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Crossfit, fitness, weight loss

WW vs. Crossfit

My current WW keychain.

My current WW keychain, with the 10% ring, 16-meeting charm, 25-pound charm, 5k charm, and 50-pound charm.

WW isn’t something I like to talk about. In fact, I pretty much avoid it at all costs. I went an entire summer getting brunch almost every Friday after my meeting with a friend, who didn’t know, until August, that I was going to these meetings, and that’s why I couldn’t meet earlier than 10:45 a.m.

For me, WW is the elephant in the room. It’s been the big, white elephant since last November. Still, only a select few people at school know about it. But now it’s out in the open, so just about everyone will know…especially since random people I never thought would give two craps about this blog end up mentioning it to me when I least expect it.

And truthfully, here’s a secret: I started Weight Watchers before I started going to Crossfit.

And truthfully, I would rather most people not know that.

Truthfully, I would prefer that people just continue thinking that Crossfit and Paleo alone have been the magic pill (or cup of Kool-Aid) to my current success. Because admitting that I go to Weight Watchers means admitting to everyone that I have a problem. And frankly, I don’t want to do that.

But, a while back, one of my dear friends asked me to write about my experience with WW. It’s taken me a few months to work up the courage to write this blog post (i.e., to write about it openly), but I figure if I can help one other person, it might be worth it.

I’m not going to go into how I was brought to WW, because at this point, that’s a story I’m not willing to tell. All you should know is that I went, and I was pissed off. Ask my Albany leader, Jen. I was one angry individual. I guess I still am, to an extent, and part of that anger is what fuels my efforts now. I was pretty much determined to not make any sort of positive changes, and my attitude for the first 7 or 8 months on plan was that if it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.

About a week after I started WW, I was introduced to Crossfit.

And I feel like my relationship to WW has vexed the Crossfit coaches ever since then.

WW, for those who are unfamiliar, is all about eating less (and eating healthier) and moving more. They have healthful guidelines, like Power Foods (i.e., foods that are both healthy and will keep you satisfied longer), but you can essentially eat whatever you like, within reason, as long as you stay within your Daily/Weekly PointsPlus target. Instead of counting calories and fat, each food item is assigned a PointsPlus value, which is determined by the amount of fat, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber in a given food. Better “deals” have less PointsPlus values (e.g., 6 cups air-popped popcorn has 3 p+), and splurges have more (e.g., a tall Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino has 10 p+). Everyone is assigned a p+ value when they begin (I started with 48 p+ per day), and that number goes down as they lose (I am now at 38 p+ per day). Everyone also receives 49 p+ extra per week to use on anything you like (e.g., to satisfy my bourbon or wings or chocolate cravings).

Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple. And I’m pretty comfortable with the plan. I know how it works, and I know how to “fix” my day if it’s gone wrong.

Crossfit began as a way for me to introduce the “move more” aspect of WW. But soon people started asking questions. Aren’t you doing Paleo/Zone? You know that banana is bad for you! You need to turn in your WW membership, and just do strict Paleo. More protein! Less carbs!

I get it. I totally get the idea behind Paleo (Zone is another story that, no matter how many times it’s explained, I just don’t get). Yeah. We weren’t evolved to eat the carb-heavy diet we now rely on. Less carbs/dairy/sugar makes me feel overall better. But at the same time, I haven’t been 100 percent willing to completely let go of WW, when it has clearly worked for me. I know how to “fix” a day on WW. It keeps me on track. I don’t know how to “fix” a day on Paleo, and I feel like it would open the gates of downfall if I had but one cheat meal.

So, what I’ve done is merge both WW and Crossfit. It’s possible. I try not to think of these two in conflict with one another. I stay within my WW p+ target, while incorporating aspects of Paleo into my diet. When I’m living by myself, I don’t purchase milk (I use Almond Breeze almost exclusively now), I don’t use sugar, I eat a crap ton of vegetables, I limit my fruit intake, I started using almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter, and I severely cut down the amount of refined grains I’m eating.

This has worked for ME.

And honestly, I think that this is probably the only way I’m going to see sustained success in both fitness and weight loss. It’s not the only way for everyone, but it’s the only way for me, which was proven over the summer when I just did WW, and not Crossfit. The community from both keeps me on track—hardcore.

I also really don’t enjoy going to WW meetings, but I force myself, because it holds me accountable with weekly weigh-ins. Also, I have an amazing leader. That always helps.

So…I hope this answers a few of your questions regarding both WW and Crossfit. I recommend both to anyone looking to lose some pounds or get more fit. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have such a decorated key ring right now!

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About Danielle

Exuberant photographer, artist, writer, designer, wannabe chef, and Crossfitter.

Discussion

20 thoughts on “WW vs. Crossfit

  1. DK, I’m so glad you posted this, even if it is difficult. I’ve been wanting to go back to WW for some time now, but have crossfit guilt. It’s good to know that you can make the two happily co-exist. I’d love to know which meeting center you go to where you’ve found a strong leader.

    Posted by Elle | 1 September 2011, 9:54 am
    • Thanks, lady. I would be super happy to help you get back with WW and help you deal with the Crossfit guilt, haha. My leader recently switched meetings, and I’m actually sitting in one now–Thursdays 10am at the WW Center near the Price Chopper on Western in Guilderland. She is amazing, which is why I followed her from Friday to Thursday. She also does several other meetings at different locations. I can always find out exactly when/where and let you know!

      Posted by Danielle | 1 September 2011, 10:01 am
      • So, I did it. I rejoined on Monday. I’m still struggling a bit to get used to the new p+ values vs the old points values (since I had so many of them down, it’s tough to readjust, and not being able to figure it out in my head like I used to (grr)). I’m going to start putting the crossfit back in (maybe?) next week. I’d been recovering from not one, but two injuries and they really got me down.
        I re-signed up at the Sch’dy center since it’s near work, but my schedule is pretty flexible. My leader that day was Cathy. Who is your fave?

        Posted by Elle | 23 September 2011, 7:50 am
    • Good for you, Elle!!! I am totally here for you if you want some extra support! My favorite leader is Jennifer M., who does the 10 a.m. Thursday meeting at the Albany Center (among several other meetings). Here’s her Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000693532676

      Posted by Danielle | 23 September 2011, 7:57 am
  2. Thanks DK! I actually started WW a few weeks ago. ;) So proud of your success. I hope to follow in your footsteps.

    Posted by Kara | 1 September 2011, 10:08 am
  3. Congratulations. I’m glad you have found a killer combo that works for you.

    Personally, I don’t think you have to choose between the two. Yes, I know the people at Albany Crossfit want everyone to make Crossfit their lifestyle and not just their workout. From my understanding, it’s why they have the Kool-Aid man painted on the wall.

    But Crossfit can just be a great, motivating and fun workout. I’ve got a friend who found the whole lifestyle push to be too cultish at the Albany location. She stayed with Crossfit and moved to the Collar City location in Troy where the pressure to adopt a paleo diet, buy the shoes, etc. was far less intense (the WODs still kick her ass though).

    Posted by Daniel B. | 1 September 2011, 9:53 pm
    • Thanks, Daniel! Don’t get me wrong–I absolutely adore the Albany location and all the people in it. They’ve pretty much become my Albany family. It is funny, though, how I sometimes get the lecture about WW. I’m right there with you–I think I can make them coexist quite well, actually! And I have! Yayyyy! :)

      Posted by Danielle | 1 September 2011, 9:55 pm
  4. So it seems we’ve both reached similar compromises. I have also managed to make (quasi)paleo coexist happily with WW (im a lifetime member) and just got hooked on Crossfit. It seems to work fine for me too. I’ve found that reducing sugar and refined carbs drastically makes a huge difference in my well being and energy levels and it fits well in both lifestyles. I’m glad to see you’ve found a happy place – forge on!!

    Posted by Irene | 14 September 2012, 7:15 pm
    • I’m glad to hear you are making it work Irene. I think this is where I’m heading. I have been a big fan of paleo / lower carb for a while but I tend to go off the rails and binge when I’m stressed. I realize I need the accountability and tracking of weight watchers and to learn moderation when I do have a treat. Paleo is right on, but one can not live without chocolate and margaritas forever….. And when I do indulge I need to learn to have 2 not 12. WW gives me a better idea of what my choices cost.

      Posted by Cdub | 5 November 2012, 3:57 pm
  5. Thanks for posting this. I lost 25 with WW & workout DVDs, but fell off tracking and started CrossFit in October. Now I feel like crap and need to get my food back in track – I know I’m way stronger, and if I could shed some fat, the world could see it! Off to page through the rest of this blog now…don’t mind me :)

    Posted by howswelegant | 28 December 2012, 8:59 pm
  6. I cannot thank you enough for putting your story out there. I have been working with a trainer for over a year doing CrossFit style workouts until a box opened in our gym in December. And now I’m only doing CrossFit. I love it! I’m not completely opposed to the Paleo diet, but my husband is. This has made for some difficult grocery trips and meal planning. My strength is good and my body fat is good as well, but I know my weight should be lower. WW worked for me after my first son, so I decided to go back. I truly believe this is a great option for my family as a whole, but I know my CrossFit friends won’t understand. Oh well – this is for me, not them. My biggest struggle is figuring point values for my WODs. Any suggestions?

    Posted by Amy | 14 January 2013, 3:21 pm
    • Thanks for your words, Amy! I struggle a lot with the Activity Points aspect of WW and CrossFit. First things first, though, I never eat my Activity Points. Ever. So I would just record an hour of circuit training (which is like 12-15 activity points) per WOD, just for my own record, racking up 80+ APs each week. Then I got Active Link, which didn’t even give me 1 AP for a WOD. You just have to do what you’re comfortable doing, and what works for you, in the end. :)

      Posted by Danielle | 18 January 2013, 3:56 pm
  7. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually understand what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my web site =). We may have a link exchange arrangement among us

    Posted by portefeuillechristianlouboutinhomme | 26 May 2013, 6:18 pm
  8. Omg! So glad I found this. I thought I was breaking the Crossfit code tracking pointsPlus. I’m so glad I’m not alone :) it had me stressed thinking I wouldn’t see results because I wasn’t following a strict paleo diet. I would love to read some of y’all’s results! It would motivate me so much!! Thank you :)
    -Kasi

    Posted by Kasi Moore | 2 February 2014, 7:02 pm
  9. I know this is kind of an old post, but I stumbled upon it and have one burning question – how do you calculate what you do at the box and convert it to p+? According to the activity tracker, a 3 mile run will give you 8 p+, but 100 burpees for time only gives 3. I have trouble rectifying this. A 3 mile run is WAY easier than those 100 burpees were! WW has worked several times over the past 5 years for me (I would use it to lose between kids), but am fairly new to Crossfit (started about 3 months ago). I tried Paleo, and I did lose weight, but it is SO restrictive that is seems very difficult to maintain long term. I am very interested in anything you have to say about this! Thanks for the post!!!

    Posted by Bethany | 10 September 2014, 4:09 pm
  10. Would love to know if you ever gained weight. I crossfit and do ww. I find myself occasionally gaining when eating spot on…

    Posted by Jennifer Salas Johnson | 14 September 2014, 5:09 pm
    • I do gain weight! I have had several weeks where I have gained, even though I was good all week with my diet. And I have been stuck at this plateau for almost a month! I gained 1 last week and then lost the same one this week….. I guess I need to add a couple extra workouts to break through it. It is hard to trust the scale when it’s not changing but I can tell that my body is

      Posted by Bethany | 19 September 2014, 8:49 am
      • the gain weight you are getting is muscle gain. Do not confuse muscle with fat in fact your body fat is what tells you the truth when doing crossfit and not the scale necessarily.

        Posted by davy | 22 October 2014, 4:42 pm
      • actually since I posted this, I have lost 8 additional pounds! And my workout pants are falling off me, so I know I’m changing. I wish I could get over my love-affair of the scale – I know we all feel that way, probably!

        Posted by Bethany | 30 October 2014, 3:32 pm

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Send DK to a competition…or the coffee shop

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