Bit of blog keeping: Tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway to win a copy of GI Jayne's Kickboxing DVD. If you haven't entered yet, do so soon!
I've been counting Points for so long -- 2 1/2 years this time around, but essentially on and off for over 10 years -- that I honestly forgot that Weight Watchers offers an alternative to counting: the Simply Filling technique (or Core on the old plan).
But to understand the big difference in Simply Filling and why I'm opting to try it out for a few weeks, I first need to give y'all a Weight Watchers crash course.
PointsPlus works like this: based on a variety of factors like gender, height, and, of course, weight, you are given a set number of Daily Points. When I started back at 311 pounds it was somewhere in the mid-high 40s. As you lose weight, your daily points decrease with the lowest points possible being 26. Foods then are assigned points values using a formula that looks at the nutritional value, specifically carbs, fat, fiber, and protein. If you want to eat something you have to figure out the food points and see if it fits into your daily points. If you go over your daily points or have a special occasion or just want to splurge, you are given 49 Weekly Points to use or not use as you see fit. Everyone gets 49 Weeklies regardless of weight. You can also earn additional points through exercise (called Activity Points). Fruit is 0 points as are most veggies (starchy items like corn and taters have points). There are also the Good Health Guidelines or recommend servings for certain types of groups like dairy, fruits and veggies, and oil. Some of these things -- like the dairy and oil -- have Points, so when planning a day you have to take those into account.
With PointsPlus, every food you eat gets tracked. Even the BLTs (Bite, Lick, or Taste). And, let me tell ya, it can get exhausting. Especially after this long. I think one of the reasons I've been struggling the past few months is because I'm tired. Tired of thinking about everything I eat. Tired of tracking. Tired of not just reading but studying nutritional labels. Just plain ol' freaking exhausted from the whole thing.
Which is where Simply Filling comes in.
With SF, you center your meals around the Power Foods list (in the online trackers these foods are indicated with a green arrow). If an item is on the Power Foods list you can eat as much as you would like until you feel satisfied without having to track it. The key here is satisfied: don't eat so much that you are stuffed but don't eat so little that you are still hungry. Essentially it's about letting your body's hunger level guide your food choices versus how many points you still have left for the day. You still get 49 Weekly Points and can continue to earn Activity Points so if you do want something not on the list ('cause, c'mon, no way I can give up peanut butter) you can use your WPs or APs for it and just track it like you normally would.
I honestly didn't know much about SF. I don't go to WW meetings so I don't have a leader to mention it every once in awhile and the website is very PointsPlus focused (which admittedly makes sense. Their entire brand is built around counting points). I do know there are bloggers who use SF -- Brooke was the first one who came to mind -- and Melissa also gave me a link where she talked about her experience doing SF.
When I first looked at the Power Foods list -- with some additional foods, like available condiments listed here -- I was a bit skeptical. The list just didn't really seem that long. But then I started flipping through some of my favorite cookbooks and realized how many of my favorite meals -- including at restaurants -- are either already SF friendly or would only require dipping into a couple of my WPs per serving.
I admit I've gotten kind of lazy as of late in the kitchen. I just haven't been cooking as much and either using frozen dinners or just throwing a sandwich and chips together for a quick lunch. Sure, it gets the job done but obviously eating more whole foods would be better. Plus I miss cooking, but it adds another level of exhaustion onto Weight Watchers because you have to figure out the points for serving sizes using their Recipe Builder. Being able to dive back into my cookbook collection and working with familiar foods in a new way that won't always require the recipe builder excites me. Like over the weekend I found a recipe in a cookbook that was just whole wheat rotini, corn, black beans, and salsa pretty much thrown together. Super filling, super easy, and all foods off the Power List. So filling that I didn't even need to eat the entire serving I gave myself which is the entire point here. If I was still counting, it would probably have been a recipe I passed over because I knew all of those foods -- no matter how healthy and nutritious they may be -- would add up to a high point dish.
With SF you are making yourself listen to your hunger cues. If you are hungry, eat something and stop when you feel satisfied. My hunger cues and I have been out of whack since I was about fifteen so this will be a challenge but a necessary one. I also have been wanting to eat cleaner but had no idea where to start and the Power Foods List is an excellent place to start. Plus, hello, I can eat potatoes again. Starchy veggies and carbs are given Points on Points Plus and have to be counted so I don't even them that often so being able to make breakfast potatoes over the weekend with a side toasted light bread made this breakfast lover more happy than she can even say.
I've only been at this for a few days so I'm still learning as I go but so far I'm liking this alternative Weight Watchers plan. I also am, admittedly, giving myself extra work by continuing to count points in a notebook but it's mostly just for comparison purposes. That being said, even just a few days in there are a few things I'm not liking about the way WW actually handles SF (mostly having to do with food in the online tracker), but that's for another post. After I've been on SF for a little while longer I'll come back with a follow-up!
Have you ever tried Simply Filling before? Any advice or favorite recipes for me?
Love from the ashes,