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Sticking to what Works… Until it Doesn’t

I love the WW Green Plan. I lost a bit of weight on it back when it was the new SmartPoints plan a few years back before I put the weight back on when I went on medication to manage my mental health. When I started back on it in September, I spent time modifying the WW app to allow myself to go back to following that plan.

I lost about 30 pounds on SmartPoints.

Last Sunday, I weighed in at 0.2 pounds above what I weighed on March 1. I have been in this same weight decade since December. My only saving grace is that even with some large gains, I haven’t gone up into the higher weight decade.

Now, I haven’t been perfect, but I never have been (and never will be). Still, I’ve had more good days than bad days and that’s always been enough. Lately, however, it hasn’t been enough.

This week, I’ve been doing an experiment inspired by Brianna’s own calorie and point comparison experiment. I decided to switch to tracking on iTrackBites instead of the WW app to take advantage of the secondary metrics. Clearly, something has not been working for me and I need to figure out what it is. I figured the first step would be to look at how many calories I’m eating.

Now, this was a rough week to start an experiment between PMS hunger and eating like a jerk, but the on plan days have been very insightful.

I am still following the Wendie Plan. I do not count points for fruits, vegetables, or the oil I drizzle on my veggies before roasting or air frying (but if I make a salad dressing or something like waffles, I will count points for the oil in that). I am, however, counting calories for those things.

On a “good” day, I’ve been averaging about 1,831 calories per day. According to my Fitbit, my 7 day average calorie burn is about 2,160 calories. [This doesn’t include my “high” point day which would obviously skew my calorie consumption]. It’s no wonder I’m not losing weight.

I’ve looked at the numbers. Obviously, the fruit, veggies, and oil that I don’t count as points still have calories. However, even after subtracting the calories from those foods, I’m still hitting my calorie goal. I know people who, even with 0 point foods, struggle to hit their calorie goals without blowing through their points. I don’t have that problem at all.

If I spend my entire points allowance on chicken breast, that’s over 2,000 calories. On a bundt cake? 640. That’s an average of 75 calories per point vs 21. The problem is, I eat a lot more chicken than I do cake- which is what WW wants me to do.

On PointsPlus, there’s a 10 calorie per point difference between chicken breast and cake.

Most of what I eat on a regular basis is either the same points between SmartPoints and PointsPlus or is fewer points on SmartPoints. I don’t eat a lot of sugary foods. Between daily and weekly points, I have 14 points more on SmartPoints than I do on PointsPlus. If most of my foods are the same on both plans, it means I’m easily overeating on SmartPoints. Take my work lunch for example? The protein powder I use is a point more on PointsPlus than on SmartPoints, but the 1sp fiber powder is 0pp. This means that my smoothie is going to be 9 points on either plan. However, I’m looking at 9 out of 30 points on Green and 9 out of 26 on PointsPlus (which I still think is the “yellow” plan- even if Brianna says it should be the glitter plan). That’s nearly 35% of my daily target vs 30%. Things like that can add up FAST.

One thing that confused me about when SmartPoints first came out was that, even 40+ pounds above my goal weight, I hit my minimum daily and weekly target. It just didn’t make sense. At the point where I hit my minimum of 30 dailies and 35 weeklies on SmartPoints, I was still at about 29 PointsPlus. Right now, I’m at about 26pp. Being at my minimum while I’m around 12 pounds from hitting a healthy weight range makes perfect sense. At 30+ pounds above? Not so much.

So, I’m stepping away from SmartPoints- at least for the time being. Tomorrow, I’m going to switch my tracker on iTrackBites to start tracking PointsPlus values on the Carb Concious plan. I’ll still be double tracking calories- just to keep myself in check and see what other tweaks I need to start making. Other than switching plans, nothing else will be changing. The foods I eat will probably be the same- with a few tweaks here and there. I still plan on following the Wendie Plan guidelines for PointsPlus.

I’m hoping that making a few small tweaks here and there with my diet, in addition to starting a mini fitness challenge for my Birthday (which I’ll announce at some point) in addition to finishing out Liift 4 will be enough to get the scale moving in the right direction.

Now, I will be adding one more food to my list of foods I will NOT be counting as points. Every morning, I add two scoops of unflavored collagen peptides to my water. On SmartPoints, that comes out to 0 points. On PointsPlus, however, that’s 2 points. I still plan on counting the calories for it, but since I’m taking the collagen as a supplement and not as food, I’m going to treat it like I do my vitamins or any medications and not count any points. If I find that I need to start cutting back on some things, I’ll look into counting it in the future, but for now, I’m going to see how not counting it works for me.

I’ve always struggled with “the grass is always greener” syndrome when it comes to diets. No matter how well a plan is working for me, I always look at others and go “I wonder if I should switch.” It’s taken me a long time to reach the point where I’m no longer wanting to make major changes every few weeks. I’ve been staying in my own lane. It’s been working for me, so why change?

Except, it’s clearly not working anymore, so I need to make a change.

I’m nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve been on PointsPlus. I’m used to having 30 points a day that I aim to divide evenly between 3 meals. I’m not used to dividing 26 points up; 26 points don’t even divide up evenly between the meals. I’ve never had anything below 30 points on PointsPlus, so that in itself is going to be a challenge- on top of relearning the points values for foods. I’m going to have to learn how to eat with these changes: figuring out how to divide my points and learning how to enjoy the fact that I don’t have to schedule my entire week around one dessert without using it as an excuse to eat like a jerk.

It’s going to take some time to figure things out, but the best way for me to figure that out is just to get started.

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Seasons and Grace

Summer has always been a struggle for me when it comes to losing weight. I don’t handle heat well and my dad is too cheap to air condition the house, so summer is generally a miserable time for me. Most of the time, my survival strategy is to stay out of my house as much as possible. I’ll sit at Starbucks for most of the day (not eating much of anything) and pick up fast food on my way home around 10pm (because, at that point, I’ve gone from having zero appetite to being starving).

Most years, I end up gaining weight during the summer because I’m generally sedentary or I eat like a total jerk. Last year, I managed to get through the summer only gaining a couple of pounds. That’s huge for me.

This year is going to be different. This is going to be the second year that I actually lose weight during the summer months. (I lost about 15 pounds during the summer of 2010- most of that time, I was living in Tucson).

So, I’m going to give myself some grace this summer. In a few weeks, I’ll be finished with LIIFT4. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do after the program is over. Realistically, I’m not going to physically be able to do a workout program that’s too intense. This is not the time for me to do super heavy lifting (as much as I’m aching to get heavier weights) or give C25K a try- especially since going to the gym isn’t likely to happen for a couple more months.

However, during these last three weeks of LIIFT4, I’ve realized that one of my biggest issues with my workouts (other than a lack of equipment) is a lack of flexibility. So, maybe in July, August, and even into September, I’m going to focus more on yoga-type workouts where I can work more on increasing my flexibility, balance, and strength. I’m sure there will also be some Leslie Sansone walks or outdoor walks during the cooler hours of the morning/night, but it’s also likely that many of my steps will be earned using my Cubii.

I may order out a bit more on hotter days when I don’t have the energy to cook, but I’m going to go for options like Panera salads and grain bowls over a large #10 combo with a frosty at Wendy’s. I’m also going to give myself a little more grace with my produce choices. Maybe I won’t be roasting vegetables every day. In fact, I might not even be eating vegetables with every meal. I may have the occasional meal where I decide to take advantage of the abundance of seasonal fruit. After all, I keep seeing Brianna and Meg post photos of yogurt bowls with fruit and granola that just look amazing and I think I want in on that. I’ll go back to eating less fruit in the fall and winter (which, seems right).

One of the biggest things I’m going to do to help me get through the summer is allow myself permission to make coconut water a zero point food. Now, to be perfectly honest, I think coconut water is gross. I don’t like the stuff. However, when it’s pushing 90° in my bedroom, sometimes, water alone isn’t enough. Since I dislike Gatorade as well, I’ve learned to just deal with coconut water on days when I’m feeling lightheaded due to the heat. I’m not likely to abuse a drink I dislike, so as long as I also stick to my goals of drinking a gallon of pure water a day among other 0 point beverages (unsweetened tea, seltzer) I see no issue with allowing myself to not count the points for any coconut water I need to drink.

It’s all about giving myself a little grace to make it through the summer. If that means eating more fruit, not doing as much intense cardio, and occasionally drinking coconut water without counting a single point for it, then that’s what it’ll take.

Because this will be the summer that I’m not afraid to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts.

This will be the summer that I set goals to improve my physical fitness in very specific and measurable ways.

This will be the summer that I break my food rules and learn to love food instead of fearing it.

This will be the summer where I enjoy my Birthday without using it as an excuse to eat like a jerk for a month or even a week. I will take the day off from tracking (possibly enjoying some Birthday freebies throughout the day), but stick to my Wendie Plan points the rest of the week. (I’m sure I’ll fit in a few freebies throughout the rest of the month as well- no need to pig out on everything in one day).

And maybe this will be the summer I lose weight and reach my goal.