OK, so I’ve had two full weeks on calorie counting, as opposed to Weight Watchers, which I’ve done for the last few years. In reality, I’ve spent most of my six years on maintenance doing Weight Watchers, and only about 18 months on calorie counting. But since I’ve been struggling with losing about 8 pounds since I got back from vacation last year, I decided to give calorie counting another try.
The first week, I realized that I had missed some aspects of counting calories. I like the fact that while every food does have calories, I’m not penalized for eating more or less of certain foods, like I am on Weight Watchers. I do love chicken breast, and I eat it all the time, so the fact that it has been zero points on Weight Watchers since December was a plus. On the other hand, when I would want to have something other than chicken breast, like, say, meatloaf or beef stir-fry, I would feel like I was being penalized. Beef isn’t terrible, and sometimes even I have to eat something other than chicken!
I also liked that the “bad” foods weren’t so heavily penalized when counting calories. I didn’t love the fact that if I had an apple, I had to count calories (apples have a surprising amount of calories!), but I did like the fact that if I had three Hershey’s kisses, it only counted for 60 calories, which is only 5 percent of my 1200 calorie day, versus the Weight Watchers program, where I would be wasting 3 of my precious 23 daily points (about 13 percent of my daily allotment!) on a tiny amount of chocolate.
As I mentioned in my last post, Weight Watchers added quite a few “free“ foods last December, with plain chicken breast, eggs, corn, and beans being the most notable for me. I like all those foods, so when I didn’t have to count them, I just naturally ate more of them. I’m sure that isn’t their goal, but what can I say…if you tell me I can eat more food, I’m going to eat more food! I did not get to be overweight because I have great willpower with the things I like to eat. 😛
I really thought that when I switched to calorie counting that I would discover that I was eating way more food than I really should be, at least according to Weight Watchers. As much as I despise doing it, I did dual-track in both My Fitness Pal and Weight Watchers, so that I could see if my theory was correct. I fully expected that at the end of the first week, after maintaining a 1200-calorie-per-day diet (adding in exercise calories as well), I would have tons of weekly and fitness points left over on the weight watchers program.
And yet… I was surprised to find that that really wasn’t the case. Now, the first week, I didn’t do fantastic. Actually, I was doing pretty well up until Easter Sunday, and then, as usually happens, Easter food was my downfall. I love Easter, and I love the food!
That’s me with the boys after Easter service. Not quite the same as spending Easter in Hawaii, but every Easter is great, in my opinion. 🙂
We don’t have a big dinner at our house anymore, because my husband always works Sunday nights, even Easter, but we had a brunch at church, and I do love brunch. It was just a potluck brunch, with lots of casseroles and muffins, but I definitely went over my calories that day. I was making it a goal to either be at or below my calories for each day, including the exercise calories I burn with my runs. I was actually doing really well up until Easter Sunday. I did run 10 miles the day before, and I had about 500 calories left over that day, but I think all the sodium from the food I ate on Easter got to me, and my final weight was only a small amount down.
Certainly not a great loss my first week calorie counting, but considering my usual Easter habits, I should be happy that it wasn’t a gain!
I really thought that sticking to a 1200-calorie (plus exercise calories) daily limit was going to translate into having a ton of exercise and daily rollovers left over at the end of my Weight Watchers week, but surprisingly, it didn’t. I never had a single day where I had a rollover (you get rollover points if you eat less than 23 points a day on WW), and I only ended up with 14 leftover activity points. If you consider that I automatically give myself credit for the 3000 steps per day that they require you to fulfill, which equates to two activity points per day, you can see that in reality, I ended up right about even. (I do actually get in the 3000 steps per day, and probably more, but it’s not extra exercise…it’s just my normal activity besides my runs.)
Last week was my second week calorie counting, and I continued to do my best to stay within the daily calorie guidelines. I was pretty good, but instead of having real high-calorie days and real low-calorie days, I tried to even it out so that I was not leaving more than about 150 calories on the table (and that only happened on the days when I had exercise calories included). On the Weight Watchers side, I only had one day in that week where I had a couple WW points rollover, but at the end of the week, I only had two activity points remaining. (I also did not earn as many activity points, because I only ran 6 miles on Saturday, instead of 10 as I had done the previous week.). And yet, that week, I had better results:
I’m not really sure if it was the change from smart points to counting calories that help me to lose the weight, or if it was something else altogether. I honestly thought that I would see a huge difference in my Weight Watchers points used when I followed a different plan as the baseline. And yet, it was not the case.
For now, I’m going to go ahead and continue with calorie counting, because I like the change, and I do still believe that all those “free“ foods on WW are not doing me a lot of good. This week has brought it’s own challenges (I’ll write about that next week), but hopefully I’ll get through it!
Thanks for reading!
PS: I have finally updated my Weigh-In page with all my weights since December, which was (I think) the last time I updated it. 😮 I do weigh myself every week, and I always publish the weights in my blog posts…I just get lazy sometimes about the Weigh-In page, because doing the web-page table is not as easy as I would like. 😉