Saturday, 13 November 2010

Day 13: Second Weigh In on WW ProPoints

Day 14/365Image by Timo Kirkkala via Flickr
Low ProPoints treat
Today was my second weigh in on WW ProPoints, and I'm pleased to say I lost...

4.5 lbs!

After my first shaky week, I'm pleased to see the weight is finally coming off.

It was lovely to go to a Weight Watchers meeting today to chat to the other members about how they're getting on. Overall everyone seems to be full of energy from all the extra fruit we can have, and really excited about the changes. It seems to be the same situation on the eSource messageboards too, with some of the nervous people seeing excellent losses this week.

The 4.5 lb weigh loss meant I got my first 7lb loss sticker today, and I'm just 1.5lbs off my first 5% goal.
Stuck for food ideas on the new ProPoints plan? Here are a few of my favourite finds this weeks.
  • Fish fingers: Around 5 ProPoints for 3.
  • Quorn chicken slices: 2 ProPoints for half a pack
  • Birds Eye Fish steaks in butter sauce: 4 ProPoints
  • Roasted veg (butternut squash, carrots, swede): 0 ProPoints (most of the supermarkets are doing mixed bag of winter root veg for £1-2)

    Found any low ProPoint food this week? Share them in the comments!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Day Nine: Fast (Healthy and Filling) Food

Day Nine
Special K Bliss, Strawberry and Chocolate: 3 PP
Semi-skimmed milk: 2 PP
Lunch (right)

Beef frying steak: 4 PP
Ainsley Harriott Cous Cous: 5 PP
Muller Light Raspberry and Cranberry: 2 PP
2 slices of garlic bread: 6 PP
4 dough balls: 4 PP
WW Cookie bar: 3 PP
Fruit Snacks: 0 PP

I'm a big fan of fast food. Not only because I'm busy and lacking in culinary skills, but also because...well, I'm lazy. For years, I've been so used to throwing some cheese on carbs and popping it in the grill, that fast food has become synonymous with fatty food.

But I'm starting to find ways to create quick, healthy and filling meals that don't require half a block of cheese. Or salad leaves. Because, to be frank, lettuce feels like a big, tasteless waste of space on my plate (I know, I know, it's healthy!)

Today's lunch only took me 5 minutes, and still tasted damn good. All it took was a quick rehydration of the cous cous (add boiling water and cover for 5 minutes) and a quick dry-frying of the beef frying steak (a much slimmer slice of beef with very little fat on the outside. Also, dirt cheap.) in a frying pan for a minute on each side. In total it works out at 9 ProPoints. You can always throw a bag of frozen veg in the microwave if you want a little bit more.

So, what's your quick Healthy and Filling meal? Do you have a go-to ingredient that makes a meal in minutes?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Day Eight: ProPoints has officially arrived!

Ah, the day I've been waiting for all week. The official launch of the Weight Watchers ProPoints Plan, and an update on eSource (so I can't cheat using the paper calculator ;D )

Day Eight
2 Crumpets: 5 PP
Low fat spread: 1 PP
Tea: 0 PP

Banana: 0 PP

Pork Loin steak: 5 PP
Broccoli: 0 PP
Cauliflower: 0 PP
WW Rich Chocolate Pot: 2 PP
DinnerWW Curry: 8 PP
Slice of bread: 2 PP
Milk, semi skimmed: 2 PP
WW Cookie bar: 3 PP
Fruit Salad: 0 PP

Total: 28 ProPoints

I had an email from a lady called Louise, who is using the Oats So Simple sachets for her breakfast. They're only 3 PP (not including milk) so I'll be trying them soon for a lower PP breakfast. I bet it's lovely loaded up with summer berries or sliced banana.

If you've got any other low PP products, feel free to share them over email, twitter or in the comments section below.

I'd love to know how you're all getting on with the plan. Excited? Confused?  

Let me know in the comments!

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Monday, 8 November 2010

Day Seven: Weighing in

A Chinese buffet restaurant in the U.S.Image via Wikipedia
Day Seven
Special K (Red berries and chocolate) with milk: 6 ProPoints
Bowl of red berries
2 WW Petite Pains: 6 ProPoints
3 slices of lean bacon: 3 ProPoints
Chinese buffet
WW Cookie Bar: 3 ProPoints

The last day of the week! As you can see, I went for a cheeky Chinese buffet last night before the cinema, which could have been a disaster. Unlimited food? Bye bye self-restraint! However, they do give you little plates so you can't completely gorge yourself. I'd also read the pocket guide for a few restaurant suggestions. Chicken and sweetcorn soup, chow mein, crispy duck with pancakes and chicken and cashew nuts are all considered ok in points, so I don't think I did *too* badly. The odd sesame prawn toast might have snuck onto my plate though...

So, this morning I weighed in...*drumroll* and I've lost 0.5 lb. Considering I've had several large slipups, a big learning curve and a bucketload of PMT, I'm quite pleased with that. I also had a weigh in on Saturday, where I'd put on 2 lbs, so I think the effect of a few good days has kicked in today. I'm hoping to have a good result next week, as the boyfriend is away for a week so I won't be eating out as much.

I've learnt a lot this week about the ProPoints plan, and I'm looking forward to putting that knowledge into action this week. I've got my list of easy meals too, which should help me be a bit more prepared. At the moment I can't login to eSource (anyone else having problems?), but I'm looking forward to getting back into using it, as it's a fantastic tool for keeping you on track.

On a side note, I've had a few compliments on my skin looking 'glowy', which is probably thanks to all the fruit and water I'm consuming!

So, what do you think about the new plan??

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Day six: Wedding bells and weight wobbles

Novelty wedding cakeImage via Wikipedia
Little sis, gettin' hitched
Day Six
2 slices of toast, dry: 5 ProPoints
Carrots to nibble on: 0 ProPoints
4 Weight Watchers Dough Balls: 4 ProPoints
Piece of Southern Fried Chicken: 6 ProPoints
Ham, egg and chipsImage by WordRidden via Flickr
Nom nom nom
Gammon Steak: 7 ProPoints
Egg, poached: 3 ProPoints
Low Fat Chips: 4 ProPoints
Mini digestive biscuit: 1 ProPoint
Fruit Salad: 0 ProPoints
Total: 30 ProPoints

Had a lovely day yesterday, pottering around wedding venues for my sister next December. Most of the venues are generous with tea and biscuits, but I managed to restrain myself and limit myself to one bitesize digestive biscuit. I'm hoping all the walking I did burnt it off!

I'm starting to get more used to the new ProPoint plan now. I'm still struggling a little with changing the points in my head, particularly when it comes to allocating ProPoints for each meal. So I'll be spending some time today putting together a list of quick and easy meals that fits breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hopefully this will stop me panicking every time I open the fridge.

I'm a little worried about weighing in tomorrow, but I think by next weekend, I'll be seeing some good results. 

So, with eSource revamping tomorrow, how are you preparing for the ProPoints plan?

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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Day Five: Back on track

PastinacaImage via Wikipedia
Winter Winner!
Day Five
Two slices of toast: 5 ProPoints
Low Fat Spread: 2
Roasted Vegetables
1 small parsnip: 1 ProPoint
1 swede: 0 ProPoints
2 carrots: 0 ProPoints
Butternut squash wedges : 0 ProPoints
2 tbsp of Olive Oil: 3 ProPoints
Small Pork medallion: 3 ProPoints
Cous Cous: 4 ProPoints
WW Triple Chocolate bar: 2 ProPoints
Fruit salad,  of raspberries, strawberries, bananas & pears: 0 ProPoints.
Total: 20 ProPoints

Thanks to a filling lunch, low in ProPoints, I've managed to stay under my daily allowance. I can't carry the points over in the new plan, but it's good to know I can have the odd low point day without feeling deprived.
I'm also pleased to note I'm exceeding my 5-a-day on most days now. If you've got an iPhone, it's worth downloading Munch 5-a-day. It's a bit gimmicky, but it basically lets you tick off each piece of fruit or veg you eat until you reach your goal, and you can earn achievements too. You can then share the results on Twitter/Facebook.

If you want to know more about the switchover and the plan, there's a great selection of Weight Watchers ProPoints Plan resources on the weight watcher blog by Reflextions.

Concerned about the new plan? 

I've been chatting in the Weight Watchers forums this week, and a lot of people seem concerned or resentful of the new plan. Don't be. You won't have to make any huge changes, it's just a slightly different way of working out your points. The main changes, 49 treat points and zero ProPoint fruit, are for your benefit and will help you stay on the plan long-term.

Obviously it's a little frustrating if you've bought the scales and the calculator, but the new pack will come with a card calculator, and a conversion sheet for all the recipe books they've released in the last year. Otherwise you can use the Recipe Builder in eSource to convert them. One lady on the forums suggested getting busy with a pen and labels, on all the food in your freezer and your cookbooks.

If I'm honest, this week's TGI Friday Fail might have made me fall off the WeightWatcher wagon altogether, but instead I've put it down to the 49 weekly ProPoints and started afresh the next day. I'm not expecting a huge loss this week, but I know I'm making healthier choices that will benefit my weight loss and health long-term. Isn't that what Weight Watchers is all about?

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Friday, 5 November 2010

Day four: Lessons learned

A few lessons learned on the new plan today.

Day Four
Bowl of mixed fruit (Sainsbury's do a nicetub of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries perfect for this): 0 ProPoints
Muffin with low fat spread: 6 ProPoints*****
Weight Watchers Curry: 8 ProPoints 
Steak and kidney stew with dumplings: Unsure on PP!
Slice of bread: 2 ProPoints
Handful of crisps: 1 ProPoints
Carrot sticks : 0 ProPoints

A bit of a mixed day really. I find it quite easy to stick to the plan until dinner time, then I tend to have a splurge. I was also a little surprised to see the ProPoints of the Weight Watchers curry is now 8, a significant rise from 4.5 points. Presumably this is down to the higher carb content of the white rice.
I learnt a few things today about the plan, which should help in the next week.
  • The 49 weekly points can quite easily become an excuse for snacking throughout the week, with very little tracking. It's essential to track those 49 points, or you can quite easily go over them. As I probably have. Twice.
  • In fact, next week I'm going to keep the 49 points for after weigh in, as I think it'll be easier to be good throughout the week then have a treat, then treats throughout the week that lead me to fall off the wagon!
  • Dumplings are not a good addition to stews. They're pastry-filled bundles of yumminess with a ProPoints value to give you a heart attack. If anyone has got any homemade, low PP alternatives, please let me know!
  • I really miss eSource! I find it all to easy to cheat a little when I'm writing it down on paper, whereas I'm far stricter when using the online plan. I'm looking forward to switching over on Sunday.
  • The Domestic GoddessImage by Smaku via Flickr
    Nigella: Probably not bothered about ProPoints
  • I'm much more likely to stick to the plan if I plan each day ahead. Yesterday was a bit of a case of grabbing whatever was available, hence the bad choice of dumplings. I've also clearly been watching too much Nigella, as I indulged in some bread dunking in the leftover stew. 

Have you got any great tips for staying on track, on either plan? Share them in the comments!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Days Two and Three: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Day two and three on the Weight Watchers ProPoints Challenge couldn't have been more different....

Day 2 (or 'The Good')
2 slices of toast with low fat spread: 6 ProPoints
Home made fruit salad with pears, banana and grapes: 0 ProPoints
Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...Image via Wikipedia
0 ProPoints!
Leftover roast pork (that pork joint on Sunday was ridiculously big): 4 ProPoints
Roasted sweet potato and butternut squash wedges:  5 ProPoints + 1 ProPoint of olive oil
Frying steak, cooked using low fat spray: 4 ProPoints
Vegetable and rice microwave bag: Guestimate of 5 ProPoints
Small portion of home made crumble: 4 points
Total: 29 points. Hurrah! 
*deep breath*

Day Three: (or 'The Bad And Ugly')
Bran Flakes with a chopped banana: 5 ProPoints
T.G.I. Friday'sImage via Wikipedia
Potato skin heaven
Ham and pineapple pizza oval: 6 ProPoints
Sliced pear
Dinner (the bad)
Took a trip to TGI I'm not entirely sure what the points are.
Cheese and bacon potato skins
Jack Daniels Chicken with cheesy mash and vegetables
Snacks (the really ugly)
A puff pastry mince pie
A bitesize flapjack. Um..ok two bitesized flapjacks
An oversized cocktail from TGI Fridays
A whole tub of grapes (not so bad)
Total: Who knows?? 
So, I messed up a bit yesterday. A mixture of toothache, PMT, a busy work schedule and being sent out to get the cakes for a celebration at Chocoholics means I've probably exceeded my daily ProPoints by quite a bit. There are a few saving graces though.
  • The 49 weekly treat points will hopefully have covered that splurge, meaning I can go back to being good without the massive guilt trip. 
  • My toothache meant I only ended up eating half of my main meal. A waste of money, but hopefully a saving of points.
  • I'm still eating far more fruit then usual.

Have you got any tips for staying on the plan on a stressful day?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Day One: Weight Watchers gets fruity

simple fruit saladImage by elana's pantry via FlickrThe first day of the Weight Watchers ProPoints Plan Challenge has arrived, and I'm attempting to get my head around the new system. No easy task when you're also trying to delete everything you know about the old system from your mental hard drive.
As anyone who's been to Weight Watchers meetings before will know, weight loss involves breaking those old bad habits, and starting new, healthier habits. But at the moment, it's a bit of a habit to zoom into the calorie content of product labels, and to veer away from the fruit aisle at the supermarket. Two things the new plan helps you to avoid.
It's taking a bit of adjusting getting used to new ProPoints values and trying to calculate things without the use of eSource (until it relaunches this weekend.) But I've found I'm already making much smarter and healthier food choices.
Take this morning for instance. Instead of my usual toast or bagel, I enjoyed a bowl of bran flakes, topped with a sliced banana. That banana made all the difference between an 11am and a 12.30pm tummy rumble.
Having stocked up the day before, I was able to tuck into fruit throughout the day, rather than a weight watchers bar or a piece of toast. Consequently, I had more energy and avoided my 4pm slump.
So, here's how I got on for my first day.
Day One
Bran Flakes and milk: 5 ProPoints
Sliced Banana: 0 ProPoints
Lunch Two slices of pork from last night's dinner: 4 ProPoints
Mixed vegetables: 1 ProPoints
Mixed berry fruit salad: 0 ProPoints
Afternoon Snack
One pear, sliced: 0 ProPoints
Handful of grapes: 0 ProPoints
40g portion of cheese, cubed: 5 ProPoints
Nando'sImage by Robboguy via FlickrDinner
Nando's Chicken pitta (no mayo, one slice of cheese): Guess around 14 ProPoints?
Not hideous, and I definitely felt full. It still feels a bit strange, being able to eat fruit for free, but hopefully I'll adjust by the end of the week. It's worth noting however, that a bowl of fruit isn't going to keep you going all morning. You'll need to add a bit of protein or carbs to keep you ticking over.


Are you trying the new ProPoints plan? Let me know how you're getting on!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Weight Watchers gets a revamp.

On the 7th November, Weight Watchers will officially reveal their brand new weight loss plan to calorie-counters worldwide. And it's very different.
The new plan, ProPoints, is the result of three years of planning, testing and tweaking, and 10 years of nutritional research. In fact, the plan has been tested in Weight Watchers meetings across the UK, and the rest of the world, for over a year with similar weight loss results to the current system.
I was introduced to the ProPoints plan when Weight Watchers invited the blogging community to get a first hand look at the new plan. So, what did we discover?

The ProPoints Plan

The new plan chucks out the old concept of calorie counting and replaces it with a ProPoints plan based on protein, carbs, total fat and fibre. This new direction is based on years of research that suggests that counting calories is pointless, as it only takes into account the amount of calories a product has before it is consumed, rather than how many calories are available to the body after it has been digested. They call this 'calorie delusion' and believe it's outdated. A bold claim considering their current plan is solely based on this. But it's great to see that they're brave enough to overhaul their whole plan to realign it with new research and technology.
On the new plan, food with higher fibre and protein values have lower ProPoints values as they're harder to digest.

How will this affect my diet?

The ProPoints plan means you'll get around 29 ProPoints a day on average (depending on height, weight, gender and age). On top of this, you'll get 49 extra ProPoints a week to spend as you like. So you can splurge it on a curry on a Friday, or spread it out across the week for a cheeky glass of wine or that much needed chocolate bar. I *love* this idea of having a little wriggle room during the week, especially as I tend to eat out several times a week. However, this does mean you can't carry ProPoints over from the previous day. Use your 29 ProPoints, or lose them.
Close-up of fruit saladImage via Wikipedia
The plan also means fruit is now zero ProPoints. Hurrah! Effectively, this encourages healthier eating, as the previous plan put fruit at quite a high ProPoints value (around 2 for a banana). A bowl of fresh fruit at zero ProPoints value is a little more appealing now, then gobbling a tiny chocolate bar for 2 ProPoints.
The majority of vegetables are still free, although starchy options like potatoes, parsnips, peas and sweetcorn still carry a ProPoints value.
On first viewing, everything apart from fruit and vegetables seems to be higher in ProPoints. For instance, a glass of wine is 5 ProPoints now, when it used to be 2. But the extra ProPoints you get each day, and your 'backpocket' 49 ProPoints a week, should make this manageable. There's also a few nice surprises. Bacon is much lower in ProPoints now (as long as you grill it), as are eggs. Add some Weight Watchers beans, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, and you've got yourself a low point, tasty breakfast at the same value as a bagel!
The ProPoints plan takes the overall nutritional value of each food into consideration, which means those lower point foods are hopefully healthier too. This, combined with the free fruit and vegetables and the 49 guilt-free weekly ProPoints, should help the dieter make healthier eating choices, and therefore make the plan easier to stick to long term.
Oh, and you can still earn extra ProPoints from exercise. Should probably do some more of that.


The Weight Watchers ProPoints Plan Challenge

The lovely people at Weight Watchers kindly gave me a goody bag filled with products from the new Weight Watchers range, including the new calculator, the guide, a new cookbook and a few weight watchers products. Having recently rejoined Weight Watchers, I've decided to give the new plan a go.
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBas 
It's going to be tough. I've been on the current plan on and off for years, so I know the values of most foods off the top of my head. Wiping all of that from my mind and starting a new plan is going to be a challenge, but it's also quite exciting to be starting a brand new plan. I've got 2 stone to lose before my sister's wedding next year, and I'm hoping this will be the motivation I need. I'm also going to continue to attend my local meeting with the lovely Sue Moses, as I'm sure there will be plenty of useful tips flying around.
The thing I'm most excited about? There's going to be an iPhone Weight Watchers app! It should be released in the next few months, and will make tracking so much easier.