A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Zero points does not mean zero calories

on September 11, 2013

In lots of ways, this seems like a Weight Watchers-only weight loss issue, but in principle, it’s true of any healthy eating plan. Sometimes, we go a little overboard with the “good for you” foods, forgetting that the “good for  you” foods have calories too. Why oh why isn’t avocado calorie free if it is so fantastic for us, right? With that in mind, I will say this post really is about weight loss and not simply a healthy lifestyle. From a healthy lifestyle perspective, there really is no such thing as too many fruits and veggies (unless your gastrointestinal tract rebels!) but if you find your weight loss is stalling and you really want a certain number, this is something to think about.

When I first started trying to lose weight, I really didn’t worry about how much I was eating of the “free” foods (*Free = all fruits & most veggies, for non-WWers). I didn’t get fat on apples and grapes, right? In a very large sense, that’s true. Every time I choose to eat grapes instead of french fries, I am absolutely making a better choice and moving my health in a positive direction. It has really encouraged me to eat more fruits and veggies and I now get way more fruit & veggies in my daily diet than I did pre-WW, which is fantastic for my health in lots of ways. Knowing I could always have a piece of fruit or some roasted veggies (love roasted veggies!) also always kept me from feeling deprived when I was losing weight.

It helps that I love fruit. I am not kidding when I say that I eat tons of fruit during the day! My husband and I did the math a while back and on a good day (with no mindless fruit binging), I get between 800-1000 of my calories each day from fruit. I am a free food abuser, absolutely (see my daily “feed bag” stash below – these are just the “free” foods I include in my lunch and snacks for the day, not counting the big bowl of fruit I have with breakfast and all of the veggies I have at dinner!).

2 - 3 cup containers of fruit, two apples, a bag of microwaveable sugar snap peas (cucumbers are extra for today from my CSA bag)

2 – 3 cup containers of fruit, two apples, a bag of microwaveable sugar snap peas (cucumbers are extra for today from my CSA bag)

The advice I got early on, and that I would relay to you, is that if your weight loss is moving in the direction you’d like, keep doing whatever works for you in terms of the free fruits and veggies. I have never, and likely will not ever, include any free fruits or veggies in the recipe builder when I’m calculating points for a meal. However, if you find that things are stalled out, take a look at your free foods and see if that might be a problem. Eating an entire watermelon (done it) or pounds of grapes (done it) or 6 cups of sliced apples (done it) all comes with a significant calorie load. While Weight Watchers factors those calories into your daily allowance in some sense, they may not be factoring in as much as you’re eating. This is one scenario in which periodically calorie tracking instead of just Weight Watchers points can be a handy self-check. I also recommend always tracking your free fruits and veggies for this reason.

The other issue to consider is that these foods are free if you eat them “to satisfaction” and that, for many of us, is a problem. Part of the reason we get so overweight is that we don’t know what “eating to satisfaction” means. I myself have a bad habit of shoveling in free foods by the handful and have replaced binging on cake with binging on fruit when I’m emotionally out of whack. Healthier choice, absolutely, but a sign I still need to work on my eating habits. For now, I have instituted a no fruit after dinner rule to help curb my mindless “free food” free-for-all that occurs at night when I’m tired and less in control.

It might also be a good time to take a look at what your real goals are. Is it really about the number on the scale or is it about a healthy lifestyle? I honestly haven’t decided where I fall on that issue yet and there may come a time when I decide that I’m okay being above my Weight Watchers approved weight if it means I don’t have to restrict my fruit intake. For me, for now, clearly my fruit eating at night is dysfunctional and needs addressing as part of my healthy lifestyle and learning non-food ways to deal with emotions, so I’m making changes. Beyond that, we’ll see. This is a lifelong journey and things may change.

How do you handle free foods?

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4 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Zero points does not mean zero calories

  1. […] Weight Loss Wednesday: Zero points does not mean zero calories (littlemoreeachday.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Hey, interesting post. I have the same challenge. New to WW but if I am getting to the end of my points allowance I simply binge on fruit. I don’t think I have ever eaten so many banana’s as I currently do. JD

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one. It is definitely a struggle for me and one I have definitely not conquered yet. At least it’s a healthier choice than the brownies or french fries I would have binged on before, right?

  3. […] Weight Loss Wednesday: Zero points does not mean zero calories (littlemoreeachday.wordpress.com) […]

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