Monday, September 13, 2010

Living Beyond my Means

You know how you see people who are living life on their credit cards or living a lifestyle they clearly can't afford? I feel like that. With food.

Here is a screenshot of my Weight Watchers tracker from a few weeks ago. It is tough to see the details, but if you click on the picture it will enlarge. The main point is this: I am allotted 29 points daily (I know it is a lot, especially for you lighter people living on 20 points per day; I have no idea how you do it!). If you look at my points consumption, it is 35+ points everyday, with three days 46+!! (Note, I didn't track my dinner on Saturday, but I think it was literally about 25 points although this was 10 days ago and I don't remember the details -- but I do remember that I ended up close to negative if not negative for the week). And for those keeping score, that week I lost 3.8 lbs.

The goal of that week was simply to track. I was not that worried about whether I went over on points, although I did find the responsibility/accountability of tracking did often cause me to make better choices than I would have had I not been tracking.

This week I decided that I wanted to track and I wanted to do a better job staying within my allocated 29 points. I find that I really can't. As I mentioned yesterday I watned to do a better job packing lunches. Today I packed my lunch and it was good. After lunch, I had just eaten 15.5 points.

It is also worth mentioning that I had carrots in the morning (0 points) and had a large peach in the afternoon (1 point). For some reason, I had a headache all afternoon. It was excruciating and finally by 4:30 I had to leave work because it was so bad. In fact, my headache was so bad that I didn't even exercise tonight (which I rarely skip), instead choosing to come home and take a nap. When I woke up 1.25 hours later I still had a headache and it was even a little worse.

I had 1.5 bananas when I woke up and was surprised to find that almost instantly my headache got better. Wow.

I think that the points are miscalibrated for my body. I know many of the ways that my body manifests its hunger. This one was a surprise to me -- yes, I get headaches if I get too hungry, but I ate a lot of food and I also had a peach after my headache started so I thought hunger could not be the reason for the headache. But I guess it was, even though I didn't feel hungry (no growling stomach, etc).

I am still learning about my food and my reaction to hunger. I need to find the place that adequately balance getting the fuel my body needs, but not eating so much that I don't lose weight and get to a more healthy weight for my size.

For the non-WW people, one of the features of WW is that they have 35 points that you can use throughout the week. The idea is that you can use them to splurge -- a big meal out or something. However I basically treat those WW weekly 35 points not as a reserve for treats, but as a part of my regular food "budget", and it is not uncommon for me to be out of those points 2 or 3 days into the week. Another feature of WW is that you earn points as you engage in exercise. I also go through most if not all of my activity points -- I typically earn between 40 and 65 per week. I am not sure how reasonable it is to go through all these points. However, I find that these extra points are what make WW doable for me in the long term. It is amazing to me how I can actually eat foods that I enjoy and not feel too inhibited or like WW is cramping my style if I exercise and just make wiser choices.

I am still trying to figure out how many points I should eat. I honestly do not believe 29 daily points is enough for me. I am 31, very active, and 5'8". Does anyone have any insight as to how many points I should eat? I don't want to feel like I'm overdrawing my points account everyday by going severely over my points, but at the same time time I don't want to eat not enough food and get headaches.


  1. I find that bulk doesn't necessarily satisfy me the way calories do (which is, of course, completely logical, but still a little surprising.) For example, I don't bother with nonfat yogurt, because I know it'll leave me hungry in a way that regular doesn't, and then I'll end up eating another snack. The points thing is one of my mental blocks to trying WW - I've always been afraid to find myself in just this situation. I'll be interested to see the solution you find - 'cause I know you will :-)

  2. Great post. Not sure what you're eating but I find that most women's diets consist of high carbs. Not that I'm against a good carb, but if I up my protein and good fats a bit, I find that it's easier to keep going.


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