Counting Points, Keeping Score


Well, friends, it’s that time again.

It’s time to shed some pounds, hopefully for a longer period of time than I’ve managed to do in the past.

I’m reliably informed that no matter how much knowledge we attain about the risks of being overweight, only we can decide when we are truly ready to get healthier. I can’t wish you into a healthier lifestyle anymore than you can wish me into one.

We each have to want it for ourselves, and we each then have to act the part.

So, edging back up to my all-time highest weight, which is not a pretty sight by any stretch of the imagination, I decided to rejoin the Weight Watchers Points Plus system.

I’ve seen that system get mixed reviews and I’ve never really understood the majority of the criticism. I don’t mean to do a commercial for Weight Watchers — after all, Oprah, I’m sure, could be a more effective spokesperson than I could be — but rather to just point out a key fact about weight loss: the more complicated it becomes, the less likely we are to do it.

Seems logical enough to me.

Another key truth about weight loss: the enthusiasm over “diet food” only lasts so long.

I talked myself into trying a relatively unexplored line of frozen meals, this line produced by Marie Callender. I’m sure she was a very nice lady. To have had a brand that lasted so long, particularly one that started from an actual restaurant, her recipes must have been something special. But even the best recipe loses something in the translation when it’s frozen and subsequently microwaved. Such is life.

The last time I used the Weight Watchers point system, I lost something like 30 pounds. This time, I really need to lose that much — well, much more than that — but actually keep it off.

The points system makes it relatively easy for me to keep track of what I’m eating. I’m assigned, based on gender, age, activity and weight, a set number of points per day. I’m also assigned a set number of “weekly points.” If I overdo it one day and go into the negative, I dip into the weekly points. I’m also awarded a small number of points based on exercise, which I can also dip into if necessary.

The idea behind the program is that if I’m such a major diet screwup that I still manage to use every single point I have for the entire week, I should still lose a pound or so that week.

Yes, it means I have to change how I eat. But the change is more in how much I eat than in what I eat. I’m not restricted to a certain kind of food or a certain brand of food. I can still have a burger or fried chicken if I really want it. I just know going in that I better make sure I have plenty of points left over.

That seems much more realistic to me than just eliminating all carbs or all meat or all sweets or all of anything else and expecting that I can just learn to do without cold turkey. That kind of diet will never work for me, no matter how committed I am.

How do you lose weight? What’s your best secret?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.