So, today was my Wednesday Weigh-in, and I can't say I was disappointed when I stepped on the scale this morning ;)
I was at 130.5, which is down 2 whole pounds from last week; and 2.5 pounds below my goal weight. I wasn't actively trying to lose weight this week, but I had a lot going on with Jerry being in the hospital 4 out of 5 days in a row. My average calorie intake was 1,501, which is on the low side for maintenance; but, considering the circumstances, it makes sense. (Next week, it'll probably be back up, and I'm fine with that).
Last week, I weighed in at Weight Watchers and got the materials for their new Beyond the Scale: SmartPoints plan. It definitely did not sound like the right plan for me (especially when I saw that my beloved dried cherries were 8 "SmartPoints" for a quarter cup!), but I was curious as to how many SmartPoints I'd eaten each day this week. I used the new Weight Watchers app to calculate my SmartPoints at the end of each day, just out of curiosity.
For reference, if I was doing Weight Watchers, my daily target to MAINTAIN my weight would be 36 SmartPoints per day, plus 28 SmartPoints per week. If I was trying to LOSE weight, my daily target would be just 30 SmartPoints per day, plus 28 SmartPoints per week.
Here is the result:
W: 1,681 calories; 65 SmartPoints
T: 1,239 calories; 51 SmartPoints
F: 1,972 calories; 63 SmartPoints
S: 1,442 calories; 57 SmartPoints
S: 1,354 calories; 58 SmartPoints
M: 1,240 calories; 44 SmartPoints
T: 1,578 calories; 65 SmartPoints
Totals for the week: 10,506 calories; 403 SmartPoints
Averages each day: 1,501 calories; 58 SmartPoints
That means, in this week, I would have gone OVER by 123 SmartPoints in maintenance, and 165 SmartPoints if I was trying to lose weight. (Yet, I lost 2 pounds this week.)
(Important Note: Since I count calories, and I'm not actively following the SmartPoints plan, I wasn't trying to get the most out of my SmartPoints. If I was trying to follow the SmartPoints plan, I probably would have made different choices about what to eat. I would have tried to fill up on fruits and vegetables, and eat less sugar and/or processed foods, so the SmartPoints counts would probably have been lower. This is NOT a review of the new plan, nor was it an experiment as a week on Weight Watchers' new plan; all I did was calculate how many SmartPoints I'd eaten for a week, out of curiosity.)
Anyway, here is a sample day, based on things that I would typically eat:
Breakfast: Larabar (which is just dates, nuts, and dried fruit) with 8 g. peanut butter; tea with 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1-1/3 Tbsp. half and half (13 SmartPoints; 301 calories)
Lunch: Panera lunch date with a friend- 1/2 chicken caesar salad, 1 cup tomato soup, piece of baguette, unsweetened iced tea (25 SmartPoints; 680 calories)
Dinner: Homemade roasted red pepper and turkey sausage pasta (11 SmartPoints; 394 calories)
Snack/treat: homemade fudge (9 SmartPoints; 198 calories)
Total: 58 SmartPoints; 1,573 calories
This is a very typical day for me--not super healthy, not super junky, just average. I'm not going to bash the new Weight Watchers program, because I understand what Weight Watchers is going for--when "junk" foods are super high in SmartPoints, people will be more likely to make healthier choices. That's a good thing! However... I find that the opposite happens with me. The more restrictions I have, the less likely I am to stick with the program. I get frustrated while trying to find a compromise between foods I enjoy and that fit in with the plan.
Weight Watchers used to be pretty simple when calculating Points values: there was a formula that used calories, fat, and fiber. That was the plan that I used to lose most of the 125 pounds I lost in 2009-2010. They had a new plan, the PointsPlus system, that then used carbs, fat, fiber, and protein to calculate PointsPlus, which made it a little more complicated. Now, they are using calories, saturated fat, protein, carbs, fiber, and sugar to calculate SmartPoints! It seems like instead of getting simpler, the plan is getting much more complicated and overwhelming.
As a newcomer to Weight Watchers back in the day, the biggest appeal to me was that I didn't have to eat a super healthy diet to lose weight. If I was able to stick with a very healthy diet (lots of fruits and veggies, very little sugar, etc), then I wouldn't have been 253 pounds. I'd tried making healthy choices God-only-knows-how-many times, but I was never able to stick with it. When doing Weight Watchers, I was able to eat the foods that I wanted (in smaller portions) and still lose the weight.
In August 2009, at 253 pounds and living off of pizza, Oreos, ice cream, and Dr. Pepper, I was looking for a weight loss plan that I could stick with. I didn't want to go from pizza and ice cream to salads and grilled fish overnight. I was willing to compromise, though, and Weight Watchers (as the program was back then) allowed me to do that. I could still eat pizza, just not half a pie. I could eat Oreos, just not a whole sleeve in one sitting. And I started adding fruits and vegetables because they were low in Points, so I could eat more food.
With this new plan, it would be very hard to fit in even a small treat. I typically eat three meals a day, plus one treat in the evenings (a piece of fudge, for example, like I mentioned yesterday). That 198-calorie piece of fudge was 9 SmartPoints--exactly one fourth of the SmartPoints WW would allow me to have per day on maintenance! And for a special occasion, like a birthday? A piece of carrot cake is 28 SmartPoints, which would use ALL of the 28 weekly SP allotment.
Again, I understand what they were trying to do in getting people to eat healthier--I just know that, for me, the new plan would make me feel like I was on another diet and I would eventually binge on all the foods I couldn't fit into my daily allotment. On one hand, Weight Watchers is responding to the trend in pushing more protein and less carbs; but on the other hand, it doesn't even feel like Weight Watchers any more.
I think the new SmartPoints plan is great for people who already eat a pretty healthy diet, and are just having a hard time losing weight. I also think it would be good for someone who has health issues, and has to cut back on sugar and/or saturated fat. If you spend most of your SmartPoints allowance on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, you could probably still fit in a small treat now and then. For people (like me) who are otherwise healthy and enjoy carbs, or eat some processed foods, and who want to keep things as simple as possible, calorie counting seems to be a better fit.
I'm not suggesting that people don't give the new program a chance. When WW first rolled out the PointsPlus plan, I really didn't like it! That's why I used the old Points plan to start with. Eventually, when I was ready, I really embraced the new plan and it worked out well for me. Who knows, maybe in a few years, I'll decide to give this plan a try.
As of now, I recently lost almost 30 pounds by calorie counting, and I'm 134 days binge-free (woo hoo!)... so I don't want to mess with that by whole-heartedly trying something new, even as an experiment. My friend Andrea did great her first week on the new WW plan, losing 9 pounds(!)--but she said that she wouldn't be able to do that plan for maintenance. She's hoping to get back to goal and then find a different maintenance plan that isn't so restrictive. My sister switched from WW to calorie counting this week, because of the new WW plan, and she lost 2.8 pounds--which she was thrilled with.
There have been tons of mixed reviews of the new WW plan on social media, and it's been an interesting read! If nothing else, it seems to have caused a heated discussion among Weight Watchers members ;) I know I'm always saying this, but everybody is different, so we all just need to find what works for us. Maybe it's Weight Watchers, maybe it's calorie counting, maybe it's macro counting, maybe it's intuitive eating, maybe it's something else. It's interesting to see all the different ways to accomplish one common goal!