Missy joined Weight Watchers. Partly in solidarity, and partly because I would like to lose some weight*, I signed up for their on-line plan.
Disclaimer: I agree with the basic premise of the points plus program - that healthy, nutrient dense food is better for you than processed, fatty stuff, but their calculators are strictly in beta testing mode at the time. I should not get different data if I enter in the raw ingredients for a meal into the recipe program vs the point tracker vs entering the nutrient count.
My daily baseline is 29 points. I'll get to what a point is in a few minutes, as far as I could figure it out. I have 49 extra points per week to eat as I wish. If I work out, I can accumulate more points. However, being a purist I am trying to act under the assumption that 29 points is what I get per day, not the appx 40 that I would get if I added in my 7 extra points and 45 minutes of walking.
It's 6 PM. I am still at work. I have consumed all 29 of my daily allotted points and have not eaten dinner yet. I am probably fairly Zone compliant but had more protein and fewer carbs than normal at lunch. I am kind of hungry despite all that protein. An actual calorie count of my intake is approximately 1300, including all the zero point foods. I have not eaten anything processed or high fat. When I was losing weight on the Zone my food intake so far today would've been pretty average (typical daily intake was 1700-1800 calories, as measured by random phone calls where they asked me everything I ate the day before). How the fuck can this be?
A quick check of weight watchers points plus system reveals several things. Fruits and vegetables are zero points, which is a good way people to eat more produce. It may not be a good way to get people to lose weight however. My mom is a case in point. She consumes massive quantities of fruit and very modest quantities of other foods and she is still fat. She laughed when I told her the Weight Watchers system. Cherries and bananas do add up.
A further complication is that vegetables or fruit added to recipes contribute to points, but not if you just input them directly. WW, WTF? Did you not update your recipe builder program when you switched from 'points' to 'points plus'? My chicken sausage and bell peppers entree has either 6 points or 4, depending on how you count 'em. Given that it had 200 calories, I vote for 4. Same goes for my smoothie, which ranged from 6-10.
Plugging in strict grams of fat, carbs, and protein into the point tracker gave me a clue. A point is less than 50 calories, unless it is certain Weigh Watchers brand snack foods, which are still considered 1 point even if they're closer to 100 calories. If it's anything over 50, it's 2 points. They round up, but they don't round down unless it's their own product. For that matter, it does seem to be heavily oriented towards processed diet foods.
So, old biddy, what if you get around the rounding problem by adding up the total grams of carbs, protein, and fat? Excellent question? Entering in the nutrient information is another can of worms. Depending on what you eat, you may lose or gain points compared to entering the ingredients. Despite what they say about protein being important, if you enter it in as grams of protein you don't get cut a break in terms of points, but if you select it from a pull down menu you may get a break. For instance, if you eat 3 oz of turkey breast luncheon meat (or more) it's 0 points, but if you eat 3 oz of grilled skinless turkey breast it's 3 points. So depending on what I eat, rounding issues, and how I input the data, my 29 points could range from 800-1450+ calories, not including fruits and veggies. I guess they had to get their extra calories for the fruits and vegetables somewhere. For the record, I ate about 200 calories of fruit so far, so that puts me at 1100 calories for the points that got counted. These points were averaging 35 calories, not 50. Like a sleazy mortgage based securities trader, I am going to have to do some creative accounting here rather than be fully compliant. I reality, I am mostly following the Zone diet and use the points tracker mainly as a record keeping system.
*I'm not going to pretend I'm on a diet because I want to be healthier. I am already fairly healthy and eat pretty well and think the recent emphasis on BMI is a crock of bullshit. No, I'm on a diet because I want to weigh less and look better. To be honest, when I am at my 'local minimum' weight (at which point I am still BMI = 25) I get sick a lot more often than when I am heavier.