How I Decide What to Eat - My Wonky Version of Weight Watchers

I have done Weight Watchers in the past and lost 19 pounds. I looked damn good.  I'm leaning over in that picture and I still look good!  (Note that I am eating fresh strawberries and pineapple.)  And this was a half way picture.  I finished losing weight in September and this was taken on the 4th of July.  For some reason I don't have many pictures of me looking my most awesome.  That's the way it goes isn't it?

I found Weight Watchers a useful way to simplify calorie counting and it made me evaluate how I eat and what I cook. When I find myself slipping into eating too much and too unhealthy I start counting Weight Watcher Points again.

I did Weight Watchers years ago and I'm sure the system has changed but this is what I go by.  Based on my current weight I get a number of points I'm allowed per day.  This number of points should allow one to lose weight at the rate of 0.5 to 2.0 lbs a week.  If you are wondering how many points you would be allowed check this table below.  These numbers are for non-nursing women (nursing women get ten extra points per day - nursing is hard work, baby!):
Less than 150 pounds = 18-25 Points
150 to 174 pounds = 20-27 Points
175 to 199 pounds = 22-29 Points
200 to 224 pounds = 24-31 Points
225 to 250 pounds = 26-33 Points
Over 250 pounds = 28-35 Points 
Each day you're supposed to eat within your given range.  My range is 18-25 points.  So I never eat less than 18 points.  If I eat less than 25 points I get to bank the points.  Banked points can be used for up to a week.  So if I eat 23 points today I bank 2 points which I can then be added to a future day this week.  My banked points generally get used when we go out to dinner.  If I saved 2 points for six days in a row on the seventh day I get to have twelve extra points for fries or dessert or a really rich creamy sauce! It's a nice way to earn a splurge.   

Are you still with me?  It a little complicated to explain the Weight Watchers system.  How do you know how many points what you are eating is worth?  Well that is a formula that uses the calories, fiber and fat in the food. 
P = (C/50) + (F/12) - (min{R,4}/5)
P is points
C is calories
F is fat
R is dietary fiber
This is complicated so instead just use any of the numerous free online calculators
What you need to understand about this formula is that the more fiber a food has the lower in points it is. You're allowed to calculate up to 4 grams of fiber into the equation, any more than four and it's still just four.  This prevents the dumping Fiber Plus cereal on everything to get a lower point value.    Also understand that the more fat a food has the higher the points value.  A 150 calorie bowl of icecream could be worth between 3 and 5 points depending on how many grams of fat it has.  In review, to maximize points you want high fiber, low fat foods. 
When I first started Weight Watchers I went through the whole kitchen with a Sharpie and wrote the number of points for each food on its box. It's a good way to level the playing field and compare apples to oranges. It also forced me to learn exactly what a serving looks like. Turns out my regular bowl of cereal was two and half servings.  Now I just know that whole wheat bread is 2-3 points a slice and that fresh fruit and veggies about 1-2 points a cup and that cereal is 2-4 points a cup. I also know a small fast food burger is 6 points and that a small Dairy Queen Blizzard is 15 points. 

I still run the numbers on new foods and when I try new recipes I use a Recipe Calculator to find its nutritional information then run that through a points calculator.  On the bottom of most of my recipes I have their nutritional information and their points value per serving.  Okay, so this is quite a bit of work, but really how many different foods do you eat?  Once you get past the first week you'll have looked up 95% of what you'll eat next week. 

Now all you have to do is record your points every day and you are set.  I use an app on my igoogle homepage called WW Points Tracker to record what I eat daily.  You can also just record this information in a notebook or on a spread sheet. 

Simple! All I have to do is use Weight Watchers to moniter my portions by keeping my points intake between 18-25 daily and I should lose weight.  Combine this with my other healthy living statutes which are eat unprocessed, fresh and homemade food and I feel really good about what I am eating.


  1. interesting.
    i kind of want to do this.

  2. Well Miranda, you did try the mayo clinic diet which seemed pretty extreme. This one at least has a lot of flexibility in it. The WW diet is more of a way to monitor what I eat so I know how to integrate good food choices into my life.

  3. I've had really good results with counting points--slow & steady. And you look great in your pictures!

  4. I did Weight Watchers back in 2001 and lost 16 pounds. I found it to be very sensible and healthy. I found the non-diet parts of their program helpful as well, e.g. envisioning how to respond when temptations arise at holiday gatherings, parties, etc. Need to do it again!