For as many years as I have been watching my weight, I have not once tracked a whole day’s worth of calories. Sure, I’ve tracked more days than I’d like to admit worth of Weight Watchers Points, but never calories. Crazy, right? This week, I decided to change that.
On Wednesday, I put everything that passed my lips into SparkPeople.com to see how it would measure up against the WW points+ and I thought the results were pretty interesting. I honestly had no concept of how many calories I would be eating because I eat A LOT of fruit and veggies, which are no points, but obviously do have calories. I know the calorie counts of a lot of different foods by heart and always look at nutrition labels, but in terms of an entire day, I had no idea how it would play out.
First up, I went into SparkPeople.com, set up a free account, and set my weight goal and time hoping it achieve it. Based on the goal of losing 7 lbs by June 1, it says I should target to eat between 1280-1630 calories per day. I honestly have never thought about large picture calories before, but 1280 seems very low to me considering that I’m pretty active, but I have no basis for thinking that really.
I didn’t change anything about what I was eating based on the goals it told me, and just entered everything into the tracker.
Here was my menu for Wednesday:
Breakfast (9:30am): 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup wheat berries, 1 cup blackberries, 1 large banana (3 pts+) (410 calories, 1g fat)
Lunch (12:30pm): 2 hard boiled eggs mixed with 2 tbsp hummus on a slice of Ezekial 4:9 bread, celery sticks and broccoli (7 pts+) (317 cals, 15g fat)
Snack 1 (3pm): 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, an apple (2 pts+) (183 calories, 2 g fat)
Snack 2 (5:30pm): 72% Dark Chocolate Ghiradelli Square and a Green Monster (1 cup Unsweetened Coconut milk, 2/3 frozen banana, handful of frozen fruit, handful of spinach) (3 pts+) (273 calories, 10g fat)
Dinner (8:00pm): Tempeh Taco Salad (10pts+) (453 cal, 14g fat)
Dessert (10pm): 1 Skinny Cow Vanilla with Caramel Cone (4 pts+) (150 cal, 3g fat) I know.
Total PointsPlus Consumed: 29 Pts+
- Breakfast: 3
- Lunch: 7
- Snack: 2
- Snack: 3
- Dinner: 10
- Dessert: 4
Total Calories/Fat Consumed: 1786 calories, 45grams fat
- Breakfast: 410 cal, 1g fat
- Lunch: 317 cal, 15g fat
- Snack: 183 cal, 2g fat
- Snack: 273 cal, 10g fat
- Dinner: 453 cal, 14g fat
- Dessert: 150 cal, 3g fat
I think it’s interesting to see that breakfast was 410 calories and only 3 pts+, but lunch was only 317 calories and 7 pts+. It’s too easy to get sucked up into numbers so this is not something I would do every day by any means, but it’ was really interesting to look at for one day.
Sparkpeople.com told me that I went over on both calories and carbohydrates, but that I was on target with fat and protein. Though I did eat a good amount, I felt like my day was pretty balanced, though I imagine a lot of the carbs are from the excessive amounts of fruits and veggies I had.
Doing this exercise makes me realize that counting Pts+ is better for me, because I think I would feel restricted if I had to stick to a certain number. Knowing I can pile on the fruits and veggies if I’m still hungry gives me a certain sense of freedom that I don’t think I’d get if I was strictly counting calories.
Oh, and a random fun fact. I very recently learned that the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system figures in eating up to FIVE servings of 0 pts+ fruit (not fruit and veggies, just fruit) per day. That makes me feel better about my 4-5 servings a day. =)
So what about you? Do you track calories, points, both, or neither? Have you ever looked at calories and points side by side? Were you surprised by the results? Which method do you prefer?