Tag Archives: PointsPlus

A Major Change

After a post I wrote earlier this week, I had to face some real feelings and thoughts, and while it’s not easy to share them, I’m going to.  Here’s where I stand (and where I’ve been standing longer than I care to admit) right now.  I feel stuck.  I weigh 12 pounds less right now than I did at the beginning of the year, but it has been far too long since I made substantial progress.

I’m not discounting the fact that I exercise like a champ on a consistent basis…nor am I belittling the fact that I’ve managed to maintain my 100 pound loss.  These are both incredible things, and I’m damn proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.  That said, I’m not happy with where I am now.  My eating habits need to change, and they need to change now.

As I write this post, I’ve just successfully completed the first day of a personal challenge that I hope will spring board me into weight-loss once again.  I’ve counted calories all day, and I’m ending the day having consumed 1,474 calories (most of which came from fruit, veggies, egg whites and other lean proteins.)   My workout today included 30 minutes on the elliptical (easing back into it after being off for a month) and a strength workout for my arms followed by 5 minutes on the treadmill.

You can't really tell that I was sweating buckets, but I was...And I like it that way.

People say that weight-loss is easy, but those people often miss the point.  I’ve lost 100 pounds.  I know how to eat, but sometimes I find it extraordinarily difficult to convince myself that it’s a good idea.  That’s the hard part, at least for me, so I’ve decided to eat about 1,300 calories on rest days and no more than 1,500 calories on workout days.  I’ll listen to my body and do my best to adjust, but I think this is a healthy and realistic window that will yield good results.

I like the gym, and  I like exercising outside when the weather allows it.  I love to sweat, and I love to feel my heart pumping because it makes me feel strong and capable and athletic.  Now it’s time to reintroduce healthy eating into my everyday life.  And I’ve decided that for the next 30 days (probably longer, but this is my initial commitment) I’m going to track my caloric intake.   I made a difficult and bitter decision to leave Weight Watchers shortly after they unveiled the new PointsPlus plan over a year ago, but I never fully committed to counting calories.  What can I say?  That was then, and this is now.  I’m going to try again.

I realize that counting points and calories both work as long as you do it consistently, but I’ve been fighting with myself over the last few months to figure out how I can make PointsPlus work for me.  I’ve posted several times about modifying the program to work for me by counting fruits, tracking EVERYTHING through the recipe builder, etc.  But the fact is that  a successful day in my WW tracker looks like about 2,400 calories, and that’s far too many.

I’ve wanted to believe that I could make PointsPlus work because I love the support of the meetings, and even more so because I feel so indebted to Weight Watchers for what the helped me achieve in losing the first 100 pounds.  I also adored my first leader in New York, Jen, and my current leader, Penny.  I’m also completely infatuated with David Kirchhoff, the most handsome, friendly and witty CEO of all time.  (Swoon.)   But the fact is that, I’ve complicated the new program so much in my head just to make it work at least a little bit, that the simplicity of calorie counting has been a relief today.  I’m not saying goodbye to Weight Watchers.  I’m just trying something new to see how it compares.

Day one of calorie counting was a success...

I’m tracking my intake through SparkPeople for a couple of reasons…First, because I like the people I know behind SparkPeople.  You all know Coach Nicole now, right?  She doesn’t know I’ve crossed over to the calorie counting side yet, but she will soon.  😉  And secondly, I love the SparkPeople iPhone app!  It’s fantastic!  In addition to tracking my caloric intake, I can also track my workouts.  I can even get specific with my strength exercises, weights and reps.  I’m in love with this app, and I like that it’s free.

So this is where I am.  I’m starting over again because it seems like the right thing to do.  And I’ve said before that I’ll restart as often as it takes.  It’s better than throwing in the towel or refusing to face the fact that I’ve become complacent with food, right?  Anyway, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere…But I’d like to see my excess weight flee the scene, and I’m hoping that this big change in my routine will do the trick.

What’s the bigger challenge for you?  Food or exercise?  Do you track your calories everyday?  Do you track you intake at all?

 

 

A Guest Post About Cupcakes? Yes, Please…

Well, what can I say?  Spilling my guts in  yesterday’s post and your comments on that post led me to workout harder than I have in weeks, and brought the reason that I blog (now) front and center – support and accountability from people here who genuinely care about my well-being.  I appreciate that more than I could ever convey in words.  And it also spurred a big change that I’ll share more about tomorrow.

I need a little time to start practicing what I’m about to preach (to myself, anyway) so I’m thankful for this guest post by my pal, Alyssa from DoubeChinDiary.com!  If you know me at all then you know I love cupcakes (too much.)   And you may also know that I love featuring awesome bloggers on my own blog so this post is a win-win.

When Alyssa share the subject of her guest post with me, you can probably guess that I couldn’t wait to see the recipe.  Now here it is for all of us to try. I do have to mention that I do not drink sodas – diet or regular – ever.  I’m going to think about what I’m willing to do or what else could work for me, but that’s the beauty of trial and error.  I wonder if mine will be as pretty as hers!   Take a few minutes to check out the post, and say hi to Alyssa if you don’t know her.  She’s awesome so welcome her, okay?

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Hi everybody! I’m Alyssa from the Double Chin Diary. I’m on a quest to lose 50 pounds without losing my sense of humor, which is hard given my fondness of baking, movie theatre popcorn, and lying on the couch in my pajamas. I started reading Kenlie’s inspiring posts in 2011 and have even had the honor of meeting her in person! I’m thrilled to be here today.

 

As someone who’s perpetually on and off Weight Watchers or some other “plan”, I know there are times when you’d do something crazy for a cupcake – but you don’t, because a yummy, normal cupcake is at least 8 points, and if you’re like me, 8 points is like a MEAL! My grandmother used to follow Weight Watchers way back in the day, and she’s had this recipe in her toolkit for a long time. The best part is that it’s completely customizable, meaning you can use any type of cake mix or any flavor of diet soda. My ultimate favor combination is diet orange soda with sugar free orange jello because it’s like a creamsicle cake. I used lemon lime soda and jello this time, since I was making these for a St. Patrick’s Day Party and wanted to make something green. Oh yeah – and did I mention that they’re only FOUR POINTS EACH?!

 

Ingredients you need: (A measly four things! FOUR things!!! And you don’t even need to measure! This is easier than nuking a LeanCuisine – no peeling back the corner of the film here!)

 

For the cupcakes:

1 Box of Cake Mix, any flavor except “Butter Golden” or “Golden Butter”

1 Can of Diet Soda (12 ounces, any flavor)

 

For the topping:

1 Box of Sugar Free Jello Powder, any flavor (generic is fine)

1 Tub of Defrosted Light or Fat Free Cool Whip (generic is fine – I’m a frugalista, too!)

 

Steps to take:

 

1)      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Do a little booty dance, cuz you’re makin’ cupcakes!

2)      Dump the cupcake mix into a large bowl. Pour in the soda, slowly. Don’t panic – foaming is normal.

 

3)      Mix with a whisk until it’s mostly lump free.

4)      Pour the batter into a lined muffin pan. You want to fill the liner about ¾ full.

 

5)      Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, depending on your oven. My oven is snarky and likes to challenge me, so mine baked for 22 minutes and were still a little underdone.

6)      Test the cupcakes for doneness by touching them with your finger. The cupcake will be done when it springs back. Don’t worry if they’re a little sticky – the texture of these is slightly more moist and spongy than normal cake.

 

7)      Let the cupcakes cool.

8)      The next part is like MAGIC! If you’re like me and hate doing dishes, you’ll be happy to know you can do this next part in the tub the cool whip came in. Just take off the lid and dump the packet of jello powder into the tub. (If you want a milder taste, use ½ the packet. I like intense flavors so I use the whole thing.) Stir gently until all crystals are dissolved. The texture will be like normal cool whip at first, but in about 5 minutes, the gelatin will really thicken it up.

 

9)      Once the cool whip has thickened (it should look like the photo below) and your cupcakes are cool, use a butter knife or piping bag to ice two tablespoons of topping onto the cupcake.

 

10)  Voila! Rock on with your bad self. You just made 4 point cupcakes! (3 points if you don’t want topping!) Feel free to brag, and more importantly, share this recipe with your friends. (Or bring them to a party! This recipe makes 18 cupcakes!)

 

Is Weight Watchers Working For You?

Last year I asked my Weight Watchers friends how they felt about the PointsPlus program which was fairly new at the time, and many of you had a lot to share on the subject.  And now that Weight Watchers has adjusted its plan again, I’d like to ask the same questions now that we’ve had some time to adjust to the modified plan…

Are you losing weight at the rate you were before? 

Are you happy with the results? 

Do you feel like zero point fruits is helpful or harmful?

Has your points allowance changed yet? If so, by how much?

Are you calculating activity points accurately?

After adjusting the plan (reducing my daily p+ by 4 and not counting fruits and veggies as “free”) I’m much more satisfied with the results on the scale.  In January, I lost 8 pounds, and in February I lost 4 pounds.  (I didn’t exercise for the second half of February because I was sick, hurt and traveling) so I’m pleased with the number even though I hope to make March more successful in terms of numbers.

Now that I’m back in the gym (even though it still hurts) I’m tracking my activity points in addition to my food, and it motivates me to watch the points add up.  I’ve also found that by counting fruits as 1 p+ (with exception of bananas which I count as 3+ based on the nurtition facts) I’ve making better food choices throughout the day in 2012.

Do I think the new Weight Watchers plan is perfect?  No, but I like the results I’m seeing with my personal adjustments, and I’m much more comfortable with the plan now than I was a year ago.  How do you feel about it?  Have you made any personal adjustments?  And if you’re not a Weight Watchers member, what do you do to stay on track with your goals?

 

Fruit Is Not Always Free, And I’m Okay With That

I had planned to skip my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday because I had to be in two places at the same time, but I didn’t skip my weigh-in.  I showed up and faced the scale after a week that included a break-up and cross-country travel.  I knew that I had done my best (for the most part) and expected to show at least a tiny loss.  And I’m happy with the 1.2 pound loss that the scale reflected.

After weighing in, I left almost immediately, but I walked in on the meeting (that was an hour away) just as they were finishing up.  I’m not kidding.  I walked in and heard “So if there are no other questions, then help yourself to the refreshments.  Thanks.”  Oh dear.  It was an important meeting, but not earth shattering so I don’t regret missing it to weigh-in.  I do, however, wish that I could have attended the entire meeting.  I suppose I’ll just look forward to next week.

Following the meeting that I attended for 2 minutes, I met my friend, Kent, for dinner.  He’s in town for a few days, and it has been great to catch up with him without the static of the telephone.  At some point over the weekend, I plan to play Scrabble with my friend and his elderly aunt.  Maybe we’ll explore the French Quarter too.  Did you know that in New Orleans you can drink liquor walking down the street?  Kent and I don’t really drink so this isn’t particularly exciting to us…I just think it’s interesting.

Yesterday I posted a question about the merits of dairy yesterday because so many of you are doing what I’m doing – pursuing a healthy lifestyle.  I knew that you’d offer sound opinions.  And you did!  Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have you all in my life?

This smoothie could definitely be shared by two people - especially when adding ice!

Anyway, the issue of fruit in my smoothies came up.  And some of you voiced your opinion on my choice to count the points of the fruit too.  I didn’t think about making a disclaimer because I’m doing what Weight Watchers has directed me to do, but it seems like there’s a lot of confusion on this topic so I want to talk about it again.

First, I have to mention that I called Weight Watchers yesterday and spoke about this with a representative who explained it just as my leader has explained it.  Here’s what I’ve learned – when you’re eating a piece of fruit by itself, it’s considered zero points.  (I don’t count them as zero, but that is what WW recommends.)

When eating fruits and/or veggies mixed with other things (in a casserole, a smoothie, an omelet or other dishes in which the fruits and veggies cannot be separated/picked out) we’re supposed to calculate the points based on the total nutrition in the dish.

So my smoothie breaks down like this:

9 p+

And here’s the explanation that the WW representative noted during our call:

So while it has been a little confusing to figure out when fruits and veggies are free and when they need to be counted as a whole, it has definitely been worth the effort to figure it out.  I wasn’t thrilled with my results when they rolled out the new plan at the end of 2010, but coming back in 2011, I was determined to succeed with Weight Watchers just as I had before.

Obviously, we all have to do what’s best for ourselves, and I’m not telling anyone that they need to change what they’re doing.  if it’s working for you, that’s outstanding.  But in my world, eating fruits (my favorites being grapefruit, apples, watermelon, navel oranges and bosc pears) without counting them just doesn’t work.  Sure, if I’m hungry and out of points, I’ll eat an apple.  But most often, I’m finding that when I eat 9 or so servings of veggies, a little fruit and some protein, I’m satisfied all day.

I’m a work in progress and hardly an expert, but I believe that knowledge is power.  And understanding how the program works helps me get the most out of it, and I couldn’t really ask for more than that.

My Twist On Points Plus

If you read my blog regularly then you know how much I adore Weight Watchers.  My life changed when I walked into my first meeting in 2009, and it hasn’t been the same since.  But if you’ve been reading for a while then you may also know that I had some serious reservations about Points Plus.

When I joined Weight Watchers, I followed the Momentum program which helped me lose the first 100 pounds so when the program changed late last year, I was pretty hesitant about it.  It took years to find the courage the change so I was pretty bitter when I learned that I’d have to adapt to something new.  In fact, I was so angry and lost that I refused.

I started counting calories (which is fine,) but I noticed that it drove me to make choices based on how readily available the nutritional information was.  And a few months into it, I realized that I was eating processed foods more reguarly because the calories were so easy to find on the packaging.

Sure, it’s possible to lose weight eating processed foods.  I eat them sometimes, but I feel healthier and more satisfied when I balance those foods with fresh fruits and veggies and high protein, whole foods.  And by making adjustments to their points formula, Weight Watchers drives us to eat healthier, whole foods.

So in the spring I rejoined Weight Watchers online, and I now use e-tools to track my food intake.  For a few months, I found myself maintaining, but I knew that I had to do more.  And while fruits and most vegetables are worth zero points on the PointsPlus program, I’ve learned that counting them as such doesn’t really work for me.

PointsPlus does make it easier for me to make healthy choices, but sometimes too much fruit is just too much fruit.  Intuitive eating is a skill that I haven’t fully mastered yet so I’ve created some boundaries for myself over the last few weeks, and I like the results.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve eaten several servings of fruits and veggies per day as I usually do, but I’ve been counting each serving as 1 p+.  I also noticed recently, that when I calculate points for all veggie dishes in the recipe builder like salad or stir-fry, that the veggies don’t remain zero points.  Here’s an example:

  • 1 cup onions
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup tomato
  • 1 cup spaghetti squash

Each of these separately = zero PointsPlus, but when you eat them in a dish together, their value changes to 4 PointsPlus.  That’s a big difference! Am I the only one who didn’t realize that?

So I’ve begun adjusting PointsPlus in a way that works for me.  My goal is to continue creating healthy habits and to lose weight. And while PointsPlus guides us in that direction, counting fruits and vegetables as zero points doesn’t work for me.  I require moderation so I’ve created self-imposed limits that allow me to feel satisfied while making better choices.

Are you a Weight Watchers member? If so, how has the plan affected your lifestyle in the last (almost) year?