Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fun with "Points"

I knew this would happen. I prepared for it and everything. Now I’m really glad I did the Weight Watchers program last year, because I knew going in this time how my brain would respond. So I decided 2 things up front: first, that I would not get angry with myself if and when I binged. I would decide that I’m a grown-up, and eating a bag of chips (or 10) is a choice that I am allowed to make. The second thing was that I would, come hell or high water, eat a certain number of points per day. I’m damned if I’m going to be starving myself for days on end because I binged at the beginning of the week, and now I’m trying to “make weight” for the next meeting.

Before I start, though, let me give you the Points info so you know what the hell I’m talking about. Here’s the quickie rundown on those things: You get a certain amount of points based on your weight. (I get 22 points per day.) You figure out how many points something has by either consulting the WW book to find the product, or you can figure it out with a tool they give you by counting calories, fiber and fat. In addition to your daily points, you also get 35 “Flex points” (FPs) which basically allows you to eat junk food in limited quantities, so you don’t “fall of the wagon,” as it were. On top of THOSE points, you can earn additional “Activity points” (APs). The general idea for those is that you get a point for every 100 calories you burn. Still with me? There is great debate among WW groupies whether you should eat your APs, your FPs, all of them, some of them, none of them, etc. How will you lose weight faster? What rules can you bend, break or get around? What if you eat ALL your FPs but NONE of your APs? Or vice versa? You can see how all this counting can make you a little obsessive. You can probably also see where I’m going with this. :P

I went to a meeting Monday night, so I officially started counting points Tuesday morning. Tuesday night my inner brat kicked in, screaming “You are not the boss of me!” and I binged on half a bag of potato chips. (Kettle Chips, salt and pepper. They are my FAVORITE chips, and the only ones I can’t ignore.) Wednesday night, same thing, even worse. I forget now what it was (and I’m too damn lazy to go find that journal right now), but there was too much wine and dark chocolate involved. Mmmmmm . . . Anyway, I was still within my weekly amount, but now I had no points left for margaritas and pizza with my girlfriends. Bummer. (Not that it will prevent me from HAVING margaritas and pizza, just that it would be nice to figure out how to do both: have the fun and stay inside my points.)

Thursday was good; I was under my points, meaning that I only ate 20 of my regular points, and none of my FPs. Now here’s where it got a little sticky. WW does not recommend eating less than your daily points, which means the fact that I was under by 2 points isn’t so great. I rationalized Thursday by figuring that I had “earned back” some of the points I’d lost in my binge the night before. (Yeah, I know that’s not how it works. Shut up.) Additionally, I should mention here that technically, I should be eating 24 points, not 22, but I’m only 5 pounds away from 22 points, and I don’t want to have to recount everything in 2 or 3 or 4 weeks when (theoretically) I will have lost the 5 pounds. Basically, I’m lazy and don’t want to be bothered. But NOW, it’s kind of a problem that I’m really 4 points under for the day. “Oh, well,” I think flippantly. “At least if I do this for a couple of days, I can have my pizza and margaritas and still be within my points for the week! Yay me!” :P

Did I mention that I love logic games (this is not a random subject change, I swear)? Really. I go to the bookstore and spend money on those damn Mensa game books, because even when I have to look up the answers, I think they’re loads of fun. (Yeah, I’m a nerd. Laugh at me, I don’t care – actually, that is probably the one thing I really DON’T care about getting laughed at for!!)

Now I ask you: what are those fun little points if not a logic game? How much food can you eat for as few points as possible? Hmmmm . . . . So yesterday, by the time it was 6 o’clock, I had eaten 11 points for the WHOLE DAY. I’d guess I was somewhere around 700 calories, maybe 800. And don’t think I wasn’t hungry, but now I was trying to WIN THE GAME. I like winning things. A lot. And I wasn’t unbearably hungry, so I could deal with it. (Actually, I kind of like being a little hungry; it makes me feel calm. Luckily, I have the good sense to know that’s fucked up, so I usually just eat anyway.) Plus that buzzing little eating disorder voice was already kicking in with the constant calculations, figuring out how far under I would be for the week if I ate 11 points a day. I could have pizza and margaritas and STILL “make weight!” This was great!!!!!

ANYWAY . . . Somewhere around 7:30 or 8, I realized that I had promised myself to eat 25 points per day. All of my regular points, plus 3 FPs, just to make sure it got through to my psyche that I am not going to starve myself to lose weight. “But!” cries the little buzzing voice in my head, “We are so close! We could WIN! Everyone will admire us when we lose 7 pounds the first week! Screw pizza and margaritas! We could be THE BEST!!!!!” Those who have heard this voice know exactly what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t, think it’s insane – and they’re right. But it’s also seductive. So . . . I “cowboyed the fuck up” and ate. I had some fat-free popcorn, which was gross, so I added olive oil and salt and fresh pepper to it. That helped a lot, and added a few points. I had 2 glasses of wine and some eggs (figuring that I probably shouldn’t round out my points with ALL junk food). When it was all said and done, I ate 26 points yesterday. And when I went to bed, the little buzzing voice was quiet. Thank God.


Carolyn said...

I lost 25 pounds once doing the point. I didn't do Weight Watchers. I cheated and purchased the books on ebay.

I HATE staying on the points. It's like if I don't eat what I want (and what I don't want) life is incomplete.

Crazy, huh?

Marste said...

Not at all crazy. I go between one and the other: feeling rebellious and feeling competitive. And I understand the "life is incomplete" feeling: I LIKE to cook. And I don't screw around - I cook with cream and butter and all that good stuff. I keep thinking there has to be a way to split the difference, because I REFUSE to put all those "fat-free" chemicals into my body. I'll keep posting and let you know how that goes!!