Will You Have To Count Points or Calories Forever?

January 20, 2014   19 Comments

The whole “New Year New You” thing is in full swing. How are you doing so far?

Calorie Counting

Snack Girl has been receiving questions on the best way to start losing weight. Unfortunately, all I can come up with is the worst techniques. Here is a short list:

1. Intestinal parasites
2. Wearing a rubber suit
3. Hours in a sauna

My problem with answering these readers questions is that I don’t know why these people are overweight in the first place. Heck, I can’t see them so I don’t know even if they are overweight!

I will say that one of the very best ways to lose weight is to start listing what you eat every day. You can then use a free website such as Calorie Count to get an idea how many calories you are consuming.

When I tried Weight Watchers many years ago, I counted my points religiously and identified areas of my diet that were a wee bit out of control. I was drinking a large glass of orange juice every day, eating a chocolate chip cookie, and drinking beer. By cutting back on juice, cookies, and beer, I saved around 500 empty calories per day.


Without Weight Watchers would I have figured out my indulgence issue? Maybe – but WW gave me a framework to change.

Do I count calories now? Absolutely not. I learned where I had to change, lost weight, and now I try to eat healthy as much as I can.

Some people will count points or calories forever and if that works for them – more power to them. Many will find out where they are going wrong from counting, learn, and move on.

I do think that the best place to start is a cold, hard evaluation of your daily food intake to know where you are. Then you get to decide what to do about it.

Think of counting as a tool - not a life sentence.

Where would tell someone to start if they want to lose weight?

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I have lost 80 lbs since last Feb. I would definitley say to someone getting started that just GETTING STARTED is the hardest part! Truly, keeping it up isn't nearly as bad as just making those changes needed to get started. Chances are if you are getting started you are having to give up too many sweets, sugar addiction, too much fast food, etc. That is the hardest part, and it makes for a rough couple weeks, but I promise you, after you get through those hard first weeks and stick to a plan (I followed WW) it gets easier each day! My advice is to just get started today, not tomorrow, or next week. Today. Don't make all the changes at once, start with a couple changes. Give up that afternoon candy bar, or soda. Walk for 15 minutes today. Don't drive through the fast food joint on the way to or from work. Pick something small and make that change. You will find that it encourages you to make more healthy changes.

I've lost 145 lbs over about 4 years. What worked to get me started was to pick one unhealthy habit (eating junk at work was mine)and focus on that. It kept me from feeling overwhelmed by how much weight I had to lose. 4 years, later, I try to eat healthy most of the time & don't beat myself up if I indulge on occasion. For me, life is too short to spend it counting calories :-) Best wishes to all on their journey!

Exellent comment Snack Girl... full of common sense. if there is one quality a person needs to use for weight loss is common sense.

I think that different types of personalities will either learn to eat intuitively afte a while and some will forever feel that they simply must go on counting or they will lose control.

As I am to embark on my weight loss journey it feels very overwhelming. Reading these comments makes me think I can do this. I too need to lose 80 lbs. I hope that my small changes add up and I can post in a year how I lost the weight.

When I started on WW my mindset was right, and there is no substitute for that. I was determined to lose weight and limit my intake to do that. That is the first step, and no one can help with that... you're either there or you are not.

The next step was all the things you said. I chose to look at my plan (WW, but I'm not discriminating!) as a budget. In the same way I try to sort out my money so I know what I can afford to spend on treats and think up ways to make sure I get the best value for my money, I do the same with food on a diet. I'd much rather, for example, spend some points on WW chocolate bar than fruit juice - so I do! I'd much rather make my mushroom 'pizza' (use big flat mushrooms as the base to take out huge chunks of calories due to lack of bread and smaller portion size) than eat a stir fry - so I do! For me it was about making it all good... and once you get in smaller jeans, you know it was worth it!

Emma, good luck with losing weight. please explain in more detail about the mushroom dish you mentioned. thanks kindly.

I'm a lifetime W.W. member. I just can't keep track of "tracking", so I don't track but am very mindful what goes into my mouth daily. After many years of being on W.W., I got to know that a bagel is equal to about 5-6 slices of bread. So, I just eat one piece of whole grain bread instead of that "fresh bagel". Munching on carrots is way better than munching on chips. No tracking involved.

When I take the time to list my food daily, I always 'watch' my intake more carefully. That way calories do not sneak in.........

Does or did anyone have trouble losing weight do to antidepresant medication?

Where can I get those intestinal parasites? (j/k)

Great post. Very accurate. The key is find what you do, and find how to live your life successfully. What works for one, may not be the key to another person, but everything should be at least considered.

First off, Doctor Who fans will be startled by the picture of tally marks accompanying this article. Sorry, I'm a nerd. :)

But seriously...the thought of counting points forever would make my heart drop to my shoes. I think it's just a way to make you more mindful of what you're eating, and after awhile it becomes more second nature to make better choices. Hopefully. On the new Simple Start plan that you go on for a couple of weeks you don't count points unless you eat something outside their list. There's a woman in our WW group who finally admitted that she's never kept track of points...and she's at her lifetime goal now. Don't think that made our leader too happy to hear. But she said she's watched what she ate, watched portion sizes, etc. Counting points is just another tool to use that might be helpful for some.

you can't lump everyone into the same category when it comes to weight loss.

some people do WW because they are trying to lose baby weight, some people are food addicts, and some people just don't know about good nutrition.

the person who goes on a weight loss program after having a baby, is different then the person who has a food addiction.

if you're an alcoholic, you can give up booze....unfortunately, we do HAVE TO EAT every day.

Totally agree with 1st comment by Aubre, that the hardest part is GETTING STARTED. I've lost 80lbs on WW so far (50 in the first 5mos, 30 more to go). I wasted 30 years of my life being miserably obese, all because I couldn't stick with anything, until I was inspired by my daughter's success on WW. If SHE could do it, I could do it, and if I could do it at age 55, ANYONE can!! Sweets & fast food were not an issue for me; portion control was. Like Emma, I see my daily allocation of points as how much I can 'spend' on food each day. I can spend it on anything I want, but I choose to spend it on high volume, high nutrition foods. I will probably continue measuring foods for the rest of my life, lest the portion sizes start to creep back up! Yes, it's a burdensome prospect, but not as burdensome as carrying 280lbs - and I can't tell you the PLEASURE I going to thrift shops and fitting into cute clothes sizes M or L, instead of 24 or 26. Everyone has to find what will get them ignited, but the reward for just GETTING STARTED is immeasurable. I still can't believe I've lost 80lbs and how fast the 1st year went by! The key to getting started, for me, was to care enough about myself to feel I was worth the investment of effort AND expense (I wouldn't have started WW without God's love for me and a special one-year WW deal I found online! All the best, wherever you are on your journey!

I'd definitely tell someone to track their food intake. I was amazed that I was eating 1800+ calories a day .. too much. I don't track anymore .. it's too time consuming to track every morsel that I put into my mouth. At least I know where the pitfalls were (bread at EVERY meal) and now that I've cut back .. I'm where I want to be.


Started my weight loss journey at the beginning of the year. Goal to lose 100 lbs. started at 231.5 lbs on January first. Lost 30 lbs about 10 years ago doing ww, but once I stopped logging in my food I gained back everything I lost plus more. I know I have to have the right mindset to lose weight. I also have to log everything I eat and drink. Using my fitness plan app. Has made it easy and it's free. Down 6.5 lbs in less than three weeks so far.

Love to the Dr. Who fans! I'm a lifetime WW member who just cannot bear to count points again! What worked for me was really watching the sugars I was unintentionally eating. I've become a label fanatic. I just try to prepare meals for my family so I can control what we eat. The goal is to eat as "unprocessed" and as mindfully as possible.

Alas, yes :(

So I'm lifetime on Weight Watchers and the word does imply lifetime. It is a lifetime committment - there's no question about it. But I can do it - I really want to make it work this time. It's hard to do. Sometimes I feel as if my mind and body are locked in a battle. It wants to go back so badly. I don't know why but its as if my tummy wants that bigger belly back! Lol. For now I'm taking it one meal at a time and I can live with that.

I am also a WW Lifetime Member who has lost over 40 lbs. For me, I have to make sure I get on that scale every morning. When the pounds start creeping up, and my clothes aren't fitting, I begin to avoid the scale! I play mind games with myself telling myself that I will eat healthy for a few days and then get on the scale next week. I've gained about 8 lbs since summer. Where to start?? For me, sweets are my addiction - so since white flour turns into sugar in your body - I have to eliminate sweets to get the sugar out of my body! I personally believe that sugar is a drug for me. So, again, where to day at a time...getting through even ONE day without sweets is the hardest thing for me to do. Everyday I try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, and try again. The point here is that EVERYDAY I TRY... I have avoided added sugar for 10 days now. I have eaten quinoa in moderation, and on weekends included my whole wheat english muffin with my egg white omelet. I never give up sweets and bread forever. It's not realistic for me. I am Italian and I love pasta, bread with olive oil, and dessert. I love going out to dinner, and having a life that involves food, but I gained 8 lbs because I overdid it. I lost control...too much sugar over the holidays and I couldn't stop. But if the question is, where to begin...I begin by eliminating the drug - sugar!! Good luck - there is no answer! If you try and can't do it that day, then get up and try again!! Just NEVER stop trying! :-)

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