Health Goal Update for April 27, 2009

Finally some progress and good news to report.

Last Tuesday I decided to do a Weight Watcher’s style of calorie counting where I basically use their Points system to monitor my food intake.  The first time I did the Weight Watchers program I lost 20 pounds steadily and fairly easily, but I had to stop the program when I found out I was pregnant with Kyle.  I tried going back after he was born but they give 10 extra points to breastfeeding mamas, and I found I wasn’t losing any weight with those extra points.

So, using some information I found online and correlating it with my gender, current weight, and activity levels, I calculated my daily points to be 24.  Weight Watchers uses a formula to derive a food’s point value.  Steve programmed the formula into his calculator and now I can get a very accurate measure of the point value of foods.  Roughly every 50 calories is a point, 12 grams of fat adds a point, and 4 grams of fiber subtracts .8 points, so you want to find foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, and of course low in calories.  I spent a couple of hours making a spreadsheet of foods and their point values.  I weigh and measure my food, use Calorieking.com to find the calories, fat, and fiber, and mark it in my food journal.  It’s vital, in my opinion, to use a food journal so you can see what you’re really up to.  Any time of day someone could ask me how many points I’m at and I’ll know.  That awareness is vital in my opinion.

You’ll note that 24 points equals roughly 1200 calories, which is a little on the low side.  That’s because you also get 35 flex points to use during the week if you want to, and you should still lose weight even if you use them.  If I used all 35 flex points in a week that would make my daily average 1450 calories, which will still result in weight loss for me.   I can use 7 flex points per day or I can bank them and use them all at once, like if I know I’m going to a luncheon or out with friends, or I just have to have something.

I started last Tuesday and weighed 199.2 pounds.  This morning (Sunday) I weighed 196.2 pounds, for a loss of 3 pounds this week.  I intend to use Sundays as my weigh-in day so I can write my blog entries on Sunday and have them post early Monday mornings.  This is thrilling for me because I feel I’ve found something that will work for me.  What I love most is that technically I can have any food I want, I just have to account for it.  Knowing this, I am careful to consume less points at a meal if I know that later I’ll want to eat something that’s higher in points.  Some days I plan out what I’m going to eat in advance, so I don’t just grab something that looks good and end up going over my points. 

I try to keep my breakfasts on the small side because I’m not terribly hungry in the morning, and I prefer to do readings on a nearly empty stomach.

By the end of lunch I like to have eaten 10-12 points, leaving half or more of my points for the second half of the day.  At 4pm I eat a snack that’s usually 2-4 points, so for dinner I like to get about 8-10 points.

I haven’t had any problems with hunger, though by 4pm I do find that I need that 4 point snack.  All in all, the points are working out well.  I’ve only used 6 of my flex points this week.

Another great aspect to the Weight Watcher plan is that you do get activity points.  So when I make it to the gym (I’ve had a cough and cold this entire past week so I didn’t go to the gym) if you burn off 300 calories you get a few extra points during the day to eat, if you want to, otherwise you just lose the weight faster.

You can also eat a ton of veggies that don’t cost any points.  On some days I was eating a carrot around 10am which gave my stomach something to digest while waiting for lunch around noon.  This week I plan to up my intake of raw veggies.

 I’m also learning that margarine and oil just aren’t worth it.  And salad dressing… forget about it!  The ranch dressing I used for my broccoli costs 3.5 points for 2 tablespoons!  I used only 1 tablespoon but gee whiz, it just ain’t worth it.  This week I also ate a piece of rye toast but put a teaspoon of jam on it instead of slathering it with margarine.

I know the Weight Watchers plan isn’t for everyone.  But it works for me and I like the results.  I’m happy eating what I’m eating, and I don’t feel deprived in any way.

I find that I’m still getting 6-8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.  That’s important to me because of the vitamins and minerals in those foods.  I should be back at the gym sometime this week, so we’ll see what happens with the addition of exercise.  But so far, so good.  I’ll update again in 2 weeks.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and encouragement, and a special thanks to those who are dreaming of me being thin.  Keep it up.

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