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  • mariasylvesterterr

nancy drew + the sneaky weight watchers points

what is the point of weight watchers points? let me spill some tea.

on one hand, it makes sense: create a substitution for calorie counting.


on the other hand, the 'points' calculation is a bit of a proprietary formula. you enter your information, you select a goal, and you receive your points goal. pay no attention to the math behind the curtain.


when you hit your points, you feel successful. when you go over your points, you might feel...

  • guilty about not sticking to your goal

  • frustrated with yourself for going 'off plan'

  • motivated to 'do better' tomorrow

  • committed to eating less tomorrow

if you're on this mailing list, you've probably been there. this is our brain on diets.


so, here's where things get interesting. CW: mention of food tracking, calories.


i compared a client's intake from her weight watchers app [because yes, she still has it and is working toward deleting it some day. baby steps!] with a neutral food tracker app. calorically speaking, i matched up the apps using the average calories-per-points estimate.


the weight watchers app suggested she used twice as many points as she was recommended. when i asked her what her thoughts would have sounded like, she said, "i would have been so mean to myself. i probably would have said 'well, eff it' and ate more out of spite."


the neutral food tracker app revealed she was just barely over her calculated energy needs. here's the kicker -- she was actually low on carbohydrates and protein for her individual needs.


she didn't eat double the calories, and yet that's exactly what she would have internalized!


weight watchers assigns value to foods and drinks arbitrarily. the point values, the rules, and the math change without much explanation.


so, what's the point of the points? by changing the rules, weight watchers holds the secret solution. they keep customers coming in and coming back. case closed.


you might have known that all along, didn't you? after all, we know that food is just that: food.


we stopped pulling the rug out from under us when it comes to food rules. we're working towards unlearning the guilt and the morality tied up with food choices.


here is just yet another reminder that diets distract us from finding balance and creating a neutral food mindset.


and... if you needed a sign to cancel your weight watchers subscription, maybe this is it.

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