Saturday, May 28, 2022

Weight Watchers, "Points," and a long uncalled-for lecture on healthy eating. You're welcome.


Know why American Tourists tend to overspend when visiting Europe?  It's because everything is priced in Euros instead of American Dollars, and Euros are worth more than American Dollars, so if you don't constantly do the conversion in your head it's easy to con your brain into thinking that everything is cheaper Over There. 

I'm pretty sure that this is the same idea behind Weight Watchers "Point System."  You see, Calories are big scary things that convince people who are paying attention that they should cut back on portion sizes for anything that is at all good-tasting, because all that stuff has a lot of those awful, awful calories.  A milkshake from McDonalds all by itself has over 500 calories.  Have a Big Mac with that milkshake, and that's another 550 calories.  Get a medium bag of fries to top it off, and that's another 320 calories.  So just like that, a quick trip to the Drive Thru for lunch and you've banked 1370 calories for the day. 

BUT, if you calculate that meal using Weight Watchers points, you get much smaller, less imposing numbers:  18 for the Big Mac, 32 for the milkshake, and 10 for the fries.  That's 60 points instead of 1370 calories.  Which one makes you feel better about consuming?

Of course, the problem is that your body couldn't care less if you are counting calories, points, macros, or shadow length of the food you are consuming.  If you're going to eat this crap, is it really better to pretend that it's "not so bad" because hey Weight Watchers says I can have 100 points a day and this is "only" 60 points?  I doubt your doctor would agree.  

Know what Americans also consistently overrate?  The importance of exercise in maintaining a healthy weight.  Exercise has very little to do with weight loss or weight maintenance.  It's great for building a healthy heart and lungs, keeping muscles strong, maintaining flexibility, and all that; it's almost meaningless when it comes to losing weight.  The only thing that really matters if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight is DIET.  Calories in, Calories out.  Or Points in, Points out, if you insist on following some gimmicky plan like Weight Watchers or Noom or Whatever.  You aren't going to sweat away that crap dinner you just shoveled down in your car on the way home from the Drive Thru even if it was "only" 60 points.  More likely you're going to burn off maybe one-fourth of it after a thirty minute run on the treadmill, that is if you even GET to the gym- you'll probably just go home and fall asleep after putting down THAT mess.  

I'm not a doctor or a dietician or a nutritionist and I don't charge for health advice because you get what you pay for.  But I still feel very comfortable in urging everyone not to try to trick their brains into thinking that they can eat "without restriction" all their favorite foods and still lose weight, because if your "favorite foods" include fast food, that stuff is designed to override your natural hunger cues and reprogram it to demand more junk the more you eat.  You can't Point Count your way to health unless you also very carefully police what you eat.  You can't Treadmill your way there, either.   You don't need a fancy, expensive meal plan (or even an App) to make sensible choices about the health of the only body you are ever going to have.  You just need to want it.  Good luck. 

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