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Uncertainty and Changing Plans

I’ve been second-guessing my decision to track SmartPoints.

I know. It’s been two weeks. Actually, it’s been less than two weeks.

Yet, I’m having some doubts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not second-guessing my decision to step away from calorie counting and track points/bites. I am absolutely 100% committed to that decision. Admittedly, letting go of some of that control is hard, but it is worth it. I would rather have a little uncertainty over the exact number of calories consumed if it means not needing to pull out my food scale or tracker as often.

However, I’m not sure that I went back into the right plan.

I love SmartPoints. While I think there are good things to say about all of the SmartPoints plans, Green has always been my happy place. It’s a very livable plan for me.

So, why would I give that up?

Unfortunately, as much as I love Green, the plan isn’t without its flaws. The biggest drawback is that even with the smaller list of zero-point foods (compared to Blue and Purple), there isn’t much of a correlation between points and calories. 30 SmartPoints of chicken and 30 SmartPoints of cake have a very different calorie count.

I don’t plan on being in weight loss mode very long. Eventually, I’m going to take another break. I’m not sure when that’s going to be. I’m also not sure how I’m going to do it. I understand that reverse dieting involves gradually increasing my daily calories week by week until I hit maintenance. I’m just unsure if I’ll be mentally ready to count calories by the time I’m prepared to switch.

Trying to gradually increase my daily SmartPoints is likely to have mixed results simply because the calories don’t line up with the points.

They do with PointsPlus.

The closer correlation between PointsPlus and calories isn’t the only reason I’m considering a switch. Protein is another factor. When I weigh my food out in grams, it’s difficult for me to “see” portion sizes. Since protein lowers the SmartPoints value, I can easily overeat something like chicken breast. On PointsPlus, most lean protein follows a 1 point per ounce guideline. If I have a 12pp portion of chicken, I should probably cut it in half.

I also can’t forget that I stopped tracking SmartPoints in June for a reason. On both PointsPlus and SmartPoints, most of what I eat is the same points. Now, there are some differences, of course, but they balance out. My chicken is a point lower on SmartPoints, but the teaspoon of ghee is a point higher. Unless I have a day where I have some extra sweet treats, things even out. I don’t eat sweets every day. Over a week, I get more points on SmartPoints than PointsPlus. So, the fact that the points for most of my meals balance out is relatively significant.

It sounds like I’ve made up my mind. I haven’t. I feel like I should stick it out a little longer before I switch plans again. After all, I like what I’m doing now. Is this just “the grass is always greener” syndrome? Am I doing this because I’m frustrated that the scale hasn’t shown much movement over the past two weeks, and I think a new plan will kickstart my weight loss?

The latter is definitely a factor in my thought process, but I know that cannot be why I decide to switch plans. Chasing after the plan that gives the quickest results doesn’t work.

That’s why, despite wanting a plan where points and calories are more aligned, I’m not looking at trying the old Points plan. I know that’s not a sustainable plan for me.

At the end of the day, I just need to make a decision. If I decide to switch to PointsPlus tomorrow and am completely miserable, I can always switch back after the week. My goal is to stay in my daily and weekly points. Switching plans doesn’t change that.

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Back to my Happy Place

I’m going back to the WW Green plan on Monday.

Well, ok, that’s only half-true. I’m going to be following the same plan, but I’m not rejoining WW. The drama surrounding the company is undoubtedly a factor, but it’s not the only reason. I still don’t want to deal with weigh-ins and the pressure of Lifetime that led me to leave almost 6 months ago. Plus, I’m already an iTrackBites pro member. I can’t justify paying $500 a year for a plan that I’m currently getting for $18—[Note: I joined iTrackBites during a promotional period and got locked into a discounted rate].

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this decision. It seems to me that this year, a lot of people are moving away from counting points. While I, personally, never struggled with under-eating on SmartPoints, I know many people eat too few calories. (But that’s something I’ll rant about another day). Even I jumped on the calorie counting bandwagon. I started with double-tracking both calories and Points (both SmartPoints and PointsPlus). Then, I transitioned to counting calories.

The truth is, calorie counting isn’t right for me. I know losing weight (or fat, rather) is a matter of calories in and calories out. It’s a mental thing. When I count calories, I get obsessive. I have a scale that weighs and measures down to a tenth of a gram. I don’t track “one scoop” of protein powder. I will track 31.3 grams.

I know it’s my own fault. I’m the one doing it. It’s why I burn out on calorie counting.

Last fall and winter, I was killing it. Lately, however, I’ve been struggling with consistency. I keep self-sabotaging- all while desperately wanting to be back in the same place I was a year ago.

I left SmartPoints because I started putting too much pressure on the number on the scale. My weight loss slowed down, and I got distracted. I started experimenting, and my consistency in staying on plan suffered.

Lately, however, I stopped caring about the number on the scale. I haven’t weighed myself in months. I imagine the number on the scale has gone up; I feel like it’s gone up. That doesn’t really matter, though. I’m not frustrated with the scale. I’m frustrated because I feel like, no matter what I do, I struggle to stay consistent. I stay on track for a few days to a few weeks. Then, I self-sabotage. I eat like a jerk. I stop tracking.

And the entire time, I yell at myself: “Do it anyway! You don’t eat like a jerk! Stop it!”

Yet, it’s not enough. I keep ignoring myself. I don’t know why.

So, I decided to really look at things. What was going on the last time I truly felt in control? What was I doing the last time I was consistent for an extended period?

SmartPoints. I wasn’t looking at calories. I was just following the WW Green Plan, and I absolutely loved it. I wasn’t perfect by any means (though, what is perfect?) I still had days where I made less than ideal choices. However, I always got right back on track immediately after. An indulgent dessert with lunch was followed by a simple dinner of protein and vegetables. I rarely spiraled out of control as I do now.

So, I’m stepping away from the meticulous stress of calorie counting. I’m going back to not weighing and measuring every morsel of food I eat. I’m keeping secondary metrics turned off for now. I won’t be tracking my zero point foods with precision. I don’t see a need to weigh my protein powder when I can have just under a scoop and a half for 1sp. I probably won’t measure my coffee creamer anymore. (A quarter cup of NutPods is 1 point, and I know I don’t use that much). 

I’m still taking a break from the number on the scale. However, I am going back to weigh-ins on Monday. I cashed in the money I earned using the WayBetter App and ordered a Shapa scale. I want to see whether or not the scale is going up or down. Right now, my goal is to see the number go down, but not gaining is my top priority. In a few months, I’ll reassess. Maybe I’ll slowly increase my points and reverse back into maintenance. Perhaps I’ll go back to counting calories again.

For now, I’m just going back to my happy place.