Upside Down Tracking

I thought it might be fun to do a little series diving into some different tools and techniques that Weight Watchers has that people might not know that much about. Some ideas I have besides today’s topic are:

    • Simply Filling Technique
    • Activity Points v. Weekly Points – which to use first
    • Activity Point Goals
    • Weight Watchers for Endurance Athletes

If you have any others, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Upside Down Tracking

For me, from the time I get home from work on is the hardest time of day for staying on track. I am generally quite good during the day – I bring my coffee, breakfast, snacks and lunch to work and am usually good at sticking with what I brought. Unless cookies/cupcakes are brought into the office, but that’s another story for another day.

A few weeks ago, the meeting topic was all about tracking, and the idea of Upside Down Tracking was brought up, which I’d heard about but haven’t yet used. The basic idea is this: your daily PointsPlus target is the amount of points you get for a 24 hour period. For those of us who struggle more at night, you reset your points before dinner, and then based on how many you consume at night, you plan your breakfast/lunch/snacks for the next day.

So, for an example, I get 29 pts+ per day as my allowance. Monday night I had a (three hour) Weight Watchers training session, and here’s what I ate during and after the training:

    • Sandwich Thin (3 pts)
    • 2 servings pretzels (6 pts)
    • 2 oz. turkey (2 pts)
    • 1/4 cup hummus (3 pts)
    • 1 banana (0 pts)
    • 1 orange (0 pts)
    • 100 calorie dark chocolate bar (3 pts)

If my math skills serve me correctly, that adds up to 17 pts. Since I get 29 a day, I’d subtract the 17 pts and am left with 12 to use between breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day. Then, the next day’s dinner, my points would reset back to 29. Make sense?

I think this technique is quite interesting and something that could really work to my advantage since nighttime tends to be the hardest part of the day for me. Rather than feeling guilty for having an extra snack at night, I’d just know that I had to make some adjustments the next day. If you’re a calorie counter rather than a Points counter, this same technique could work with restarting your counting from before dinner or whenever the hardest part of the day is for you.

What do you think about this concept? Had you heard of it or tried it before? Is it something you think could work for you?



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36 Comments on Upside Down Tracking

  1. Victoria
    February 29, 2012 at 8:38 am (3 years ago)

    I understand what the intent here is, but I would worry that this could exacerbate the classic “overeat at night then skip breakfast” issue that can lead to weight gain. It is also a very common behavior among people with binge eating disorder – compensating for eating too much at night by restricting the next day (no of course I am not saying that people who use this technique have any kind of eating disorder but that was one of the first things that came to mind about this.).

    Anyway, I guess this could potentially help some people but I would be concerned that it could encourage less than ideal or potentially harmful habits.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm (3 years ago)

      I can completely understand your concerns and can see why this wouldn’t work for some people/might be dangerous for people who struggle with binging. Weight Watchers works in extra points each week plus extra points you earn for doing activity, so if you eat all your daily allowance at night you have extra to draw from for the next day. There are also a lot of things you can eat for low/no points – like fruits and veggies, so if you eat too much at night you can make some low-point options for breakfast/lunch the next day. It’s definitely a mental thing for someone like me – it would make me feel a little free-er at night, but I would never skip breakfast or lunch. You’d never want me to be around me if I did! :)

      Reply
  2. Racheal @ Running with Racheal
    February 29, 2012 at 8:44 am (3 years ago)

    I have heard of it and think it sounds interesting, but never tried it. I am kind of scared that I would eat all of my points at night and not have any for lunch. Ha!

    Right now I am doing a pretty good job of staying in my budget, but if that ever becomes a problem, this would be a great way to mix things up.

    Thanks for reminding me! :)

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm (3 years ago)

      I think it’s always good to have extra options for when you need or want to change things up, but if regular old tracking is working for you, no need to change anything!

      Reply
  3. Amy
    February 29, 2012 at 8:49 am (3 years ago)

    I’ve never used it, but it’s been suggested at meetings–I think it seems like a good idea. Just changing things up every now and then can be good. I had no idea there was a weight watchers for endurance athletes. I’m interested to see what you have to say about that.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm (3 years ago)

      There’s not really a WW for endurance athletes… it’s more just how I work with my PointsPlus when training for events like half marathons and personal experience more than anything!

      Reply
  4. Katie Photiadis
    February 29, 2012 at 8:51 am (3 years ago)

    Beth,

    I’ve heard of this method before and I think it definitely has its merits. Instead of feeling like you “blew” your points at night, you know that you can still stay on plan if you just make some accommodations the next day.

    At the same time as I recognize its merits, I think this upside down tracking can cause problems, particularly if you make a habit of overeating at night. It could possibly start a bad habit of overeating at night, undereating all day, and then overeating at night again. In the end, the ultimate goal is a well-balanced diet, right?

    For me, I like starting each day with a fresh slate. I typically would use my WPs or APs for a nightly splurge. However, I think upside down tracking could be a useful idea…and is definitely worth exploring.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for your input! I completely agree that there can be pros/cons to any way you approach WW. For now the fresh slate at the beginning of the day is working for me too, but when I need to change things up I might give this a go!

      Reply
  5. Ashleysh22
    February 29, 2012 at 9:03 am (3 years ago)

    I really like this actually. I don’t do weight watchers but I do count calories with myfitnesspal.com… I too am great at eating during the day… But when it comes to dinner and evening snacks I get in trouble. I think I am gonna try this for the next week actually. Starting at 6pm.

    Besides… I’m a Jew… And the Jewish calendar is measured from sundown one night until sundown the next as one day. Seems rather fii
    Tying indeed :) thanks!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm (3 years ago)

      haha I never factored religion into it, but that is funny! Let me know how it works for you if you do give it a go!

      Reply
  6. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am (3 years ago)

    I think that’s actually a pretty good idea. Because sometimes you just have those days… and so I’ll go home with the “f- it” attitude. I can see how this would work for that!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s a great point! It can help you get out of the all-or-nothing mentality since you can’t “screw” your whole day between breakfast and lunch!

      Reply
  7. Jenn
    February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am (3 years ago)

    I like this idea for people who have appropriate self control and for whom the nighttime eating is not severe. I’m a binge eater though. I would eat every point at night and starve all the next day which is not healthy. I think there are better ways around this problem.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm (3 years ago)

      I could definitely see how this could be a problem for a binge-eater because it can just perpetuate the cycle and maybe even make it worse. For some people who just need to change things up a bit or want to think about it a little different mentally and who do not struggle with binging, it can be a good alternative though!

      Reply
  8. Sara
    February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am (3 years ago)

    What I have found works is very similar except it’s for the same day. I just allocate an average amount of points first thing for dinner (say 14points) then I adjust my breakfast and lunch since they are easier for me to eat lighter anyway. Then no matter what I decide to eat, I have “banked” 14 points+ plus any Activity points I might earn that day. So far it seems to be working a lot better than tracking as I go and hoping I have anything left at night.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s a great idea! Same concept, but just a different way to think about it. It’s like finding the right mental game for you!

      Reply
  9. Laura
    February 29, 2012 at 10:44 am (3 years ago)

    I really like this idea too. I’ve never done WW but I count calories and dinner always tends to be my problem time, mostly because it is the only meal that I don’t have complete control over. For example, I might decide to treat myself a little at lunch and have a healthy, smaller dinner planned that night, but when I get home, some friends call to invite me out to dinner. Even though I am pretty good at making healthy choices when I go out, I still tend to eat a bigger quantity and it’s so silly to get stressed about something that is supposed to be fun like eating out with friends! I don’t want the fact that I’m trying to lose weight to control my life and keep me from accepting invitations like that. Even without upside down tracking, you could cut back a bit the next day, but it’s so tempting to think of it as a new day and starting fresh. I’m definitely going to give this strategy a shot. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm (3 years ago)

      You’re welcome! That is a good point too about unexpected outtings – you can’t always plan for those things. Let me know how it works for you if you do give it a shot!

      Reply
  10. Gwen
    February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am (3 years ago)

    Really interesting idea! I think I would personally struggle – I’d “let” myself eat all of my points, and then have nothing left for breakfast and lunch! But I also do very well during the days at work, with structure and things to do. Weekends are the hardest for me bc of that.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Yeah weekends are really tough for me too! I feel like i’m in a constant yo-yo cycle – good during the week to make up for the weekends, only to redo the damage and use the next week to make up for it. So frustrating!

      Reply
  11. Jenny
    February 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ve done this before and it actually worked quite well for me. Maybe I should start doing it again… :-)

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Glad to know it worked for you! I have yet to give it a try but am going to keep it in my back pocket for when I need to change things up.

      Reply
  12. Jennifer
    February 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm (3 years ago)

    I have heard of it but have never tried it. I think it would work really well for me. Maybe I’ll give that a go next week (I count calories).

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm (3 years ago)

      I think it would work well for me too, but it’s hard to find a point to start! I might commit to it next week, too.

      Reply
  13. Nora
    February 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm (3 years ago)

    ooo. I like this idea in theory – but I think WW would have to some how change e-tools for that kind of tracking – like a clock setting or something… My brain just doesn’t work crossing days/nights! :)

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm (3 years ago)

      I guess you could log your dinner into the next day… like if you started this tonight, you would log tonight’s dinner into Thursday and then fill in breakfast/lunch tomorrow with the extra points. That would mess with me too though. :)

      Reply
  14. Hilary
    February 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Hmmm…that’s a cool idea. Never heard of it before, but I could see it working for me, that is if I hadn’t just cancelled my WW online membership! But something to keep in mind though!

    Reply
  15. Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt
    February 29, 2012 at 10:43 pm (3 years ago)

    Hey if it works for you, go for it, all your food choices are healthy and clean.

    Reply
  16. Mary Lynne
    March 1, 2012 at 1:38 am (3 years ago)

    That makes a lot of sense, but I tend to eat more for breakfast and my morning snacks so I don’t think it would work for me that well. Although something to try down the line to change it up.
    I would love for you to write about WW topics. I recently started meetings after having done the online for several months, and really want to getting to understanding everything at a deeper level.

    Reply
  17. Becca
    March 1, 2012 at 11:09 am (3 years ago)

    We talked about upside down tracking in our meeting a few weeks ago too but I’m hesitant to try it since I’ve been successful with regular tracking so far. I started WW on 12/31/11 and have lost 22 lbs. I’ve seen a loss every week since starting so until I hit a plateau or something similar, I think I’ll stick to what’s working for me. You know, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I do think that it’s a good idea for someone who does tend to find themselves running out of points by the end of the day.

    Reply
  18. Lauren
    March 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm (3 years ago)

    We talked about this at our meeting too, obviously. I haven’t tried it because I feel like it would be impossible for me not to do it the whole week. Our leader said you can do it just some days, but that makes no sense to me. How would you switch back and forth? And for me, I weigh in on Friday mornings, and begin counting Friday’s points with breakfast, after the meeting. If I weigh on Friday a.m. and don’t start my Friday day until dinner, what would happen to breakfast and lunch? It doesn’t make sense to count that as part of Thursday, because counting points for last week that you’re eating after weighing in will not work out. Right?

    Reply
  19. Lili
    March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m the same way. When I get home after work is the hardest. I am usually starving and end up eating more than I need…not to mention the cookies I reach for! lol

    Reply
  20. Samantha
    March 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm (3 years ago)

    I’d really love to hear about weight loss for endurance athletes. As my runs get longer, my appetite it GROWING! I am now really hungry in the morning and for lunch. I only get 26 points but I eat more.. Probably close to 29 or 30.

    I have been eating a lot of fruits and some veggies.. I think I need more protein and veggies. It’s hard to know what is hunger or just boredom/stress.

    Reply
  21. Koko @ Koko Likes
    March 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm (3 years ago)

    I can totally see how this would be amazing. Thinking of trying it for a week, just to see. I agree that dinners are usually my hardest part of the day in terms of eating and tracking (I seem to stay really on track during the day and at night fib a little on my tracking)…

    Reply
  22. Katie for Life
    March 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm (3 years ago)

    This is so interesting, because I am just like you in terms of struggling with staying on track after work. I always plan a healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks, but then … well you know! Maybe I’ll try this :)

    Reply
  23. Melanie
    March 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm (2 years ago)

    I love this idea! I have a lot of trouble staying on track at night, and I think this will really help me get it figured out :-)

    Reply

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