March 11, 2020

Recent Thoughts About Weight Watchers (and my new favorite food log app!)


Thank you all for the sympathy (and empathy!) on my last post. I'm feeling better about it all today--just trying to deal with one situation at a time. Why does it seem that all the stressful situations happen all at once? Chances are, in a month, I'll feel bored without having all kinds of things going wrong ;)

Like I said yesterday, I'm remembering now why I quit doing Weight Watchers and started counting calories instead. I made the switch from Weight Watchers to calorie counting in 2015, I think.

I certainly don't love counting anything at all--I wish I could eat intuitively and be happy with that. But my emotional eating (stress) makes me eat way too much. So, I think in order to lose this extra weight and maintain the weight loss, I'll always need to track my calories.

Lately, I've been attempting Weight Watchers, but I only count a few times a week (not deliberately--I do plan to track daily). Then I get stressed out about something and derailed from WW. So, here are some thoughts that I've noted since I stated counting Points again...

(To be clear, I'm following the older Flex Plan, counting PointsPlus; not Smart Points.)

*I'd actually forgotten the PointsPlus values for most foods, which was interesting. After counting them for so long, I thought I'd never forget!

*I had to calculate the PointsPlus in my recipes (thankfully, I had the recipes stored in Fat Secret, so I already had the nutrition info calculated--I just had to convert it to PointsPlus).

*I've been tracking calories as well as PointsPlus, simply because it's easier for me and I wanted to do a comparison. I used to think that WW was easier, but now it just seems like a hassle.

*I'm glad I was keeping track of both calories and PointsPlus, because I discovered why sticking with Weight Watchers was so difficult. I was getting less than 1200 calories per day when sticking with my PointsPlus allowance! I even used activity PointsPlus and my calorie count was very low.

*When calorie counting, I used to spend about 300 calories on breakfast, 400-500 calories on lunch, and 500 calories on dinner (plus my bedtime treat, which was usually 200-400 calories). When I lost quite a bit of weight (going from 160 to 121 by calorie counting), I was averaging just under 1,600 calories per day. I didn't feel hungry or deprived. (Here is a detailed post about that.)

*I noticed that when I try to stick with PointsPlus, I'm not as satisfied with my food because I'm purposefully choosing lower fat/lower calorie foods. Personally, I enjoyed calorie counting because I liked having smaller portions of richer foods more than bigger portions of lower fat foods.

*I bought some Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines because they are convenient and fast and easy for my lunches. I usually have one with a piece of fruit. They aren't filling at all! (Even though this lasagna looks NOTHING like the photo, it surprisingly tasted really good; it was just way too small.)


When I used to eat frozen meals before for lunch (counting calories), I would have the Stouffer's ones--they are heartier and more filling.

*To increase my calorie intake without going over my PointsPlus allowance, I ate several fruits and vegetables, but I didn't really want them. I like to eat a piece of fruit once or twice a day, but I don't have the appetite to eat five or six pieces. Also, if I ever want to try to eat intuitively, I don't want to make myself eat things "just because" right now.

Which leads me to my new favorite app...

A blog reader, Jen, emailed me about an app to keep track of calories (along with ALL of the macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and everything you can think of). Since I'm such a numbers person, I downloaded the free version and gave it a try. It's called Cronometer. You don't even have to use the app--there is a web version, too.

I LOVE IT.

More than I liked My Fitness Pal, more than Fat Secret, more than all the other apps I've tried. The database is fantastic, storing recipes is super easy, it's a very clean looking app without bright colors and flashy things.


I never thought I'd be interested in this, but I love seeing the nutrition analysis as I enter foods. I can easily see what vitamins and minerals I'm getting a lot of and what I'm lacking in--something I've never really cared to look at before, but having it so easily available at a glance actually made me want to choose healthier foods.

For instance, I might see that I'm really lacking fiber after breakfast and lunch, so I'll try to choose to make something with more fiber for dinner (likely something with beans).

You can connect the app to devices (like my Garmin!) to keep track of exercise as well.

My very favorite part of the app, though, and what sets it apart from other apps I've used, is that when you enter a recipe, it keeps track of the weight of all the ingredients in grams--this is the BEST because there is no dividing recipes into four equal portions or whatever when you're done cooking. The app calculates how many grams the entire recipe weighs, and you can vary portion sizes however you want...

I can just fill my plate or bowl with however much I want to eat, and weigh it on the food scale. Then I just enter the weight of my portion, and it calculates the nutrients in that portion. In most cases, I've been able to do that with particular foods on other apps, but never for recipes.



(In the photo above, I selected "1 serving" which is 376 grams. But you can change that to any amount of grams you want without having to mess around with the number of servings.) I LOVE not having to equally portion out dinner before eating, just so I can get an accurate calorie count.

More screen shots from the nutrition in the recipe shows how many nutrients you can view:








The free version of the app is totally fine for everything I need, but I did end up buying the premium version for one reason--Jerry can "friend me" to view and track my recipes on his own (free version) app. So when I make dinner, he just searches for the recipe like any other food, and my recipe will show up. He enters his portion and adds it to his log. It's a huge convenience/time saver for him.

Once I tried out that app, I was hooked. I know I've been so back and forth about everything having to do with weight loss lately. I was really excited about trying Weight Watchers again, but that fizzled out quickly when I started remembering the things I really didn't like about it. I was bored with calorie counting, which is why I wanted to try WW again in the first place.

But this Cronometer app helped a lot because it's new to me (which keeps me from being bored, at least for a while) and because I found I really like seeing the analysis of my diet at a glance. It actually makes me WANT to eat healthier.

I've still been stress eating, but I've actually been tracking it anyway. And some days I do really well; others, not so much. Either way, it's been fun using the new app. (Thank you, Jen!)


7 comments:

  1. The app sounds interesting! Does it account for weight of cooked vs uncooked products? Or do you only register the weight of cooked products?

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    Replies
    1. I don't think I've run into an issue with that, yet. I like to cook skillet meals or "one pot" meals, where I don't actually remove anything from the pot. So, I just enter it all as the ingredients are when I put them in the pot. You can enter the ingredients as cooked or as raw, so I imagine it's just up to you how you choose to do it.

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  2. Thanks for this! I've been using MyFitnessPal but it's been really wonky the last couple of weeks, with connection issues. This app looks pretty good.

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    Replies
    1. My Fitness Pal lost me when they started refreshing ads whenever I would add a food. It took so long to add my foods! I also didn't like that there were SO many choices of user-entered foods... it took me a while to find one that I agreed with (or that had the servings in weights versus measurements). Even when using the free version of Cronometer, the ads didn't bother me. I'm surprised I never came across the app before!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I have also tried to go back to WW but it just isn't working for me. I've been using MFP for about 6 weeks and it has helped, but it does feel a bit stale. I might give this a try...

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    Replies
    1. Steph, I think you will like it! If you're just looking for something fresh, it's a nice change. I miss you, by the way! <3

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I use the Lose it App which has a huge database, but I think if I want anything other than calories, I have to upgrade to the app you pay for! Might be worth a try to switch over.

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