Saturday, June 4, 2016

My Love/Hate Relationship with Weight Watchers SmartPoints

As a Weight Watchers member (6+ years) I have been through a number of program changes. Points, Point Plus and now the newly (as of a few months ago) rolled out Smart Points. Initially with the undertaking of the program I was annoyed because of all the system and app glitches which left me guessing a lot of things. Once the bugs were ironed out, I decided to fully give the plan a go. Initially I liked it because I wanted to nip some sugar in the bud (even though prior to the programs roll out I was trying to get away from substitute sugars by replacing my artificial sweetener with 2 tsp of sugar in my extra large coffee in the morning).

For the first two weeks I was pretty good, avoiding sugar for the most part, weening things out of my day and eating what I wanted/enjoyed. I had snack size M&M's that I had given away because 1 little bag which used to be 2 points plus values, was now 6 points plus values (the equivalent of  a lunch).  Then at work one day, I had a tiny piece of (1/8th) of a donut and it was like the fire was lit within me. I craved, and I mean craved the sugar. That day I ate not one, but TWO whole donuts at work because I had been avoiding having sugary snack/desserts because the points for them was simply insane. I had cleared out my cabinet, giving away some of my snacks I kept on hand for when I needed a little something to be one in the crowd (fiber one bars, granola bars, individual packages of candy, cookies, etc.)

Now don't get me wrong - there are aspects of smart points that I genuinely like:
The fact protein is considered lower in points. It makes me more apt to have a few more ounces of chicken or deli meat allowing me to feel more satisfied.
2) I like the fact that weekly points were reestablished. I remember hearing so many people complain that if they ate their weekly points they'd gain weight. I never had such "luck" I would be able to lose eating my weeklies. But I did know that the older I got my body may not respond as it had in the past by eating this weekly points.
3) I like the general idea of smart points being the healthiest Weight Watchers program rolled out
But even with it being the healthiest program doesn't necessarily make it the best lifestyle.

My major downfall with the Smart Points program is the fact that sugar and saturated fat are taxed so heavily. I understand sugar isn't great for you, it shouldn't be consumed in large amounts .... but I think we forget that healthy fat isn't bad for you. Your body needs fats to a certain extent to function properly.

Now, don't get me wrong, with Points Plus, I would easily eliminate my olive oil because I didn't want to "waste" 1-2 sp for a tsp or 2 of EVOO. But on Smart Points even healthy oils are something you truly have to consider adding in or eliminating all together. For instance - 1 tsp of olive oil is 1 smart point, 2 tsp is 3 smart points, 1 tbsp is 4 smart points. If your someone who obsesses over points (as I've become) I think "I could have an 80 calorie Greek yogurt, a string cheese and 2 tbsp of hummus for that" - aka my snacks for the day. It's truly become something that can easily be obsessed over.

With that obsession, it doesn't allow so easily to live a lifestyle. I have to plan my day/week around an event. If I know Friday is going to be a day I need to eat out, then I need to make sure I've got the rest of my week planned to a T. Now, what happens if a monkey wrench is thrown in there and I don't really have points to play around with? This is the dilemma that I find makes smart points so much more difficult to label as a lifestyle verse calling it a diet.

A lifestyle is something that you can live with, you can go with the flow. A diet is something you obsess over. And I don't want to obsess. Since Smart Points rolled out I've been labeling things as "can't have that" which makes the stubbornness in me want to come out and say "well, screw you, I'll eat 10 of them to show you I can!" I mean I had a hissy fit because I made a quick little frozen Chinese food dinner for my fiance and myself. I didn't calculate the points at the store because I've had it before under smart points and it was doable. After putting it in the oven and heating up the rice I found 1 cup of orange chicken was 16 smart points -- yes, 16 smart points (380 calories)!! I was like are you kidding me?! I simply refused to eat dinner - refused. It singled me out and made me feel some type of way.

If I was eating alone and could completely keep all tempting foods out of my house/life, Smart Points wouldn't be all that bad. But when I'm eating with others, who aren't fans of trading out pasta for spaghetti squash, or who don't like adding vegetables into meat to bulk it up - it causes some challenges. I can make multiple side dishes, but at the end of the day it's time consuming. I do the best I can with what I can. But I find having convenience meals a few times a week, or even going out to eat (not so much with fast food places like Wendy's or pizza) I have a harder time.
I'm not a fan of the newly updated app. I find looking up restaurants to be incredibly difficult. It's certainly not as user friendly as it was with Points Plus. Basically, if an item is not on a restaurants website nutrition facts page - then it's a guessing game and the wagers vary from comparable to way off.

I enjoy the structure with Weight Watchers. I enjoy the accountability (stepping on the scale once a week). But I'm finding I'm struggling with the new plan when I have to venture away from the "safe" foods I prepare and eat normally. Sure, would I save myself a headache if I just ate anything I cooked? Yes. But it's not always an option. Life isn't something that can be planned out to the T all the time and the fact I'm obsessing over things is starting to drive me a little crazy.

I'll figure it out eventually, I have to.