I also mentioned that I was going to be following it kind of loosely, and that I would be making it fit into my lifestyle, not the other way around. So I thought that I could write a post further explaining that, and how the first couple of weeks have gone.
First of all, I am following it mostly as written. Here's how it works, as written:
There is a list of Power Foods provided by Weight Watchers. Most of these foods everyone would agree are pretty healthy, but some of them would be questionable to the "true" clean-eaters of the interweb.
Here's a simplified version of the list (please don't let me be breaking any copyright laws by posting it...):
- Fruits (except dried and juice)
- Vegetables (except avocadoes, olives, plaintains)
- Whole Grains - including hot cereals, brown and wild rice, pasta, ready-to-eat cereal wish less than 1 gm sugar & more than 3gm fiber/serving, etc.
- Fat free dairy and dairy substitutes
- Lean proteins - including: beans, meat with skin removed, eggs, lentils, reduced-sodium luncheon meats, meat substitutes w/ 2g fat or less, fish, organ meats
- Breads - including light English muffins, light hamburger/hot dog rolls, light breads in general
- Soups - including reduced/low sodium broth, tomato, and vegetables based
- Desserts - sugar-free gelatin
- most condiments - If fat-free or is an option, always choose fat free. With soy and teriyaki sauce, choose low-sodium
So to follow the Simply Filling Technique, one does not have to track or count points for any of the Power Foods. How do you figure out how much to eat? Listening to hunger signals! Of course, you are allowed to track these foods if you desire to, but it is not required, and either way they are 0 PointsPlus.
Also, much like with the non-SFT route, you have 49 PointsPlus weekly to use on whatever you want (probably best to keep listening to the hunger, but I guess with these ones it's not as important? Couldn't really find information about that in the plan as written...). You also earn PointsPlus every time you exercise, and again, get to eat "off list" with those.
I almost forgot about healthy oils! You can have two teaspoons of a healthy oil every day, 0 points, but after the first 2 tsp, you count points.
In summation, no tracking required for Power Foods, tracking required for non-Power Foods (use your weeklies and activity points), and listen to your hunger signals. Also no counting points for first 2 tsp of EVOO. That is the Simply Filling Technique in a nutshell. There are also all these Good Health Guidelines to follow, but if you eat from the power foods list and eat your oil, you will get them without even trying.
So obviously, because I'm me, and refuse to make my lifestyle fit into a plan or obsess about food anymore, I have to make a few simple changes in order to make this plan fit my lifestyle, food preferences, and logic.
Let's start with the Power Foods list.
Fruits (except dried and juice)
Okay. I'm okay with this. Mostly because I don't drink a lot of juice or eat a lot of dried fruit, so I'm fine counting points for them when I do. Oh wait. One exception. To me, if the juice is pure fruit juice, not peeled or anything, just an entire fruit put into a blender or juicer, that will not have to be counted. Again, I don't drink a lot of juice, but I will not count for "pure" juice.
Vegetables (except avocadoes, olives, plantains)
Nope. I will not count for avocadoes or plantains. If I can eat a pineapple with all that healthy fruity sugar in it, then I can eat an avocado with all that healthy fruity fat inside. Avocadoes are Power Foods for me. Olives too, same reason. Plantains, also okay, because potatoes and bananas are both Power Foods, so should be plantains.
Whole Grains - including hot cereals, brown and wild rice, pasta, ready-to-eat cereal with less than 1 gm sugar & more than 3gm fiber/serving, etc.
My main change here is that I will also not be counting points for rice, pasta, or cous-cous that is not brown. My reasoning here is that I simply never overeat these things, and find them to be a good part of a healthy meal. If I eat cous-cous that is not whole grain and have to track it, it may discourage me from eating it or make me overeat it. Because that's how my brain works. I will still opt for whole grains most of the time. The cereal one I will also not be quite so picky on. If it says "super healthy whole grain fibery goodness" on it, I will call it a Power Food, even if it does not meet the sugar/fiber requirements (unless it is so tasty that it makes me want to binge - fine line sometimes).
Fat free dairy and dairy substitutes
Get ready to have your world rocked, because I am going to be considering low-fat dairy to be a Power Food!!! I will choose the fat free options when it's something that I like (milk, yogurt) but with cheese, it's gotta be reduced fat. And I don't want to count for it, same reasons as white rice.
Lean proteins - including: beans, meat with skin removed, eggs, lentils, reduced-sodium luncheon meats, meat substitutes w/ 2g fat or less, fish, organ meats
This is mostly fine. I will probably still eat the skin on a baked chicken sometimes, and not count it, and I will probably consider ALL veggie burgers/meat subs to be Power Foods despite fat content, but otherwise, yep.
Breads - including light English muffins, light hamburger/hot dog rolls, light breads in general
Here's one that may surprise you: I am cool with the muffins and buns, but light bread is REMOVED from the Power Foods list for me, because it is a trigger food. If I allow myself to not count light bread, I will eat the entire loaf within a day, defeating the purpose of the not counting. Light bread is NOT filling to me, and is a trigger food, so no thanks. But the light English muffins are fab, and the hamburger buns are great with my veggie burgers.
Soups, deserts, and condiments are fine as written. But just because I can eat unlimited (within hunger!) sugar-free gelatin does not mean that I have to. So I won't. That stuff is pretty gross. If I want a sweet, I will count points or eat fruit or yogurt.
I would love to mess with the healthy oil requirement, but I won't... just yet. Don't worry, that change will come, because it's a great idea. Just don't feel like tweaking that at the moment.
Another way that I am only following this loosely, is that I am not super strict about the counting. I don't have the WW app on my phone, so if I'm out and about and eating point-y foods, I just guesstimate and try to remember to track them later. I try to ALWAYS listen to my hunger signals, even when I eat non-Power Foods, which I think is why even when I go over my weekly points, I lose weight.
I am not concerned unless I go 20 points or more over my weeklies. I may even raise that number in my online tracker to 68 instead of 49. Here's why:
I'm trying to ALWAYS listen to my hunger signals. Therefore, if I eat a non-SFT dinner one day and all of my points were already gone for the week, it really is okay because I didn't overeat. It's not like I had a big Power Foods dinner, then ate a second non-PF dinner. It's still just one dinner, and the calories may be higher, but probably not twice as high.
Anyway, that's how I'm following the Simply Filling Technique. It's not how Weight Watchers wrote it. It's how I am making the plan fit into my life, and not the other way around. It's how I'm on WW but I'm not. It's how I have some structure, but not too much.