A couple of weeks ago my doctor dropped the bombshell on me that I was on the verge of getting diabetes. On his advice, I’ve slowly been trying to modify my diet to reduce my sugar and starch intake and increase my vegetable intake.
My sister works at Weight Watchers, so she recommended I try their online "flex plan" which basically helps you track your daily intake of calories using their points system. You can eat whatever you want, but once you’ve spent all your points, your done for the day. So chocolate cake for breakfast probably isn’t advised.
The Plan Manager interface is pretty well-done, actually. You enter in any food item and it tells you what the point value is, based on the portion size. The database is pretty large. I tried some exotic food items to see what was in the tracker or not. Filipino chicken adobo was in there, as was Vietnamese pho, but no West African gado-gado or Korean bibimbap. There is a running meter telling you how many points you have left in the day, and "extra points" for drinking lots of water, eating fresh fruit, and taking your vitamins.
I managed to get through my first day with points to spare, surprisingly. I had some yogurt for breakfast, a handful of nuts before lunch when I got the munchies, Indian dal and steamed veggies for lunch, an English muffin for a snack before going to the gym, and stir-fried veggies with ground turkey with brown rice for dinner. I felt satiated and energetic all day. So good start.
One annoying aspect of the Weight Watcher’s diet is that it emphasizes purchasing lots of fat-free and low-fat foods. I refuse to give up on butter, drink my coffee with skim milk, or eat low-fat cereal. Most of those low-fat products are much higher in sugar content, which is exactly what I need to avoid, and full of other crazy chemicals that aren’t food. So I might start violating the points system pretty soon just based on that.
It would be more helpful if it gave me a count of my sugar and starch intake at the end of each day, so I can see if I’m making progress. But the important thing is that it’s creating a record of what I’m eating so I can make smarter choices.
I’ll try it for a month and see if it helps. There are lots of other online diet guides out there. But Weight Watchers is really the Microsoft in this industry. So it’s at least a good place to start.
2 thoughts on “Oh it’s come to this: I’m counting food points”
I used to use Weight Watchers and found it to be a valuable tool for learning portion control. However, when I wanted to see a more detailed breakdown of the nutritional value of what I was eating (because POINTS really aren’t that accurate– you could eat only chocolate and stay within your POINTS range), I switched to SparkPeople.com, which is free and does full nutritional tracking.
These days I’m mostly just trying to figure out how the hell to eat well when I’m working 60-80 hours a week. No solution yet. :/
Thanks, Adri, I’ll check that link!