Gray Matters.

Well, I’ve decided to post again anyway since I’ve been doing some thinking and as far as I can tell, the whole purpose of this blog is to be able to “think out loud” about the WW process. 

There are very few things about WW that frustrate me: one of the reasons I espouse the program’s values and am glad to be living them is that there is nothing ridiculous or out of control or unhealthy about the way the program encourages me to eat and cook. Some folks gripe that they should be  more forgiving about healthy fats — I say, no, you can still have healthy fats, you just can’t have a ton of ANY types of fats and still lose weight.

So I don’t mind doing low-fat and non-fat stuff when applicable. I also roll my eyes at the haters who are all like “WEIGHT WATCHERS IS DEATH LIKE ALL THEY WANT YOU TO DO IS EAT THEIR SHIT PREPACKAGED PROCESSED FOOD WHICH IS SO CHEMICAL AND BAD FOR YOU.” The people who say these things clearly have no concept of ANY of the rules, suggestions, or successful methodologies employed by WW. If you’ve been reading along with me, you’re already aware that the program places huge emphasis on what is basically “eating clean.” Fruits, vegetables, non-processed stuff. So no, WW doesn’t encourage you to eat their crap boxed foods. That’s just laziness and ignorance making a stupidbaby, to which your mouth is giving birth.

The thing I DO struggle with about WW — Okay, so they don’t want you to count calories. Okay, fruits and vegetables are free/0PP. Why, then, if you combine fruit in the “Recipe Builder” feature, do those 0PP items become 5PP or whatever? I looked into this, and found that WW needs to count caloric content of all that stuff so their recipes can be standardized. Now, that does make sense — in a way — but isn’t that somehow misleading when the exact same foods, tracked separately, net you 0PP? The article goes on to say that if what you’re eating truly IS just veggies or whatever to track the items separately. 

Which is what I do. And for about like, five seconds, I was content with that answer.

But then I got to wondering: How much “free” food is really too much? The greens I put in my smoothie — should they be tracked? What about the kale itself in my kale chips, instead of just the nooch? (Apparently, right then, I decided I liked the word “nooch” for the yeast better than “hippie dust.”) My afternoon cauliflower, that’s made with all 0PP ingredients? 

Certainly — certainly — I know that fruit is not always free. Last summer, I was eating a lot of apples and grapes. And by “a lot,” I mean two apples and like three cups of grapes a day. My weightloss slowed to a crawl. I cut out eating one of the apples and it got me back in the game.

So despite WW saying “Don’t Count Calories,” the obvious bottom line is that calories DO COUNT. 

What I’ve been doing, then, to combat this fear of mine, is counting each fruit or veggie serving as 1PP. Apples and bananas, I count for 2.

I think what I’m getting at, here, is that despite WW’s intentions of being helpful by allowing certain foods to be “free,” they’ve created — for me, anyway — a vacuum of anxiety where I’m always concerned that THERE AIN’T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH. Mind you, I’m not eating obscene amounts of anything — my veggie and fruit consumption is appropriate in conjunction with my non-plant food consumption. But I’m always worrying. Kind of like that Sting song — “Every move you make…. I’ll be watching you.” I always feel like perhaps I shouldn’t even eat some of the “free” things I eat. Even when it’s ridiculous for me to think that. Even when CLEARLY I can’t live off a protein powder smoothie, a yogurt cup, and a bowl of soup a day. 

My gripe, in sum: The program is supposed to breed a sense of self-control and self-direction, enhanced in no small way by understanding what your body needs and consumes. However, the inclusion of “free” foods undermines that sense of control and understanding by rendering all fruits and vegetables into a meta-consequence-free gray area; it takes away control from the Weight Watcher (me) by telling me to trust in gray area. 

The entire PROGRAM is based on the doing away of gray areas! COUNT the mayo on your sandwich. COUNT the handful of pretzels you absentmindedly ate. COUNT your Jolly Ranchers. COUNT the cream in your coffee. Stop overlooking things that aren’t convenient, and COUNT them. 

So many people get into a bad spot with their weight because of that philosophy’s reverse: Oh, avocados are healthy so I’ll have extra guac on that, thanks. Chips and salsa? GIMME, nevermind that the chips are fried, salsa is so healthy. This big ole piece of chicken is appropriate for dinner — it weighs 16 oz? Awesome, think of the protein! Oh, these trail mixes are so delicious and nuts are so full of healthy fats so I’mma eat it ALL. Frozen yogurt is YOGURT so it’s okay, guys! I’m eating a salad for dinner — withmeatandeggsandcheeseandagallonofdressing — ’cause I’m watching my weight, you know? THESE ARE THE FLIPPANT, THOUGHTLESS, “SHEEPLE” STYLE GRAY AREAS THAT MADE ALL OF US (or at least those of us who are like me) FATTER THAN WE WANT TO BE.

The misconception: that all dieters used to eat 3 Big Macs a day and gorge on cookies. FALSE. So many people — myself included — nickled and dimed ourselves into this position by thinking we were eating the RIGHT things, but overlooking the gray areas and overlooking portion size. That’s how a lot of us got here. 

That type of thinking, applied to vegetables, certainly isn’t going to get us back.

And so, from now on, all my fruits and veggies will be 1 or 2 PP that get tracked in my tracker — even if I delete them at the end of the day to avoid needlessly snatching up flex points (WW’s formula for weightloss says I don’t need to count them, so I ain’t gonna fix what ain’t broken). I want to be conscious of just how much of them I am eating, and I want to know what WW would say if it hadn’t given itself a gag order about it. 

Being ignorant or willfully oblivious about what we eat doesn’t help, guys. Even when we delightedly indulge in fresh fruits and veggies. I’ve calculated the points for that stuff using nutritional info and, you know what? Most of it IS pretty guilt free (veggies anyway — fruits, not so much. They’re usually 2 PP). But I only know that because I dared to calculate and dared to look, and tried to live within my boundaries while tracking those foods.

What aren’t you tracking? What’s your gray area?

You might want to start thinking about it.

Gray matters. 

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