Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weight Watchers Q&A

I'm not a registered dietician, nutritionist, weight loss expert, fitness guru, or Weight Watchers employee. But after 14+ months on the program, I have gotten a lot of questions about Weight Watchers (and it appears a lot of my blog traffic is driven by WW questions). So, I thought I'd answer some of the biggies. If you have any questions I haven't answered here, leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll try to help as best I can!

Q: Is it bad if I eat all of my points?

A: Heck no-- I use all of mine every day! The WW formula is calculated so that even if you eat all of your points each day, you can still lose weight. Essentially, the farther you are from your goal weight, the more points you are allowed each day. The system is designed to slowly lower your daily intake as you get closer to your goal, without making you drastically reduce your intake from the start. For example, I was allotted 33PP (Points Plus) per day when I first started at 228lbs, and now, ~20lbs from my goal, my daily allowance is 28PP.

Q: Should I eat my weekly points?

This meal sponsored by the letter WEEKLIES
A: Yes! That's what they're there for. The weekly points are perfect for a splurge meal at a restaurant or drinks. You can either divide them up equally throughout the week (7 extra PP each day), or use them when you need them (say, when your office orders pizza for lunch). I basically reserve mine for the weekend for drinks and brunch. 

Q: How do you calculate restaurant foods?

LOL remember when this happened?
A: There are a few ways to calculate restaurant food point values. WW does have a lot of restaurant foods already in the system. If not, you can try to look up the nutritional info for your particular restaurant's dish online. My Fitness Pal and Fat Secret are pretty decent resources, though they might not always be completely accurate. If there are multiple entries for the same food, I'll usually try to take the average of the nutritional data. A last resort is to choose a similar item at a comparable restaurant. For example, a Red Robin burger is probably much closer to a TGI Friday's burger than it is to, say, a Wendy's burger.   

Q: How many points should I eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner?

A: It really depends on your preference. Generally, WW doesn't recommend "point hoarding" for a large dinner, so I try to eat the bulk of my points between 10:30am-3:30pm. This time frame includes my morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack. 

My best suggestion is to try spreading out your points in different ways, and figure out what works best. If you don't mind a light dinner, than front-load your points with a bigger breakfast. If you prefer heartier snacks, than eat lower PP meals. If you are really hungry after work, try an afternoon snack or reserve more PP for dinner. At 28PP, my day usually looks like this:

Breakfast: 3-5PP
Morning Snack: 0-3PP
Lunch: 7-10PP
Afternoon Snack: 2-4PP
Dinner: 8-12PP
Dessert: 0-2PP

Q: What are some good low points snacks?

A: A few of my personal favorites: 

- apple slices with 2TBS of Better 'n Peanut Butter (2PP)
- banana (0PP)
- green pepper with tzatziki sauce (2PP)
- baby carrots and hummus (3PP, depending on the type of hummus)
- veggie straws (3PP)
- graze box snacks (2-4PP)
- yogurt (2-4PP, depending on the type)
- cheese sticks (1-2PP)

Q: I'm hungry and already ate all my points!

A: GIRL ME TOO. At least for the first few weeks on WW. When in doubt, "bulk" up your meals with 0PP fruits and veggies. For example, you can add some green beans to a Smart Ones to make it more satisfying, or have a apple for a snack between meals. Learning to spread your points throughout the day (in a way that is satisfying to you!) is definitely something that takes time.

What Weight Watchers tips and tricks have you discovered along the way?

1 comment:

  1. This is valuable info! My meeting leader suggested recently that if I can't figure out the points for a meal out (in a restaurant or at someone's house), count the meal as 14PP and move on. The important thing is to count it, even if it's not exact, and just keep going. I used to get really hung up on being exact. That one piece of advice has REALLY helped me in the last few months, particularly over the holidays!