I mentioned in last week’s post about the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program that I’m consider leaving Weight Watchers. I don’t feel like I really need it anymore since healthy eating is a part of my lifestyle, and it’s hard to make it work with endurance training. I decided to continue with the program through the end of this year. If I can get within my goal weight range so that I don’t have to pay as a lifetime member, I’ll stay but won’t really follow it while training. If I’m not within my range and still need to pay, I might leave.
In this post I want to show how hard it is to align Weight Watchers and the nutrition needs of endurance training. But first I want to share how I did on the first week of this new program.
How I Did on Beyond the Scale
After losing 4 pounds in November on the old program, I felt confident with continuing to lose in December, even though my training started. But even though I was following the program 100%, I reached a plateau and even gained a little this month.
Last week I started the new Beyond the Scale program, again following it 100%. I also increased my carbs even more. And I lost 1.3 pounds. What was the difference? For me, it was very obvious: I ate less sugar. On the new program, foods high in saturated fat and sugar have increased in SmartPoints (SP). All through my weight loss and weight maintenance, I treated myself to something sweet nearly every day, whether that was a vegan cookie or simply a handful of chocolate chips. I’ve read all the recent articles about how evil sugar is, but I figured I was eating so little that it was okay. I deserve a daily treat, right?
Well, on this new program, you can have a treat a day, but the high points mean you won’t be able to have other things, like real food. Since I’m training, if there’s a choice between eating foods that will fuel my workout or a cookie, I obviously need to choose the real food. I had a sweet treat four times instead of every day, and my portion size was smaller (yes, I had to cut a small cookie in half, which is about as sad as it gets).
Well, here I was thinking there was nothing Weight Watchers could teach me, and I learned something the first week on the program: I’m eating too much sugar.
My daily allowance on the new program is 30 SP, and I used on average 40 SPs a day. I also earned on average 12 FitPoints a day for activity. So for me, the extra SPs I was eating evened out with how much activity I was doing. I earned 87 FitPoints for the week!
How Weight Watchers and Racing Weight Don’t Play Together Nicely
So let’s align all this with endurance training. Again, I’m following the nutrition guidelines in Racing Weight, which basically advocates eating more high-quality carbs the more hours you spend training, whether that be running, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc. (This does not mean general exercise or the time you spend doing cross training like strength training or stretching; it is specifically about the time your spend training for endurance events like marathons and triathlons.) While I’m training for a half marathon and not a full marathon, I’m following a high mileage program and will be spending a lot of time running. My review of the book is here.
Last week I ran just under 5 hours total, and knowing that I’d be increasing this week, I also wanted to increase my carb intake per the guidelines. Based on my racing weight (which I’m basically defining as my goal weight), if I’m running between 5 and 6 hours, I should be eating between 398.75 and 471.25 grams of carbs a day.
Here’s an entry in my food log from the last week that shows how many SP and carbs I ate (carbs calculated from either labels, Racing Weight, or the internet, all of which varies by a few grams per item).
1 banana | SP: 0 Carbs: 27
Toast with Peanut Butter
1 tbsp peanut butter | SP: 3 Carbs: 3
2 slices whole wheat bread | SP: 5 Carbs: 36
1 banana | SP: 0 Carbs: 27
1 cup light vanilla almond milk | SP: 3 Carbs: 11
1 cup whole wheat pasta | SP: 5 Carbs: 40
1/2 cup tomato basil sauce | SP: 3 Carbs: 11
1/2 cup mushrooms sauteed in water: | SP: 0 Carbs: 1.5
2 cups spinach sauteed in water | SP: 0 Carbs: 2.2
1/2 onion sauteed in water | SP: 0 Carbs: 5
Tofu ricotta made with
3 ounces tofu | SP: 2 Carbs: 2.2
1 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast | SP: 1 Carbs: 5
1/8 cup Daiya cheese | SP: 2 Carbs: 5
cubed tofu (2 ounces, dry-fried) | SP: 2 Carbs: 2.1
Daiya Shreds, Cheddar Style, 1⁄4 cup | SP: 3 Carbs: 7
mushrooms, spinach, onions | SP: 0 Carbs: 8.7
tomatoes | SP: 0 Carbs: 5
1/4 avocado | SP: 3 Carbs: 4.25
Cooking spray 5spray(s) S| P: 0 Carbs: 0
Tortilla, whole wheat, 2item(s) | SP: 4 Carbs: 36
2 clementines | SP: 0 Carbs: 18
apple | SP: 0 Carbs: 25
pear | SP: 0 Carbs: 27
Total SmartPoints: 36
Total Carbs: 306.95
This day was one of my lowest SP days; the highest was 45. But even though I was trying in increase my carbs, my total carbs was nearly 100 grams below the minimum I should be eating. So, you can see the challenge between trying to lose weight and trying to get in all the carbs! The other thing that is against me is that orange juice, dates, and raisins, which have historically been my go-to for pre-run snacks, have a lot of sugar and are thus extremely high in SP. A cup of juice went from 3 to 6 SP, and dates also doubled. I didn’t have them this past week for that reason, but when I start running 8 miles before work next month, I am going to need them for the quick energy.
I have to admit that if and when I leave Weight Watchers, it’s going to be very hard for me. I’ve been on Weight Watchers for probably around 15 years! And while I haven’t followed the program completely that whole time, it’s always been there for me when I need it. Yes, I could always go back if I leave, but when you leave your entire history gets deleted, and I frequently look back at my history. Plus, I like the new program. It’s teaching me better habits. And, of course, it’s exciting to see a loss in the first week of the new program. As I planned, I’m going to stay with it through the end of December then decide what to do.
If you’re on Weight Watchers, how did you do the first week?