Monday, 18 January 2016

Smart Points: First Weigh In

I am a bit late in this post, I went back to my Wednesday meeting's weigh-in, and have properly changed my online account to a Wednesday weigh-in.

I said in my last post I was expecting a loss. And I managed it! 4lbs on my first week with SmartPoints!

I have to say I was very pleased. That was my 4lb gain over Christmas and New Year plus another half. Yay!

My aims last week were to;
  1. Improve my step count on fitbit, which wasn't hard. I ended last week with 32,490 steps, this week I did better than double that so was over the moon with those steps!
  2. Track everything. Which I did, quite easily for once. I tracked on my phone rather than the pretty paper tracker, only because I was using a small satchel that couldn't fit the tracker in. This week I am using the paper tracker though. I love it.
I took a lot of photos of food this week, so thought I would share.

I did that smash salted chilli chicken recipe you see floating about online. I like a takeaway, but do not want to use the points so thought I would try it. It was actually very easy to make and I have made it twice now with two different recipes (oddly sweet with one recipe, and too mild with the other). Flavour wise it just isn't right yet. So I am going to tweak it a bit and when I have it right I will probably put it up here.
The ordeal I had trying to find smash was hilarious. I didn't know what to box looked like and searched Iceland, Home Bargains, B&M and two Tescos before finally getting it!

Delicious salted chilli chicken (minus the chicken at this stage).
 I used beef mince to make delicious burgers and chips, 6 for the mince and egg, 6 for the bread and 4 for the chips. Worth it.

I had Strawberries dipped in greek yogurt - zero points

Still managed 3 SmartPoints of crisps, all measured out in my Hello Kitty snack bowl.

 Love that eggs are still only 2 points each.

Means that a sausage and egg sandwich on white bread is only 9 smart points - This was Sunday brunch.

The Meeting topic was Move, I got the second book in the Smartpoints series and the chat was mostly about how to fit in a little extra activity. The book, although thinner than last week's is quite good, with lots of small ideas. I have not had the time to properly go through everything but I hope to before my next meeting (only two days away at this stage).

This week I have still tracked, although there have been a few times where the app has crapped out on me (not cool Weightwatchers) and not saved what I have tracked properly. Frustrating as I know I went into my weekly points early in the week. I get that it's quite new but some of my pointing early in the week is a bit of a mess and why I have moved to the paper tracker.

Aims for the coming week?

  1. Well it's a bit late in the week, but I want to focus on my water intake again, I did so well and then just let it all fall away again.
  2. Keep cooking, I have really enjoyed cooking again, Gavin does the vast majority of our cooking, but it's got a bit more balanced again. I have tried a few new recipes and enjoyed them 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

New Year New Plan! Smartpoints are here!

I'm skipping over all the New Year and Christmas talk. I'm too excited!

This week Weightwatcher's new SmartPoints system finally came to Ireland!

Since my rejoin to classes I have bounced between a Tuesday and a Wednesday class so I couldn't help myself. I went to the Tuesday class, stood on the scale and took my Christmas gain.
Three weeks away from class, Christmas, our engagement party, New Year and all the wine, cheese and chocolate in the word has left me incredibly bloated and with a 4lb gain. Not too bad considering.

As always, here's some pictures.
Balloons from the engagement party!

It was a themed party, so I had to dress up and stick on a wig! 

I didn't wait until today to get properly stuck in to the new system. I wasn't feeling very well over a lot of the Christmas break so spent quite a lot of time reading through the site, playing with cook books (I have two new ones to add to my collection, not Weightwatchers, but everything can be smartpointed). And working out what a lot of my normal meals are.

As a result I started the plan on Monday (yesterday) properly. And I really have to say, one I had planned the full day and knew what I was having it was so incredibly easy to stick to. The meals I had were so filling I was so pleased when it came to evening and I had no desire to snack!

The meeting itself was full today, lots of resolutioners and old members like myself in addition to the normal faces all excited for the new plan.

I love stationary, anyone who knows me knows of my love for all of it, so I was super excited to get the new folder and new books.

Here is the folder;

Here is week one's book, eat. (obviously)

It's quite thick, bursting with info, tips and recipes, I don't think I will be letting it out of my sight this week.

and this is my favourite. The tracker is so pretty!

We didn't have time for the leader to give a big overview of what the new plan is, (I adore how the tracker encompasses the holistic approach too!) but we did get a chat about the basics, she used an effective example where a breast of chicken and a tin of coke have the same calories, however the chicken breast has 2 Smartpoints, whereas the tin of coke has 8 (I think it was 8), to show just how much the sugars can affect the Smartpoint value.

I had tuna steak for dinner tonight and as I was tracking it on the calculator I found it amusing how once I input 86 calories it was given the Smartpoint value of three, however once I input the protein value it dropped down to one!

Everyone's homework is to go home and study the book which as I said above is pretty comprehensive and has a lot of good looking recipes.

Next week I might post my tracker to keep for the moments I inevitably wonder, how did I use to plan a week? Speaking of planning...

Aims for this week!
This week I am focusing primarily on 2 things;

  1. Ensuring I have tracked the Smartpoint value of everything I eat. (Even if I go over).
  2. Drink 2l of water everyday.
I can struggle with tracking however I normally never have any trouble with drinking my water, I've found over the last few weeks my tea and coffee consumption (which is already pretty high) has went astronomical. 

I have, of course, been using my fitbit, and last week's activity was appalling. You would think I did not have it on for half the week, but it was just I did not move for half the week. I haven't put any strict goals on for this week, but I would like to try and manage the 10,000 step goal I have as much as I can.

This was my week in review;

Pathetic really. I hit 10,000 yesterday and hope to today so next week's review will hopefully smash this. 

Next week will be my first loss under the Smartpoint system, I can feel it!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Smart Points - First impressions

This was the intro screen on my app on my first day of smartpoints

I love that weightwatchers seem to be taking a holistic approach to their system. Weightwatchers does work, but in my experience this success is only long term if in conjunction with exercise and allocating yourself time for general well-being.

First things first, after my initial assessment online I was awarded 31 daily points and 42 weekly points. I am very glad to see the new system encourages you to have a daily fitpoint target however I think mine is quite low as I have a weekly target of 20 when after one day I managed to earn 14!

I am going to see after a week or two what exactly is my average and set my target manually following that. I have obviously smashed that goal by 2 days so want something realistic.
I do have a fitbit, and my target on that is 10,000 steps a day, which on some days is ridiculously hard to do. Naturally I managed somewhere between 5 and 6k a day, I have to go for walks / runs to hit my 10k, but most days I manage it. I adore how the fitbit is synced into the new app, it looks much better than how the old app did. This time it actually imports numbers! So I know if there is a time lag between the two. Brilliant, well done Weightwatchers!

As I already said I get 31 daily SmartPoints and 42 Weekly points, this is pretty much the same as I get on propoints. I was on 32 daily ProPoints and I could only ever eat so many weeklies (as I have lamented about before, very jealous of those who could eat all points and manage a loss). It makes sense to me that the weekly points have been tailored to the individual. A blanket 49 was never going to work for everyone.

Calculating Smartpoints:
Here is a screenshot of the calculator on my app.

Okay, so now we factor in calories and saturated fat, I never did quite understand why we stopped doing that when we moved to ProPoints so I suppose I think this is a turn for the good. I loved the old discover plan, it is after all how I managed to shift the bulk of my weight. I like that this looks like it takes the best of discover and the best of ProPoints.
I sometimes thought propoints would penalise healthy fats, so this change is addressing and fixing this.

Mobile site / Android App:
I love my technology, and it has saddened me that for everything Weightwatchers has done in the past, they only focused on the iphone leaving Android and other platforms as an afterthought. But now they have finally got a mobile site! Yay! Brilliant for when I need to delete the app temporarily to have more space on my phone, and great for those who aren't on the Android or Apple operating systems! I have tracked a little on it and it has been seamless, much faster than the android app.
Which I am also overjoyed to have released at the same time as the Apple one! And it works! and it seems to have been designed with android in mind as opposed to being a dumbed down version of apple's. I am very impressed!
It does seem a little buggy, but first releases on new apps are always like that and to be fair, it's been much worse in the past.

Weightwatchers Connect:
This is brilliant, it is essentially an internal Weightwatchers social media platform. It's available on the app (not on mobile or on the main site when I last checked) and is just a place to post updates, photos, and members of the community can 'heart' it or comment, it's quite similar to Instagram (which I love too). I just hope it's actually used!

One bad point is that the landing screens is just 'trending posts', which haven't changed in the first few days, probably because people don't know how to search and so only heart or comment on the trending posts therefore making them stay there. I'd like a search feature to search tags and discover some people. I presume / hope that will be happening shortly.

Practically / Day to Day eating:
I suppose really I need to have my first weigh in to be able to give an overall thought on it, but I want my first weigh in to be a different post.

Food wise, I suppose the biggest change I see is in all my treats, which always turn into snacks to me.

  • My 3 ProPoint Curly Wurly is now 6 SmartPoints. (26g)
  • A Weightwatchers summer fruit yogurt has went up to 2 SmartPoints.
  • A Wispa bar is now 11 SmartPoints (39g)
  • A Bounty Bar 14 SmartPoints (57g). 
  • My bottle of dry white wine is now 20 SmartPoints (which is probably the best value treat). 
  • Quavers are 3 SmartPoints (17g).
Some of my daily foods have changed too, I have mentioned the yogurts above;
  • Skimmed Milk has went to 2 SmartPoints (142ml) I only use milk in cereal so with my cereal of choice as shredded wheat - now 5 SmartPoints for two.
  • 200g raw potato is 5 SmartPoints.
I like to cook with real oil as opposed to the bottled spray, just by personal preference. I use my actifry or would measure out by half teaspoons and use a pastry brush to coat either pan or food. I also bake using both spread and real butter so these are of interest to me;
  • Rapeseed oil (I use for most cooking) 2 SmartPoints for 5ml (4 SmartPoints for 10ml, 6 for 15ml)
  • Olive Oil (I use when not using rapeseed oil) 2 SmartPoints for 5ml (3 SmartPoints for 10ml, 5 SmartPoints for 15ml)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (mostly in dressings, I rarely cook with extra virgin as it has a low smoke temperature and can burn so easily) 1 SmartPoint for 5ml (2 SmartPoints for 10ml, 3 SmartPoints for 15ml)
  • Sunflower oil (rarely used but the odd time) 2 SmartPoints for 5ml (3 SmartPoints for 10ml, 5 SmartPointsfor 15ml)
  • Butter (the real stuff) 2 SmartPoints for 5ml (3 SmartPoints for 10ml, 5 SmartPoints for 15ml)
  • Spread (I use LowLow Butter or Golden Cow, low low is what I have at the moment) 1 SmartPoint for 5ml (1 SmartPoint for 10ml, 2 SmartPoints for 15ml)

It's not all gains of course

  • Chicken is now 2 SmartPoints for 120g breast
  • 5 bacon medallions are only 2 SmartPoints
  • Lean Mince is 3 SmartPoints for 125g
  • Quorn Mince is 2 SmartPoints for 100g
  • Quorn Chicken style pieces are 2 SmartPoints for 100g
  • 100g (frozen) tuna steak is 2 SmartPoints
  • Frozen cod and haddock is on 1 SmartPoint! (I foresee a lot of fish curry in my future)

Those that are staying the same:

  • An egg is still 2 SmartPoints
  • 35g slice of bread (not calories controlled) is still 2 SmartPoints too
  • Wholewheat CousCous (30g dry) is still 3 SmartPoints (40g is 4 SmartPoints, 50g is 5 SmartPoints)
  • Wholewheat pasta (40g dry) is still 4 SmartPoints50g is 5 SmartPoints, 60g is 6 SmartPoints and 70g is 7 SmartPoints)
  • and of course most fruit and vegetables are still 0, so it isn't all change either.

I think I am going to make up a quick list of branded foods and have them on one of the tabs for ease / reference.

Other thoughts / General Reception:
I have noticed online there seem to be a lot of people not happy with the new plan, annoyed that they have so many magazines and books on the old system. I get that people are resistant to change. I was with propoints, but we get used to it. The way I look at it is that recipes are recipes. With my old pointed books, when propoints came in, I just pro-pointed the recipe when I came to use it and wrote it my the title, I'll just do the same again, same as when I get a recipe from BBC good food or from a friend on some dieting group. And how in my baking notepad I just point my own recipes, so I know just how much exercise I need to do for a slice of my snickers cake.

The redesign of the website I love too, there are distinct sections for food, fitness and well-being and I love having a browse through this, I really hope is gets updated regularly!

When going through the online material I cam across this;
Here’s the secret to success: Be kind to yourself. Perfection is over-rated.
It's so true! and not enough Weightwatchers I come across are kind to themselves. There's way more to you than just a scale and I love that Weightwatchers are embracing this.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Cancelling my weightwatchers magazine subscription

I wrote this post back in September, forgot to schedule it. Oops.

I have subscribed to the Weightwatchers magazine for years (nearly 6), every month I receive it by post and for a very long time I just kept renewing despite thinking pretty much every month while flicking through it, "why on earth am I buying this?"

(I have written about this before The weightwatchers magazine and me.)

To be honest I think it was habit. When I first started this journey I bought it each month and I read it religiously. The highlights of course being the recipes. Now I know that I could just google recipes or navigate though the Weightwatchers website, but there was always something nice about being able to have a magazine handed to you with bound copies and someone giving you suggestions. I liked it. I may not have cooked with them all, but they gave me inspiration to maybe mix up flavours, proteins and carbs as I do fall into ruts every now and then.

The format of the magazine changed a while ago too, so I suppose I wanted to make sure I gave it a good  chance before finally cancelling it.

But although the format has changed, I don't think the content has improved enough to warrant a continuation of my subscription. For pretty much the reason I mentioned before. Success Stories. There is too many, taking up too much page space that could be used for recipes, talking about in season produce and giving ideas on how to prepare, or, what the magazine really lacks. Fitness information.

Now I know Weightwatchers is a food plan, and they do talk in the magazine about health and fitness concerns, but in the long run. I could do with more advice on that side, and maybe a section just on tips to stay at goal, rather than see another girl who has managed to lose one stone (not taking away from her success, well done, I know myself how hard it can be to lose 1lb let alone any more). I just don't find that motivating at all. Whereas a few pages, split over beginner, intermediate and advanced exercise levels would be great. Guidance on what to do at the gym would be good, take away fear of weights, dispelling myths, reviewing classes / DVDs etc.

Before I was skimming over the success stories, now, I just flick straight on past. It was when I caught myself doing this I decided it has to stop. It is a waste of money and trees.

So I am giving it a break. I have not renewed my membership and I have decided that going forward. Should I feel the desire for the Weightwatchers magazine, I am just going to buy one in the shops. But only if the cover pulls me in and when it is something like this;

Lets face it, I will probably buy it. But then in 6 years of magazines they have only made a recipe the cover star three times.

I do want to find a good magazine though. I would ideally like to find one that focuses on good food and exercise but when I walked into the shops to work out which one to pick up next, I was overwhelmed by choice.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated?

PS. I still really like the US version of the magazine when I can get my hands on it.

Edit: Dec 2015.
And now with the introduction of smart points and a more rounded approach to weight loss I am hoping that the magazine will improve its content a little. I will probably buy the new year copy to see what things are

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Weightwatchers we meet again!

Okay, so I have neglected the blog since Italy, but I have still been on plan and I have plateaued again.

It's been mostly 1lb on, then 2 weeks to get it off, the 1 lb lost then half a lb on. It has been frustrating as hell. Something needs to be done.

So I had been talking to my bestie (who did weightwatchers with me all those years ago on the old discover program) and we decided enough was enough. Back to a meeting we go.

And last week we did just that. We returned to meetings. My weigh-in day is now a Wednesday, I have a good 2 stone (about 30lbs actually) to lose and no big target to hit it by, as long as I get there. Gavin and I got engaged in Italy in September just there and though we have pretty much set a date, my only goal is to be a bit more comfortable with myself by then, no dress size or weight targets set. I just want to be a bit healthier.

Just because I have not updated in a while, here are some holiday photos I put up on instagram at the time.

The leader I had originally was amazing, sadly I found out she has retired from being a leader so I obviously can not go to her meetings. The new leader is different, and the class hilarious. 

I got placed on the SimpleStart plan which I was able to stick to for 4 days, I had a trip to see family which gave me next to no control over prep but what I did have was quite nice.

 All meals were cooked from scratch and even on days with next to no time / laziness in the evening we still managed some good choices.

I couldn't bare to use my precious daily treat on jam for my crumpets so (roughly following a recipe in the simple start book) I reduced down some berries with the zest and juice of an orange to get the simple start breakfast you can see below.

When away my decisions weren't as great, I had chowder with wheaten bread and butter;

Along with quite a few takeaways. I was quite active on the fitbit so I think that served as damage control. As Gavin graduated on Wednesday I couldn't go back to class for the second weigh in, but that didn't stop me this week, I went to a different class on the Tuesday to get told 1 lb on.

Originally I was gutted about this, despite the weekend trip I stuck to the plan perfectly and did exercise, but now I don't mind. It could have been a bigger gain or it could have been an excuse to not get back to plan once home and I have been great.

I know from past experience that simple start and I just don't work together - although oddly I do see some success with filling and healthy. Either way, I want to go back to pointing and was given a nice new folder and some propoints information. No way to calculate them, but a book that covers non-branded foods.

The new smartpoints plan has came out in the UK, Australia and USA however it has not been released or even whispered about in the Irish meetings, I have asked about it, to be told we won't be getting it in meetings for a while. Disappointing. Not given any time scales either.

Of course being an online member - I have full access to it, and I think I am going to switch to it, there's no point in waiting for the meeting to catch up, and I use the online tracker naturally so it will do a lot of the work for me.

Quite excited for the new plan! First impressions post will be up soon!