I had a great weigh in this Saturday.
I was down 2.6 pounds to 143.6 pounds. That was exciting to me because it puts me 2.4 pounds below my Weight Watchers goal weight of 146 pounds. Now, this covers 3 weeks since my January weigh in, but it is a new low weight for me (in the last 25 years anyway). In truth, I ate a bit lower carb for the latter part of the week (although my average carbs per day over the week was 106g) so some of this may be loss of water that occurs when carbs are restricted. Still, I think most of it is “real” weight loss.
It was a really good week on eating. I ate some, but not all, of my Weekly Points. One thing that helped was that we only ate out once during the week (last Saturday which is when I ate the weekly points). And, I ate low sugar during the week. I averaged 21g of sugar per day which includes natural sugars.
And, that ties into something from the meeting I went to today. The leader had a poster where she says she laid out how she felt in her early weeks of using SmartPoints:
And, she talked about going through the process from wondering why the program was changed, to not liking it, to thinking it was too hard, then way too hard and then wanting to quit. But then she came through that and went on the upswing and used various strategies ending up at being glad she didn’t quit.
In some ways, I found this hard to relate to with regard to SmartPoints. I never felt any of those things. I’ve liked it from the start and never felt it was too hard. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had to change some things or that I haven’t had to adjust how I do some stuff. I have. It is just that it hasn’t been a big change for me since I already ate mostly that way.
When I was looking at this, and listening to some members who really were some way along the path in the picture, I thought about some comments I had seen recently. The basic gist of them was along these lines: This program is not sustainable because it is impossible for anyone to eat like this. To do this, I would have to entirely give up sugar and saturated fat and no one can do that. It is not a way that anyone can sustain for a lifetime.
I always felt funny when I read that. Because, I’ve been eating that way for awhile. And, I do still eat sugar and saturated fat, just not much of them. But, here’s the thing. I don’t find it impossible to sustain because I have changed my food preferences. I am not white knuckling my way through it. I like how I eat now.
I feel that I eat a lot of snack foods and I eat plenty of sweet food. I started going back through my records for last week and tried to figure out how many grams of added sugar I ate each day (I don’t worry about natural sugar). Here is what I found for last week. Note that if a food has both added and natural sugar I am counting all of it as added. If I don’t know I figure it is added sugar. Sugar is shown in grams:
Saturday – 30g – Indonesian Peanut Saute (14), Potstickers (5), Cherry Tango Dark Chocolate Square (5), Kay’s Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks (3), True Lemonade (2), Reduced Fat Ranch Salad Dressing (1)
Sunday – 10g – Cherry Tango Dark Chocolate Square (5), Kay’s Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks (3), Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (1), Tortilla Crusted Tilapia (1)
Monday – 12g – Cherry Tango Dark Chocolate Square (5), Kay’s Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks (6), Quest Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar (1),
Tuesday – 11g – Frial Green Beans (6 – some of this is natural, but some is not), Kay’s Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks (3), Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (1), True Lemonade (1)
Wednesday – 13g -Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon, Cayenne & Cherries (4), Kay’s Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks (3), Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (1), Kay’s Honey Almond Cookie Bites (3)
Thursday – 7g – Luvo Chicken Chili Verde with Polenta & Black Beans (5 – some of this is natural, but not all), Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (1), True Lemonade (1)
Friday – 8g – Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon, Cayenne & Cherries (4), Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (1), Kay’s Honey Almond Cookie Bites (3)
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bars do have artificial sweetener in them. I don’t think anything else does although they may have some non-sugar natural sweeteners such as stevia.
I averaged 13g of added sugar a day. I was under the 6% a day of added sugar recommended for a woman by the American Heart Association. Now, you might think I was miserable and barely hanging on. Or that I would be on the verge of blowing it because I would be feeling so deprived.
But, honestly, this was a pretty lavish week for added sugar for me. I ate way more than usual last Saturday. For that day, about 9 1/2 % of my calories were added sugar which is huge for me. I had chocolate on 5 days of the week! And, I had a ton of stuff that had at least a little sugar in it. Yes, the Chocolate Chip Cookie dough bars have some artificial sweetener in them. And, I could certainly avoid those if I wanted. On the other hand, the Quest Chocolate Peanut Butter bars don’t have artificial sweetener. So, I could substitute those if I didn’t want any artificial sweetener at all.
I don’t see what I ate as being “never” eating sugar. Let me put it this way. I ate all the added sugar that I wanted to eat. My servings of chocolate were small, but I could have eaten more if I wanted it. I ended the week with 18 Weekly Points. So if I had really wanted more I could have had it. It is just that over the past few years, I’ve changed.
Some might think that, well, I’m different from other people and that I just never liked sugar. Well, no. Back when I was still in school I remember going to the grocery store every day and being half a dozen cinnamon sugar donuts and eating them all when I got home. In the summer of 2013, my tracker shows days where I had multiple servings of cookies from HEB (one day I had 9 serving of one flavor and a couple of more of another flavor). And, there was a time that I bought a Snickers bar every afternoon from the vending machine at work.
So, yes, I used to love sugar. This is why it bothers me so much when I see someone say that SmartPoints is not sustainable for anyone. I totally get it that there are many reasons not to like SmartPoints and some people will be happier and will do better long term on another program. There is nothing wrong with that. There are many ways to eat and many ways to get to goal and maintain it. We all have to find what works best for us. So, it bothers me not at all if someone chooses a different way of losing weight.
But, that is not the same as saying the program is not sustainable for anyone. Sometimes what I see is someone saying that it is not sustainable because the program does not allow the eating of enough sugary treats. There are two problems with that. First, it may not be sustainable to that person. That does not mean it isn’t sustainable for me. I was perfectly happy with what I ate last week. I had Weekly Points left over and could have had a 17 SmartPoint Cinnamon Crunch bagel if I really wanted it. I remember how it tastes and, yes, it was good. But, I no longer had a driving desire or need to have it. There were other things I wanted more and I got enough of that food. I didn’t want to eat more. Maybe I will have one sometime. But, in truth, I liked my Antep Pistachios last week more than I would have liked the bagel.
The second problem with rejecting the program because it doesn’t allow eating enough sugar is that it basically rejects the notion that we can change our food preferences. There is an assumption that not eating those things must engender feelings of deprivation. If we couldn’t change over time that would be true. There was a time that a week without a full-size candy bar and without cookies would have felt like deprivation to me. But, I changed. And, now, I don’t feel deprived not to have those things all the time. I occasionally might have them in a small portion, but they are simply another food.
At one time I couldn’t imagine not regularly eating high sugar foods. I would have thought I would be miserable and unhappy if I didn’t have them. But, by changing how I ate over time, I truly and honestly changed. I used to hate salads. Now, I have one almost every day and and I truly love it. The choice of salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette or a piece of candy is now one that requires some thought. The candy doesn’t usually win. And, when it does, I eat it happily and am satisfied with very little. There was a time when I couldn’t understand that way of thinking. But, I changed because I was open to the possibility of change.