Weight Watchers – My Personal Impression

Well, I joined Weight Watchers last week. And honestly? I’m pretty underwhelmed by their site. I joined with (and because of) a few friends of mine. Now, first, I get that their tracking “philosophy” is based on points. That’s all fine with me. And it’s indirectly tracking calories (because protein, carbs and fat make up calories). I know they try to pretend it’s different than tracking calories, but if you understand a little bit about nutrition, you realize it’s indirectly doing the same thing. And honestly, I don’t care. The end result is less calories, and less weight.

But what does bother me is if you WANTED to, you can’t see number of calories you eat. And ALL fruits seem to be “free” (no points), regardless of how many you eat. I’m the first to admit, I can over-eat fruit. Especially bananas. Well, I know better than to over-eat them, but if I thought a banana is the same as strawberries is the same as an orange, then I might eat too many. Mostly because they fill me up. But I think they fill me up because they’re more calorie-dense. Who knows.  I get that 110 calories on a banana is healthier than any of those 100 calorie snack packs. But maybe a better perspective would be you can have one of each fruit free, then they’re half points? I don’t know.

All I know is I stayed under points for the week, worked out, and GAINED weight. And before you say it could be water weight gain or muscle (two common “it’s OK you didn’t lose” coddling techniques that I hate), let me tell you it isn’t. How do I know? I played volleyball last night, then went for a run. Both were sweaty (sorry, TMI) adventures. I drank about 1 1/2 glasses of water after and felt satisfied, but woke up this morning and without giving TMI again, my pee was VERY dark. So, not water. And I haven’t lifted enough this week to have gained muscle – or, what’s typically called “muscle” is your muscles retaining water as they heal. My last lifting was Tuesday and I’m not sore today.

So, something’s wrong.

The other frustrating thing is I’m trying to go down to no more than 30 grams of carbs per meal to lower my triglycerides. I’ve done research that says low-carb diets are where it’s at, but then read that low-carb is dangerous when you workout. I’ve also seen lots of people (paleo, mostly) who say they workout on low-carb (getting their carbs from fruits and veggies), and it’s the best they’ve ever felt. Then I read that paleo will improve your cholesterol. And then I read that it might lower your triglycerides, but will skyrocket your bad (LDL) cholesterol. So I finally found a few people who said to simply lower your carb intake, and make all of those carbs “healthy” carbs, and then be conscious of higher fat meat options – instead choosing fish and poultry more than things like bacon and high fat red meats. So, that’s what I decided I was comfortable with. Less than 30 carbs per meal, aiming toward mostly fruits and veggies. Paleo, from what I’ve read, is OK with sweet potatoes, but not any type of white potato. So I’m doing all fruits and veggies, including sweet potatoes, but limiting other potatoes. Then after a workout, I’ve read NUMEROUS places, that’s the time to go more on carbs. So I’ll allow myself 1/2 a serving of whole wheat bread with protein and fat after a workout. Mostly I’m doing this because I have been craving bread like crazy! I’d like to someday eliminate bread almost entirely because I’m convinced it (along with pasta and other similar foods) are simply “filler” foods. And they’re good for a cheap way to fill up, especially if you’re raising a family or on limited income. But I’ll be honest, I can afford to eat healthier than that. Not that I’m rolling in dough, but if I can afford to eat out, I can afford to make a meal that’s filling and nutrient-filled. Not filled with fillers.

Filled with fillers. That makes me think of Taco Bell “meat.” Yikes.

So, anyway, here’s what’s annoying. I can track points all day long. And ALL of these points know how many grams of carbs, protein and fat I’m getting, but NOWHERE will it let you see a breakdown of these macronutrients. Nowhere. I mean, as I add the food, if it’s not a food I’ve entered (which, also REQUIRES carbs, fat and protein to input – so that doesn’ tmake sense), I can see the nutrient breakdown. So I can track manually. But when I have this website I’m paying $20 a month to use, that seems a little silly.

But I’m tied in for three months.

Well, it is nice to have a place to “meet” with my friends who are also trying to lose, but getting to that group is also a big pain. We’d be just as well off doing our own things and emailing each other througout the week when we’re frustrated, and to track our progress.

Plus, on My Fitness Pal, I can see all of my calories and the macro-nutrients, which makes it way easier for me to track my carb intake.

So for me? Weight Watchers Online gets a score of C-. They get a passing grade because it’s pretty easy to input foods, if the food’s in their database. My Fitness Pal, BY FAR has a much more extensive database. If you’re looking for an easy way to track your food for free (or even compared to paid sites), My Fitness Pal is it. You can scan barcodes on almost any food. Their database is maintained by users and is so extensive, I don’t think I ever had to enter my own food. As far as user-friendly goes, I personally think the MFP setup is a lot easier to use from a social perspective, too. You are “friends” with people on both sites. But MFP has taken a Facebook/Twitter approach to a live feed, showing when someone has lost weight “Kelly has lost .4 pounds since her last weigh in.” Or it says when you “finish” your day recording and if you were under your goal. And it announces when you’ve worked out, what you did and the calories you’ve burned. It’s a much easier way to see what your friends are doing, and give them praise when they do it (and get praise for your successes, which is really motivating). On the Weight Watchers site, we created a group. But we have to go in there and post (character-limited) as we do stuff. We can’t see what the other is eating, and it doesn’t announce when you’ve lost weight.

Overall, if you’re just trying to track what you’re doing and do it with friends, My Fitness Pal is a lot easier/more friend-friendly than Weight Watchers.

Too bad it took me wasting $60 to figure that out. Sigh.

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Firm Express Round 2: Rebekah’s Cardio/Sculpt

I rocked out to Rebekah’s cardio/sculpt video last night. I definitely like just the sculpt one better. I can’t figure out what I miss with the cardio sections. I LOVE the bursts, and love the weights stuff, but some of the cardio stuff seems to drag on. I wish I could do sculpt videos every workout, and that’s what I’d do. But I think my muscles would get over-fatigued. Or! I wish there were a workout that had the burst 8/12 and then a one or two minute recovery, then burst again. All cardio. Anyway, I’m digressing. I don’t DISLIKE the videos, I still love that they’re 20 minutes, but I find myself getting bored/distracted with the cardio stuff.

However, I also found myself REALLY breathless for parts of this video. Especially transitioning from a burst right into weights. And while there were some awkward moves (some of the lunges feel awkward to me), and I struggled with coordination on one of the bursts, overall it was a good workout.

Up next? I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’m set to do cardio tonight (as I was last night), but I might end up throwing in a different video. We’ll see.

Firm Express Round 2: Rebekah’s Sculpt

I did Emily’s cardio/sculpt on Saturday but forgot to post about it, so I don’t have a lot of feedback to give other than it was pretty challenging this time around, too. Especially since I’m trying to up the weights I’m using. The cardio in one segment plus challenging weights means the workouts seem even harder this time around (although I think I’ll stand by that I feel like my endurance has improved, even though my weight/measurements haven’t). I’ll also re-commit to my statement that the sculpt videos in this series are my FAVORITE. I love them. And Rebekah’s workout isn’t an exception. This workout was built to be able to heavy up on weights, and I did. I used mostly 10s and 12s, but ended up back down at 5s for the one burst that used weights (it was like a side lunge or something). I felt like I was out of control already and adding weights was only making it scarier.

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Firm Express Round Two: Emily’s Cardio

I remembered the first time around this was one of my least favorite videos. I don’t know why, because in general I like cardio, but in this series I REALLY like all of the sculpt videos, and feel like the cardio sculpt videos really take me to the max endurance-wise. The cardio videos almost seem like a break. So that’s not a knock on this specific video, I’ll have to pay closer attention to the other cardio videos in the other cycles. My complaint with this video isn’t with the bursts, I actually really like most of the bursts. But I feel myself getting bored on the cardio sequences in between. The video is described as simple moves you don’t have to learn, which I guess might be where my boredom comes from? I’m not sure. I definitely don’t like dancey workouts because I spend more time stumbling over my feet than getting my heart rate up. I guess I feel like the cardio/non-burst portion of this video wasn’t challenging enough maybe? It’s hard to put my finger on it. However, all that complaining aside, I DO get a good workout by use of the bursts and making some of the other cardio pieces as active as I can.

I think Rebekah’s cycle is next. If I remember right, I really loved her sculpt workout, so I’m looking forward to it. And her screaming.

Firm Express Round 2: Emily’s Sculpt

I hate having to look up the name of each cycle every time I do a workout, so from now on I’m referring to them by the instructor. I think this is probably how the average person will refer to them anyway… I’m doing all of the workouts a second time thru, and hope to give more feedback than, “I didn’t throw up!”

Tonight I saw the return of Emily. And with the running shorts I just bought vowed to step it up another notch with weights (mostly because I feel like I’m already maxed cardio-wise).
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Firm Express: Overdrive Cycle (Cycle 4) – Cardio/Sculpt

Well, I did it! I finished all of the workouts! Someone drop balloons and confetti from the ceiling! OK, it’s not like I’m DONE with the workouts, just made it through all of them the first time, and am excited to see how much improvement I see the next time around. Tonight was Kelsie’s cardio/sculpt workout.
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Firm Express: Overdrive (Week 4) – Cardio

I think I already said yesterday that I haven’t ever done one of Kelsie’s workouts, but I love her! I wanted to say it again if I didn’t make that clear! Tonight was her cardio video. I was amped that it is a kickboxing workout! So fun!

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