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Old 02-17-2012, 07:16 PM
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Miakoda Miakoda is offline
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Default My experiment: Weight Watchers vs. myfitnesspal

Alright. I've had sooo many people come to me asking which program is better: Weight Watchers? or myfitnesspal?

Honestly, whichever one works for you. The "trick" to losing weight is more calories out than in (well, that's the basic laymen's version ).

But then they ask me the difference. Well, since I didn't know anything about myfitnesspal, I decided to look into it. What I've noted is that you input your needed information, and it calculates your daily nutritonal intake values for you as well as allows you to log your meals/snacks. Sounds like a plan to me.

Yes, Weight Watchers is based on the Points programs. But ultimately those points are given based on the food's nutritional value as well. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.

Which one is easiest? I haven't a clue seeing as how I'm only on WW and only familiar with it's process. I also chose to do WW online, and I use the iphone app for everything (simple, simple, simple).

But....that has changed as of today. How? I've done gone and joined myfitnesspal.com as well. Why? To run a comparison on them, and to gather more information so as to help provide friends and family with more information on which to make their choice of program.

One thing I noticed right off the bat with myfitnesspal is that it does have a great database of foods. Then came the problem. Upon trying to log a certain food down (O.R. Smart Pop 94% fat free - 100 calorie bags to be exact), I found that out of all the entries for it, absolutely zero were correct in their nutritional values. It seems that no one seems to acknowledge astericks on labels nor read the fine print at the bottom of the label. If they had, then they would've noticed that a few of the values changed once the popcorn was popped vs. in its original kernel form. Unfortunately, it didn't stop there. I found that most foods have soooooo many entries with many of them being wrong with their nutritional values. This could cause skewed results with someone relying on the program 100%. One needs to be quite diligent in checking the nutritional values of their choice on the list before just logging it. Just sayin'.

On the other hand, WW costs you approx. $18/month whereas myfitnesspal is $0.00. To many, that little detail offsets the aforementioned one in the above paragraph.

Right now, from what I know, both programs allow you to log your daily food and liquid intake (WW can take you really in depth with that) as well as log daily activity.

My goal is to see how close the programs are in terms of their daily guidelines/recommendations, and how the difference(s) could/would affect one's weight loss outcomes (depending on choice of program).

Today:

With WW, not counting my possible bag of OR 94% ff-100 cal popcorn, I only have a single point left. My bag of popcorn would cost me 2 points. (not a big deal seeing as how I have my activity points from today to "take" from or my weekly "overage" allowance points to take from)

According to myfitnesspal, even with my bag of popcorn, I still have 196 cals, 31 carbs, 3 g fat, and 3 g protein available for the day.

The difference came in with my lovely 2 cupcakes I ate today in lieu of lunch (I know, I know...whatever ). It seems myfitnesspal has much less of an issue with them that WW does.

This should be an interesting project, and if anyone is interested, I'll keep y'all updated. I plan on logging with both programs for at least 8 weeks.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:21 PM
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My fitness pal isn't exactly a method. You can customize it how ever you want. I was using it to keep my on track for keto. Or you can simply use it to go low calorie

(however in researching a major term paper for a 4th year honours biochem class I have learnt that counting calories is a pretty silly way to try to lose weight as cals in/out isn't a relevant model for energy balance nor does it take into consideration that all nutrients (carb/fat/protein) have different metabolic costs.. so different net energy amounts. Also the different pathways of various metabolic pathways have different effects on energy measurement.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:32 PM
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It may be a silly way to lose weight but tell that to the 80lbs i lost counting calories. Would it work for everyone? No but I wouldn't discount calorie counting/learning portion control all together.

Good luck with your experiment. I was going to try weight watchers but I wasn't sure if i would be able to figure out how to translate the points into everyday situations. In other words i figured i might end up being too lazy to figure out points for something that wasn't already given a point value on the package/menu/etc
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:53 PM
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I've counted calories and done portion control for years. Doesn't work for my body either. MFP can calculate anything you want. I too changed my macros. It's a tool, not a method.

I'm down 16.5 pounds by using MFP to track my nutrition on a ketogenic lifestyle change.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:02 PM
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Actually the current discussions are that what you do when counting calories is what makes the difference (in the majority)

Anyway if you read what I said, I said it was a silly way to look at energy management, I never said it was silly to try it. When people cut calories they tend to reduce sugar intake for example. Fructose is implicated in all sorts of bad things. So if you reduce your calories most people are doing good things because of choosing different food types.

Its not the reduction of calories in most cases that causes the weight loss, its the change in nutrient composition.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekka View Post
My fitness pal isn't exactly a method. You can customize it how ever you want. I was using it to keep my on track for keto. Or you can simply use it to go low calorie

(however in researching a major term paper for a 4th year honours biochem class I have learnt that counting calories is a pretty silly way to try to lose weight as cals in/out isn't a relevant model for energy balance nor does it take into consideration that all nutrients (carb/fat/protein) have different metabolic costs.. so different net energy amounts. Also the different pathways of various metabolic pathways have different effects on energy measurement.
You are correct. I just didn't want to get into something that would confuzzle most people who read it. lol

Also, good to know you can configure myfitnesspal. These are things I'm looking to find out about.

Sparks, you don't have to do any Points configuration yourself other than the extremely simple task of adding in fats, carbs, fiber, protein into the calculator if the food in question is not already found in their database. It's beyond simple, and IMO takes no more effort than searching for a food and/or adding a food to the myfitnesspal database.

What people fail to realize with WW is that it does indeed matter the types of calories you take in. Many think WW promotes eat whatever the hell you want and lose weight. But common sense tells you that eating all your points in cupcakes with buttercream icing is a helluva lot worse than eating your points in lean meats, vegetables, fruit, and poper carbohydrates. And WW does indeed account for the varience in such foods.

And regardless of which type of program one chooses to help them gain a healthy lifestyle, you still need to tailor it to your own personal needs. In my now-low-thirties, I cannot eat the same foods in the same manner that I did when I was 19. If I ate that same 1,200-1,400 calorie diet today, my body would react totally different thus resulting in a different body weight/shape.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:26 PM
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Not to mince words but you did say "counting calories is a pretty silly way to try to lose weight...."

But then the program wasn't just calories (i used sparkpeople.com not MFP) it was staying within the parameters for carbs, fat, protien, etc. it did cut down on sugar intake because sugary thjngs had a lot more calories so I could have sugary things but it meant that I had to eat less to make up for the extra calories so i would have been starving come evening lol I liked to keep some extra calories so I could have an evening snack. So yeah i am sure it wasn't iust the reduction in calories but if I wasn't counting calories I wouldn't have reduced the other things

BUT I have also come to the conclusion that at this point in my life I just lose weight easily (i also put it on easily and quickly lol). I did not do any fitness stuff during this weight loss other than the usual playing at the playground with hannah. The playground is great for that lol its like a whole gym. Work your arms on the monkey bars, legs climbing steps and other various climbing things, plus all the chasing and running around. Just plain working out is not my thing... So i will be in trouble when no one wants to play with me at the park anymore lol

The more weight I lOst the more "exercise" i was able to do and it just snowballs from there. But I do have to check my weight frequently since i can put it back on so easily. It's a lifestyle change and if I don't keep on top of it it's easy to get off track.

How do the WW points work exactly Miakoda? Like how do you know how many points everything is worth?

ETA: nm lol you were posting while i was Mia . Thanks for the info
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:37 PM
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You need to take the whole sentence in its entirety to get the context. Its a silly way to loose weight with the idea that you are loosing weight by energy management through calories. So I wasn't saying counting calories is silly.. its silly to assume that counting calories in and off itself is the causative factor for weight loss...

Sorry if it wasn't clear. But that was what I was trying to say with that whole statement.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:22 PM
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The thing I love about MFP is the barcode scanner thing-y!

Yeah, nothing useful to add to this conversation so carry on haha
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:56 AM
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I admit that I got a kick out of mfp predicting what my weight ld be in 5 weeks if I continued with the same daily intake/output as what was just logged. Gives you an immediate goal of sorts, I suppose.

One thing I've also come to realize is that WW accounts for the 0 point fruits and veggies in their daily point allotment. This is an issue with many people who think WW is absurd for allowing someone to eat a food without seemingly accounting for it's nutritional value. I.e. How can you eat a banana for 0 points?! Why, a banana has almost 100 calories! *shock&disbelief*

I realized this last night seeing as how mfp told me I needed to eat my remaining calories (1,200 cal goal) whereas WW said I had a single point left. Even if I ate 1 or 2 items (servings) with a 0-point value, I'd still be within my caloric goal.
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