UnFoodie Copes with Weight Watching

By Karen

Part 4 – PointsPlus® vs. Reality

Jennifer Hudson says you can believe in Weight Watchers® Because it Works™, but Jennifer isn’t looking fabulous these days because it’s easy.

With WW, the first hurdle is to lose your interest in food. If you want stay within points and drop pounds, you can’t indulge in more than an infrequent bite or two of anything that’s worth eating.

(Note: WW PointsPlus® values in parentheses.)

I no longer cook in oil (4 per tbsp.) or use real butter (3 per tbsp.). Cooking spray (0) is my new best friend. Screw the ozone layer.

This brings me to my biggest gripe with WW. To play the points game and eat enough to stay alive, you’re compelled to embrace the chemically-engineered low-cal, no-fat, sugar-free foods that caused this obesity epidemic in the first place. Or go vegan.

And fake food is typically more expensive than the real thing.

In 10 weeks I’ve lost 15 lbs., but I’ve given up some of life’s little joys…

  • OREO® cookies (5 – 3 cookies)
  • Nutella® and peanut butter (5 – 2 tbsp.)
  • McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with cheese (14)
  • Fried calamari (11 – ½ cup)

Almost every meal includes stuff I don’t really like, such as cantaloupe, grapes, carrots, lettuce by the head, and truckloads of zucchini.

I’m almost always hungry. Sure, I could binge on bananas, but what’s the point? I’d be hungry again an hour later.

WW wants you to eat plenty of nuts, but it’s a Catch-22. Twenty-three almonds are 5 points.

When I’m not destroying the kitchen preparing meals (every bland meal-for-one seems to involve at least 30 minutes of intensive chopping and a sinkful of dishes and pans) I do 10,000+ steps a day, either pedaling my stationary bike, walking around, or stepping in place in front of the TV while I watch it.

Yes, I know it’s all good for me, but most days I feel like I could bite the heads off geeks.

I bought a WW cookbook thinking I’d find some different, flavorful dishes. Wrong. The P+ on anything worth fixing make it not worth eating.

Frozen meals aren’t a viable option, either. Weight Watchers® Smart Ones® frozen meals aren’t particularly low-point — and the portions are measly. Ironically, the few beef dishes seem to have lowest points (4-6) because they contain an ounce of meat in a criminally-empty tray. Most of the meals are white-pasta-based, although WW preaches whole grains.

Desperate for crunch, I tried Seapoint Farms Dry-Roasted Edamame with Wasabi (3 – ¼ cup). Light and dry, like I imagine eating bugs would be, and too many points for what you get. And the wasabi scorched my sinuses like I French kissed a blowtorch.

Some evenings I make popcorn from scratch. One-quarter cup of dry corn (3) in 1 tsp. of olive or canola oil (1) is only 4 points, and I’ve got the perfect bowl that makes me feel like I’m eating a lot.

For protein, it’s mostly baked fish and chicken (1 per oz.) and a lot of faux Boca® Burgers (3) and Morningstar Farms® Chipotle & Black Bean ¼ lb. Burgers (5).

I never eat potatoes (4) or rice (5 per cup, white) unless they’re in a frozen meal.

Only someone who’s nursing an eating disorder can eat this way indefinitely. The fact is that most of the American diet is fattening, unhealthy — and DELICIOUS. Anyone who prefers WW is a pervert.

But I intend to stick with this chronic deprivation until I lose the weight.

My first payback finally came just this past weekend when some size 18W pants I had bought in May wouldn’t stay up.

As disgusting as my meals have become, becoming too small for “fat pants” makes it all worthwhile.

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12 Responses to UnFoodie Copes with Weight Watching

  1. imabear says:

    I’ve never had a weight problem – my metabolism allowed me to eat what I wanted,and sometimes I just wasn’t hungry. I was happy about this I’ve never been athletic (my hobby is reading – not a big calorie burner).

    Then I hit menopause. Haha! Suddenly I was bigger – more pear shaped (relatively speaking I was still thin – but I needed pants a size bigger – and because I have a small frame, my larger stomach was noticeable). I tried exercise but I hated it. And because I have rheumatoid arthritis and can only do low impact, I couldn’t do the things that burned a lot of calories quickly and that suited my hyper personality (like running or jumping rope) and I easily get bored with yoga and such (and I know swimming is the obvious choice but I can barely dog paddle). So I had to radically change the way I eat. I did and I’m back in my skinny clothes. But you nailed it when you said it requires losing all interest in food. It is rare that I eat something for the pure joy of tasting it and then I only have a bite or two. I’ve had so much tilapia that I’m amazed my swimming hasn’t improved. No more bread either. And as bad as they are for you, I’ve always loved Coke and had at least 1 a day. No more. And since artificial sweeteners are so bad for you, I’ve pretty much given up sweets altogether. But your last point is also correct – when I was once again able to zip my smaller jeans, it was all worth it.

  2. catsworking says:

    imabear, I feel your pain. When I left college, I weighed 90 lbs. and bought my clothes in the girls’ dept. Then I went on the Pill – 10 lbs. Then I started sitting in an office all day – another 10 lbs. I once took an anti-depressant for 6 months – BAM! another 30 lbs. Menopause – I’ve lost track of the lbs., but a LOT – mostly in the torso. I’ve gained and lost the same weight repeatedly, probably a few hundred lbs.

    I had bad knees when I was a skinny little teenager, but jogged in my 20s. I started riding a stationary bike almost 25 years ago as my main exercise, and it has helped me lose many pounds. You couldn’t get me into a gym. Too many bad flashbacks to high school, and I don’t want to touch equipment strangers have sweated all over.

    Over the weekend after my fat pants fell off, I went out and bought new underwear and tossed all my humongous granny panties. My ass is still too big, but I’ve lost 3″ in my hips so far.

    I’ve got some skinny jeans stashed away that one day I will take out and ZIP standing up, and without fainting.

    There’s a book that will become my Bible once WW helps me lose all the poundage. It’s called French Women Don’t Get Fat, and it tells how French woman stay slim without starving, denying themselves everything, or exercising. If they can do it, I can! Maybe I’ll even learn to tie chic scarves.

  3. Bacardi1 says:

    Karen – have you tried an oil “mister” for cooking? My husband bought me two of these (one for olive oil & one for canola or vegetable oil, & they’re WONDERFUL. You just give the cap a couple of pumps & get a nice extremely fine spray of oil – even finer than the commercial pressurized cans. And the oil stays just as fresh – no rancidity ever. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had to refill. Great for both cooking & salads.

    http://www.bing.com/shopping/misto-olive-oil-sprayer/p/B627A5772FA59E2E832C?q=cooking+oil+sprayers&lpq=cooking%20oil%20sprayers&FORM=HURE

  4. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, I used to have a Misto, and it sounds like what you’re talking about. It was great while it worked, but once it clogged, it was toast and I had to toss it.

    Now I keep olive oil in a spray bottle I bought at Dollar Tree (and have had for years with no clogging issues). But now I never use it because I measure oil with a teaspoon. It has too many points to just eyeball the quantity.

  5. leannenalani says:

    You make a valid point – “To play the points game and eat enough to stay alive, you’re compelled to embrace the chemically-engineered low-cal, no-fat, sugar-free foods that caused this obesity epidemic in the first place. Or go vegan.”
    I completely agree with this and hate it. There was a point in my early 20’s when I was doing the WW flex plan and lost 75 pounds, but I was eating frozen microwave meals every night to stay within my points! I tried WW again when I recently lost the latest 60 pounds, but PointsPlus wasn’t doing it for me so I just went to tracking my food/exercise in an iPhone app on my own. Boom, 60 pounds gone and I’m eating much healthier foods overall. No more microwave meals!

  6. Bacardi1 says:

    I agree that the low-fat/no-fat foods are awful & NOT good for you. In fact, many if not all doctors & reputable dieticians advise against them, preferring you use regular mayo, butter, salad dressings, etc., etc. – just use LESS of them. Ever look at the ingredients list on a carton of fat-free sour cream? Yuck.

    So I’ll continue using & cooking with the “real stuff”. Somehow, calories & fat or not, I think I’ll be healthier for it.

  7. catsworking says:

    Welcome, leannenalani! Congratulations on your impressive weight loss. And on your own, no less.

    My WW account just renewed for another month so I’m going to try to stick with it, but since I wrote this post and passed the 10-week mark, I feel like my body is beginning to rebel. Last night I ate almost a whole bag of pork rinds (10), just for the saltiness and crunch. I am having sinful thoughts of fried chicken. I’m just afraid of the consequences, not to my weight, but to my digestive tract.

    Last weekend I ate a grilled chicken and spinach salad from Subway and the dressing had more oil on it than I’ve been using. I spent the next 2 hours in the bathroom. Now I feel like I’m doomed to eat my own cooking forever.

    At this point I can’t say how long I will stay true to WW. One part of me wants to get to within my ideal weight range and become a lifetime member and feel like I’ve won. But another part of me says “SCREW POINTS!”

  8. Bacardi1 says:

    Karen – I know this is just my opinion, but life is far too short to eat the “WW” way.

    First & foremost, regardless of what they say, in the long run it’s NOT HEALTHY.

    Second – whether you’re a “foodie” or not, it’s common knowledge that the only healthy mantra to lose weight by is EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. This means you eat what you want – BUT IN MODERATION. This means no “whole bag of pork rinds” – just a few. Who made you eat that whole bag of pork rinds?? WEIGHT WATCHERS!!! It’s a proven fact that deprivation diets (which Weight Watchers IS!!!), give you more cravings than you normally would have.

    Third, regardless of what you eat, there will never EVER be any way to get around the fact that the only way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you expend. That means you need to eat less & exercise more. Period.

  9. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, I will admit it was the first time in my LIFE I’ve ever craved pork rinds. Actually, they are considered a good snack on the Atkins Diet (or were when I tried Atkins for 2 weeks once — maybe that’s changed since they started allowing veggies).

    Before WW, I was cooking with olive oil, now I use Pam. I used real sugar in my coffee, now I use Pure Via. Real mayo is now Light Hellman’s. Real sour cream is Light Daisy. Real cheese, now Laughing Cow or 2%.

    I hit a wall on bacon and eggs. I can’t stand turkey bacon or the slimy finish of those fake eggs that come in a milk carton.

    I’m finding WW useful only in that it sets firm boundaries. Over the past few years when I’ve tried to lose on my own, I couldn’t stick with it because I had no limits on anything.

    I theoretically could eat all real foods on WW, but it would mean portions that wouldn’t keep a flea alive and tons of fruits and veggies (0).

    I’m already spending at least 90 minutes a day biking or stepping to hit 10K+ steps. Many days it’s closer to 2 hours to hit 15K. And my knees are starting to hurt.

    The last time I lost 15 lbs. by increasing movement and with no changes in diet, it took me 16 weeks. With WW I lost 15.5 in 10 weeks, so I’m pleased with that. But I know I can’t eat like this forever. Finding the happy medium is the secret I’m still trying to uncover.

    PS: Before I ate the pork rinds, my 3-point dinner had been a salad (1 with lite dressing) and about 2 oz. of white fish (2) because Cole insisted I share it.

  10. Zappa's Mom says:

    The best thing I ever did was treat myself to a Vitamixer for Christmas last year.For the last 4 weeks,i have been making fruit/veg smoothies 2x daily,breakfast and late night after work. I use spinach,kale frozen berries(my freezer is full of farmer’s market bounty) I don’t own a scale,but my pudges are smaller.The best part is,I notice a lot of my food cravings…..french friesmmmmmm…are disappearing.I’m with you,I just cannot do the fake chemical garbage “food”

    I just finished a nectarine/frozen cherry/spinach smoothie.Trust me,it was delicious! Then I opened the fridge to find the box of fudge that a friend brought me back from the beach 2 weeks ago.A box of fudge in my refrigerator FOR TWO WEEKS! Im not even craving it the slightest bit,but your popcorn method is tempting.

  11. leannenalani says:

    Just know that if you choose to say “screw points!” it doesn’t mean you can’t still lose weight. Seriously, that’s what I did. I said screw points and then started keeping track of food elsewhere. I never needed to feel deprived, I figured out how many calories I needed to eat to lose 2 pounds a week and stuck with it. Oh, and I read the Beck Diet Solution which helped me problem-solve when I got down on myself.

  12. catsworking says:

    Leanne, that sounds like a plan. I’m not familiar with the Beck Diet Solution. Now that I’m so entrenched in WW, if I tried to go back to counting calories, I’d be back to square one. But I may end up doing it once I get my weight where I want it.

    ZM, I make smoothies occasionally, too! (Although the thought of pureed kale sounds barfy to me.)

    My recipe: Unflavored Greek yogurt (2), a banana (0), strawberries, blueberries, peach, whatever (0), a packet of Pure Via (0). I don’t use any vegetables because that just sounds gross.

    It makes a very large smoothie for only 2 points. If you use flavored Greek yogurt, it’s 3 points. My sister gave me this tip.

    I keep frozen blueberries, but they came from Costco. I need to freeze some strawberries because the fresh ones I buy always grow white beards before I can use them all.

    And I don’t crave sweets. I have several boxes of ice cream treats in the freezer, and I was hitting them just about every night at first, but now they’ve been sitting there and I’m like “Meh” toward them.

    In the evening, I will have 1/2 cup of sugar-free JELL-O pudding for dessert. My last batch was banana, and when I sliced a banana into it, it seemed like a huge pile of decadent dessert and I was very happy. It’s amazing what crap you can fool yourself into believing.

    I don’t think I’m eating white flour anything. I use whole-grain rolls (3) or tortillas (2) for sandwiches. Whole-grain pasta (5). I gave up potatoes and white rice, and I don’t even make brown rice anymore.

    I do occasionally think about French fries, but I’m afraid if I went anywhere and ate them, I’d immediately start puking or pooping all over the place.

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