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0 + 0 + 1 =6, Or I Think I’ve Been Doing This Wrong

If you read back through the archives of this blog, you would see an incredible difference between Kenlie who attends weekly WW meetings (regardless of rain, snow, etc) and Kenlie who’s trying to do it on her own.  You’d also see a stark difference in the amount of weight I lose when attending meetings versus not attending meetings.  And you stick around, you’re going to see that extraordinary shift again in the coming months.

After attending a new meeting Thursday night, I’ve found myself excited to cook food again and to get the most bang for my buck (in p+ values) though this time there’s an added layer.  I’m challenging myself to eat vegetables as the majority of my points.   You might be thinking “What is she babbling about? Veggies are free!”  But hear me out…

When you combine zero p+ foods in the recipe builder they’re no longer zero points because the value actually changes when the points for each item are calculated together.   In short, I’ve been tracking incorrectly.  I already knew that PointsPlus values could change when I combine two servings of something, but I’ve never tracked fruits and vegetables that way until now.  And it seems that most people don’t do it that way, but if I’m eating fresh fruit salads or meals that are vegetable dense, I need to track properly to reach my goal.

For lunch today, I ate a giant salad then logged it in the recipe builder before I tracked it.  Check out the details:

1 c baby spinach (o)

1/4 carrot (o)

1/4 large zucchini (o)

1 small apple (o)

1/4 c red onion (o)

1/4 cucumber (o)

1/2 c tomato (o)

1/2 c broccoli (o)

When these zero p+ foods were added up together, they totaled 4 p+ as opposed to zero because when foods are prepared and consumed together, they’re calculated in totals rather than separately.   It makes sense, but am I the only one who didn’t realize this until recently?

0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 1 + 1 + 3 =11

And here are some details on the smoothie that I made today.  I don’t regret utilizing my PointsPlus to eat it, but it does make me keenly aware of the fact that fruits are not always free.  Check out these details:

1 c strawberries (o)

1 large banana (0)

1/2 c skim milk (1)

0 + 0 + 1 =6

When consumed separately, these fruits and this milk are only worth 1 p+, but eat them together and they become 6 p+!  That’s a big difference!  And while it makes a lot more sense this way, it’s important to know that this is how it works because if I had eaten the smoothie (which was fantastic by the way) without calculating the points properly, I would have exceeded my points for the day.

And earlier this evening, I wanted a snack and needed some protein so I considered having peanut butter and banana on toast, but after adding the ingredients into the recipe builder I decided to make some adjustments because the points were so different than I thought they’d be. (I’m glad I checked!)

5 + 0 =9

Last year, when Weight Watchers unrelieved the PointsPlus plan, I was frustrated because I had learned so much about what a proper portion looked like through Momentum.  And I didn’t understand how fruits could be counted as zero p+, but now I think I understand!  And knowing that while fruits when eaten alone can occasionally be zero p+, I’m much more comfortable with PointsPlus based on my new understanding.  I had trouble wrapping my head around the fact that fruits and veggies were zero so I’m okay with this new knowledge.  And in addition to working out hard, this new information helps me feel like I’m back on the right track.


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  • Reply
    Lynn Mackie
    September 11, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I am thrilled that you are back on track, but it puzzles me that Weight Watchers makes it that hard to understand the program! I want simple!!!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      Weight-loss isn’t simple because we’re complex individuals, but it’s totally doable. And sometimes it can even be enjoyable. Weight Watchers works for me because I love challenging myself to get the most out of my points, and now I’m doing it in a healthier way. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nina Patricia
    September 11, 2011 at 12:36 am

    wow, that’s a big difference. I’m not sure if I would be able to grasp points+ as it is…but I’m so glad you got a new knowledge!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      I’m glad I have the knowledge too. Now I can make the most out of my efforts!

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Yep…I kept thinking…0 points just doesn’t make sense…EVERYTHING counts. So, I did just what you did and WOW! I’m so glad I found that out a few weeks ago!!! It just makes sense! The recipe builder is the ONLY way I track anymore.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Yeah, it makes so much more sense for me…I like this knowledge because it makes me feel like I can really move forward in a major way!

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 3:18 am

    i think its time for me to get out my seldom looked at momentum plan and get with the program

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      I loved Momentum Mary! I think I’m going to love PointsPlus even more now that I have a better understanding. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Good luck with your journey

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks Lisa!

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

    This new points plus sounds a bit more complicated than the old points plan that I knew from when I had originally joined years ago. Oh well, I won’t let it dissuade me. Payday can’t come soon enough – I’m joining up.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      I agree…. definitely don’t let it dissuade you! The meetings are so key for me so I hope you’re into them too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Chubby McGee
    September 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Numbers creep me out. I’m horrible at math. It’s one of the reasons I left W.W. I started to get so confused and I knew that it would keep changing every year (which would lead to more and more confusion…and I’m a pretty big idiot – LOL!). 🙁 It wasn’t the plan for me. I do think it’s a FANTASTIC plan, but…just not for me.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      It doesn’t change every year though it changes every few years which is enough, right? We just do what works best for us, and we’re all good…:)

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I learned a lot from this post! I think I’ve been tracking wrong, too. I have access to recipe builder from a friend’s account, but I might have to start paying for it myself if the differences are this huge. The peanut butter and banana on toast, for instance. I’ve been tracking that as 2 PP for the 1 Tbl. of PB, 0 for the banana, and 2 for the sandwich thin. I have a feeling that 4 is considerably low now. This is something that should be better explained in the basic program information that is handed out. Perhaps, they should consider making recipe builder free. Thanks for this post!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      Well, Tammy…when I track peanut butter, 2 T = 5 p+, but 1 T = 3 p+ though I’m sure it depends on the PB.

      And recipe builder is free in e-tools. I’m a monthly pass member so it’s $40 per month for unlimited meetings and e-tools. And through this week, you can join and get the second month free. Might be a good time to move to the pass!

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I can see where that could be an area of difficulty, and the whole “fruit is zero points” thing can be challenging. Probably the reason it didn’t trip me up is because I’m so married to my SparkPeople tracker that I’ve been tracking calories of everything I eat along with P+ on the WW online Plan Manager. So even when I had consumed fewer P+than I was allotted, I was able to look at my calorie count and see that yes, indeed, I was just fine and not starving myself LOL.

    It’s all about finding what clicks for you, and it looks like you’ve found it — awesome! 😀

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      I love SparkPeople, but I don’t do well tracking twice. And I knew that something wasn’t right, but now it makes sense which feels good. And yeah, we all have to find what works best for us and just do it. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    wow! I’m sure that’s going to help a lot of people on WW.
    I did wonder about all those zero point foods myself.
    I’m so happy for you! I can tell you’re in the zone again and there is no place better to be.
    Enjoy your good foods!!!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      I’m in a really, really healthy zone right now, yes…and it feels so good. Thank you! I’m going to do my best to cling to these feelings because it feels great! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Kenlie! I don’t even pretend to understand the point system explained in this post, but what I do recognize is that you are very determined to count all your food, which should turn into successful results.

    🙂 Marion

  • Reply
    September 11, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I’m glad that you found out a way to make more sense of the P+. I think it’s odd that they say fruit is 0, because fruit has 50-100 calories per piece, and that can add up. I love that they’re trying to get people to eat more “whole” foods (less processed), but it could definitely be confusing to people.

    The meetings are a great way to get grounded for the week; it’s great that you found one that you like.

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      I’m really excited to have found one I like too. I really think it’s going to make a big difference for me just like before. =)

  • Reply
    Hilary @ The Big Weight
    September 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I had the same realization Kenlie! I didn’t understand at first why it appeared like I was eating an entirely 0 Points+ meal, to then put it in the recipe builder to find out it was more. I had actually emailed WW about this early on (back when Points+ began) and they shared the reasoning with me that you outlined above.

    I can “hear” the renewed enthusiasm in your voice.. you can do it girl! I’m right there with you 🙂

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      I am definitely renewed, and it feels amazing! =0)

  • Reply
    Momma Hunt
    September 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Im a serious that this might be while my weight loss stalled on Points plus…I am on to something new but still always have a fond place for WW in my heart, and might go back again. Love that you are sharing this!

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      I think it’s a big part of the reason that I was stalled, but I’m so happy that I know now! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Kenlie, great post! I think this is my biggest frustration with the P+ program. It’s not that I didn’t understand the difference, because I dug for it and figured it out, but I think its misleading to tout most fruits and veggies as being zero P+. Most people don’t have a full understanding of it, and I think that impacts their success, and WW’s success overall.

    So glad to hear your enthusiasm, I am actually pondering going back to meetings myself now!

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      Well Leslie, I believe that knowledge is power so we’re on the right track. And the meetings will only add to our success so I hope you’ll join them again too! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    This is so helpful because TODAY I went back to the WW. Thanks for writing about it for me 🙂

  • Reply
    September 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I realized the p+ thing with fruit, points, etc when I was eating two (shush) WW string cheeses within like a minute of each other – I know that SEPARATRELY they are 1 point each. However, when consumed together, they are three.

    It may be only ONE point, but that ONE point could mean the difference between dessert and NO dessert!

    So it totally IS a big deal! 🙂

  • Reply
    Courtney Gosvener
    September 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I had found that out a while ago when I made a recipe of low points with veggies and it came out to more points than I expected. Which makes since. So basically if I eat a ton of tomatoes and count them, then it will essentially be just quantity points but when you combine them it is a ‘meal’ point so to speak? Do you find going to meetings a good add on to the online? I was never interested in meetings, but I NEED to find some motivation somewhere!

  • Reply
    Weigh-In and the Gym
    September 16, 2011 at 12:24 am

    […] the most important change I made was in how I calculate my points.  Earlier in the week, I wrote a post about calculating my points through the Recipe Builder on e-tools after figuring out that zero […]

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I have to say that I’m more than a little annoyed that WW doesn’t make this clear to those of us who are trying to follow the online program. They are very quick to hype those 0 points foods, but this little tidbit of info was missing. It sure makes it even more difficult to track than it already was. The cynic in me wonders if they know that unconsciously ingesting more points = slower weight loss = longer time on program = more money in the corporate pockets…

    Or I might just be paranoid. Time to go have a couple of nectarines, some grapes and a big ol’ pear and call it a zero point snack… 😉

  • Reply
    October 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

    OMG!!!! That seems so simple yet of course typical me has to overcomplicate things and then give up! I might have to rejoin WW’s again. And I really have to thank you for that! I was gaining weight on the new Points Plus for many weeks and I couldn’t understand what was going on so I quit (and I am pretty sure I gained a bunch of that weight back). I had great success with the previous plan. Losing between 50 and 60 lbs. Then the new plan kicked in and I seemed to be completely lost. I am soooo glad I read this!

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