Sunday, January 21, 2007


Did I Mention I Joined A Cult?

Well, maybe not exactly a cult, but this funky group with the initials WW. What we learn in Weight Watchers is that we aren't on a diet, we're experiencing a lifestyle. It's a way of living, you see.

I know, I know, I would have crapped all over this thing, said it sounded stupid and all that. I would have said that there's no way I could stick to this diet, errr, lifestyle. I would not be satisfied with the food choices I would have to make. I would be hungry all the time.

Actually, that last point I couldn't really quibble with. When I lost 40 pounds a couple of years ago, and someone asked how I did it, my wise guy reply was that I made sure I went to bed hungry every night. It was an interesting plan, I must admit. I'd feel hungry around 10PM, but I'd ignore it and go to bed. I liked sleep too much, so I never got up early enough before work to eat anything. I was too lazy to make lunch the night before, and it just wasn't convenient to get lunch during the lunch break at work. And on the way home, I'd zip through the McDonald's drive thru and get four of those value menu double cheeseburgers. I'd eat those when I got home. Five or six hours later, around 10PM, I'd be feeling hungry again, but rather than eat anything, I'd just go to bed feeling slightly hungry. Repeat for 364 more days and I had lost 40 pounds. And I mean 364 days almost literally. Sure, there were Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter meals with the family. Maybe you could toss in another dozen or so non-holiday dinners with the folks. Add the occasional Weinerschnitzel coupon in the mailbox, and maybe I had 25 days when I didn't eat at McDonalds. It was a very weird time.

Back to Weight Watchers. It's ended up not being half as lame or retarded as I thought it might be. I'm at least off to a good start. Miss Tori says I am starting to look thinner, but no one else has said anything. Of course, Miss Tori has the advantage of seeing me naked (if you can call that an advantage!), so it may be easier for her to tell the difference. I'll have to let you know when I hear a comment from someone else.

The plan I decided to follow was the Flex Points plan. Every food is worth a certain amount of points for a certain quantity. You get a certain amount of points per day, and you eat whatever you want, as long as you match your allowed points. You aren't supposed to eat any less than you assigned points.

Why not? Well, according to the lifestyle, if you lose too much too fast, some of that lost weight is muscle, and your body reacts by taking every spare calorie it can get it's hands on and storing it in fat cells. You could end up losing muscle and gaining fat, even if you do lose a little bit of weight. I'm no doctor, and this is not medical advice, I'm just giving you a layman's translation.

So I've got these points, and now I have to figure out what to eat to add up to those points each day. Sounds like work, doesn't it?

It does take work, and without Miss Tori, this lifestyle would be a disaster for me, I promise you. Miss Tori helped me out with planning days and menus and all that. It may be possible to just go to your pantry and pull stuff out and be within your limits, but that's probably more work than planning your menus ahead of time. How do you plan a menu?

I started by thinking of things I like to eat (luckily, I don't have a wide ranging palate) and adding up the points. You'd be surprised by how quickly you get a feel for points, or at least, a feel for which foods are going to be beyond the limits. Yes, I could still have lasagna, but if I could only eat a 1"x2" square out of a whole pan, is it really worth the effort? Pasta and rice? High points. I figured out a few sandwiches, PB&J, tuna, turkey, all sandwiches I would usually eat, and figured how to work them in. Breakfast bar type things, cereal, all the regular stuff, just worked on in. But . . .

You do have to make some changes and substitutions. For example, I could get some sweet, chewy chocolate chip and peanut butter type breakfast bar and have high points. Instead, I searched for the bars that would have the least points. I tried them, and they were all right. I'm still eating them. I could get eggs. Instead, I got some "real egg product" which seems to be mainly egg whites and a little food coloring. You can't get sunny side up eggs out if it, but for scrambled eggs or omelets, I couldn't tell you the difference. For cereal, I had to cut the sugary stuff, but Special K is all right in one of the more health conscious varieties. I found some whole wheat bread that tastes good. Lean turkey bacon. This is all right, but you can definitely tell it's not real bacon. I honestly had hoped for more from that.

You get the idea. With the substitutions, most foods come within range and are acceptable. I think most things will not taste better than in the original version, but at the same time, most things will taste the same, or a little different but still good.

I have definitely been surprised at how much I am allowed to eat, and over the last few weeks, there have been a few times when I didn't feel hungry, but still had two or three or four points to go to make my daily total. Also, a few weeks into it, I almost don't even need to make a list for the store. I know what I need. I have a pretty good idea of how quickly I go through food. I've got a generally positive feeling about it all. We'll see if it holds up.

Oh yeah. I guess this wouldn't be complete without this: lost 8.7 after three weeks.
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