Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time To Face The Change. Or Is It?

You don’t have to be a Weight Watcher’s member to know that change may not always be welcome, but it might be for the best.

The new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program puts protein and carbohydrates on the center stage with fiber and fat, and calories are not technically factored. It’s the company’s effort to encourage members to eat more fiber-rich whole foods. I pretty much figured out how to do that as I was losing weight on the old program, but I can see how this new program makes it even easier to do.

As I began tracking all the individual foods I ate yesterday, I thought about the question I posed a few years ago: Which do you prefer: eating a full portion of one thing or eating small portions of several things? Or does it usually depend on what day it is, how creative you’re feeling, and what foods you must use up in the fridge before they grow legs and walk away?

I tend to eat several little things all day, and I also think of food in terms of time. I like to eat slowly and in volume. How long will it take me to eat soup or salad or to drink a latte? It takes me two minutes at most to eat a tube of manicotti (which is the same number of Points as my big salads or hearty soups), and that’s savoring it. It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to eat the salad or soup.

When people ask why I became a vegetarian, I tell them it’s because I get to eat more. And at the end of the day, by eating more I’ve eaten less and I feel better. Of course there are always times when a small piece of something sweet or carby or a half-cup of real ice cream is just the right thing – satisfying and eaten in a matter of a minute. It’s the memory of the taste that lasts so much longer than the actual flavor in your mouth.

I’ve counted Points using the old program for nearly six years. It made sense to me, it worked, it sustained me. Now I’m learning the new PointsPlus system, and while the plan makes a lot of sense (even though it’s going to take me a long time to convert six years of recipes), I wonder if maybe I’m relying too heavily on someone else’s plan rather than the one I’ve morphed into my own. I’m comfortable with how I eat and it won’t change just because a corporation tells me fruit is zero points. I know me, I know my body. If I eat more than two or three fruit servings a day, I will gain weight. Having a glass of wine or two doesn’t derail me. I know that at certain times of the month, simple carbs really are necessary for my mental health. We all learn our needs and our thresholds through trial and error.

Having said that, I still believe in WW and I give the new plan a great deal of credit for encouraging people to eat a more clean, healthy diet. Still, in the end, we all have to do what is right for ourselves, to walk out on the edge and use any plan as a guideline and not the absolute truth for our body mechanics.

Whichever plan you’ve chosen to use, how, the further you get into weight loss or maintenance, has your eating plan changed from the time you started?

15 comments:

  1. I haven't done WW in over 10 years, but I was so happy to hear about their changes, simply because it looks like they are finally encouraging people to eat "real" food vs. their packaged snacks.

    And as for your question, I have definitely evolved over the past couple of years from eating the prepared meals to almost exclusively making everything from scratch (ok, not bread). I like knowing that I'm responsible for the amount of sodium in my meal, and there will be no hidden surprises, such as HFCS in my spaghetti sauce. It takes a little more effort but I feel good, so it's worth it.

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  2. Like Shelley, I've moved from the packaged variety of snacking and meals to more real food. Those kinds of foods were great for transitioning to healthier eating, but as a lifetime menu, not so much. :)

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  3. IMHO WW needed to revamp that points system. It definitely encouraged too many simple carbs, too many prepackaged foods, and too many 100 calorie snack packs. Not that I'm doing it but I work with someone who is and I watch her eat every day. Some days I wonder if her stomach would recognize a whole food?

    I think you've hit the magic spot where how you eat is simply that: how you eat. Don't change a thing!

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  4. I am about to go to my first WW meeting under the new system. I agree with you about figuring out the new system of eating more fruit, vegetable protein, and fiber as you lost weight a few years ago. I, too, need lots of volume to sustain my weight loss (65 pounds for 10 years). Fruit is the only 'sweet' I need in my life as far as food concerned. I would love for you to post a few (or maybe, one) of your own recipes with the new points assigned.

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  5. So much of my diet revolves around my hubby's likes and dislikes...which are many....He is a straight meat and mashed man and sometimes we eat 2 meals. I try to eat small amounts off his plate when out and/or take leftovers home from a restaurant. Food has absolutely no joy for me and yet I'm still overweight. Sometimes I say too late to change and other days I do well. What a roller coaster ride.

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  6. I just returned from my WW meeting, where the leader presented the new program, and I must say that it makes a lot of sense to me. I also have e-tools, so yesterday I took a look and did some tracking. I found that foods that I would consider sweets or desserts seem to now be higher in points, based on my quick scrutiny, and that includes WW's own bars, sold at their centers. Fruits are now zero points.

    After thinking about the change, I decided that this is probably healthy for WW members. The leader shared that she has been doing the new program for two months, and is very satisfied and feeling energetic and well with all of the fruit she is now eating--without weight gain. She now has bananas on her cereal every morning, after years of avoiding them, due to the points. She did caution, however, to use good judgement when making choices of quantity.

    The program now favors eating more whole foods, instead of picking up more "sweets and treats" than we need, even if they do fall within our points range. I'm looking forward to the change.

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  7. Well, it sounds like the intention is well-meant: encourage people to eat more "real" food. And it sounds like you already *do* that, and it works, so why change?

    My "way of eating" has diverged greatly from my old way of eating, and even from the various WW programs I tried (and always had some temporary success with) over the years. For me, I get grams of macronutrients pretty equally from fat, carb, and protein, but viewed as percent of calories, fats dominate. Healthy fats AND a lot of fiber to give me very stable blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels. (Cutting highly processed foods, especially starches/sugars, dramatically lowered my triglycerides very quickly.) Fruit contributes fiber, it's true, but its sugar content means that it can never be a "free food" for me - I have to treat it like a starch or a dairy serving. Thank goodness for veggies! :-) I'm a volume girl, too.

    Like you said, "Still, in the end, we all have to do what is right for ourselves, to walk out on the edge and use any plan as a guideline and not the absolute truth for our body mechanics." There is no one plan that will be the end-all, be-all for everyone.

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  8. I did WW countless times over the years and I found that I would always end up eating way more processed foods because they were lower in points than good whole grains and fruits. The only program that could make people afraid of bananas, for crying out loud.

    I like the idea of this new program, although I still fear people eat too little. That was my problem on the program and I stalled out so bad. I had to actually eat more to start losing again, which was fear inducing, but I have learned to embrace it (a little too much at times).

    My question is will they revamp all the WW branded foods to get rid of all those food substitutes and make them 'real'?

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  9. Yikes, it already sounds complicated (then again, I could never do WW points before, either.) I have a disability that makes it hard to do the points system and sometimes have no access to cooking facilities. Doesn't matter. I've lost over 100 lbs by counting calories and focusing on protein and fat, low carbs. I do eat fruits and veges when I can afford them. I guess I'm proof some folks can still lose weight even eating McDoubles (without the bun!) Cheap, fast, filling, and easy. Sigh. Probably not the best for many people, but given my limited options, some days that is the very best I can do.

    Continued success!

    Robin

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  10. I've never done WW or any real "plan." I'm pretty much just a calorie counter now. The only thing I really have to add is that there's been a big transition as I get a little older. I'm realizing how much I'm affected now by the foods I put into my body - in my 20's I could eat anything. Yes, I gained weight, but eating crappy food for a few days didn't make me feel terrible and hungover. Now it catches up with me right away and I find myself feeling irritable and fighting cravings. I have to put healthy food into my body in order to truly function properly. This more than anything has become a big motivator in my quest for weight loss and healthy eating.

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  11. I cringe at the thought of 'free food' in general. And agree that anything that has people eating REAL food is a good idea. And agree that it is good WW is stopping the emphasis on packaged. Are they stopping the emphasis on artificial sweetners too? that has always really bothered me.

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  12. Weight Watchers new program looks amazing! I am definitely excited about 0 points for fruits and veggies! :)

    ~Kellie

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  13. I think WW is a great program whether it be Points or any other version. I've never been afraid of bananas or any other fruit. I don't care what program a person is doing as long as it works for them. It really gets me how people watch others and have the nerve to even comment about their eating habits. Who cares? To each his own. Tend to your own knitting. Everyone is different and that's what makes this world go around. ~Change is good. :)

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  14. I dunno. I think the people who get the most worked up about W.W. and criticize it have never really belonged to it. i.e. yes, you could use all your points for processed food. But then you wouldn't really be following their plan. Which was EXTENSIVE, and taught repeatedly. You know. All those little boxes on the bottom of the page--so many fruits and veggies, so many dairy, 2 good oils (I did complain that they didn't have boxes for protein, but they still told you to eat protein.) If you really ate the way they told you to, you wouldn't have that many points left for processed food.

    Just my humble opinion.

    Oh, you asked how my eating plan changed. Well, after I left W.W., and I started working with my personal trainer, I switched from points to calories. That was really hard. The biggest change I made was to eat even more whole foods, very little processed food. Yumm. It's so much better.

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  15. This is my third week on w/w. Better health is a Christmas gift to myself...Old or new system, personally, I like the support and accountability I get from w/w. Even with the old w/w (granted, on for only two weeks) I ate whole grains, fruits, vegetables (bananas included), meat and REAL cheese. yum! Isn't it (weight loss) always about finding what works for you personally? and..Personally, I find myself eating no differently on the new system, just assigning different points (and it continues to work). Perhaps it is the accountability--or--the support of others....Regardless of the food eaten, the 'methods' (e.g. mindful eating, making choices) remain--in our meetings anyway--the same.
    Sorry.
    What was the question again?..:)

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