Weight Watchers – 1 Month Review

I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for 4 weeks.

I’m allowed 30 “points” per day, plus an additional 35 points per week to use at my discretion (used to be 45 per week but I lost weight and they adjusted that down to match current intake needs).  Typically I eat all of my 30 points per day and most days I use none of the extra weekly points.  I see those as insurance, so I don’t feel guilty if I accidentally go over or if I’m just unusually hungry one day.

Here’s what I ate yesterday – this was exactly 30 points worth of food:


Each time I enter my diet into Cronometer (only about 1x per week) I find that I’ve had between 1500 and 1800 calories per day, around 30g of fat, 225g carb, and 140g protein.  I seem to be eating the same things every day – I could really change it up a little I suppose.

Here’s the nutrient breakdown from what I ate yesterday (just the food, before any supplementation):



Some of the micro-nutrition is falling short, but when I add in my multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and magnesium supplements and the salt I add to food I’m up to meeting 95% of nutrition targets – but still lacking in calcium, potassium, and iron.  I’m not sure I care about the iron though.  I haven’t had my “cycle” in almost a year, so I’m now at risk of too much iron rather than not enough.  Calcium and potassium…hm…I should add some daily greens.  If I add a cup of cooked spinach I’m up to 98% of nutritional targets met.

So how are my other health markers?

I’m down an inch on my waist and my pants fit.  I threw out my yucky fat pants a couple days ago because they were falling off.

Here’s my fasting blood sugar:


I was hovering between 115 and 125 for a while there, and then has gone up since I started walking.  Weird!

Here’s my weight:


I wrote a couple days ago that I got hungrier after I started walking.  That has evened out and I’m back to normal hunger/satiety again.

I was listening to Bulletproof Dave Asprey’s recent podcast with Dr. Sylvia Tara on the subject of fat.  In it Dave mentioned that there’s a hormonal response to losing weight that causes the near-inevitable regain later on.  I went to his blog to read more about it – on this subject, he says:

One of the reasons old-fashioned, calorie-restricted diets tend to fail is because these diets make you really hungry and cause food cravings.

Cutting calories to lose excess weight changes your hormones that control hunger and satiety so that after you starve yourself enough to lose some weight, your brain and gut start making your hormones work against you.[1],[2]

Your hormones scream, “eat more and gain that weight back!” So you do. And so begins a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, the one I used to live.

He goes on to talk about how ketosis can cause a hormonal change that “resets” the system to avoid the weight gain:

Your intestines release CCK after you eat, and it is a powerful regulator of food intake—so much so that injecting people with CCK (in a controlled study!) will cause them to cut their meals short.][4]

Your body secretes less CCK after you lose weight. In other words, when you are thinner, you will feel less sated with the same meal than you did before losing the weight. So you’ll crave more unhealthy foods. However, weight loss with ketosis keeps you from getting caught in this trap.

In fact, a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that even after 8 weeks of weight loss that resulted in significant reductions in CCK, just one week of ketosis returned CCK to baseline (pre-weight loss) levels.[4] In other words, even if you use famine-level calorie restriction to lose weight, you’d better pound the butter and cut carbs at the end unless you want to crave food all the time.

Personally I find what I’m doing now to be much more satisfying than a ketogenic diet.  I’m not sure what my blood markers look like right now – I might have triglycerides in the 500s – but I feel really good every day and I know I can have anything I really want and continue to lose as long as I cut back somewhere else.  I do plan on testing Dave’s assertion about ketosis though – as I get closer to my goal I’ll try a week or two of ketogenic eating and see if it makes it easier to avoid the regain.

5 thoughts on “Weight Watchers – 1 Month Review

  1. newtopaleo

    I think walking helps by moving intestines more than burning calories. some bone broth and leaf broth should balance out the minerals. I still think ketosis is dangerous. seems like my intestines wont forgive the low carb days even when everything else is getting fixed.

  2. SWOT

    Pointing at one gut incretin is shortsighted. In any event, you have a different context now than before–doing keto with histamine issues might be a different experience.

    Ein = Intake; Eout = REE+TEA+TEF+NEAT/SPA

    LCHF/keto favors lower Ein and greater Eout. (e.g. spontaneous caloric reduction)

    1.You avoid blood sugar dips. Hypoglycemia increases NPY which increases hunger. http://loop.frontiersin.org/publications/21907249

    2.LCHF is generally high in protein, and protein gives the most satiety of the three macros.

    3.Leptin sensitivity is higher on LCHF/Keto by:

    a. Lowering trigs (especially from fructose restriction). Trigs block leptin crossing the BBB https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15111494

    b. Lowering Insulin: (high) Insulin blocks leptin signalling in the VMH https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEFowqGmfAM&t=16s

    c. Ketones increase leptin sensitivity (at least demonstrated in animals like rats). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21652033

    d. Ketones make GABA. GABA lowers anxiety. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9778572 Less anxiety = Less cortisol. Cortisol causes insulin resistance which increases insulin affecting 3b above. High leptin (obese have tons of leptin)+increased sensitivity = lower appetite (Ein). (Leptin surpresses AgRP/NPY / raises alpha-msh in the POMC/hypothalmus).

    Leptin also affects dopamine production which increases positivity, motivation, and NEAT/SPA (spontaneous physical activity = more Eout). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5063846/ http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v33/n2s/full/ijo200968a.html
    NEAT creates variation of up to 2000kcal — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/

    The bad part about keto? It kills gut bacteria that make serotonin. (anerobic bacteria in the gut can only digest starches/sugars, not fats)

    Less serotonin can lead to more cortisol, less melatoni/poorer sleep, and less beta endorphin which can negatively affect mood and sleep.

    Doing a carb refeed once a week or so can mitigate a lot of that.

  3. N2P – Maybe I’ll get back to making bone broth again. I’m not sure if I’ll do the ketosis thing or not, but I have lost and regained weight multiple times in my life, often due to massive cravings that hit after I’ve reached my goal. I think Bulletproof Dave is right about this being a hormonal issue. Maybe a week or two of ketosis?? Then again I really don’t wanna mess with my gut bacteria at this point…I feel like we’ve finally reached a truce. I keep eating fiber and it keeps me feeling good. I guess it’s possible to be ketogenic and eat fiber…

  4. SWOT – Thanks for taking the time to break that down. You make a compelling argument – I would definitely keep it short term and do the periodic carb refeed.

  5. SWOT

    Any [real] CICO deficit, low fat WW included, will cause weight loss. A lot of people find them more hungry though on that regime due to weaker leptin signalling. Because signalling is normally higher on keto, it’s easier to ate ad lib without counting since lower appetite automatically puts you in a deficit till you plateau out, albeit at a lower weight than otherwise.

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