Dueling Diets: Weight Watchers 360 v. Lose It!

First, the good news: I lost one whole pound at this week’s Weight Watchers weigh-in!

Ironically enough, though, I wasn’t truly on-program this past week. I was tracking on the free Lose It! app, online and on my phone.

I’ve done similar stunts before, although usually I’ll double-track on both WW and Lose It, like I’m doing this week. (I thought I’d plug all of last week’s data into my WW eTools, but it proved way too tedious to do after the fact.)

So, why do this other thing, when I’m already paying for Weight Watchers, and I know it works?

I first started using Lose It last year, I think it was, when my Mom needed a (free) diet plan to follow, and I couldn’t keep e-mailing her the PointsPlus Values (PPVs) all of her foods. It was different when I could give her my Points slider from the old Points program — now they’ve made the PointsPlus calculations more complex, so members need to buy an electronic doohickey to calculate PPVs (or use eTools online). Long story short, Mom needed a free option, and Lose It had a social aspect, and one of my friends was already using Lose It, so I double-tracked on this different weight loss program to support my Mom.

Turns out that I really like the user interface of Lose It! And UI is everything when it comes to usage, and usage in this case equates to consistent tracking of food and exercise.

Things I like about the Lose It UI:

  • I like being able to scan the barcode of a prepackaged food within the actual tracking app. WW requires members to use a separate scanner app that then imports to the Tracker app, and the scanned foods database seems to be more sparse than the database powering Lose It.
  • I like the little icons that represent my food. Yeah, I’m a dork. I know it’s fluff. But it’s part of the experience, and I like it.
  • I like being able to see my macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates). WW isn’t set up like that — the calculation for PPVs specifically makes it easier for members to avoid tracking a bunch of numbers. I like being able to see, for example, that I only got 19.5g of fiber today — should probably ramp that up just a little. That’s just me — if left to my own devices, I would eat macaroni and cheese for most meals of the week. Keeping tabs on my macronutrient percentages helps me not pig out on the pasta, and make better choices for dinner when I see that my carbs are out of control.

I originally had my Lose It program target me to lose half a pound per week. I kept under my calories quite handily on that program. No problem! Hence how I lost a full pound last week, I think — I was doing better than I had to, staying below my target calories, feeling good about my adherence to the program.

Today was my WW weigh-in day, so I decided to start double-tracking today. After lunch, eTools said I only had two PPVs left for the day (wha…? stupid side of macaroni), while Lose It said I still had half my calories yet to go! Hello, disparity! So, I went into Lose It and told it that I wanted to lose two pounds per week. Bingo — then they both matched.

For the most part.

It’s still a challenge to track exactly the same thing in both trackers when I’m eating “real” food — or non-prepackaged food, anyway. For example, that side of macaroni and cheese I had with my lunch today:

Carbs Fiber Protein Fat
Lose It!  49  2  9  2
WW 360  40  1  20  17

All right, so why am I tracking in two separate programs again?

Mainly because I wish that the WW interface looked and acted like the Lose It interface. Plus, I like the fact that I can specifically tell Lose It, “Listen. I want to lose a half a pound a week,” and it tells me how much to eat to mathematically hit that target. I can adjust my PPV target in eTools, but it’s kind of a shot in the dark. Plus, I hate to do that without my Leader’s guidance, because it feels like cheating.

“Oh, I can’t seem to find the willpower to stay within my PPV range — let’s raise it to something I can stick to.” What?

So, I think my goal for double-tracking this week is going to be to get myself back on-plan for Weight Watchers. I know myself. I know that if I allow myself to get too far off track, I’ll just throw up my hands and stop tracking. How about I figure out how many PPVs equates to Let’s Aim For Half A Pound A Week Instead Of Two, then successfully stick to that for a while?

It’s not quitting. It’s not cheating. It’s making the plan work for me.

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