I was just thinking today that my weekly eating seems to follow a fairly common pattern. And, it is when I deviate from this pattern that I am mostly likely to get off track and then find it hard to get back on track.
Why I Don’t Eat Exactly 30 SmartPoints a Day
Let me first say that I am not one of those people to eat in a way that exactly equals my daily SmartPoints. I know people who do it. They get 30 daily SmartPoints and almost always eat exactly that many. Some feel it is almost cheating to eat any Weekly SmartPoints (it’s not actually). Or, they reserve Weekly SmartPoints to days that they eat our or are special occasions.
I just don’t eat that way. First, I find it too difficult to eat exactly 30 daily SmartPoints. Technically, that is my minimum and I am not supposed to go below it. In reality, I do sometimes go below, although it is usually not by much. Way, way, back in the day we had a range of daily points. That is, I think it was something like 18 to 23 points a day and you could bank unused points to use that week. That later changed to getting just one number for each day and you got your weekly points at the start of the week. I understand that change (it kind of sucked on the plan with banking if your birthday was on Day 1 of your week since you couldn’t borrow points from future days). But, I did like the flexibility. And, most of the time I could easily eat within the range I was given.
But, eating exactly 30 points a day is just too rigid for me. That is one reason I think it is totally fine to eat Weekly SmartPoints. So, I usually do. I rarely eat exactly 30 SmartPoints in a day. In fact, I just looked back for the last 6 weeks and I didn’t eat exactly 30 SmartPoints on any day. I know some people like to get the blue dots on their mobile app on Weight Watchers. That is, eat within 3 points below their Daily SmartPoints and no more than 7 SmartPoints above. I actually find it interesting that I get a blue dot even when I eat at 27 Daily SmartPoints since really 30 is supposed to be my minimum. (It doesn’t surprise me for those whose recommended Daily SmartPoints are at least 33). Anyway, I don’t pay attention to blue dots , but went and looked for August. I got a blue dot on only 15 days.
My Weekly Eating Pattern
Anyway, my weekly eating pattern can be divided into 3 parts. First is the weekend. I weigh in on Saturday mornings and my Weight Watchers week currently starts on that day. I eat fairly freely on Saturday and Sunday. We usually go out to lunch on both days so those tend to be my “high” days. Last Saturday, I ate 52 SmartPoints and Sunday was 46. On the other hand, a couple of weeks ago I was at 41 SmartPoints on Saturday and 34 for Sunday. It just depends on where we end up eating. I do pay attention on the weekend. Of course, I always track. But, if I have a 60 point day on Saturday, then I will probably suggest we eat lunch on Sunday at Panera which tends to be low points for me.
Weekends are just sort of magical for me. I feel very free in terms of eating. Not totally. I do track and I watch my points and my calories. But, unless I go just terribly wild, I know that I can handle most everything from the weekend. I usually end the weekend with some weekly points left, but I’ve used most of them over the weekend.
Monday through Wednesday are really the key days of the week, but are a bit of a slog. That is, by then I know what I ate for the weekend and know what I have left for the week. I know I will eat lightly Thursday and Friday. Monday through Wednesday is where I have to make adjustments for what I did on the weekend. If I ate at really high calorie places on the weekend, it is on Monday through Wednesday that I try to adjust for it. I am not talking about starving myself. Just watching more carefully and eating fewer weekly points and checking my calorie burn. I keep a spreadsheet showing my daily calorie burn (per Fitbit) and daily calories eaten (per MyFitnessPal) and have a goal to have a certain deficit by the end of the week. It is from Monday to Wednesday that I make the adjustments in eating and activities to be on track for where I want to be. But, those days are the hardest days of the week. The freedom of the weekend is gone. But, I don’t yet have the motivation of a weigh in staring me in the face. Also, Monday is usually when I have my highest daily weigh in at home. The weekend eating was higher calorie, higher carb, and higher sodium. The latter two factors often resulted in temporary water weight gain.
If I am going to go off track it is Monday through Wednesday when I am most likely to do it. It isn’t the weekend, even though I eat more on the weekend. It is the unplanned eating out on Monday through Wednesday or having extra snacks or skipping exercise. Those things are more likely to happen on Monday through Wednesday and can turn what was going to be a good week into a bad week. It is then that I most need to be vigilant, but am often my least vigilant.
Then, Thursday and Friday arrive. Those are usually my lowest point days of the week. Not always, but most of the time. Even if I don’t plan to weigh when I go to my meeting on Saturday, I tend to want to do well on my home scale on Saturday. So, I eat very carefully on those days. Not only do I make sure to watch my total points and calories, I watch my carbs and sodium. I don’t want to have water retention on Saturday morning. My somewhat amorphous goal is to stay at 70 carbs or less on those two days. I don’t always manage it (yesterday was 84) but it is what I aim for. I avoid going out to eat on those days unless it is a major special occasion, but I want to avoid excess sodium.
Even though I eat more carefully on Thursday and Friday than I do earlier in the week, it is easier on Thursday and Friday. Usually by then my weight is down from what it was on Monday morning. I am currently down 1.9 pounds from where I was on Monday. On Thursday morning I was down 1.3 pounds. That motivated me to eat well on Thursday and to exercise so I would be at a good place this morning (and I was) and to be at a good place on Saturday morning.
Basically Thursday and Friday seem easier because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that light is a good Saturday weigh in!