Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mae: SetPOINTS: friend or foe?

Weight Watchers had a great summer promo on this past summer, and I joined in July for a set price that gave me 10 or 12 weeks (can't remember exactly) of meetings. The details are sketchy because I stopped attending after week four. I just wasn't feeling it, and in retrospect, it was probably the worst possible time for me to join given all that was going on (holidays, trips, etc).

At dinner last night, the Mister was asking me how many Points he would get if he were to, um, theoretically do the WW program. He's never really embraced it because it looked to him to be a lot of work. I also can't say that I blame him for not wanting to whip out a Points Calculator during a business lunch with the guys. However, given that I now have labelled practically everything in our kitchen with sticky note Points values, it really wouldn't be that hard for him to follow along. I think he thought he would just kinda sorta half-heartedly follow along at home and eat what I eat. When I pointed out that he has to eat more Points per day than me, he actually calculated his daily Point range and compared that to some of the eye-opening heavy hitters like a DQ Blizzard. I also showed him the iWatchr app for iPhone and he was even more interested; not a surprise when you consider what a true iPhone/tech nerd he is. Annie is the person who brought this little life-saver to my attention, so thank you Annie!

Anyway, back to the point. While explaining Points values to him, I flipped through the Week 1 book to show some common food Points values. I noticed that some foods had a Point value and then another higher value in parentheses. Huh?! There was a tiny note somewhere on the page saying that this would all be explained in Week FIVE. Argh! One more week of attendance would have provided an explanation of this thoroughly confusing number.

So I went searching for answers, and here's what I found: in a nutshell, SetPOINTS are standard, set values for food types (i.e. starches, protein, etc) that you can use when eating out, or at a special event, when you don't feel like trying to dissect the dish and count the points. The caveat here is that what you ate could have been higher or lower in Points if you were to calculate it out exactly, but with this method, you don't need to worry about weighing and pulling out the calculator. And like the old Core Program, you are only supposed to eat until you are full, and you count as many SetPOINTS category values as there are on your plate. Here's a good thread that discusses SetPOINTS (the last post, in particular) and another from a WW blog post.

Examples of SetPOINTS values:
Fruit without sugar: 2
Grains & starches: 6
Lean protein: 5

So if I were at a party and had mahi mahi (SP value: 5) with grilled vegetables (SP value: 0) and creamy garlic mashed potatoes (SP value: 6), and then some cake (SP value: 12), I would count that meal as 23 points. That was fast!

I'll admit that I found this all a bit bewildering at first, but I'm starting to see how this could be really useful. I wonder if there is a SetPOINT for sushi? : )


  1. Annie sez: Now THIS is an innovation in the program I can get behind. I would likely take me some time to be able to accept the "approximateness" of the count - but better than nothing!

    Also, just wanted to mention that I thought it hilarious to see "mister" in the tags for this post! LOL

  2. Annie also sez: When I lost all my weight in 2003, Husband lost 15 lbs or so just by virtue of the change in what I was serving for dinner. So Mister may lose a bit whether he tries to or not! :)