5/2/08

Jump on, Jump Off

And no, I’m not talking about the Montreal Canadiens bandwagon, or any other NHL team’s bandwagon for that matter. I’m talking about the WW bandwagon and how it’s become a helluva lot lighter lately. So everyone is counting calories now. It’s what the cool kids are doing. Big effin deal. You all were in a round about way anyway, you know. So what if points make it a smidge different because of the fibre factor. Whoopdeefrickindoodle. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if you go here there or everywhere or eat your eggs with a fox or Mr. Knox (I love Dr. Suess), but let’s start being fuckin honest with ourselves. It’s not the point system failing us. It’s not the system that’s oh so hard. Cry me an effin river. So instead you’re willing to tally let's say 1500 calories a day instead of 25 points because the math was too hard? Care to explain that one to me because I’m not buying that swamp land in Flordia, thanks. If you can tell me you’re following the eight healthy guidelines, you’re exercising 20 minutes a day, you’re eating your points target daily and not going over your flex every week and being cognizant of Canada’s Food Guide (or the American counterpart) I will shut my yap now and wish you on your merry way. Otherwise you’re just an old dog looking for a new trick. Don't get me wrong, you still have my support, but who are we kidding? Personally, I think we need to evaluate what percentage of our daily points (calories now in your cases) add up to processed items, condiments, snacks and "whoopsies!" when we hit plateaus and problems. That's what REALLY tells us where we're going wrong. If you're on a 1500 plan and more than 300 are spent on snacks, you might want to start looking at what you're eating every day and see if you're getting the right balance of foods. I'm not ranting because I'm a poster child for Weight Watchers either. Hell, I'm on a plan that freakin counts calories right now. Frankly, I find it irritating and I hate the amount of snacks I've been consuming. I would rather have a larger piece of chicken than eat a granola bar between breakfast and lunch. Seems wasteful to me. I just think if I don’t take the plan seriously, I don’t see results. If I take the weight watchers plan as a “suggestion” for eating then I'm not following it and I'm going to plateau or perhaps gain weight. But if I follow it, it keeps me on the straight and narrow. It's counting calories (albeit in a weird way with the whole fibre thang) for me. It’s how I maintain my weight loss. Weight Watchers works when I work it. Did you work it? The whole time? Be honest. I know why I gained back 10 pounds. It was because I stopped working it. What's your reason? Tell me that and I'll shut my yap about your calorie counting or any other plan you want to go off on while you poo-poo weight watchers. Otherwise, flame away; I have fire services on stand-by with the hoses.

28 comments:

meredi said...

Wow. I honestly don't know what to say. Except that I think that people should go with whatever works for them. This is a mental game and if there's something about the WW system that doesn't work mentally for a person, I think that's a fine reason to find something else that does.

As an example, personally, I find not having flex points available makes me snack way less. I ALWAYS used those points for splurges instead of healthy foods, and that adds up to a lot of crap in a week.

Yes, I could have divided those up over the course of the week and used them to augment my meals, but it's a mental thing. I knew that those points were there as a cushion when I fell. Knowing they were there made me more likely to use them. It's easier for me to use a strategy in which they don't exist. Yes, it's all the same in the end, but it's not the same to my brain!

As I've mentioned previously on my blog, I also found ways to manipulate the WW system such that I could eat more food for the same amount of points. This meant eating tons of carbs and barely any fat. Yes, I could have layered the food guide guideline on top of that but mentally, it's like once you have the rules in place for a certain program, your brain makes excuses and reverts back to your original habits. Yes, my willpower could have won out, but for me, it has been easier to start fresh with a whole new set of rules.

Anyway, just wanted to outline my reasoning about it. It's clear that WW (flex) can pretty much be any program you want it to be, and is based on calories at the end of the day, so you're right. But I think it's really easy to get stuck in a mental rut with it, so I support anyone who decides to give a slightly different program a try. We all have different mental ticks in this weight-loss / maintenance game, so I think it only makes sense to try and find something that works with your brain’s particularly weaknesses and rationalizations!

marie said...

That's just it.

It's the same thing in different packaging.

I just don't get why people say the math is too hard.

But that's my opinion, I guess.

I'm all for what works for people. Never said WW was the be all and end all. I just see abuse and then blame on the program and find it odd.

That's all.

meredi said...

Oh, well, I’ve never seen people say the math is too hard. If they’re saying that, well, I don’t agree either. They obviously never heard the 1 pt = 50 calories explanation. Honestly, at the end, I could just do it all in my head. Is it a fibrous 50 calories? Round down a bit. A fatty 50 calories, round up a bit. It’s all arbitrary anyway, honestly. You could just divide by 50, with no fibre or fat taken into account at all, and end up with a program that works.

WW works if you follow it, end of story. I think it can be a short-term solution for anyone, and a long-term solution for many. I just don’t feel like it’s the right long-term solution for me, so I’m searching for whatever is :)

Jen said...

First of all I ♥ you...second of all, for about 3 days last week I was the biggest hypocrite in the WORLD! I was thinking the SAME thing as you just wrote and the second I saw a gain on the scale I blamed it on WW...shockingly it was my shy, timid husband who said "well maybe you just took advantage of the program, maybe it wasn't WW fault" and DING, I made my walk of shame back...

Honestly, I hear a lot about "restriction" on WW and feeling like you can't have things...when I actually felt like I was on more of a "diet" with counting calories...I agree, whatever works for people...but WW helps me lose more than 80 lbs...the program works...it doesn't have a half life

And just for the record WW Bandwagon = yes, Habs bandwagon = no (oh and something weird for you on a Friday, you were in my dream last night, creepy right? You came to visit me and wanted to take my dog home - haha! that's more like a nightmare for you!!)

Bi0nicw0man said...

Oooooooh, I'm surprised you only have a couple of comments so far!

I'm going to get a 100-calorie snack and make sure it's really 2 points while I sit back and watch! :)

Math-schmath. If you know what 50 cals are, you know what 1 point is...give or take. And ya, if you've started STSing, then it's time to start plugging things into the calculator again.

I find counting calories to be way more work. But I'm a maintainer, so guesstimating works for me...so I'm probably not the right person to be commenting.

Jennifer said...

I feel like this entire post is about me...

Espressomama said...

Mouse

Great blog and great entry. It is sooo true. I've been counting calories for awhile (for a change of pace) but it is just a different package. I 'm eating the same food and exercising the same way, with the same result, just bigger numbers.

marie said...

Why do you think it's about you, Jennifer?

And Jen - no way I'm coming for your dog :P

Jennifer said...

I guess because I've been posting a lot on my blog lately about how I don't think the points I'm eating are giving me enough calories. I want to start counting calories for a bit and see if anything changes, just to switch things up a bit. I think some people can follow WW long term, but for me, I don't know if I can. I'm looking for some other options. I guess it's all about what works for different people. I mean, I've learned a LOT about porton control and healthy eating on WW, and that's great, but I'm just going to do some experimenting for a while and see what happens.

Angie All The Way said...

I lost 100 friggin pounds on WW and I STILL praise it up and down as an excellent program that works and is healthy. Throughout the enture time, I was always 100% honest with why it would or wouldn't work from week to week, but give a girl a break would ya? I have no doubt that WW would keep on me on maintenance because that's what it's been doing for me for the past 9 months frankly and I'm not crying about WW not "working" because I know that I haven't been 100% on working the program, so I don't fault WW entirely for that. I just needed a change in perspective and focus.

But what Meredi says is true - the mental component is the driving force behind your success on whatever weight loss program you choose to be on, so if after 2 years and 3 months of counting points everyday has driven me a little bored and lax and I need something different and equally healthy to jump start my progress again, then that's what I'm going to do.

I understand that you're likely critizing those people who blame WW and are accusing it of "not working" because of bla bla and then switch to "calorie counting" as an alternative while being blind to the similarities, but I don't think that is true for everyone. I think I deserve a little more credit than that.

Sara said...

I don't think this post is targeted at anyone Jen. I've been waiting for this email for awhile (I live for this shit) b/c alot of WWer's in blog land have been moving from points to calories.

Marie has never been one to mince words and is never afraid to tell us when we are taking advantage of the system or using silly excuses for gains and staying the same (like the time of month one - oooh now that had some good flaming comments - ah the good ole days!).

My biggest problem with any diet that counts be it calories or points is that no calorie/point is created equal. Like the choice b/w a banana or a cadbury thin - what really is the best choice for you. But b/c they are the "same" number wise it is okay. But it isn't really, it's called cheating the system. And actually the best thing about points is that it at least does try to take that into consideration with the whole fibre and fat thing.

But really WW is just a tool to learn a healthy lifestyle. Just like counting calories or carbs or whatever. If you cheat the system you will never have that healthy lifestyle and then what is the point?

Okay enough rambling now.

meredi said...

Sara, you bring up a point that I wanted to make but didn't because I was already writing a novel :P

Another weakness of WW that I perceive is exactly that, making no distinction between types of calories. I know this is precisely the point -- WW is *simple* and isn't overwhelming to people who are just starting and don't know about this whole nutrition thing. But I'm convinced that I was hungry at times on WW because it gave me no useful way to track my carb / fat / protein intake. (My leader gave me a tip sheet of high-protein foods once when I complained about being hungry, but I think it was from a previous incarnation of WW -- I have never seen another copy of it, ever, and it's far from a focus of the program.)

I don't think WW *should* focus on these things (again, the joy of WW is that it's simple), but the point is, if you aren't getting a good balance of these things, you're not going to have optimal nutrition. For those of us that have mastered the basics of nutrition, I think it's only natural to want to progress. Now that I've decided this balance is important to me, I find the calorie counting tools out there (I use SparkPeople) to be much more useful than WW Online was in this department. It's one of the main reasons I probably won't go back.

marie said...

I have information available to me in the 8GHG that states I need to have a certain amount of protein a day, where I get the protein from and how much a serving of protein is.

I also know well enough that I NEED to follow Canada's Food Guide.

I've read enough meal plans that make me wonder what healthy guidelines they're following exactly.

Odd - I'm following a 1500 calorie plan set out by a dietitian who doesn't give a lick about weight watchers. Who do I blame then for my cravings to eat a large pizza and an entire bag of chips last night?

Because really points were the last thing on my mind.

Jen said...

I actually am going to jump in a little bit here again(dip a toe in??)...

While WW is a corporation (and therefore evil, because all major companies are right?) and they may advertise snack cakes and cookies where an apple might be in order...
I USED sparkpeople as well, and there's nothing stopping me from typing in 100 cals of chocolate vs. the banana or 350 cals of potato chips with loads of fat vs. the peanuts or cheese that are better for me health wise...one MAJOR advantage that WW does is their "core checks" on the tracker...

Perhaps I am still a kid at heart but I always aim to have as many little checks in my tracker as I possibly can which is, personally, helping (and HAS helped) me eat better (more whole foods, fruits veggies, etc)...plus they give me nifty little stars when I reach a goal!!!

I THINK my point is that regardless of what system you use, you HAVE to use common sense (and the Canada Food Guide - as a wise critter once suggested) and what works for one might not work for the other....but I definitely think that Mouse was meaning the people who are blaming WW for their problems...at least that's why I get out of it...and then when something else works for another person everybody gravitates towards it like it's the next best thing (I did it, I admit it, but I also realized that it was MY fault and I needed to change not my program, so I went back***results not typical)

Amuldoon said...

A'fuckin'men Marie.

I've been having that exact same thought for a long time....

Its totally like the tomato/tomata, potato/potata anology. Flex points are the same as the old Winning Points system in my mind... and points are also the same as calories. 1 pt is pretty much 50 calories. Enough said. Same shit different day.

Eat well, and exercise: Chances are the scale will go down. The scale may not go down 3 lbs a week, but it will go down. Calories in/calories out.

Randi said...

I wanna argue - I mean discuss too! I have criticized WW before for the ability to be "on-plan" yet eat nothing but donuts and carrot cake. I have since realized there are the 8 GH "guidelines" (perhaps simple wording is a problem? You're definately off plan if you're over points, but if you don't eat enough veggies well it was really just a "guideline" anyway?).

I'll tell you from the perspective of, well me. I didn't count sh*t and lost 20 lbs. you don't NEED any plan, calories or points, to know when you're eating poorly and gonna gain weight. I think anybody who's HONESTLY suprised by a gain or loss is lying to themselves.(a real gain or loss, salt and TOM might mess you up, but again you should be able to recognize this)

Randi said...

I may have just lied myself. I have started watching calories just a little bit to help explain my current plateau. Though I guess you could also say, since I started counting calories I haven't lost anything so maybe I should go back to doing nothing since it worked before. ;)

marie said...

bahahha - i still like you, Randi, even if you lie :P

katieo said...

interesting post,
interesting comments!

marie said...

KATIEO!!!!

I miss you! ♥

katieo said...

Aww, thanks!!


...I miss me too :(

Heather said...

I really respect you Marie and love your posts and rants ;)

Personally I'm not jumping from one bandwagon to another just switching things up in order to get my head back on straight. I love ww'ers but can't afford it on a studens budget. Sparkpeople is free, but I still have all my ww'ers materials and mentally count points in my head.

I like doing ww'ers core the best but again, I couldn't afford the fruits and veggies during the winter. I'm thinking this workterm may get me back on track though as I wiggle about until I find a good fit again :)

Brodiegirl said...

I think this blog post was freaking awesome. Well said. Good points. Damn rights.

Brodiegirl

Mandy said...

My only poo-poo (as you called it) with WW is that I reached a plateau a year ago, while working the plan to death, eating properly as I had been all along and WW didn't have a solution for me to get out of my plateau. THAT is my only problem with WW. I do get what you're saying about the 'what really is the difference between points versus calories???'. Yah, same thing - just different numbers. I just hope that you're not saying that anyone who reaches a plateau is not working the plan. When I hit my plateau, I was working it as hard as ever... I'm coming up on 3 years of WW and I know what I'm saying. My sister too had the same thing - she hit a plateau in spite of doing WW exactly the way it is supposed to be done.

Now if you weren't implying that, no worries. I just had to say what I was feeling.

marie said...

Mandy - you're a role model for all that's right with the program.

I take issue with people who take liberties with the program, turn around and blame it in the next breath as inadequate and unsubstantial in the next yet they're the ones who talk about eating pizza to excess, snack bars as meal replacements or binging goodies all of the damn time.

I don't see how they're following the 8GHG or even meeting CFG's requirements.

eurydice said...

very interesting post and comments. personally i can't see how counting calories is easier than counting points... calories are way too specific and it's so easy to calculate points - even in your head.

i think people who reach a plateau on ww need to re-evaluate their food choices. like sara said, a banana and a 100-cal chocolate bar are the same amount of points, but your body reacts to them in different ways.

when i follow the ww plan it never fails me. never. when i count calories, i want to hide under the sheets.... so boring!!!

marie said...

again, if people are stuffing with chocolate and not getting in things like F&V servings, they're NOT following the 8GHGs OR CFG. They're not ON plan then. They're simply just counting points and not REALLY following weight watchers.

But what the fuck do I know. I ate chocolate chip waffles with cool whip for months before I realized what I SHOULD be eating.

whats the skinny said...

wow, mouse! thanks for the kick in my ass today!! i really needed it. once again, my make me want to be better.

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