December 01, 2010

Going bananas.....WeightWatchers Endorses Food!

Zero Points Fruit!
pic from
Holy frijoles!  Bananas are zero points!

Can I say that I am actually pretty psyched for the new Weight Watchers plan called Points Plus?! I feel like PointsPlus is WeightWatchers meets Michael Pollan. "Eat food, mostly plants, not to much." And WeightWatchers is actually endorsing food! 

Why is this such a big deal?  For one thing, on the old plan was all about getting your daily points. For example, in losing mode, I got 21 points. Since I hoarded points like I do gift cards, I would pass on the banana (2 points) and go for the sugar free jello and whipped cream or 2 Weight Watcher's fudge pops or the skinny cow for the same number of points.  In other words, I would pass on actual *food* to eat diet "novelties" instead.  All common sense went out the window.  It was no wonder that I never knew how to eat until satisfied.  (I swear they really do put some additive in there to make you crave and eat more.) 

So now, with this new plan, we are "rewarded" (though I hate to think as more food as a reward....but you get my meaning) anyway, we are rewarded with more points by eating food, actual food, not processed franken-food.

What it comes down to is that the Weight Watcher's science people are nudging people to balance out the types of calories that one eats by taking protein, carbs, fat and fiber into account rather than calories, fiber and fat as they did with the previous model.  Since not all calories are created (or burned) equally, this makes sense. Ask any runner that bonks during a run where their calories came from that day and they'll most likely tell you they ate too much protein calories and not enough carbs. It takes more energy (and time) to burn protein over carbs, so when running a race, it makes sense to grab the carb that is going to burn fast, but if losing weight and feeling full longer is the goal, then choosing food with lean protein and high in fiber is the way to go.  These are fewer points than say high carb (refined sugar), high fat foods. Really?

On this new plan, we get more daily points and we get more weekly points, but the food point values (in some cases) also went up. Especially in the high carb, low protein areas.  Also, points plus (P+) are no longer calorie based (per se) but now based on carbs, protein, fat and fiber. Since we know not all calories are created equally, this makes sense. 

While I am excited about this plan, the part that still concerns me is that we are still talking about food as nutrients rather than the whole food itself.  There is a balance that is needed and I think that comes from really listening and feeling and identifying with the energy that goes into (and out of ) our bodies. Sitting with it.  Feeling satisfied. 

When I was originally following the plan, I never really got the whole "eat until satisfied" feeling. The people of Okinawa call this practice, Hara Hachi Bu – eat until 80 percent full.  

I hope that this new plan will help me, us, whoever is on WeightWatchers practice mindful eating and that Hara Hachi Bu becomes part of our everyday, our every meal.  Until then, I'll get out my tracker and write every bite down.


Sarah Jane said...

Found you via RLAM. Great to find your space. I've been on WW for about a year now and am really liking the new program. Yes, a banana is better than a skinny cow. Hope it works!
Take care,

jilliusc said...

I am a WW for just over a year. Yup, it's hard to "start over" and learn new points values, but definitely a smarter way to eat. I've been mentally and physically plateaued for the past 6 months (have lost a net of 2# since April), so will be curious to see if this affects me. Otherwise, I am going to take this as my goal weight. can anyone else see the extra 2 pounds?! I don't think so!
*Loved* reading about your weight loss journey and running. Congrats on the year+ of maintenance. You look like a smokin' hot mom in the picutures! Enjoy it!

Delane said...

Had my first eating out challenge last night. Wine values are high. Other than that it wasn't that bad.

Bargain Becky said...

You are my MetroWestie hero! I saw your blog through RLAM. I'm a South Shore gangsta, cheap ass homemaker, a "runner" who just finished a marathon by some miracle, AND who is on Weight Watchers! Great blog and awesome job with all the running!!

Pamela said...

Totally cracking up that I go to comment here and know the person who commented before me in real life. Whazzuh? Hi Becky! Anyway, happy to have stumbled on your blog via RLAM, looking forward to reading more of it!

Anonymous said...

Found you through the RLAM. great blog. I have a 1 year old boy, work, am on WW, and finally started running again. Thank you for making the connection to Pollan's words! I've never been able to deal with frankenfood, so am really happy with the WW changes.


Anonymous said...

I also found you through RLAM - love what I've seen so far. I am a full time working mom of a 18 month old, a WW and have just made my first 100% commitment to running. All my life I've never felt I was able to run but always wished I were able to. So I signed up for a 5k - we'll see how that goes. I used WW before I got prego and lost about 15 lbs. I lost all my prego weight (31 lbs) in about 2 months after my daughter's birth. Something happens, though, when you stop nursing and sudenly you realize those numbers are creeping up again. So I just signed back up for WW and seem to have started with a plateau and can't seem to find my way off of it. I hope it gets better and that the new points set-up helps.
Thanks for motivating me to keep trying and think that there might be a chance for me still.