Meal Planning Service

Amazon is running a local deal on eMeals meal planning service. Folks on the forum who find it hard to come up with a menu might find the ~30-60/year service helpful.

Deal: http://local.amazon.com/boston/B00I1042AK

More on service: http://www.emeals.com/

Comments from GoaDie Free.bee:

They have plans that work with both SF or points. The “clean eating” or “paleo” plans are mostly Power Foods or easily modifiable.

The “Portion Control” plan, which they say “just happens to sync with today’s popular portion control programs” gives points values for the meals. I can’t vouch for their accuracy, since I don’t use that plan, but the sample I looked at seemed reasonably close.

Activity Points – A Perspective from Crewahl

From his WW blog (reposted with permission)

We get lots of questions about calculating or using activity points – and a lot of differing opinions. These tend to be shaped by personal experience or preference, as is my own.

Basic concept – your body burns calories for fuel, and the more you exert yourself, the more it burns. Similarly, when you consume less calories than you burn, you lose weight. So there are two possible levers to impact weight loss – intake and activity. The challenge is that there’s nutritional info for most foods, but no “activity info” for activity.

WW has some information in their articles. Go to http://tinyurl.com/IntensityOfExercise for the official WW guide to calculating activity points. My approach/observations?

– I started when WW assessed your activity level as a baseline, and you earned activity points for activity above that baseline.  I still follow that approach, since it intuitively makes sense to me. If I’m more active than normal, I need more fuel.

– Some of the activity points calculated by the tracker are just wacky, so you can’t take it literally. For example, walking 18 holes of golf would earn me 18 AP. when I compare that to walking in general, it just seems high – so I only allow about 60% for that one. Essentially, you’ve got to decide what works for you, and experiment to see how it affects your progress.

– I eat my activity points. Some people don’t.  Short version is that for me, it seems to offer a little more flexibility if I eat them. Yeah, I lost weight slower – but that’s okay with me; I got where I wanted.

– While activity is a lever to impact weight, I’m persuaded the bigger lever is intake. Why? I can eat five points of food in less than a minute, but it takes an hour of walking to burn it off.  Essentially, it’s too easy to out-eat your activity.

– Activity points drop for a given level of activity as your weight drops. Make sure you’re recalibrating what you allow for activity as you lose weight.

– If your weight loss stalls and you eat your AP, how you calculate them might be one of the first places to look for the problem. Historically, people overestimate activity earned and underestimate calories consumed.

– Activity is more about fitness than food. (Took me a while to get there.) I’d suggest you don’t start counting the three minute walk to the train, the fourteen stairs into the office, the time spent walking around the grocery store – you get the picture. If you’re looking around for little tiny pieces of activity points to pick up, you may be thinking about this all wrong.

So don’t fear activity points – but use them with some caution and some common sense. Don’t be greedy about accumulating and using them.

One person’s opinion . . . . .

Future Program Changes

A thread by Free.Bee highlighted remarks on the earnings call about planned 2013 program changes.

Quoting a bit, there is a suggestion that this will be more than the 2012 changes but less than the full switch from Points-to-PointsPlus that we saw in late 2010:

“It is definitely more significant than the change that we put in this year, which I would say was a pretty modest level of innovation.

So, I think it’s what we would typically… If I had to ballpark it, I would say it’s what I would categorize as what we’ve historically called a major innovation. So, let me kind of provide a little bit of color around my definitions. I think of innovations in three buckets. One is platform change. The next level down is major innovation, and the next level down below that is what I would call minor innovation.

I would call PointsPlus 2012 a minor innovation. I would call PointsPlus itself a platform change, platform changes typically being every 10 years. Major innovations for us have typically been every two to three years. Momentum was a major innovation. There were a number of others like it. I would put this current rate in that category. At least that’s the expectation we have for it as we’re thinking about our marketing and PR plans as we go into January. ”

You can read the full transcript on Seekingalpha.com.

Are We Destined to Fail at Weight Loss?

A thread about a Cracked.com OpEd of sorts discouraging weight loss gathered some steam.

My editorial: I continue to believe that most weight loss fails not because we are destined to get fat again or because the metabolism of formerly fat people is slower, but because people return to old patterns/habits and overeat. Our obesogenic food environment in the US does not help, but the main thing that happens is people go back to over consuming calories.

Etiquette for Message Boards

Newbieposter synthesized a long thread on GoaD about etiquette on his blog here. These are copied here as good suggestions.

  • DON’T USE ALL CAPS – it’s considered shouting.
  • Don’t “hijack” threads. If you want to take a thread in a different direction, start a new one. Learn the acronyms and more about GOAD at http://goadies.org/faq/acronyms/
  • Use a clear thread name, because some read each thread but others only skim for topics that interest them.
  • Punctuation and paragraph breaks make reading posts easier. The Faulkner-ish stream of consciousness style of posting is tough to follow.
  • Please don’t post and disappear – that’s a “drive-by”. If you are looking for advice, some feedback to the people who offer it up is nice.
  • Read a lot to learn the ropes – “lurking”, in other words. Get a feel for the tone of the board before jumping in.
  • Read a few days’ worth of posts to see if whatever basic question you are about to ask has recently been answered.
  • Even a KITA or a “tell it like it is” can be couched in words that will encourage.
  • This is a two-dimensional media. Irony, sarcasm and humor don’t translate well. Consider using emoticons, even if you don’t like them.
  • Don’t interpret tone or intent where there may not be any.
  • Do your homework – Check the basic WW materials for info before posting a question.
  • Respect each others opinions, even if we don’t agree with them. Type a message as if your were speaking to that person’s face. It is often easy to forget there is a real person behind each of these messages.
  • Have an idea of who you are, and how you want to be known before you post. You *are* what you post.
  • Think twice; post once. (The “carpenter’s rule” for Message Boards.)
  • Don’t assume everyone’s first language is English or that they have the same educational background as you.
  • Don’t mock someone just to get a laugh.
  • Accept that if someone posts incorrect scientific/biological info on GoaD, it will be corrected. Better to have your ego a little bruised but have accurate info.
  • Opinions aren’t facts. Keep that distinction clear in your posts, and as you read others’ comments.
  • Don’t be afraid to post just because you disagree with someone’s opinion.

Gains at Weigh In

There was a good thread about experiencing a gain at weigh in.

EDITORIAL: Before considering making any changes to your targets or the system, make sure you are actually following the system as written. That said, under PointsPlus for 2012 you can change your target downward by 3 daily points (but never lower than 26).

Also: For more on the changes to PointsPlus made for 2012 see this third party article.

Biggest Loser Contestants and Weight Regain

There was a thread discussing Biggest Loser contestants and their weight regain. My blog post on the study can be found here.

But here’s one quote from the article:

More importantly, by week 6 participants’ metabolisms had slowed by 244 more calories per day than would have been expected simply as a function of their weight loss and by week 30, by 504 more.

EDITORIAL: This is a good reminder why Weight Watchers is a marathon not a race. Check our newbies page for tips for new people to Weight Watchers. So get in your Good Health Guidelines (GHGs) and feel comfortable eating your daily PointsPlus target.

Another Day, Another Too Many Points Thread

At least once a day, we get a post from someone saying they think WW gave them too many points.

If you provide the correct information (age, height, and current weight), the system WILL give you the appropriate number of daily points. While that number may seem high to you, it will be correct. As you lose weight (or have a birthday), you will be asked to update your information and your points will be adjusted accordingly.

Enjoy the points while you have them!

Reminder about the program: You are not required to eat every point assigned as long as you eat the minimum (26 DPT) and get in all of the good health guidelines (GHGs). That said, Weight Watchers is meant to be a lifestyle change, not The Biggest Loser or a crash diet.

For new folks starting out, check out our newbies page. If you are interested in getting a sense of the science about how many points you are assigned see this article or Steve0Mania’s deep thought series.