Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Rules

I agree with Anne that the seeming lack of structure of Weight Watchers encourages some people to do dumb things with their points, like live on 100-calorie packs and fat-free Cool Whip. But there really is a roadmap there for people who want more structure, called the Good Health Guidelines:

1. Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
2. Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and oats, whenever possible.
3. Include two servings of milk products – low fat (1%) or fat-free – each day.
4. Have some healthy oil (olive oil, canola, sunflower, safflower or flaxseed) each day.
5. Ensure that you are getting enough protein by choosing at least a serving or two of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or dried beans each day. Many dairy products are also good sources of protein.
6. Limit added sugar and alcohol.
7. Drink at least 6 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
8. Take a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement each day.

If you actually follow these, you have to spend a serious chunk of your points allowance on them. For example:
  • 2-3 servings of fat-free or lowfat dairy, 2+ points
  • 2 servings of oils, 2 points
  • lean protein, 3-6 points
  • 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables, 2 points
If I just did the minimum of those, I would be using 9 of my 22 points just to follow the guidelines. That leaves less room for junk. The new plan also puts more emphasis on choosing filling foods and tracking your hunger before and after meals to see if your choices are satisfying you.

I find it hard to do all of these every day, though. The one I consistently fail on is the dairy servings. I get maybe one serving a day.

Personally, I don't want more structure. I think that tracking points and trying to stay within the allowances is difficult enough. I think that as you follow the plan, you learn that a Pop Tart for breakfast isn't going to satisfy you as much as an egg and some wholegrain toast. I try to focus on real food and avoid all the processed diet products. Even if they're low in points, they don't satisfy me or seem very healthy.

But if someone wants to spend all of their daily points on pumpkin fluff, that's their choice. I'm keeping my eyes on my own paper.


  1. I lost my weight on my own, but joined WW many, many times. It is one of the best programs around, and affordable, which is so important.

    I think you make a great point. You can eat your points (calories) in candy, or you can learn to eat a balanced diet!

  2. I eat healthy foods because I hate to get sick. I just started counting points, I didn't join anything just found the points online, and it's helping me with portion control. I didn't get fat eating junk food but eating too much of good things.

  3. I do my tracking online and do appreciate the reminders of the Healthy Guidelines on the side of my tracker. Doesn't mean I actively plot to work them all in, but it does remind me if I'm pondering a snack or what to eat for lunch that I should look for yogurt or an apple, both of which are satisfying.

    After a while, we just get used to eating better and are making wiser choices w/o checking off boxes on a list.

  4. Those rules seem very practical and healthy...but who has time to eat all those things? I tried to eat five fruits and five veggies in addition to 8 glasses of water and five small meals..I made myself sick! How do you keep up with it all? My hat's to you :)

  5. Five fruits and five veggies does sound like a lot! I usually am closer to two fruit servings and three veggie servings. I don't manage to do all of these every day, but trying to get in the good stuff leaves less room for junk.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07