07 July 2009

Wafer Thin Mint

Weight Watchers Logo I joined Weight Watchers three weeks ago, 15 Jun 2009. At my initial weigh-in, I pushed a comfortable 291.8 pounds. Being 6 feet tall, this give me a BMI of 39.5, putting me solidly in the "Obese" category. Although I've never seen myself as Monty Python's Mr. Creosote, I really haven't been comfortable with my weight since I left the swim team my Junior year of High School.

So far the program is going alright. I've lost 6.4 pounds; I haven't really felt very deprived; I still eat most of the things I enjoy; and I am still as social as I used to be. The changes have mostly been in terms of the choices I make and the portion sizes. I've also started eating breakfast.

I'll be at my (personal) target weight of 200 pounds by Feb 2011 if I can maintain an average of 1 pound/week; July 2010 if I can maintain 1.5 pounds/week. My first Weight Watchers goal is to lose 10% by the end of the year.

Weight Watchers Summary

The core concept of Weight Watchers (and most weight-loss systems) is to take in fewer calories than you burn. To help track this, to encourage foods lower in fat and higher in fiber, to encourage exercise, and (most importantly to me) to permit the consumption of any food desired... they developed a point system.

An individual is assigned a number of Points. Daily Points are determined based upon current weight (28 points), gender (8 points), height (2 points), age (2 points), and occupation (0 points). I get a total of 40 Daily Points. There are also Weekly Points (35 points) that can be spent any day the participant goes over their allotted Daily Points. Extra points are also earned through exercise.

Formula P=(c/50)+(f/12)-(min(r,4)/5) These points are then spent on the foods eaten. A participant can eat whatever they like so long as they stay within their allotted point total. The point value of the food is determined by three factors: Calories, Fat, and Fiber; the more calories and/or fat, the higher the point value; the more fiber, the lower.

Stay within your allotted points and you should lose weight.

Portion Awareness

The first realization I made with Weight Watchers was that my concept of a portion was way out of line. A bowl of cereal should include one cup of cereal and one cup of milk. A portion of almonds is 23 nuts. A portion of ice cream is a half-cup (oye). A portion of peanut butter is 1 tablespoon. The portion size of most sliced bread is 1 slice not 2. And finally, 17 Rold Gold Tiny Twists Pretzels is one portion (not the entire 1 pound bag, John; that's 16 servings). And these are not Weight Watchers' definition of a portion, these are the suggested portion sizes listed on the foods themselves.

And when dine out at a sit-down restaurant, which I do frequently, you are usually given a double portion for your meal. My goal is to simply be aware of this first and foremost. I've been trying to save half of my meal to-go and disregarding the guilt of rarely eating my leftovers.


I tend to snack a lot. Be it an oral fixation or some other excuse, I find it difficult not to eat something while watching TV. But what I've learned is that I care less about what I eat and more about the act of eating. So I've tried to stock up on "free foods" that I can grab as snacks and abandoned the ice cream, mixed nuts, and pretzels.
  • Carrot Chips with Pace Chunky Hot Salsa
  • Sugar Free Jell-O with extra gelatin ( Knox)
  • Fat-Free Sugar-Free Jell-O Pudding
  • Pickles


I've always been terrible about eating breakfast. And by lunch I am famished. This triggers your metabolism to slow down as well as causes you to gorge over lunch; neither of which help you lose weight. So I've tried to learn to eat breakfast. I'm still working at it, but I'm doing much better.


I was on Nutrisystem for a couple of months two years ago. And although it may be right for many, it just wasn't right for me. I did lose some weight, but I often felt really deprived. But the reason I eventually gave up was that I realized that food is so central to my social life, that having to eat the Nutrisystem food regularly interfered with my social life.

The food itself wasn't bad. On the other hand it wasn't all that good either. But most importantly it felt like for it to work, you'd have to stay on the system forever. I didn't feel like I was actually learning any new behaviors. You lost weight because you ate their food. Stop eating their food and the weight would come back. And it did.

So... now I'm trying Weight Watchers.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Weight Watchers seems like a really good system. One of my friends has been on it for years and has kept the weight off for many, many years.

I think the part he liked was that you could stockpile points for a few days before a big event like the Super Bowl.