Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Will work for points

Well, I finally did it. I forked over my $85 bucks and bought myself a 3 month membership to weight watchers online yesterday. I figure three months will get me near enough to the fall sweater season that I can say I gave it my best effort and bury my bathing suit in a pile of junk food wrappers until next year.

As I mentioned in my other post, I've never dieted before. I don't think my eating habits are horrendous, but I do like a little snack here and there. The appeal of WW was to learn how to make better food choices, especially since I'm the chief cook and grocery buyer.

The plan I chose is called the Flex plan: "Enjoy the full range of food options, while making better choices with the POINTS system. " All foods have a point value, and you just have to stay within your daily alottment of points to become a size 6 overnight. Okay, I may be extrapolating more than they are promising, but how hard can it be?

Two things appealed to me about this whole point system. The first was that they have a full catalogue of the point value of all my favourite fast foods. Subway, Tim Hortons, Wendy's, McDonalds, it's all there. How bad can any diet be that includes Dairy Queen? The biggest appeal, though, was the daily counting and control of the points themselves.

I must confess, I am a bean counter at heart. Points to tally, online charts to monitor your progress, little boxes to check off several times a day - it's an obsessive-compulsive dream come true. With all these points to micromanage, I'll have no time to eat junk food.

So I sign up late yesterday afternoon, and spend a while playing around on the site and looking at the point values for various foods. "Hey," I think, "This is going to be a breeze. Looks like I'll have to replace the odd bag of chips with an apple, maybe choose the veggie sub over the philly steak and cheese, but this is going to work out great!"

I enter my height and weight, and it gives me my daily point value. And I hit the back button to make sure I didn't miss a digit or something, because that point value seems suspiciously low. So I rekey it, and it is still the same. Hmmm. Okay, we can work with this.

Despite the fact that I'm feeling a little shortchanged in the points exchange, I'm still feeling keen and eager to play with their various points calculators, so I begin entering all the food I've eaten so far in the day. I'm amazed how simple it is - just a few clicks and I'm into the "dining out" section, finding Tim Hortons, scrolling down to find the choco-chip muffin that is my daily breakfast bread and - GASP! Holy point explosion Batman, that damn muffin is almost HALF of my daily alottment of points.

It is with considerably more trepidation that I search out the salami and havarti sandwich from my favourite deli that was lunch and add it to the total. Eek. Not even noon and my points are busted for the day. Too late to change dinner plans so late in the day, so I go ahead and add the barbequed sausage, saurkraut and cole slaw that I have on the menu for dinner. I am only somewhat mollified by the fact that the greek salad will cost me nothing if I pick out the feta. I know I probably won't pick out the feta, but I just don't have the heart to burden myself with the additional points.

Okay, so this is not an example of my best eating habits, but neither is it as bad as it gets. On day one, I've eaten 150% of my daily points alottment. Yikes. No wonder left to my own devices I'm not losing any weight.

Already discouraged and wondering if I've just wasted $85 that I could have just spent on bigger pants, I found my saving grace. You can bargain for extra points! For 20 minutes of moderate exercise, you can buy a point. For 30 minutes of vigourous exercise, you can buy two points. So my new daily obsession is not so much tallying up the food points as keeping track of how many seconds it takes to walk to the photocopier or the printer and back to my cube, so I can string them all together to buy myself enough points to earn my muffin back.

I was going to create a new blog for my WW adventures, but with barely enough time in the day to maintain one blog now that I'm spending all my time bartering points I'm not sure I have it in me to maintain two. What do you think? Are you interested enough in my WW adventures to keep reading them here, or should I move it elsewhere? Or, god forbid, shall I just keep it to myself for once?

Just a little post-script: sometime around 6 pm last night, I had my 5000th hit. Yay for us! Thank you for making blog such a success. I know there are lots of bloggers who get 5000 hits in a day, but in considering it hasn't even been four months since blog was born, I think we're doing pretty good!