In 1999 I read a book called Protein Power that could have changed my life. That is, if knowing and doing were the same thing. They aren’t. And a decade later, I’m still fat. Regardless, this whole time I’ve been a true believer in the logic and science of steering clear of those nasty, empty calorie ridden simple carbohydrates. The problems are: bread, ice cream, gravy, potatoes and a complete lack of will power.
Enter the Weight Watchers Points system (or in my case, PointsPlus), a plan that promises I can eat what I want as long as I don’t go over my points for the day. Eureka! A loop hole in the whole dieting conundrum that will allow me to lose weight AND eat biscuits and gravy; the miracle I’ve been waiting for. Except that, well, it just doesn’t work out that way, shockingly enough.
Inevitably, if I eat just one of the fatty/carby foods I long for on any given day, I end up eating more than my allotment of points. WW, no doubt recognizing this potential problem gives you a bank of points to use for the week so that you might eat point laden foods while still managing to stay on plan. This might work if I took Cookie Monster’s advice about sometimes foods.
In the 6 weeks I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, I have yet to end the week with a positive balance of points. Basically, if WW kept a running total, I’d have to go about a week of pure fasting to pay off my points debt. Ok, that isn’t entirely true. Since most fruits and vegetables cost no points I could eat those for the week. Of course, if I were the kind of person that could live off fruits and vegetables for a week I probably wouldn’t be fat to begin with.
The problem I’ve found is WW hates butter. And cheese. And nuts. It hates sugar too, but I’m (mostly) okay with that. I just want my butter back. The thing is I wouldn’t miss the butter or the cheese if I stayed away from simple carbs. Who needs butter or cheese without bread, potatoes or pasta? And, conversely, why would you eat any of those things if you couldn’t have butter and/or cheese with them?
What I’m getting at is WW, for me, is just another way to look at low carb eating; only they want you to ditch the fat too. No matter how I’ve tried the math, the only way I can stay within the points and not feel desperately hungry is to avoid the simple carbs and sugar almost altogether. Once I start adding bread, pasta, potatoes, or heaven forbid: Girl Scout Cookies, it is a downward spiral of point spending that leaves me in the red.
And so, here I sit, it’s Sunday and I’m at negative 28 points for the week. Luckily, WW doesn’t rub in failure. It wouldn’t be a very successful business if it did. Tomorrow I start fresh and my debt is wiped clean. I get another chance to stay on track. And as long as I keep trying, I keep getting more chances.
How, you may ask, have I fared eating more points than I’m supposed to? Well, in six weeks I've lost six pounds. I know I should be happy about losing, but it doesn't feel like that much of a success. It makes me wonder what I might have accomplished had I actually stayed on track this last month and a half. And yet, if I can keep up this pace, this time next year I’ll be at goal. (In which case, I won't be whining to the computer about points, I'll be out buying lots of new jeans.)
Basically, it all comes down to how you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. Just don’t eat it over pasta or rice.
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