How I Follow Weight Watchers for Less than A QUARTER of the Cost

untitledI 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)

BITES Flex = WW Freestyle

BITES Smart = Smart Points

BITES Plus = Points Plus

BITES Classic = Original Weight Watchers plan

There is also an option to count calories in the app.

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 BITES Flex 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 Flex 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/Flex 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.

1 Point Slow Cooker Chili – WW Freestyle

My absolute favorite time of the year is finally here! FALL! Sundays during the fall in our house are dedicated to family time, church, football and, of course, comfort food. Nothing pairs better with family snuggles and football than good ol’ chili!

I wanted to share my recipe for my favorite chili! The best part about this chili is that it’s only 1 point per serving on WW Freestyle and the serving size is very generous and super filling. (Read here How I Follow Weight Watchers Freestyle for Less than A QUARTER of the Cost!) So let’s get to it!

Ingredients: 

1 lb. – lean ground turkey (98-99% lean)

1/2 yellow onion (diced)

2 tsp – minced garlic

2 cans (8 oz each) – tomato sauce

2 cups – water

1 packet – chili seasoning mix

1 can (15.5 oz) – fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 can (15.5 oz) – black beans

1 can (15.5 oz) – pinto beans

1 can (15.5 oz) – red kidney beans

1/2 large or 1 small – bell pepper

1 bag (12 oz) – frozen corn

salt & pepper to taste

chili powder to taste

hot sauce to taste ( I prefer Frank’s original, but use any kind you like. If you prefer a mild chili, then feel free to skip this step)

Suggested toppings: fat free shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup for 0 points), nonfat plain Greek yogurt (0 points – this is in place of sour cream and you honestly can’t tell the difference), and more hot sauce if you like it spicy!

Note:

This recipe makes 8-10 servings, each about 1 to 1 1/2 cups.

You may add more water and/or tomato sauce if you prefer a more broth-y chili and adjust the serving sizes and points accordingly, but I like mine a little on the chunky side. 

P.S. You can have up to 1/5 of the entire recipe for 1 point. 

1 Point Slow Cooker Chili WW Freestyle

Prep time – 20-30 minutes

Cook time – 5 hours (on low)

Servings – 8-10, about 1-1.5 cups each

Prep (day before or day of):

  1. Dice onion and bell pepper
  2. Brown and drain ground turkey in a pan. Then adjust heat to medium-low and add garlic and onion. Sauté until onion begins to soften. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. (If prepping the day before, refrigerate turkey mixture.)

Directions:

  1. Add tomato sauce, water, and chili seasoning mix to slow cooker and whisk/stir to incorporate.
  2. Add fire roasted tomatoes, turkey mixture, and bell pepper.
  3. Drain and rinse all beans, then add to the slow cooker.
  4. Cover the top of the chili with one hefty layer of chili powder*. Stir to incorporate.
  5. Cook on “low” for 4 hours. Add frozen corn and hot sauce to taste (I probably used about 1/2 cup and it’s got a “medium” kick to it.) Continue cooking on low for an additional hour.

*If you’re nervous about adding too much, start with a light layer, then taste when you add the corn and add more if it needs more flavor.

And that’s it! It’s so simple and hearty – perfect for those fall and winter days when you need a little comfort food. Bonus – it makes the house smell sooooo yummy.

Refrigerate leftovers and reheat in the microwave. The leftovers are perfect for low-point lunches throughout the week!

Hope you enjoy! Please leave me a comment below if you tried it. I’d love to know how you liked it!

xoxo Emily