When I have some downtime at work (usually late afternoon when all burn care has been done), I peruse websites like the New York Times in order to attempt to keep myself knowledgeable about what is going on with the world since it’s so easy to live in a bubble. One of my favorite sections of the NYT website is the Health, Fitness, and Nutrition section. Articles related to health? Why not. Over the weekend, I came across an article about the Weight Watchers program, as they completed changed their point system and many people are up in arms about it.
Check out the article, Weight Watchers Upends Its Points System, if you’re interested in reading. For those of you who are not looking to click over, the main idea is that fruits and vegetables, which used to have point values assigned to them, now have no points, and many processed foods are given a higher point value. I don’t know too much about the point system, but the article says that overall, people are given more points to eat during the week as well, and that in trials of this new system, people lost the same, if not more weight than the old program.
From what I understand, the Weight Watchers system states that as long as you stay within your point range, you’ll lose weight no matter what you eat. “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie” was the idea, and although most people in the healthy living blog world know this is not true, it is a system that worked for many. Here are some quotes from the article, as well as my thoughts on them.
A 31-year-old teacher from Midtown Manhattan who had barely touched a banana in six years wanted to know if she could really consume them with impunity. A small-business owner from TriBeCa wondered whether she was being nudged to part with that second (or third) glass of wine.
When I used to work at a breakfast/lunch place as a waitress, and I always thought it was ridiculous when women would come in and pick the banana out of a fruit cup because it had too many calories. Now, I would like to state that I’ve never had any problems with my weight, to which I consider myself lucky, but I also have been running since I was 12, and although people may not think I pay attention to what I eat…I do. (Hard to tell when I buy bags of candy…oops.) However, I eat a banana with breakfast every morning. If a day goes by without a banana, I feel weird! And about the wine…I don’t know how often this person is consuming two or three glasses of wine…but moderation, people! Alcohol is what gets a lot of people in trouble, as many girls in college would comment that they wanted to lose weight, but they didn’t want to give up going out two (or three….or six) days per week. Calories add up!
The biggest change: All fruits and most vegetables are point-free (or free of PointsPlus, as the new program is called). Processed foods, meanwhile, generally have higher point values, which roughly translates to: should be eaten less. In the new system, oranges are free, but eight ounces of orange juice cost three points.
Some describe the new program as “Michael Pollan meets Weight Watchers,” which, as far as I’m concerned, sounds like a great idea. When people ask me about juice, I respond by saying, “juice = soda.” You’re much better off eating an orange and getting the fiber than drinking orange juice. I grew up drinking milk, and I rarely remember drinking juice. (Don’t get me started on children’s nutrition…) That being said, my dad drinks a small glass of orange juice each and every day. Key word: SMALL. None of these 16 oz. glasses that some people pour for themselves.
“I don’t want to be forced to choose veggies. I do NOT like veggies or fruit,” one member wrote in an online discussion on the Weight Watchers Web site. “I feel like I am being forced to ‘diet,’ and that is what I DO NOT WANT.”
This comment is what first sparked me to write about this article. Since when is eating healthy considered to be dieting? If that’s the case, then I’ve been on a diet my entire life. I would never consider myself to be on a diet…if I ever thought I should diet, it lasted for about six hours. If this person isn’t eating fruits or vegetables, what are they eating? And why don’t they like them? There are ways to make produce delicious so people who previously thought they didn’t like them…will like them! (That being said, I hate peas and cauliflower…but I do good otherwise!) I believe that most people in America don’t know how to cook, especially healthy food, so they don’t eat it. Also, isn’t WW a diet? Sure, you can eat what you want, but you’re limiting your intake based on certain numbers. Also, as I said above, a calorie is not just a calorie.
…points or no points, even fruits and vegetables had their limits. One Weight Watchers credo, she said — to eat until satisfied, not stuffed — remained firmly in place.
I suppose people are envisioning people eating wheelbarrows of fruit…because they now can! Well, that’s silly. The idea behind life in general is to eat until you’re satisfied…not stuffed, which is clearly what America struggles with. That, and eating foods that are highly caloric and therefore don’t fill them without eating a lot of it. While I have no scientific evidence to back this up…I’m pretty sure no one is overweight from eating too many fruits and vegetables. Just saying.
my overall thoughts
I applaud Weight Watchers for attempting to get people to focus more on eating fruits and vegetables (less processed foods in general) rather than packaged foods. I’ve never eaten a frozen dinner in my life (outside of a couple frozen pizzas which left much to be desired), and I think it’s important for people to learn to eat healthy rather than simply looking at points. It’s about a bigger picture, although I applaud anyone who tries to reach a healthy weight. Like I said before, I’ve never been in a position where I had to diet to maintain a healthy weight, and I can only imagine how difficult it could be. However, I also watch what I eat, eat healthy, and keep my treats in moderation. (Except around the holidays…CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!) I’ll be interested to see how people react to this overall and what results the over one million people who use Weight Watchers will see. Hopefully a turn for the better.
What’s your opinion on the change in the point system? Do you think it will lead to a healthier America? I know I’m preaching to the choir in a sense, but I’m interested to hear what you think!
We all know that being active is part of a healthy lifestyle, and I’ve been doing my part to get in some chilly runs! Monday after work, it was snowing, so I got to do a snow run in Central Park! It was fabulous and I could count the number of other runners on one hand. :) So peaceful, I love it! No matter how tired my legs are after work, I love getting out there, especially when the snow is falling in the park…just like a movie! Short and sweet:
Monday, December 13
3.73 miles in 30:22, avg pace of 8:08
Last night was a run with the Sasquatch crew…I missed them at the start due to some timing issues, but I ran into the along the east side and got to finish up a cold run with them. Fabulous. The temperature read 21 degrees…that’s kinda chilly! The key to staying warm is to keep moving…the second you stop, you’ll be cold!
Tuesday, December 14
7.17 miles in 57:04, avg pace of 7:58
Sounds good to me. Off to do some Christmas shopping…Thanks for reading!