Weight Loss Support - Confused - points vs. calories




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NoVaVTFan
03-25-2008, 01:20 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'll give it a go.

I started following the WW program on April 16, 2007. I borrowed the materials from a friend who had done WW previously, and followed the points system, etc. I have been pretty successful so far - 50 pounds gone since then. I am very proud of this, but I'm stilll trying to lose another 7-8 pounds which I'm finding is getting harder and harder - whoever said the last 10 pounds were the hardest was right. The scale hasn't been moving much lately.

So, according to WW I should be eating 20 points a day, and no less than that. I also use some of the 35 extra flex points throughout the week but I try to keep that to a minimum. I have found it hard to feel full on only 20 points a day - I try to eat food that is high in fiber and protein to keep hunger at bay. I am not so good on the veggies - I hated veggies growing up and I have learned to like some since I've changed my eating habits, but I just can't snack and snack and snack on raw veggies throughout the day just because most are zero points. I eat as many veggies as I can, but I'm just not ever going to be a snacker of veggies. So, I try to supplement this by eating things high in fiber to keep hunger at bay. I exercise anywhere from 4-6 days a week (walking, elliptical, cardio videos, weights, running, etc.) so I'm definitely burning calories from exercise. My whole point here is I FEEL HUNGRY AFTER ONLY EATING 20 POINTS A DAY. I try not to eat back all of my activity points, but I do eat a few if I exercise intensely.

So I was curious to see how many calories I was eating by only eating 20 points a day, or even eating 22-24 that I sometimes eat. It turns out that I've only been eating about 900-1100 calories a day, and with exercise it comes to even less than that. I have read in soooo many places not to eat below 1200 because your body can go into starvation mode, and now I wonder if that is why I've been doing to my body?

I went online last night and did some research. After putting my numbers in to several different websites for BMR and what my calorie intake can be to lose 1 pound a week, and it says I can eat roughly 1415 calories a day and still lose weight. And, I can eat even more if I am exercising on that day.

My dilemma is (sorry this is so long): I feel hungry on 20 WW points a day - on 20 points I am eating about 900-1100 calories a day - my research online has given me a number of 1415 calories a day to still lose a pound a week. Should I chuck the 20 points a day for eating the 1415 calories a day to see how I feel about the hunger situation and to see if I can still lose weight? I'm scared that I've been eating too little and that's why the scale is stuck - my body is trying to hold onto every bit of fat. I think maybe getting in more calories and keeping the exercise up will help my body re-energize and get going again and get the scale moving downward.

I still can't believe I was eating so few calories on only 20 points a day. I hate that I'm getting two contrasting ideas - WW tells me to eat 20 points a day which is equaling to 900-1100 calories a day, and my research online has told me to eat 1415 calories a day to lose a pound a week. I'm confused and just frustrated to tell you the truth.


nelie
03-25-2008, 01:28 PM
Well from what I've read, you are supposed to use your 35 flex points throughout the week so really you are alloted closer to 25 points per day. Plus you can get activity points if you do activity. I've also read that they expect you to eat a lot of 0 point foods (specifically veggies) which add up to 200-300 calories per day.

So if you find yourself hungry, I'd definitely increase your veggies (cooked, raw, whatever works for you), try using your flex points more and then use your activity points.

Another option for you, would be to switch to counting calories. Try eating 1400 calories per day and see how that works for you. You could try it for a week or 2 if you like.

Lovely
03-25-2008, 01:34 PM
When you say that you're eating 900-1100 calories by using 20 WW points, are you actually entering all the foods you're eating or just estimating what 20 points is calorie-wise? There's a huge difference. Especially since those 20 points don't include the "0" point foods which all have calories. (Even raw vegetables have calories.) Not to mention the fact that fiber & fat influence the points... 900-1100 seems like a rough estimate.

Those 35 FP are yours to use. Perhaps you're not getting enough energy. Why not plan to use most of them this week? If you were only getting 900-1100 calories on 20 points the extra FP would certainly bring that up. A few people on 3FC have mentioned that when they hit a plateau they upped their calorie intake a little and the pounds started to drop. So, it's something to consider.

You might also try "calorie cycling" the points way (Wendie Plan).

What else are you eating with your WW points? You don't only have to eat raw veggies, either. You can steam some. Mix some up with pasta and a little sauce. Fruit is yummy and generally low in points.

You mention fiber, (which helps to lower points in some cases) but what about protein? That's very important to get enough of it if you're exercising especially. Are you trying to get in the 8 healthy guidelines as well? Maybe there's something your body is missing even though you're eating your base points for the day.


dgramie
03-25-2008, 01:38 PM
This is so interesting. I am a calorie counter and my sister is WW. She is stuck and cant loose even though she is under her 22 points a day. She is now trying my way of dieting and counting calories. She also didnt get enough water in.
She has lost 2lbs in 2 days eating 1400 calories. We figured up tht her points would have been 32 yesterday. She was amazed and cant figure out how she lost . Maybe she was cutting to low also. I dont know!! I weigh alot more than my sister does and my dr put me on 14-15oo calories diet.
If I were you I would try counting calories for a week or two and see what happens. I do know my sister was eating alot of ww cookies and counting hte points.
good luck
debi

Lovely
03-25-2008, 01:42 PM
This is so interesting. I am a calorie counter and my sister is WW. She is stuck and cant loose even though she is under her 22 points a day. She is now trying my way of dieting and counting calories. She also didnt get enough water in.
She has lost 2lbs in 2 days eating 1400 calories. We figured up tht her points would have been 32 yesterday. She was amazed and cant figure out how she lost . Maybe she was cutting to low also. I dont know!! I weigh alot more than my sister does and my dr put me on 14-15oo calories diet.
If I were you I would try counting calories for a week or two and see what happens. I do know my sister was eating alot of ww cookies and counting hte points.
good luck
debi

Cutting below daily points is the same thing as getting too few calories. It can cause stalls & it's unhealthy. It's a big no no! By changing to calories, she was probably upping her intake. Not to mention if she ate a lot of cookies & sweets... well that's not what WW is all about even if they do market them for occassional treats. It sounds like she switched to a few healthier habits while she was changing to calories, which is good!

midwife
03-25-2008, 01:43 PM
I think you should up your calories as well. I'm not an expert in WW, but I think that 1400 calories sounds like a very reasonable place to start. Besides the fruits, veggies, and protein that have been mentioned, I'd like to do a shout out for fat. A little healthy fat will help satiate you and is very important for proper body functioning. Avocados, walnuts, lowfat cheese, olive oil, etc.

I'd be ravenous on 900 calories.

kaplods
03-25-2008, 01:59 PM
The problem likely is not "points vs calories," but rather that of eating as little as possible (not using the flex points).

Points are a calorie shorthand. For the most part it has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as calorie counting. Calorie counting is more precise, but points are easier memorize for more foods and it's easier to do the math in your head. One thing to keep in mind with points though is that zero is never zero in the sense that 10 times zero does not come out to still zero. A good example are the canned soups that Progresso puts out. I read one of the labels and it said that one serving is zero points, but one or two points for the whole can. Reading the ingredients, they were all zero point ingredients. If you're only eating 5 servings of zero point foods, you're rarely taking in more than an extra 100 calories, however if you're eating 10 or 15 you probably need to get out the points calculator and do the math. Or switch to calorie counting, whichever is most convenient for you.

NoVaVTFan
03-25-2008, 02:16 PM
All of you have great points.

I have been keeping religious track of calories instead of just guessing what 20 points worth of food would be calorie wise. That is how I know I am eating very low calories when I stick within 20 points.

As far as veggies go, dinner always involves some kind of veggie, sometimes many different veggies. I sometimes have a small salad with lunch to get more greens in. I always have at least one piece of fruit for snack, but fruit can really add up in points throughout the day.

I'm always scared to use the 35 extra flex points because I'm scared it will make me gain weight. I know they are there to use, but it's hard for me to get my head to realize that it's ok to use them. When I do eat extra points, I try to do it in fruit or something healthy instead of something crappy like junk food.

I think I will try upping my calories to at least 1300 per day for a couple of weeks and see how I do. I'm still going to keep track of how many I'm eating daily, but will use calorie counting as well.

Thanks for everyone's advice - why can't this just be easy!!

Lovely
03-25-2008, 02:24 PM
There have been a few discussions lately about being afraid to use the FP in the WW section. Weight Watchers would not give us Flex Points if they weren't designed to help us lose weight. It's the same thing as saying I'll eat between 1400-1600 calories a day as saying I'll eat between 20-24 points today. (Just as an example, they don't translate the same.) There's this fear, and I admit I have a touch of it, too, that I'm learning to rid myself of, that if we eat our FP that we'll gain. But, our base points are exactly that. Base.

I think that upping your calories is a great place to start, and I hope that it shakes things up a bit and keeps you satisfied during the day. Let us know how it goes!

PhotoChick
03-25-2008, 02:26 PM
Everyone else has given great advice. I will say this is one reason why WW didn't work so well for me. The idea of points is great for people who have a hard time wrapping their heads around calorie counting or who need something a little simpler/more straight forward to start off with. But I found that counting points didn't always match up to counting calories and I found that I could eat 25-28 points a day for 5 straight days and vary between 1000 and 1800 calories, just depending on how many "zero point" foods I ate.

I think at the stage you're at - where you're looking to lose those last 10 lbs - you'd be better served by counting calories, just because at this point, every calorie counts - for good or bad.

And I think you might be psyching yourself out with the whole not wanting to use your flex points. :)

.

dgramie
03-25-2008, 02:34 PM
I think my sister may have been getting alot of xtra calories and not really counting hte points. She siad that she could eat all the veggie and fruit she wanted. I just totalled my veggies for yesterday and it was 335 calories plus another hundred calories in fruit. She would have not counted that at all. I think she may have eaten hidden points without realizing it. Good luck with whatever you choose.
debi

Hat Trick
03-25-2008, 02:39 PM
Great advice from all. One other thing you could try doing is zig-zagging you calories. Aim for 1400 a few days/wk, 1500 one or two days/wk and maybe 1650-1700 a day (just an example). Here's a link to a site that gives how many calories per day per your wt/ht/age/exercise you should eat to lose wt. There's a link under the 'results' info. that gives you a week's worth of 'zig-zagging' calories too. Might just be what your body needs to shake those last 10. Good luck. http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm

QuilterInVA
03-26-2008, 10:31 AM
How did you arrive at that number of calories? WW has built into the point system the calories for free veggies, we are supposed to use out Flex points, etc. Perhaps if you went to a meeting and had a real explanation of the program you would understand a little more about it.

I get 18 points a day, use all my WP and APs and I have lost fine and I am not hungry.

Could you post an actual menu and let us see what you eat?

NoVaVTFan
03-26-2008, 11:01 AM
How did you arrive at that number of calories?
I have been keeping track of everying I eat and putting it into the Daily Plate. That gives me a fairly accurate calorie count.

Perhaps if you went to a meeting and had a real explanation of the program you would understand a little more about it.
Joining WW is not in the budget for me - I bought a house last year and WW just isn't fitting into the budget right now. Borrowing the materials from a friend was the best I could do for now.

WW has built into the point system the calories for free veggies.
Again on the veggies - I just plain don't like many raw or steamed veggies. I will eat salads, and always have some veggies mixed in with dinner, but I'm not gonna force them down my throat all day long when they taste like cardboard to me.

A general menu for me is:

Breakfast:
High-fiber cereal, egg white on toast, low points bagel with cream cheese (choose one).

Snack - fruit, fiber 1 bar, or yogurt.

Lunch - salad, soup, sandwich, fruit, yogurt, wrap - choose two.

Dinner - something from the WW cookbook or other low-fat diet cookbook - always has protein and veggies in it, sometimes pasta or rice.

Evening snack - banana, WW icecream, jello, popcorn - choose one.

That's basically it for me.

JayEll
03-26-2008, 11:33 AM
Have you visited the Weight Watchers forum here at 3FC? You might get some better answers to your questions there.

http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=18

Jay

suitejudyblueeyes
03-26-2008, 12:07 PM
Yep, we've had a couple of discussions recently in the WW Flex area with people who are afraid to use flex points. It's something you need to get over if you want to continue without eating too little. That's the message, point-blank.

Let me try to point out a bit of your logic here.
You don't want to eat your flex points because you're afraid you will gain weight.
You're afraid you're eating too little, and you're hungry.

So you're hungry but you don't want to eat more, even though the WW plan is giving you 35 extra points worth of non-vegetable food, and you won't eat them? I'm really not sure how we can help you with this. You know you need to eat more - you're hungry and your calories are too low. But... you are telling us you don't want to because it might make you gain. So what can we do?

Your FPs are there for a reason. Your calories are low because you're not eating those FPs. Your body needs energy to thrive. You get energy from food.

Actually, it may seem counter-intuitive, but almost every account around here I've read of people who weren't using their FPs, and then focused on eating at least half of them for a couple weeks, subsequently saw a considerable jumpstart in their weight loss. I can't off the top of my head recall anyone saying they're gaining on WW while using their FPs, when being entirely honest about the number of points they're eating.

If the hunger is a problem (as of course it is, who wants to be hungry all the time?), you do owe it to yourself to try upping your intake. Try to overcome that mental stigma against eating more. Use just a couple of those FPs each day and see how you feel. In two weeks' time, if you're gaining, well at least you gave it a shot, you know? But it's something that you might benefit from trying.

Another thing I was curious about - What did you feel like when you were eating 21 points? Or 22? What did you cut out with that change that seems to have made such a difference? When did you switch down to 20? What prompted the change? Were you not losing anymore or did you drop the point because you lost through another 10lb mark? Some people find it unnecessary to drop the point that WW recommends at each 'century' mark if they are still losing on the higher amount. If you were still losing at 21 perhaps you could up it back to 21?

And finally, the other thing I wanted to say was congrats on the progress you've made so far! You've done a wonderful job and it's to be commended. :)

Nancy CA
03-26-2008, 01:26 PM
Wow! I just tried out the Daily Plate site and it's very interesting. I've noticed that I eat a lot of carbs and fat, LOL! Even though I'm using my points well. I think it will help me to think more about using "good" points and give my body what it needs to be healthy.