Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First WW Meeting...and Some Thoughts on the New Program

So I do have a few things that I'll be doing outfits for in the near future: Weight Watcher meetings! I had my very first one today as a leader, and this is what I wore: New top from Plum - it has tabbed sleeves, which really take me back. I remember having a shirt with tabbed sleeves back in high school (1984-5 for those of you keeping track). Things always come around, don't they? I liked this top due to the cut - it gathers at the waist, then has that nice finished bottom. I love details like that.

My meeting went fine - there were only about 6 people there, so it was quiet. I have another one that I'm filling in for (today's was also a fill-in) tomorrow morning, and it should be quite a bit busier.

Mr. Kitty was in the room but not in the picture today:
He kept an eye on the whole business, though.

The shoes are also new:
Look at that fabulous heel! Swoon! Because these have a very high vamp (the part that scoops on the top of your foot), I wanted to wear a darker tight with them so that they don't stumpify my legs.

A close-up of the stuff:
The shoes are suede, regular leather and the heel and platform are patent leather. My usual black accoutrements, otherwise. You can see the nice pink and red plaid of the top there, too - it has deeper red sort of splotches on it as well.

The shoes are Poetic Licence (I have three other pairs of Poetic Licence, seen here, here and here), and have the distinctive purple "ribbon" sole:

That $139.95 is the regular price. I paid $40.00. Score!

Top (Plum), cami (RW & Co.), skirt (Tobias), tights (Miss Sixty), shoes (Poetic Licence), belt (Plum), bracelet (Le Chateau), earrings (The Cobbler).

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A few people have asked me in the comments what I think of the new WW PointsPlus (PP) program. Now, I've been a WW member/lifetime member for over 4 years, and a leader for about a month, and I've gone through a couple of changes in their programs. This one is easily the biggest.

Disclosure: as mentioned, I am a leader and am employed by WW of Canada. I am not being paid to write about this or answer any questions about it. I did get free supplies of the new gadgets, gizmos and books as part of my training. All opinions of WW and the program are my own.

What I like:
0 PP Fruit: It has always bothered me that previously it was a better "bargain" to eat a 1-point processed bar than to have a 2-point banana. Obviously, the banana is better for you! Whole food is always better than processed foods. So having all fruit be 0 PP is awesome - I think that goes a long way towards weaning people off processed sweet snacks and steering them towards whole foods.

More science: I like that there are more factors involved in calculating the PP values in food. In the previous system, we only used fibre, fat and calories. But calories are different - they are not all the same, you can't just single out fat and fibre and leave carbs and protein out in the cold! It always felt like something was missing.

It also meant that some carb-y items were deceptively low in points (like my 1 point wraps that had huge amounts of fibre per serving)...which with my lawyerly/loophole-seeking bent, I would seek out and eat a lot of, even though I knew those couldn't be as good or as "cheap" as the numbers were telling me. And now...they're not. My 1 point wraps are now 3PPs, which, to be honest, seems about right.

A more balanced approach: We used to cover exercise 4 or 6 weeks in (I forget), and whole/less processed foods were mentioned with the "Simply Filling" technique for non-tracking types (like me). The emphasis was on points and tracking, and that's pretty much it. Now, they're pushing exercise right away, and "power foods" are the focus (just a new name for whole/low-processed foods). I also like that there is a "no food is forbidden" attitude - that hasn't changed. I'm not going to stick to any eating system that forces me to give up my chips, chocolate or booze.

What I don't like:
Having to learn a whole new set of points/PointsPlus: Yeah, yeah, I know, I did it once, I can learn a new set of numbers. But I'm lazy! I knew all the old points. I don't really want to have to learn all these again. I also don't like saying "PointsPlus".

But...I'm a leader, I have to "walk the walk" if I'm gonna "talk the talk". I went through my cupboards with my calculator and a permanent felt marker and labeled all my food with the new PPs. *sigh* I'm getting used to it. And I'm tracking for the first time in oh, three years!

Not getting a free calculator: I liked the little cardboard sleeve slide-rule thingy. It was great! It was free! Sure, you can get most PP values from the little book they give you when you join, but who wants to carry that around?

But...all the new stuff is heavily marked down (reiteration of disclosure: I got my stuff free as a leader), and it's not THAT expensive, considering I use it every day. You can also get an app for your phone to look up PPs if you have an online membership (I don't have a phone and I haven't looked at the online system - I spend enough time on the computer as it is!).

I'm resistant to change: I think I am not alone in this one. I know a lot of people don't like change, especially when they see WW as an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation.

This isn't really a criticism, though, is it? This is just me, bitching about change. Hee.

However, my criticisms against the new stuff really aren't that major. I still think WW is one of the most balanced programs out there. I like that they aren't settled into a rut and are updating to stay with recent technology and science. The best thing about the program, to me, has always been that they encourage you to examine why you overeat, to be mindful of what you eat, and to make positive changes towards a more healthy lifestyle. It's not about the quick fix, a diet or rigid food options - those never work in the long run. It's about keeping the weight off and keeping healthy.

I know that 5 years ago, I would have put on about 6-8 pounds over Christmas, easy. This year, I made it through travel, sickness, work stress and all the other holiday stuff with only a 1 lb gain. I'm proud of that, because it shows me that I can - and I did - change how I think about food. It's in the deep grey matter now.

Do you have any questions for me about WW, or about food or eating in general? What do you like or not like about the new program?

16 comments:

  1. First things first, those are great shoes! The heels are amazing.

    Next, I applaud the new WW changes. I read about them in The New York Times and like how healthy food (like fruit) is now fewer points than before, and how processed foods is considered as such. I'm not a nutritionist but I know real foods are better for us than processed ones.

    I'm sorry you have to learn new things Sheila, but I think the changes are improvements. I'm sure we'd all be interested in your perspective on this as time goes by and you get to see the changes in effect.

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  2. For me losing weight is hard, but not the really hard part for me. Finding a way to keep it off that works for me has been the most difficult. WW would probably help immensely, but not being in a place to afford it and have a place to go for meetings is my stumbling block. I am, however, working on being healthy and finally getting consistent exercise.

    I figure keep on working and trying and eventually I'll find what works for me. I'm so glad you are a WW Leader now. You weight-loss story and keeping it off as long as you have will be a great inspiration.

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  3. Fabulous shoes! Poetic License really makes some great designs. More importantly though - I freaking love those tights.

    I recently heard about the WW stuff too. I'm not apart of it (or any diet), but I've heard that they've changed a lot for the better. Hope it isn't too hard to relearn.

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  4. Lfetimer member (joined 2004) so I have seen a fee changes and I HATED the new program the first two weeks. I had to relearn from the word go. And I NEED the etools calculator until I can get a real one which bugs me because I was so used to being able to say fill a post it and track in head and fill it in at night. Can't do that now. Also it isn't intuitive I find. But 5 weeks on? I really like it because I seem to get a lot more food!!! Like a ton more. And I'm not fluctuating same 3 lbs now. I'm hovering at the lower. And I get way more bacon that I should. (shush) I don't like that a pepsi is 5 points that just isn't right. I like it but I really really want to save $13 a month and ditch etools but I don't see it happening anytime soon.

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  5. 1. I remember the little button tabs on shirt sleeves too.
    2. It was interesting to read that you are a "non'tracking" type! Me too.
    3. I also love a 0 PP banana!!!!
    4. I miss the paper slide rule thingy too. I can access ww on my blackberry (sometimes) but I also use e-tools online. It's kinda fun looking for recipes and tracking activity points!
    5. Happy New Year!

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  6. Looking great in the new shoes! I don't think it's possible to stumpify your legs.
    I've never been on WW, but my old roommate talk me the rudimentary elements of the points system as a way to guide healthy eating (high fiber, low sugar, etc.) I agree that fruit/veg as 0 points is a good thing. Bummer about not giving out free points calculators. I am interested to learn if folks see better results as well.

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  7. i've never done WW, but my Mom did/does. It never made sense to me that fruit had so many points. Juice, sure, but why fruit? I think you'll be a great WW leader, and I hope you enjoy it!

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  8. I love those shoes with the floral soles - and $40? What a score!

    I joined WW about 13 years ago and lost 70lbs - I loved the program but had the same beef as you - how could fruit be the same value as processed bars? The new system is more logical but a lot clunkier. I don't expect to be point perfect for quite some time. Most of what I read though is very positive - more food, better nutrition, same weight loss.

    And did I say I love those shoes?

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  9. Thanks, Shy, I like them too!

    Yes, you're right - and I'm so glad they are not going with gimmicks...it's a very healthy way to approach eating. And eh, I'm just bitching. :) I'm not really bothered by those things - and hey, I'll get over it.

    Alison, yes, keeping it off is the real challenge! Good for you for making the changes you have. :)Thanks so much for your kind words - I hope I can inspire others.

    Thanks, Megan, I know - I totally love their shoes. Nah, the WW stuff is not that bad.

    Hillary, awesome that you got past those hurdles (and I know a lot of people also had them) and are now enjoying the program. Hey, bacon is good! Yeah, "luxury" items like pop are a lot higher - all that sugar can't be good for you, though.

    Hi, Tessa, nice to see you. :)
    1. Yay! I'm glad I'm not the only one.
    2. Yeah, I'm super lazy about tracking - I like that they still have a non-tracking option.
    3. Bananas rule!
    4. There is an app now for WW that you should be able to get if you have e-tools.
    5. Happy New Year to you! :)

    Rad, thanks, you are too kind!

    I do think it's a really healthy approach. I believe the results when WW tested the program were very strong - I know they wouldn't spend all this money rolling out this system without knowing it would be a success.

    Kelly, that's exactly it. Thank you so much!

    Baxter - I know! The store is my favourite in town because of the great scores. Yeah, the clunkiness is tough to get past, although I've noticed that new members don't really have many issues with it.

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  10. Thanks for the WW review, Sheila. I think I am making the switch in January to WW from MF; I just love citrus-sy fruit and soups and roasted veggies and crunchy bread too much in the winter to stick with the stupid bars right now.
    I am going to have to learn to figure out points all over again, which is weird but fine. My main question is: I wonder if I will be better off at meetings or doing it online only? I haven't had a lot of success at my local meetings in years because I haven't connected to the leaders. Which makes me sad because I was a leader for a long time and I ran a store for many of them so I know firsthand how a good one can motivate and encourage you. But the WW site isn't well laid out and I am digging around trying to find the info I need. Thoughts?
    (Obviously I am opinionated and hard-headed and will figure out what is best for me LOL, but I was just wondering about your .02 in the different between the two.)

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  11. Happy New Year!

    I still have to go back to my meetings - what can I say, December... - but I'm confused about the 0PP Fruit. All the fruits are 0 points? Because some fruits have a lot of sugar...

    Cheers!

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  12. Love the shoes and it's great to hear your thoughts on the new WW plan.

    It seems that you and I share all the same opinions about the new plan. I personally am wondering how long they will force everyone to say "points plus" before they figure it is long enough that everyone knows they are talking about the new point system. Because I can't imagine having to listen to my meeting leader say "points plus" rather than "points" forever. It already annoys me.

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  13. Kristen, good luck with the switch - I hope it works for you. I just can't get a handle on a program that doesn't let you eat fruits and veggies over processed food. I think you would be okay doing it online - there are forums where you can ask questions and discuss things. I know how important a strong leader is, and if you're not feeling your local leader, then that's not going to work for you. I know that when I don't like my leader or she just isn't inspiring, it doesn't make me want to return.

    Thanks for posting, Raquel! Yes, all the fruits are 0 points! Indeed, they do have sugar, but it's not refined sugar, it's naturally occuring in the fruit. The benefit of eating a piece of fruit is always going to outweigh a few extra calories. And, let's face it, we didn't gain weight from eating too many bananas, mangoes or pineapple, right? ;)

    Tina, thanks! I am pretty much ready to stop saying "points plus" - what a pain!

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  14. Sheila,

    I have been lurking and reading your blog for almost a year! Can't believe it's been that long. Your beloved Othello passed away when our first furbaby got sick, and your posts helped me feel better when our Niobe left us. Also, you have a fabulous sense of style and color and humor, so thanks for sharing it with the world! And your beautiful photos of your gorgeous surroundings don't hurt - I'm in dry hot Arizona and sometimes I am parched for some water and some GREEN!

    The real reason I'm finally writing is because I am intellectually curious about your thoughts on why a points-based system would work better for so many people than counting calories. There are lots of free calorie-tracking websites now that tell a person of a particular height, weight, and activity level exactly how many calories s/he requires to lose 1 pound per week, etc. Do you think it's the personal attention, consistency, and accountability? Or do the points actually add something?

    Thanks for YOUR consistency and quirkiness.

    -Christie

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  15. Hi, Christie, thanks so much for de-lurking and commenting! I do really appreciate it.

    Aw, so sad to hear of your furbaby's passing. They are such wonderful companions.

    Thank you for your very kind words regarding my posts - I do appreciate it. :)

    Re: points vs. straight calorie-counting. This is of course, my own opinion, so feel free to disagree.

    Points (or as they call them now, "PointsPlus") are actually based on a calculation that takes into account what a food is made of. Food isn't just calories, although that IS the bottom line. I'm sure you can see that a 100 calorie piece of fruit and a 100 calorie "snack pack" of say, cookies, are NOT equivalent except in calories. In the translation to WW's points, that piece of fruit is now 0 points, whereas the snack pack is probably 2 points.

    Why is this? The points are set up based on how healthy a food is for you. WW emphasizes that the best items in food are those highest in protien and fibre, and those that have no fibre and are high in fat. In other words, the points are directing you to eat more whole food and less processed food - in the long run, that is always going to be better than simply counting calories, although that WILL work.

    WW is so much more than just points-counting, though. It works on behaviour modification (examining why we eat, when we eat, what we really feel about food, and how we can develop more healthy behaviours (including more exercise). The ultimate goal of WW, in my opinion, is to really become in touch with your body and naturally learn to gravitate towards the best food you can eat. It's about learning a lifestyle.

    I've been on the program for over 4 years now, and honestly, I do still struggle with food. BUT, I'm so much more mindful about my own behaviour, and I know that I can maintain my weight (not just lose it) over the long haul. That's a pretty big step for me!

    I hope that answers your questions! Please don't hesitate to drop me a comment any time. :)

    Cheers,
    Sheila

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  16. Arg, I meant to say:

    "WW emphasizes that the best items in food are those highest in protien and fibre, and those that have no fibre and are high in fat are at the bottom of the equation."

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Cheers,
Sheila