these things huh?

    I try to enjoy things in spurts, like one night I will have pizza, or another night I’ll have a cupcake/brownie, or another night maybe the focus is a nice wine/craft beer – then minimize the junky stuff around that indulgence so it balances out. I used to think it was normal to go to Wall Street Cantina and split a pitcher of sugary margaritas with my friend, plus chips & queso plus an entree – we really don’t need that much in one sitting! Now a Mexican dinner is more like uno beer and chips & queso, which fills me up just fine. No need to eat the whole kitchen sink. Drinking alcohol with an already over-sized restaurant meal is a great way to pack on the pounds.

  8. says

    I cringe when I think back to my earlier “healthy” days that were much like yours: fat-free, reduced, light – BLAH!! Eating clean has finally been the thing to help me over my calorie counting addiction and focus instead on enjoying good food…and of course an occasional junky one :)

  9. says

    I followed Weight Watchers briefly three years ago. While WW was helpful in losing the weight, it was not helpful for the way I viewed food. I just wasn’t happy. For me, I know I’m better off trying to eating real foods in moderation than eat fake foods and obsess about calories. But I do know other people who have had the opposite experience, so more power to them!

  10. says

    This is a great post. I did suffer with an eating disorder for years, and when I finally learned moderation it opened up ALL OF THE FOODS for me.

    Occasionally I’ll have a LOT of pizza, but it’s not all or nothing now. And I like my tuna salad with extra mayo. YUM!

  11. says

    I love your new outlook! While Weight Watchers and other programs do help a lot of people, they don’t work for everyon, I think they leave out the concept of eating whole foods- not processed frozen dinners, which by the way don’t fill you up, or IMO taste very good- and play up fat as the devil. We need fat to live, and for taste and satiety. I tried the whole super low cal, almost no fat diet, said no to, well everything, and that’s the path to an eating disorder. It shouldn’t be a diet, and it shouldn’t be about deprivation. It’s going to be trial and error for most people, but I’m glad you have found a balanced relationship with food! :)

  12. says

    I love this. Especially because, for years, I was buying that “reduced fat, made with olive oil, totally good for you, right?” version of mayo that is loaded with chemicals and, in reality, totally not good for you at all. AND it made my egg salad taste terrible. I’m back on the regular mayo wagon though, admittedly, I use it sparingly and load up my egg/tuna/chicken salads with things like spicy mustard to use less of the white stuff.

    Also, secret fear about being pregnant: I was a full-on pescetarian for 10 years, and I’m now eating poultry as well. But I’m terrified that, even though I’m in no way ready to eat it now, I’m going to crave red meat when I’m pregnant. What if my baby wants a big, juicy steak? Or, like, a bacon cheeseburger? WHAT IF?

    • says

      I wondered the same thing — I’ve been mostly plant-based for about three years and will probably never eat red meat. But if I’d craved it during pregnancy, I might have given in (although as I understand it, you crave the things/nutrients your baby needs, so if you wanted red meat, you could probably eat other iron-rich foods).

      But I never did! Just the mayo.

  13. says

    I never did Weight Watchers, but I did adhere to many strange fad diets pre-kids and pregnancy definitely “cured” me as well. Through pregnancy, I discovered that with moderation came a sense of satisfaction and satiety that I hadn’t felt before! Life is far too short to eat fake chemicals and too-small portions!

  14. says

    Mayonnaise does make life better and it makes my tuna salad a heck of a lot better then when I try to make it “healthy”. Life is too short to not eat cupcakes, wine, and mayonnaise. It is just about moderation. I have found that finding this balance makes me happier, more sane, and honestly less stressed.

  15. says

    Yeah, I wasn’t able to be successful in my weight loss until I quite the diet mentality and went with a more laid-back lifestyle change approach.

    I agree with this completely!

  16. says

    Such a cute post. I think that WW can definitely work for some people, but I personally don’t like the idea of “free foods” because it makes all other foods seems bad. Why attach shame and guilt to certain foods? That’s no way to live at all! I’m glad that you’ve found a balance. :)

  17. says

    While WW works for some people, it didn’t work for me. It did, but not for long. Just like you, I knew all the “free” foods and could figure my points out so I could still drink soda, etc. Once I stopped counting points, I was lost. I didn’t know how to eat on my own. It had taken me a long to realize that healthy eating is a balancing act. I workout and eat healthy 80-90% of the time, so when I want to eat pizza & drink a beer I can! I am losing weight at a much slower pace then when I did WW, but THIS time it is staying off. :)

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