Wow! You covered a lot of topics in your post. Before I really respond to any of them, i need to clarify from whence I am coming with my experiences. About 2.5 months ago I had lunch with a friend whom I had not seen since she started WW. She was so excited about the program and how much she had already lost that I was sucked in by her enthusiasm. I did not, however, want to spend the money, go to the meetings, or anything like that. I was honestly even annoyed with the concept of the online WW. With the help of the internet and advice from said friend, I started following the WW plan on my own–before the new pointsplus it was easy to find how to calculate your daily points and even the formula for calculating points in foods. So, following this plan I have lost 24 pounds in 12 weeks. When WW switched to pointsplus, I did not. I didn’t see the need to since my food choices were already very healthy. I was eating lots of fruits and veggies even without them all being ‘free’. I tried to avoid processed foods and carbohydrates, etc etc etc. All of the good stuff that the new pointsplus promotes, I was already doing and so didn’t see a need to change. That and the same friend who introduced me to WW, and who follows the rules of WW with no deviations told me taht she has GAINED over 2 pounds following the new points plus!!!
Anyway, go-to snacks: hummus and veggies, pumpkin yogurt (plain, fat free greek yogurt with pumpkin puree and cinnamon), wheat thins flatbread with laughing cow cheese, apples/pears, pumpkin puree (yes, I eat it straight out of the can. oops?), chicken broth, and sugar free applesauce.
Go to lunches: leftovers (I seriously was salivating the other day for my leftover chicken/veggie stir fry), soups, open-face sandwiches, and oatmeal. I will pair any and or all of these up with a fruit or veggie side, maybe some yogurt and it is a really filling meal.
I know people say it all the time, but if you make healthy dinners that you enjoy, make more than enough for dinner and package the leftovers (before you even sit down to eat will help with portion control!) and take them to work the next day. Also, if you constantly have the munchies during the day, especially between breakfast and lunch, try re-evaluating what you are eating for breakfast, it might not be ‘enough’ to get you through the morning. I personally find that 3-4 egg whites with spinach or broccoli plus a carb of some kind (1 pt english muffin or pita bread) will take me closer to lunch without hte munchies than anything else I have found. Oatmeal comes a close second, but I need to pair that with a protein rich yogurt and fruit to get the same staying power.
I think it is hard if you try to do it cold turkey. If you suddenly cut everything bad out and try to subsist on carrot sticks and salads or even have the mindset that you need to subsist on carrot sticks and salads then it is going to be nigh on impossible! If, however, you make subtle changes before long you will be able to revamp your entire approach to food with little to know feelings of deprivation. For example, PenguinGuy and I love our Saturday morning breakfasts–eggs, breakfast meat, biscuits, OJ, coffee, fruit…yum! Usually I would make scrambled eggs with cheese, pork sausage, and biscuits and between the two of us,we would go through about 6 biscuits! So, i started making scrambled egg whites with fat free cheese; then I started subbing turkey sausage for pork sausage; finally, I switched to lower cal/fat biscuits (and started eating less of them! lol). The changes were small but had a HUGE impact. In fact, the other day I bought pork sausage as a ‘treat’ for PenguinGuy and he wouldn’t eat it! He has come to like the turkey sausage a lot more…and this from the guy who didn’t want to try it!
In short, one of the reasons I found that i had trouble in the past with changing eating habits is that I tried to do too much at once. By making small changes over time, I was able to revamp my eating habits!