Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Going it alone

I did it.

I decided to cancel my Weight Watchers subscription, effective at the end of my current monthly pass. I'm still a paid member through the 29th, so I could go to another meeting or two if I wanted. But I'm not sure why I would do that if I have decided to quit.

Why did I decide to quit? I still think Weight Watchers is a really great plan, especially for someone new to dieting. You can learn a lot about good nutrition and portion sizes from the program. I feel like I have learned a lot of good things that I will be carrying forward with me. But I felt like I wasn't getting anything new out of my meetings, and I already have all the program materials that I'm going to get until they revamp the program again. The iPhone tracking app is neat but since I can't track Good Health Guidelines on it, I wasn't finding it as useful as it could be. And try as I might, I just could not stay under my daily points, so I found myself either not tracking or not caring how far over my points total I went.

The way that Weight Watchers points work, high fat foods "cost" more than they should for their calories. Since some of my favorite foods are nuts and nut butters, I am wondering if I could do better with straight calorie counting. I don't trust some of the processed foods that are Weight Watcher staples. Those Arnold Sandwich Thins for 1 point, for example. I bought a package of them almost a month ago and they are still not stale or moldy. That's just plain scary. Obviously plenty of people manage to eat real, healthy food and stay within their points. For some reason, I am just not able to do it, and I'm feeling frustrated. It's time to try something new.

What am I doing instead? I'm going back to the "LoseIt" app for my iPhone. For the Jillian Michaels podcast fans, I Googled "BMR calculator" and then multiplied that number by 1.1 to get my target calories (which were fairly close to what "LoseIt" had calculated for me. LoseIt allows me to do some pretty cool "Weekly Summary" reports, which I plan to post on my blog on Sundays to give a sense of the kinds of workouts I did and my calorie intake. Obviously, from the screenshot below, you can see that my calorie intake for the last couple of days was a little high. I have been feeling a little down without my beloved running, so I made sure to get a swim in today and am feeling more focused.

I really think, as I hinted in my post yesterday, that part of the problem for me is not that I don't have the right tools for success, but I just have been getting in my own way. Until I get my head on straight, I don't see the purpose of paying $39.95 each month to not follow Weight Watchers. Plus, if I get to goal weight and to maintenance, I wouldn't be able to use Weight Watchers eTools to continue to track without paying for it, so why not lose with a tool that will be available for me as I maintain?

If any of you are using LoseIt, I would love for you to friend me there. The things that are shared with friends are, according to the developer:

1) The amount of weight (in lbs) that you've lost to date.

2) Your goal amount of weight to lose (in lbs)

3) Your weekly calorie budget and each day's calories relative to that budget.

4) Your exercises, times, and calories burned (excluding sexual activity)

5) Recent activities such as weighing in with weight change.

We do not display your actual weight nor the specific foods that you are eating.

Number 4 made me laugh. I don't track my sexual activity as exercise (!) but I suppose some people want to count every calorie. I am hoping the developers will add a public profile option that would allow users to share these things the way that FitDay does.

Input welcome! I know some readers will think I'm crazy for hopping back and forth, but it just makes sense to me right now. If I really miss Weight Watchers, it is always possible to rejoin.

8 comments:

  1. It looks like you can configure LoseIt! to automatically send a blog post-type message to your blogger email address every Monday morning, so I am going to try that out and see how it works.

    If you're wondering about the 30 minutes of stretching on the report, I didn't know how to record my physical therapy session, so that's what I used.

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  2. I pretty much just did the same thing. I learned a LOT from WW, but I haven't heard anything new in ages and I don't want to be counting points the rest of my life. Now I want to focus on making healthy choices without stressing about it.

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  3. I don't think you're crazy at all. Hopping back and forth lets you stay fresh and pick up new ideas, strategies and motivators. Using LoseIt works for you and you'll always have the info you learned from WW such as the good health guidelines - you can always check your blog for more about them if you forget!

    Thanks for the BMR calculator link. I hadn't seen it before and that number was eye-opening. No wonder I'm losing when I eat so much less even w/o staying in bed all day :)

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  4. I do not think you are crazy at all! You are a trail blazer and you are absolutely on the right track. The processed stuff is crap...no matter what...and should be used sparingly. Nuts and butters are actually very nourishing and important for health and weight loss. You need to eat a certain level of fat before your body releases bodyfat. I think you will do great....eat cleaner...and trust yourself and your bodys cues. Looking forward to hearing about your success!

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  5. Ohmigosh!

    I was having this EXACT conversation with myself this morning on the way to work.

    I hate tracking points. It's a pain. Also, I have come to the conclusion that when you track points instead of actual nutritional values, you are not geuninely learning how you need to be eating (unless you plan to track points for the rest of your life!)

    I would much rather know calories/fat/carbs/sodium than just having some vague "point value" as my barometer.

    I haven't weighed in or been to a meeting for about two months now. I realized (or rather, finally stopped denying) that the only reason I've hung on to my membership as long as I have is strictly for the motivation of the weigh-ins and the rewards. As far as program content is concerned - I already *know* all of it, and have for a long time.

    So I'm paying $39.95 a month strictly for the privilege of using their scales and getting some little tinfoil stars that I could buy at the local craft store? I don't think so.

    SparkPeople is great - totally free and does everything WW offers except for the in-person meetings, and even so, in my opinion, it's a superior "system." Real world, real calories, real.....reality.

    I think I might give LoseIt a look-see, though.

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  6. Smart woman. I did the same a while ago. After a while the meetings seem to repeat themselves. And having the scale, the booklets, and everything else at home, its just as easy!

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  7. I have a client who lost 100 lbs. using a very drastic program called Health Strategies. It requires complete reliance on meal replacement shakes for a few months, after which you supplement with vegetables. Over the course of 4-6 months, you gradually move back to normal food. There are nutrition classes every week, so the clients all learn something, and the classes serve as a support group, also. Said client is currently 116 lb. and 16.4% body fat, but she still goes to the meetings for the continued support.

    I have a different client who went through a very similar program, and she quit recently because she felt like they were always hocking their special food.

    My take? Sooner or later, the goal is to be able to set out on your own. Weight Watchers, I'm sure, is great. But your goal isn't to be really good at Weight Watchers; it's to become a healthy and whole person. And so you should be moving towards taking care of your food without that support. Besides which, looks like you have plenty of support around here!

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  8. Just as well that you changed the name of your blog :)

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07