Let me state the obvious: an organic chocolate bar is still a chocolate bar. Really good local cheese is still full of fat. A glass of wine from a sustainable winery has as many calories as a glass of wine from a mass producer of wine. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Just because a food is organic, local or sustainable doesn’t automatically make it good for someone needing to lose weight — at least not in unlimited quantities.
I need to lose weight, and I’ve decided to go the Weight Watchers route. I’ve done the program a few times in the past, and I’ve always lost weight on it. Then I’ve gone off the program, gone back to eating whatever I wanted, and put weight back on. If you’re someone who struggles with weight, you know the cycle.
I’d heard about the new program that Weight Watchers has put together called “Points Plus,” and with that program, fruit equals zero points. That really got my attention. The way Weight Watchers works is that all foods are assigned a points value. You are given a certain number of points that you can eat in a day. You keep track of how many points you eat throughout the day. When you use up your points, you stop eating.
On the old points program, fruit had points. A banana was two points; so was a bite-sized candy bar. The new program rewards you for choosing healthy foods over less-healthy foods. The points value of most unprocessed whole foods has gone down while the value of many processed foods has gone up. In the past, I might have grabbed the candy mid-afternoon. Now I’ll reach for the banana and save my points for dinner — which usually does not include a candy bar, so those two points end up going for healthy, whole foods.
From what I can see after one week of the program, this is an ideal diet for someone committed to eating mostly sustainable, whole foods. You get to choose any food that you want on this diet — the key is portion control. I haven’t had to go out and buy any special foods at all.
The biggest help for me is the online tools that Weight Watchers provides (they do cost extra). I can keep track of my daily points online and with the iPhone app. I can calculate points on my iPhone. I can use the online recipe builder to plug in all of the ingredients (with exact amounts) of any recipe, and the points are calculated automatically for me.
I love the recipe builder. Dinnertime is so important in my house. I want to sit down to dinner with my husband and boys and eat what they are eating. I don’t want to have to eat something different. I want the focus to be on family and conversation, not my diet.
Let me give you an example of a dinner. One night last week, I made meatball sandwiches, oven-roasted potatoes and a big salad. I had half a meatball sandwich (with melted provolone cheese on it), a salad, and a glass of red wine. I skipped the potatoes, but it was no big deal. I got to cook the food my family loves and enjoy it with them without my diet getting in the way.
After one week on the program with the help of some moderate exercise, I’m down 3.2 pounds. I’ve got a ways to go, but it’s a good start.
It’s a new year, and while I don’t think weight loss needs to be a resolution, it is a good time to start to lose weight and get healthier. If you’ve been checking out the various diets, I encourage you to take a good look at Weight Watchers. I don’t see any other weight loss program out there that fits so well with the types of foods that I want to eat and the types of foods I think most of my readers want to eat.
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