Let’s say you start out at X weight. And you want to get down to X-33 pounds (but would happily settle for X-28 pounds, really, and call yourself one lucky hot mom). What the best way to do it? Well, after 18 months of trial, I can conclude that systematically NOT engaging in any sort of exercise and NOT keeping track of what you eat does not work. There, I took one for the team, and now you all know that doing nothing does not equal magical weight loss.
So, although I’m sure there’s a billion different ways to do it, here are two that I am currently using…
Yes, the big Kahuna, Weight Watchers (WW). I’m doing this because my sister, my mom, and my dad are all doing it with me! It cost us about $60 for the first 3 months; I think it’s around $16 per month after that. We all really, really are liking using their online Points tracker system. It’s definitely gotten me to think more realistically about how much of something I can eat, and what I ought to just avoid because I don’t really like it enough to justify the Points.
The Daily Plate (DP) is a calorie-counting program (also tracks, fat, protein, and other things) rather than a Points-counting program, and so the process is a little more transparent than using WW. It’s also free, which will make a big difference over the long run!
- Both programs let you search for foods from a variety of vendors, from various grocery stores to restaurants. In my, albeit limited, experience, DP might have a slight edge on the volume of different options in terms of specific brands of an item (like ice cream).
- Both sites also let you enter in your own recipes; WW then automatically calculates the Points value for the recipe, and DP the caloric and other nutritional information.
- Only DP lets you browse from foods and recipes added by other users–so, for instance, if your area has a specific mom & pop store that you always buy your ice cream from, if someone else in your area has already added that store into the system, then all you have to do is search for it. With WW you can only see their library of foods and recipes plus the specific item your personally have added. This is a major downfall for us, because if we (my parents, sister, and I) all eat something together, we have to each add the ingredients in separately. With DP, only one of us has to add it, and then the rest of us can search for it to add to our own counters.
- Both sites also have activity trackers, where you track all your exercise for the day. Again, DPs is slightly more robust and allows more options. For example my regular exercise is classified as “walking, on a treadmill, at 3 to 5 miles per hour”in the WW system, and I enter in the minutes and the system assigns a point value (1 point for 10-29 minutes, 2 for 30-49 minutes, 3 for 50-? minutes…that’s as high as I’ve ever gotten!). DP, on the other hand, lets you choose the exact speed (3.5 mph), minutes, and you have the option of entering the distance walked and your heart rate, and then it calculates calories burned. It’s just another layer of detail that may or may not really be necessary, depending on how detailed you like to track your progress!
One bonus to WW is that it’s easier to remember the Point value of something than the calorie count, and easier–for me at least–to keep in my head that I have 22 points to eat each day instead of 1250 calories. It all amounts to the same thing, but the math is easier! Another bonus for me is that you do have to pay for WW, so I am more apt to stick with it because I’ve already paid for it and don’t want to waste my money.
For me, I think I’ll stick with WW for the three-month trial period, by which time I should be at my goal weight anyway (fingers crossed), and then I’ll have to re-evaluate to see if I need to stay with WW or just switch over to DP, or if I’m confident that my eating habits have changed enough that I can just do it all in my head.
What are your great weight-loss plans?