Eat More to Lose More?

Is there anything more infuriating than stepping on the scale after what you thought was a perfect week on your diet and exercise plan…only to see the number move in the wrong direction?

On the other hand, how do you react when you end up dining out four nights in a row, weigh-in in the following morning, and discover that you’ve actually lost two pounds?

You start eating more. That’s what you do.

I’ve had more than a few comments posted here (thank you all!) about the possibility that the scale got stuck because I’m not eating enough. And as much as I advocate Weight Watchers’ traditional “everything in moderation” approach — and I’ve always eaten all of my daily allotment of POINTS — I still tend to get nervous when I’m in danger of exceeding my target value for the day, or when I start jonesing for something that’s not especially POINTS-friendly.

I’m hesitant to dip into my Activity POINTS unless I’m feeling famished, and all this time I’ve been hoarding my now 49 Weekly POINTS for my usual weekend shenanigans: a couple of dinners out, a glass or two of wine, and maybe even a shared dessert. Calories are much more difficult to count when you’re not the one preparing the food, but based on my rough POINT estimates, I assumed I’ve been maxing myself out.

It’s no secret to any of you that while I was able to successfully drop 90 pounds doing this, my system hasn’t exactly been working for me as of late. So then when I step on the scale and lose a significant amount of weight (for me) after eating far more than I normally do throughout the week — granted, I do make the healthiest choices possible while dining out, but still! — it makes me wonder if it might just be time to pull my head out of my rear and revaluate my current weight loss plan.

My activity levels have increased exponentially since I first began working out, so while I don’t see myself competing in the Olympics anytime soon, the fact that I can now run for miles without stopping and endure intense Thai Kickboxing workouts three times a week suggests that my inner athlete might just require a bit more fuel.

And now that I’m eating “cleaner” than ever thanks to the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program, there’s absolutely no reason why I should feel guilty for eating a few more ounces of chicken at dinner (as I did when I was enjoying the delicious Santa Fe Chicken recipe HAMILTONMKA so graciously shared!), or, god forbid, grabbing an extra snack when I feel my energy levels waning at 3pm.

Maybe my two-pound loss on the scale this weekend was a fluke, or maybe it was a message from the weight loss gods telling me that I should stop trying to restrict myself so much during the week just so that I can whoop it up on Friday and Saturday nights. Not only is that mentality not getting me the results I want, but it’s only feeding into my dangerous habit of bingeing on the weekends.

I’ll keep you posted on how this week goes. Bon Appetit!

So, do you guys find that you lose more if you eat more?  Fellow Weight Watchers, do you typically “save” your extra POINTS for meals out or special treats, or do you dip into them throughout the week as needed?


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6 thoughts on “Eat More to Lose More?

  1. hamiltonmka

    OMG!!! Are you a mind reader or something??!! This post is exactly what I needed to read today. I had a STELLAR week last week with exercise (ran 4 days, walked 3) and tracking and I gained almost 2 lbs. WTH??!! I usually eat my APs but I am starting to earn many, many more now that I’m training for a half marathon in May and I last week I did not eating ALL of them and none of my weeklies. And yeah, . A gain. It’s SO WRONG! It’s just so counter intuitive, isn’t it?! To eat more to lose? Well congrats on your 2 lb loss! That is fantastic!

    This week, I initially thought that I was only going to eat half my APs and see how that worked but after a few days I was ravenous and wound up making some really bad food choices and so now, I’ve decided to do the same: eat more. I hope I have the same results as you!

    Glad you liked the Sante Fe Chicken. It’s amazing! Did you have it over rice? A baked potato? Let me know if you try anything else on that website. She’s a great cook.

    Let us know how your WI goes next week! You’re on a roll!

    Kelly H (aka Hamiltonmka)

    • Hey Kelly,

      (Nice to “officially” meet you). haha.

      For real?! See, now, that kind of stuff has happened to me more than once. It’s so disappointing to have what you think is a “perfect” week OP with lots of activity, only to step on the scale and get nothing for your efforts. I know it’s not a week-to-week scale contest or anything, but still…it’s disheartening, and it’s hard not to be even a little disappointed!

      You are AWESOME. A half marathon? SO amazing. That’s another one of my “someday” dreams. Let’s see how I do with a 5K and 10K first. haha. But I can see how that increase in activity is going to throw things off a bit…I feel like we just have to continually experiment with what works for us, you know? Especially if there’s some significant shift in our everyday routines.

      Definitely keep me posted on how things are going for you — for the record, we both now have full permission to eat more than usual. 😀

      I had the Sante Fe chicken over brown rice — delish! And last night we made the Chicken Pot Pie soup. Oh. My. God. I miss pot pies SO much; those are one of my “red light” foods: I used to eat the frozen ones all the time. And the soup was a solid substitute! Loved, loved it (and had leftovers for lunch today)! I’ll be scouring the website over the weekend for more recipes — will keep you posted on what’s good. 😀

      Many, many thanks!!!

      Jen

  2. Kelly

    I pretty much eat all my points, including WPs and APs. So far I mostly haven’t had trouble losing if I actually track (it’s when I go completely off the rails that I might gain). I mostly use the WPs on the weekend and APs through the week as I need them (either because I’m really hungry or I want a glass of wine or some ice cream). I would suggest that you try eating them all, and then if you consistently are not losing then maybe cut it back to half. Given that an AP is about 80 calories burned and a food PP is about 35-40, you should still lose even if you eat all your APs. With as hard as you guys work out, it sure seems like you could use some additional fuel.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Sounds like you’re doing something similar to me. I’m much more likely to dip into my APs during the week than my WPs, because I like to hoard them for wine and other goodies on the weekend. ;-D

      Tracking does seem to be the key…the weeks where I get a little too loose and start estimating, not using the POINTS tracker, etc., are the weeks when I’m almost guaranteed a gain.

      But, yes, that sounds like a great idea. This week I’ve been eating almost all of my APs, because I usually am hungry and feel as though I need the extra food. And who knows, maybe my body really is telling me that it needs more fuel for my workouts. My “save EVERYTHING for the weekend” approach hasn’t been working as of late, so let’s see if giving myself permission to eat more (healthy foods!) during the week makes a difference on the scale.

      I’ll keep you posted! 😀

      Thanks SO much!

      Jen

  3. Melissa

    See, I haven’t been eating any weekly and no more than 5 activity…and am still just a giant yo yo. Been doing ww for a year and half, got to 60 lbs gone (5 months ago), and have shuffled the same 5 points since then. Lose em, gain em, lose em, gain em, you get the drift. I suppose I am still trying to work out what works for me. Last week I lost 3.8, but this week I am pretty sure it all came back. I do 2-3 days of bootcamp and usually 1-2 days of Zumba so the activity is happening but…

    So I suppose I totally went off topic, but while I am here…how do you get past the “stuck” bump. I have tried the eating more and pretty much get the same results…

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thanks so much for reading! And NEVER feel sorry for going off topic! It’s great to hear from you, and I’m happy to help in any way I can. 🙂

      Congratulations on your loss! I, too, have been gaining and losing the same 3-5 pounds over and over again for about a year now. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m definitely not the expert on breaking plateaus. However, I have found plenty of ways to get the scale moving again — my problem just seems to be keeping it moving!

      I know it’s frustrating when we’re working SO hard and the scale isn’t cooperating, but never lose sight of the fact that you are KEEPING IT OFF. Maintaining weight loss, in my opinion, is even harder than losing it in the first place. I feel just as frustrated as you are — believe me! — but I have to keep reminding myself about how many times I’ve lost significant amounts of weight in the past only to put it all (and then some) right back on. We’re remaining committed to our healthier lifestyles, whether the scale is playing nice with us or not — that’s the important thing.

      Okay, motivational speech over. I do have some suggestions — things I have tried, things I KNOW I need to try, etc:

      Try switching up your activity. Can you take different classes, or engage in any other exercise on your own? Running, biking, walking, etc. I can almost always get things moving by changing my routine. Your body might simply be used to the kinds of exercise you’re doing right now, so you might just have to “shock” it to get results again. For example, I’ve noticed a huge change in my body (and my energy levels, and the way my clothes fit, etc.) ever since I started strength training 2-3 times a week and branching out beyond cardio exercise. Challenging your muscles in that way might get things moving — and if nothing else, there’s a good chance you’ll lose inches or even drop a dress size or two!

      I regularly experiment with switching up what I’m eating. I lose best on weeks when I cut out processed foods as much as humanly possible. If you’re eating things like SmartOnes and other high-sodium packaged meals and snacks, even if they’re low in POINTS and seemingly healthy, that right there could be enough to make your weight loss stall. Try focusing on whole foods and eating as “clean” as you can, and see if that makes a difference. Or, if you already are eating that way, try switching up the kinds of foods you’re eating at meals, for snacks, etc. Again, I think the key is “shocking” your body to behave differently than it has been lately.

      Are you drinking enough water? That’s always been a big one for me. Also, focus on getting in all of your “Good Health Guidelines” each day…that’ll leave you with fewer POINTS for treats and other indulgences.

      Here’s my last thought. Ever since the “honeymoon” phase of weight loss ended, the “you look so great!” compliments have ceased, and following my Weight Watchers program has become part of my ho-hum everyday life, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t loosened the reins a bit in many ways. I often have to be completely honest with myself and determine whether I truly am tracking the way I should be, or exercising as hard as I used to, or if I’m indulging in not-so-POINT-friendly treats a bit too often.

      Try acting like a newbie and going back to basics. Pretend this is your first week on the program, and see if honing in on all of the aspects of weight loss that have become like second nature to us makes a difference.

      Keep me posted on how you’re doing, okay? And if you have any tips for me, by all means…DO SHARE! 😀

      Thanks again, Melissa!

      Jennifer

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