*This post has been updated to reflect iTrackBites app updates as of 6/25/2019
I gained a whopping fifty pounds when I was pregnant with my son. Yes, you read that right… fifty. I stayed about as active as I could until my sciatica, back, and hip pain hurt too bad to exercise, and I was careful not to overeat too much. (While still allowing myself to indulge, of course… I mean, I was GROWING A HUMAN after all.) And still, I gained 50 lbs.
I planned on breastfeeding and I just assumed that my excess weight would “fall off” like I heard that it does for so many women who nurse their babies. Well, to make a very long story short, breastfeeding didn’t work out for us. So there I was, thirty pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, and the weight was definitely not falling off. I was about thirty pounds above my ideal weight when I got pregnant so, in all, I had about 60 lbs to lose. I knew I wanted to do something, but I needed to do something that would still allow me to eat a variety of different foods, including the occasional take-out and ice cream cone. (Blame it on the fact that I’m a new mom and some days, all that keeps me sane is some ice cream, or not having to cook dinner.)
My mom had followed Weight Watchers on-and-off when I was younger, and I even followed it with her for a short time when I was a kid. I knew about the flexibility of the program – being able to eat anything you wanted, as long as you counted the points and ate the correct portion size – and the results that so many people got with Weight Watchers. I wanted to look into joining WW again to lose the baby weight (plus the extra 30lbs!). But when I looked up the membership prices, I knew we weren’t in a place to pay that much for a weight loss app with a new baby to take care of. (WW pricing starts at about $3.00 per week or $160.00 per year for the digital program.) So I began looking for another way (because my philosophy is that there is always another way).
When I came across the app “iTrackBites,” I knew it was the right choice for me! It is essentially exactly the same as the Weight Watchers program, with just a few small differences (mostly the use of different words and phrases for copyright reasons). So basically, it works like this:
Bites = Points (or Smart Points)
Better Balance = (WW Freestyle) Focus on clean eating
Keeping Keto = Helps with appetite control
Sugar Smart = Helps limit sugar
Conquer Cravings = Focus on portion control
Carb Conscious = Helps limit carbs
Calorie Command = Counting calories
You can choose what plan you’d like to follow, which is an advantage over the Weight Watchers app. The WW app only allows you to follow the newest WW plan. Right now, that is WW Freestyle. But the iTrackBites app allows you to choose which WW plan you’d like to follow – even the old plans.
I follow the Better Balance program, which is the same as WW Freestyle. The best part: the iTrackBites app is FREE! There is an option to upgrade your membership to “PRO” for $35.99 for 1 YEAR, which is much less than the WW price of $160.00 per year). I did upgrade to PRO because it gives you access to a few additional features, such as a FitBit syncing function, a beer guide, and an extensive online food catalog. The app also has a barcode scanner, a community/chat feature, a recipe builder, and so many other awesome things! My sister uses the WW app and after comparing with hers, we’ve found that the two apps work almost identically! For a fraction of the cost of the WW app/program, I knew I was going to love iTrackBites.
iTrackBites works like this:
- Each food has a certain number of BITES, which are calculated by calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. (The different programs use different nutritional values to determine the BITES value for each food. The Better Balance program limits sugar, so it uses sugar to determine how many BITES, for example. More sugar, more calories=more BITES.)
- You are allowed to eat a certain number of BITES per day based on your age, weight, goal weight, and gender. As you get closer to your goal weight, your BITES allowance is adjusted to help keep you on track towards your goal.
- You are also assigned a number of weekly BITES, which you can choose to use or not use. If you choose to use them, you can use them all at one meal, distribute them evenly throughout the week, or any way in between. Using your weekly BITES does not deter you from making progress toward your goal weight.
- You can also choose to log in fitness activity, which adds more BITES to your daily allowance, and therefore, allows you to eat more BITES throughout the day.
I’ve been using iTrackBites since June and I love it! In fact, the entire app just recently got an upgrade and I love it so much that I almost cried real tears when I saw how beautiful the new design is! It is sleek, user friendly, and best of all, it works just like WW!
Here is what the app looks like. There are many more features than are shown here, but this is what my daily log screen looks like first thing in the morning, and the types of information you can track on the app.
My sister and I follow the Freestyle/Better Balance programs respectively (which are the same thing!) and we love sharing tips and recipes with each other. It definitely helps to have support when you’re on a weight loss journey!
If you’re interested in trying out the Weight Watchers program but want to save money, I highly recommend iTrackBites! You can use the free features on the app or choose to upgrade to PRO for less than a quarter of the price of WW. What do you have to lose?
As of today, I am down 15 lbs total. I was down almost 20 lbs at the beginning of December, but and I took a break for about a month because of the holidays and family vacation. I started tracking my food again with iTrackBites this week and I already lost 5 of the 8lbs I gained on my “break.” That is what I love about this program – it truly works! I feel satisfied every day and I never feel deprived. It doesn’t feel like a “diet” whatsoever. I plan to stick with iTrackBites to reach my goal weight, and to maintain my weight afterwords. I wake up excited every day to work towards my goal using iTrackBites!
If you’re on a weight loss journey, I’d love to hear what program you follow. Stay tuned for WW Freestyle friendly recipes, and other posts like, ‘What I Eat in a Day,’ and weight loss updates.
I am on my first day using iTrackBites and I am a bit confused about which plan to use! I think they have changed the names since you posted this in January. I am wanting to follow SmartPoints but now the programs are called “Better Balance”, “Sugar Smart”, “Conquer Cravings”, and “Carb Conscious”. Do you know which one follows Weight Watchers SmartPoints? Thanks!
I believe Sugar Smart is the old Smart Points program. If you go into the Community tab on the app, you can create a post asking, and someone who knows for sure will be able to tell you! Best of luck to you!
I took have downloaded ITrackBites. I upgraded to the pro and am using the Carb Conscious plan. Down 18 lbs in 6 weeks!!!! And I do not feel deprived. I had looked in WW but could not afford it. This plan is great. Good luck on your journey.
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So happy for you!!! And thank you!
Emily, if you are doing Freestyle, Which one are you following now? I have been using it for free for several months actually, and losing weight! I have been getting the points value for foods scanned in stores to determine if I even want to purchase them! Also to track points for the day in a book! I cannot track stuff with a UPC code though (like recipes)
But after hearing from a friend about updates to ITrackBites I am totally confused! By what she described, I am thinking I have been getting a different (previous) program’s point value all this time! Unless they just recently made the “freestyle (similar) program” for pay , and it was the free one all along!
Mine is free so it looks like the top pic you posted for scanning barcodes! It says the word smart somewhere on the page! As if it was mimicking smart points!
Do you know which is the most freestyle smartpoint similar programs? Do you know if that is the one you pay for? Also can you get points for other foods you type in that you have no code for (like a slice of pizza or a slice of Non- Ww cheesecake for an occasion)
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Better balance is now the freestyle/ww blue equivalent!