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Weight Watchers and Calories

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Old 01-29-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
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Default Weight Watchers and Calories

I tried sharing these concerns on the Weight Watchers boards, but I was brutally attacked/bullied. Apparently, I violated the number one commandment of Weight Watchers: "Thou shall not question the plan."

Anyway, I'm hoping that I can get some insight on here, as I really need to speak to people who understand how WW works, but I'm also a little nervous. I've been on here before (on this account and on SignsofPoetry- my old account from YEARS ago), but with my experience with people on the official WW boards, I'm not sure I can deal with more people like that.

My friend and I are both on Weight Watchers, but we've been having some doubts about the program. Right now, I'm at 31 points, and my friend is at 47.

Yesterday, my friend did an experiment. He decided to track is food on both WW and another calorie counting website. At the end of the day, he had eaten approximately 193 calories of "free" fruit and vegetables. He was over his calorie goal, but he still had points to spare. After dinner, he had 10 points left, but only 140 calories. Had he been on a calorie counting plan, he'd probably opt for something along the lines of a fruit snack or pudding cup and some fruit as a late-night snack (or perhaps some berries and whipped cream).

However, because he had 10 points left, he decided to skip the 0 point fruit and eat two snacks (some veggie straws and a Special K snack), and was still under.

Lately, we've both been dealing with a fear that WW is too high in calories for our goals, and- more importantly- a pressure to eat LESS fruit and vegetables. I eat vegetables with every single meal, and I tend to include anywhere from 1-2 cups of vegetables with my meals on average. I also will nibble on fruit if I'm in need of a quick snack to hold me over between meals.

Yet, I've been known to eat half a dozen whole wheat mini muffins (homemade) because I don't want to have 9 points left over. On those days, I'm often within my calorie range(s) on most other websites, and I'm not hungry, but I still feel the pressure to "eat my points."

Anyone here relate?
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:19 PM   #2
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Well, according to the guidelines, you are to eat 5 fruits and vegetables.

Not 5 of each, 5 total. So I separate that as 2 pieces of fruit, and 3 veggies, just because I feel like that makes sense for my body. Are you measuring? Some servings are 1/2 a cup and some are a cup. Some believe in counting bananas... It just really depends.

Are you getting in your 2 tsps of oil? How are you using those? If they are in your veggies, count accordingly.

Are you using low-fat, no-fat items? Are you getting your low-fat dairy in?

There are so many possibilities of different menus... Maybe you can post your menu from yesterday?

We welcome all questions here, but need more information.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:08 PM   #3
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Warning long - but this is a topic I find interesting.

I personally track my calories and my WW points every day. I also track my calorie deficit (amount burned less amount consumed) every day. Of all of these the calorie deficit is the only one that matters to me in the end.

WW points plus

To track WW points I use the WW site. I don't think there is any magic whatsoever in the WW points plus system. I think that using points rather than calories does 2 positive things. First, a LOT of people will not count calories. It is too much trouble and they just won't do it. They will count points plus though. Also, I think that WW somewhat gently uses points to try to get people to eat a more healthy diet.

Fruits and vegetables aren't "free" exactly. They are zero point. WW wants to encourage people to eat more of them. I know that when fruit had points I hardly ever ate it because I didn't love fruit at the time and I hated to spend points on them. Now that they are zero I eat them more often and have learned to really like some of them. All that aside the WW formula assumes that you are eating your 5 F/V servings a day.

As for other foods, WW gently disadvantages carbs and fats a bit and advantages protein. This is based upon the fact that the body burns more calories digesting protein that fat or carbs.

So for people who won't track calories and need help with healthy eating the WW points formula does work well.

However, because it is a formula you can't look at it as precisely as you do calorie. You can game it a bit to eat "more" food than you would eat under a strict calorie counting regime. Of course, you can game your mind all you want to but your body isn't gamed.

WW tries to do a formula, BTW, that creates a deficit of 1000 calories a day (i.e. a 2 pound weight loss a week) and assumed you eat a certain amount of zero point fruits and veggies. The formula falls apart at the lower point ranges because the formula also can't assign you so few points that you would eat less than 1000 calories a day. So the person who is at 26 points a day and is toward the lower end of the weight range (but still overweight) may not have a 1000 calorie deficit. WW also assumes a certain minimum level of activity (not including exercise) in coming up with that 1000 calorie deficit. For me, I know that on an ordinary day without exercise I don't hit that minimum level of activity so I'm not going to have a 1000 calorie deficit in any event.

Look up WW patent and some of the articles about it (Wikipedia has a good one) that discusses all this. This is also an informative article:

http://sockii.squidoo.com/weight-wat...-problem-of-29

Calorie counting

I also count calories on My Fitness Pal. The obvious question is why do I still do WW if I'm counting calories? There are a couple of reasons. First, I like that WW gives you daily minimum points (yes daily points are your minimum which you can add to with weekly points and activity points). But, you still get those weekly points. On My Fitness Pal I can set daily points but there is no way to set it to be an average of X points over a week. To me, it is unrealistic to think I will eat the exact same points each day. On WW I might eat 26 (my minimum) on some days and might eat 37 on another. But I can use my weekly points (and APs if need be) to make sure I stay overall in balance over the course of a week. So recording on WW is a good check to make sure I don't go over on a weekly basis. Like you, if my calorie count for the day is reasonable and I've eaten healthy all day then I don't worry if I am a point or two under my daily minimum occasionally. The key word there is occasionally.

Also, the big thing about WW for me isn't the points or the weight loss program. There are lots of ways to successfully lose weight eating in a healthy manner. What I like about WW though are the meetings and the accountability of the weigh in. When I consistently go to meetings I lose weight. When I don't consistently go I gain weight. End up story. So that is what I get from WW and points plus is irrelevant to that.

Calorie Deficit

Far more important than counting points plus or counting calories is looking at my calorie deficit. I have a Fitbit which tells me my calories burned (I do name some activities that the Fitbit doesn't measure well). MFP talks to Fitbit and tells it what I've eaten. I have a certain calorie deficit I want to have each day. I realize this isn't exact but it's close enough. Fitbit also tells me what my deficit is for the week. That is what I look at. I don't care how many calories I eat each day so long as I have the minimum deficit that I want to have (yes, yes, I work to eat in a healthy manner). The point is that losing weight is based upon that deficit and so I make having that deficit my mail goal. If I have the deficit and I've eaten in a healthy manner for the day then that is what I care about, not whether I've eaten X points plus.

And, I keep my motivation high and my goals short term by just focusing on each week's weigh in and meeting.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koshka View Post
I think that WW somewhat gently uses points to try to get people to eat a more healthy diet.
This. And, what is up with those WW posters being so mean and rude?! It's like, all I ever hear about those forums is that people are snarky and awful... Yipes!
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:56 AM   #5
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Yeah...what they all said.

I often track both (like most days) so I can see my macros (weight lifter). Some days I'm on target with cals but under on WW points. Some days it's opposite. Through the week....they are almost identical. It was getting so bad that I was stressing over everything. LOL. I stopped calorie counting and just stuck to WW (my husband does it with me and he just got to goal).

Stress can do terrible things to weight loss.

Do trust the program. They didn't just happen upon the numbers...they just ranked #1 on US world's diets for 2014 AGAIN. Because it fits peoples lives and anyone can make this work for them.

And I totally eat more than 5 fruits and veggies a day. Yesterday I had a banana, 3 clementines, an apple, and more veggies than I can count. So does my husband. Good, healthy food does good things for your body. Don't worry about it unless and until you have a problem.

And then, you still have to look at a downward trend more than just week to week. Good luck!
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Old 02-03-2014, 01:46 PM   #6
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I have 28 points per day and I am ALWAYS over and still losing. I eat most of my weekly points I may have 5 left at the end of the week and all of any activity points I earn. I'm tracking my full days steps as activity so some days when I'm in meetings it's 0 pts some days when I get a chance to work out 3.

I think the reason WW formula works for me vs calorie counting is because of the macronutrient profile of the foods vs just the calories. Plus I eat way more fruits and veggies.

Example...I am starving and wanted a snack. I scanned these popchips and they were 3 pts for a tiny bag and it would not have really helped my hunger. I then scanned a small back of turkey jerky and it was 1 point 70 calories. If I were calorie counting 30 tiny calories isn't much and would have gone for the chips, but because of the formula lean protein is better for you than carbs so the pts speak for themselves. It's helping me make smarter choices.

Also, there is this yummy pretzel hummus packages that I used to ALWAYS eat. It's pretty high in calories so I assumed 6 pts when I looked at it this morning. It's 10pts! 10! 4 pts has more meaning to me than 100-200 calories for some reason.
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #7
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Yes I do relate, I have been on and off WW for 4 + years. In my last road trip with WW I lost 98lbs. I have just in the past year gained and need to get about 25 lbs of before i get totally out of control.
I do feel you ave to eat all the points or you will not loss weight at a nice and even pace. I don't really think fruit is free per say, it is 0 points as long as you don't go over the allowable amount.
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:29 AM   #8
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Hey I have a question.....How do I add the little weight loss tracker to my comments?
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Old 02-07-2014, 02:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divajackie View Post
Also there is this yummy pretzel hummus packages that I used to ALWAYS eat. It's pretty high in calories so I assumed 6 pts when I looked at it this morning. It's 10pts! 10! 4 pts has more meaning to me than 100-200 calories for some reason.
Oh my GOD. Don't you hate when that happens?! I have to admit that even though I try to drink only skim milk for my dairy servings, I have a sad love for chocolate milk. I used to buy this 500 ml bottle of chocolate milk on days when I was at work all day, so that I would still be able to get in my two servings of dairy. I figured the points would be 6 or 7...when I actually plugged the info into the calculator, it was 10 bloody points! Talk about feeling guilty over my chocolate milk jones.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:31 AM   #10
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Hello,
The earlier post about WW is spot on in my opinion, but I also wanted to add that I eat as much fruits and veggies as I want...snacking on fruits fills in my need for munchies especially when working overnight and I never had a problem losing once the program kicked in full force. I treat WW like a game. Theoretically, I understand how they work if you want to convert it to calories, than 1pt (eating)=30-35 calories. This is how I guestimate when I don't have access to my computer or phone. So if I am out with friends and I see a meal that is 600 calores, i know that is 20 pts! I have to make the decision to go into my pp or my activity points. To gain 1 activity point you must burn about 80 calories. I only count calories when it is what I would consider trackable and are on purpose (like I purposefully am doing the activity to exercise)...so most activities like running, walking, elliptical etc, I will add to my activivity points, but things like, taking a leisurely walk with a friend, weight activities (because I can't really track reps etc) and maybe something like playing at the beach, I won't track. I have a goal to not use activity points, but most of the time I do use them and end up with about 10-20 pts at the end of the week. Not tracking those extra activity points gives me that extra boost of self esteem because tehn I can say, well, i really earned more sctivity points than that! I think that trusting in the WW system is key to success. I lost 70 lbs using it when I first started, stopped (a common mistake) and am now back to using it to lose the 30 lbs I gained; and I have seen some great results in toning up and expect to start losing once my muscle tone is set. This happened last time too. My first go around, I didn't lose much the first couple of months but then it was like I was melting! It was pretty great and I am excited to see that happen again. Just have faith in the program, like a previous poster said, it has been named the #1 weight loss program so many times for a reason!

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Old 02-08-2014, 10:24 AM   #11
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I feel I need to comment. I am on the WW message boards in fact the same board as the OP. Honey has been given tons of advice right from the get go. and always has a reason why she can't follow the advice given. If they have been less than friendly as of late it is because they are so frustrated . Just wanted to point out there are 2 sides to every story and don't believe everything you hear.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:03 PM   #12
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I feel I need to comment. I am on the WW message boards in fact the same board as the OP. Honey has been given tons of advice right from the get go. and always has a reason why she can't follow the advice given. If they have been less than friendly as of late it is because they are so frustrated . Just wanted to point out there are 2 sides to every story and don't believe everything you hear.
Wow.

Maybe it's just me, but I found this really unnecessary. There's something really...well....to be perfectly blunt, you're coming off as snotty. Just my opinion, but I don't think you "needed" to come into this thread and make everyone "aware" of why you think the OP encountered unpleasantness on the WW boards. BTW, she's obviously not the only one who has.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:28 PM   #13
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There's snarkiness on every forum, including this one. Sometimes you just have to be the better person and rise above it. Don't let things get to you. Also, don't bring attention to a situation that happened on another website because it is irrelevant. We are here to help, not discourage. She was obviously reaching out.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by k8325 View Post
I think that trusting in the WW system is key to success. I lost 70 lbs using it when I first started, stopped (a common mistake) and am now back to using it to lose the 30 lbs I gained; and I have seen some great results in toning up and expect to start losing once my muscle tone is set. This happened last time too. My first go around, I didn't lose much the first couple of months but then it was like I was melting! It was pretty great and I am excited to see that happen again. Just have faith in the program, like a previous poster said, it has been named the #1 weight loss program so many times for a reason!
I agree to a point, but only to a point. There is a great Bruce Lee quote:

Quote:
Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless.
Accept no way as the way, accept no limitation as limitation
Here is a great article talking about it. http://www.alwyncosgrove.com/absorb-what-is-useful/

I think about this a lot. There is no one way to success and we are all different. I am not much into what I consider "guru mentality." That is, the idea that there is some one guru or program that has all the answers and that you just have to follow that one program and reject all others.

I love WW. I am a lifetime member (regained through my own fault, not due to WW). I find a lot of it useful. I find the meeting and weigh in very important to me. On the other hand, some of WW is useless for me. The way WW counts points is useless for me. I like more data. I like looking at the actual calorie count and the actual nutritional data. Not everyone does and - for them - just going by points works best. But, for me, counting points has little benefit. I do actually count them because it is easy enough to do and I always stay within them, but truthfully the calorie counting is much more useful for me.

I use the parts of WW that I find useful and I don't use others that I don't. For example, I think body composition is really important. I want to lose fat and reduce my body fat percentage. WW is all about the weight number and doesn't really focus on body fat and I think that is a mistake. So, I don't look to WW on that issue.

WW is a tool for me. It is a very useful tool. But, it isn't an all-in-1 super multi-tool that does everything. I use it when it is useful for me and I don't use the parts of it that aren't useful for me.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:19 PM   #15
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Having the fruit and vegetables as zero points is part of the Points Plus way of counting. The calories from the fruits are figured into your daily points. Also if you were a member before Points Plus you will notice that all of the points were changed. I subscribe to WW online and I love the online calculator to figure the points of anything.

I also love to eat oranges as one of my fruits. You are allowed to go over "2" servings of fruit if you want to. But let's face it, how many people are going to sit there and gorge on a bag of apples or oranges? But many folks, myself included, can finish off a package of cookies, or a large bag of chips mindlessly.

I stay away from bananas, I know it has a high sugar/carb content. Pineapples too have a high sugar content, but some fresh pineapple once in a while won't kill ya. It is good for you. So are bananas, btw.
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