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Is plain ol' calorie counting easier than Weight Watchers?

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Old 12-27-2009, 06:32 PM   #1
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Default Is plain ol' calorie counting easier than Weight Watchers?

I know we're all different, but which was easier for you to stick with for the longest time, plain ol' calorie counting, or Weight Watchers?

I didn't have much success in 2009. I ended up with a pathetic five pound loss for the year. Hoping for much better in 2010.

Leaning towards just calorie counting, but wanted to hear from those who might have tried both approaches.
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:42 PM   #2
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I personally count calories due to seeing a friend who did it and lost alot of weight...Plus it is free(A BIG PLUS) Plus I can eat what I always eat just in smaller portions ~No diet products or food...And last but not least I read the following and was TOTALLY For calorie counting ever since~GOODLUCK! I would like to add ~that I think ww Is a super program though also..Very similair to Counting calories just a points program instead. I see lots of success from both and people maintaining well with both which is a plus.
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Principles
Weight management may be difficult to achieve, but it certainly is not difficult to understand. When you consume food or drink, you consume calories. Your body burns calories to function, burning significantly more calories when you exercise. If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.
Because your body requires energy simply to stay alive, you burn calories even when you are not exercising. In fact, you burn calories directly in proportion to your body weight. On average, a male burns 11 calories per day per pound of body weight. The average female burns 10 calories per day per pound of body weight. These figures are just averages. Some people will be higher or lower, since everyone's metabolism is a little different. Fitness Record allows you to specify the value which is appropriate for you. If you don't know, it is suggested that you start by using the average value for your gender.
For example, if John weighs 150 pounds, he burns approximately 150 x 11 = 1,650 calories per day. If he exercises, he will burn additional calories on top of that, depending on the exercise activity. However, if he does not exercise, he must eat 1,650 calories per day, just to maintain his body weight. If he eats more, he will gain weight. If he eats less, he'll lose weight.
For the purpose of calculating expected weight gain/loss, one pound is 3,500 calories. Each time you consume an extra 3,500 calories more than you burn, you will gain a pound. For example, Jane weighs 130 pounds, never exercises, and eats exactly 1,400 calories every day. Her metabolism is burning 1,300 calories per day, so she are consuming an extra 100 calories each day. If she does this indefinitely, she will gain a pound in 35 days, since 35 * 100 = 3,500.
Fitness Record uses another term, called Behavioral Weight. The idea is that over the long term, your weight is determined by your behaviors, and is best illustrated by example. Consider Jane above, who eats 1,400 calories per day. After 35 days of this behavior, she will weigh 131, instead of 130. This means her metabolism will burn slightly more calories than before. If she continues to eat 1,400 calories every day, she will continue to gain weight, but at a slightly slower pace. Eventually, she will weigh 140, at which time her metabolism will be burning 1,400 calories every day. At this point, she will stop gaining weight, since she is consuming the same number of calories that she burns. Therefore, by eating 1,400 calories in a day, Jane is behaving like a 140 pound person. Her "behavioral weight" is 140.
Exercise contributes to your calories burned. If Jane were to exercise, burning an additional 100 calories each day, then her calories burned would be in balance with her calories consumed. She could eat 1,400 calories per day, exercise 100 calories per day, and continue to way 130 indefinitely.
You may now be asking, "Why can't I just eat low fat foods?" You can eat whatever you want. But, non-fat foods can still have calories. Check the food label to find out if eating the non-fat version of a food is really saving you any calories -- sometimes it's not. Many programs recommend moderating your dietary fat intake, and that is obviously good advice. Eating low-fat foods happens to be an excellent guideline for keeping your calorie intake low. In addition, moderating your dietary fat intake may contribute to your health in other ways. However, it will not alter the mathematics of weight management -- you still have to eat fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight.
The problem with the way the human body works is that calories counting is tedious and difficult. Most weight-loss programs, as well as the so-called "fad diets", focus on other guidelines which are simpler to follow than calorie counting. However, none of these guidelines alter the underlying principles of weight management.
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:44 PM   #3
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I've tried both and since I just recently went back to counting points from counting calories...I'd have to say the easier thing for me is WW. It's what I'm used to and while both are very much the same, the smaller number to keep track the easier it is for me
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for the post, Lori. That really helped me too. I have done WW a ton of times, but this time I am just trying Calorie counting along with a GoWear Fit to help.
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:49 PM   #5
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I had success with weight watchers in the past, but the reason I am counting calories this time around is because it really frustrated me to have to calculate points for recipes and food that wasn't in my book. also, I don't want to pay for meetings and I have a hectic schedule so meetings are kind of out.
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:51 PM   #6
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I don't attend meetings anymore there is a whole board on here for people that do WW at home with or without the website!

I have family recipes that I had to find the calories and points for....both are tedious so I know what you are saying. It just boils down to personal preference.
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:52 PM   #7
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Ive done both and for me I felt like I was starving on WW, I had to cut out so much fat in my diet and felt like I was becoming very obsessed about how many points was this yada yada. Also one day I decided to see how many calories I was eating while following WW and at the end of eating my 24 points I had only eaten 1000 calories.

I count calories now and Im still losing weight at the same rate as when I was on WW but I feel that with counting calories I can eat a whole different variety or things without having to worry about fat content making my points really high. Counting calories has made me better at portion control. Plus counting calories is free
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:52 PM   #8
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yw mulder~GOODLUCK!!! YOU ALL CAN DO THIS!! WE ALL CAN~START STRONG & STAY STRONG~!
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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Personally, I don't find much difference in the principles behind calorie counting and the weight watchers program. Weight watchers incorporates calories into the way points are calculated, and even so-called zero-point foods have to be counted if you eat more than one serving. And as I like to say, I did not get fat by eating too much broccoli.

For me, the big difference and appeal of WW is the accountability and support. I attend weekly meetings and weigh-in, regardless of whether I think I've lost or not. I get the support and encouragement from my meeting leader and other members. It has helped me to be more accountable to myself, the emphasis on tracking food intake, modifying food behaviors and eating healthy have all contributed to me seeing this as a permanent change to how I live and eat, not a short-term diet.

I started 2009 as a calorie counter and in 5 months lost about 10lbs. I joined WW at the end of May and have since lost 63 pounds. It wasn't so much the difference between counting calories and counting points that made me make the switch but I find myself sticking with a program months longer than I have attempted anything else, weighing less now than I have in 10+ years, and enjoying being physically active and working my body versus dreading any form of exercise. It was just the right time for something to click in my head. For me, WW works. For me, this was the right time and right method. Will it work for everyone? No, nothing works for everyone. But it does for me, and for me, that's what matters.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:02 PM   #10
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I did try weight watchers for a short period of time when I was younger, but I never really gave it any serious effort. At least not like I'm giving now. Still, for me, it seems calorie counting is easier. It also could just be because I'm older now and understand what I need to do and all. Sooooo who knows. Guess I'm not really much help, haha, sorry! Either way, ill be thinking positive thoughts for you!
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:03 PM   #11
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Calorie counting and WW are definitely similar in theory -- calories in/calories out. I've done both, and found my success rate to be about equal.

My decision to go the calorie counting route this time around is largely financial, as calorie counting is as free as it gets.

Also, while I liked the WW program quite a bit, the meetings were hit and miss for me. I think a really great leader is integral to making meetings work for me, as well as a group I can relate to. I'm pretty mellow and outgoing, yet I didn't seem to find a group I really gelled with and eventually started seeing the meetings as a bit excruciating. Much of that had to do with constant WW product pushing my leaders engaged in. I know it's part of their job, and I also know that not all of the leaders employ such a WW brand-centric approach. Unfortunately much of my meeting time was spent listening to someone convince me that the path to weight loss happiness was through Fruities and $7.00 boxes of 100-calorie packs.

I kept on for awhile doing the program strictly online, until I found that I could do essentially the same thing for free by going back to my old friends fitday or dailyplate. For me it's about the logging and accountability; whether that comes from tracking points or calories is of less importance to me.

Again, this is just one dieter's perspective. I have friends and family who have done well on both (my sister just lost upwards of 80 lbs on WW), so it really comes down to what works for you.

Wishing you all the luck in whatever you choose!
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:28 PM   #12
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I've tried both, but only lasted about two days with WW. For me, it was just too much trouble to figure out or look up points for everything. I'd rather just look at the calories and be done with it.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:47 PM   #13
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I'm a calorie counter, but really only picked it because it was the simplest plan I could find that was free. I think the WW program looks really good; especially the support and accountability. I did try WW once in the 80's and lost on it, but it was a much different program.

In addition to the price being right; calorie counting has been very easy for me to stick with in maintenance.

Good luck with whatever you choose Truffle!
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlyjordon2002 View Post
Ive done both and for me I felt like I was starving on WW, I had to cut out so much fat in my diet and felt like I was becoming very obsessed about how many points was this yada yada. Also one day I decided to see how many calories I was eating while following WW and at the end of eating my 24 points I had only eaten 1000 calories.

I count calories now and Im still losing weight at the same rate as when I was on WW but I feel that with counting calories I can eat a whole different variety or things without having to worry about fat content making my points really high. Counting calories has made me better at portion control. Plus counting calories is free

Thank you, everyone, for all the great replies. The different comments shed more light on the choice for me.

I've signed up at WW many times, and never lasted on it. I don't want to go to meetings, and I don't want to pay to lose weight. I don't want to do a low fat eating plan. I don't want to have to figure out Points.

So, calorie counting it will be.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:11 PM   #15
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I think it depends on your personality and what you find most helpful.

I find a supportive group meeting very helpful. The weekly accountability of a group weigh-in, and the information and support afterward helps me stay motivated. I found that TOPS groups to be a better support than Weight Watcher's, however (because it's much cheaper, you can follow any food plan you wish - including WW points, and there are group contests and activities, prizes, and even conferences, rallies, and retreats).

(I'm currently not following my own advice, but am considering rejoining).


I first started Weight Watcher's (and calorie counting) when I was 8. I've dieted for so many years that Calorie counting, exchange counting, and point counting (which have all been part of Weight Watcher's programs at one time or another since I first joined in the mid 70's) are mostly automatic. Whether I'm counting calories, points, or exchanges - I rarely need a resource to look them up- I've got them all memorized for almost everything I normally eat. So they're all equally as "easy."

I do find that I personally do the best on a lower carb exchange plan (of about 1800 calories). Since all foods within an exchange are roughly the same number of calories (within about a 15 calorie span), the calories take care of themselves, and it reminds me to get in food groups that I tend to avoid if just counting calories (like dairy).

On one hand, I think exchange plans build in a bit more balanced nutrition (though you can choose less healthy options in all of the food group categories), but on the other - I think I like it best, just because it's what I personally find easiest. It's easier for me to check off little boxes, than to write down calories or even points.

(I made my own, but TOPS.org site has free food diary page pages you can print out - with the boxes for each food category for 1200, 1500, and 1800 calorie plans)


http://www.tops.org/TOPSToolsDocs/Ex...dFoodDiary.pdf
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