My weight loss has stalled over the past few weeks. A major cause, I believe, was the 10-day detox (that I shortened, somewhat impulsively, to 8 days) that radically shifted the distribution of fat/protein/carbs in my diet. Another issue was my decreased exercise during that experience. And, part is just the way weight loss works.
I’ve been back on the plan that was working for me for the past couple of weeks, struggling to lose just one pound. I’m not terribly concerned at a macro level, because I know that weight loss doesn’t progress in a linear fashion. On a day-to-day basis, however, and when I hit low points, it bums me out, even if rationally, I know that I’m still on a downward trend.
This morning, then, I read with interest this story in the New York Times about the recent adjustments to the Weight Watchers Points Plus system. Since the new system was implemented, some participants have complained their weight loss has slowed. The system:
assigns specific values to different foods and permits each member a daily allotment … The latest iteration … was intended to steer people toward more healthy food choices, encouraging people to eat more fresh fruits by giving them zero points, as most vegetables already were.
The most radical change in my eating over the past month is the addition of a second serving of fruit on many days. It has coincided with that slow-down in weight loss.
Fruit has been a particular conundrum for dieters on the new plan. As fresh fruit “costs” zero points, dieters can have as much as they’d like, “within reason,” Ms. Miller-Kovach said. Many members dislike the vagueness of this recommendation, since they tend to overeat when left to their own devices. But people who are overweight did not become fat because they binged on fresh fruit, said Elizabeth Josefsberg, who leads meetings in New York City.
“You know how it is with a cookie — you want six cookies,” she said. “When you finish a banana, you don’t say, ‘Gosh, I want another banana.’ ”
Other experts are less sanguine. “No single dietitian I know would count fruit as a ‘free’ food if someone is on a diet and trying to lose weight. You have to account for it,” said Marjorie Nolan, a New York City dietitian who speaks on behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She expressed surprise that even bananas (which used to cost two points under the previous Weight Watchers plan) are zero points.
I know WW works for many people, so I don’t want to set myself up as a critic, especially as I’ve never actually done the program. But I’m with Marjorie Nolan on this. Fruits are not the same as vegetables. (Furthermore, some vegetables are more equal than others!)
I appreciate the fact that my nutritionist has taught me the nutritional information about specific foods. Translating nutritional information to points seems like the best way for WW to keep people dependent upon them for guidance. It seems like coming up with an increment of measure that equals 3 inches in order to tell someone who is five feet tall that they are 20 increments of that measure instead of just telling them they are 60 inches tall. Does that make sense? Points just seem like an extra layer of information to get through in order to understand what you are eating.
If you are carbohydrate-sensitive, as I believe I am, the difference between fruits and vegetables is rather stark. Assigning an equal point value to celery and a banana doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, because if I ate bananas like I eat celery, that would ultimately begin to weigh on my results.
I don’t want to become someone who is afraid of fruit, but I think I’m going to have to be careful to balance fruit intake with exercise so I maintain a balance that keeps me on track to get to my goal.