I grew up with my mother on a perpetual Weight Watchers diet program. In fact, the last time I visited her she was writing down her points before she ate meals. Over the last few months I have had three other people in my life join the Weight Watchers band wagon. With the new additions I began hearing about a new aspect of the program I was not familiar with – flex points.

Since I did grow up in a Weight Watchers household I was a bit confused as I saw the latest two additions to the Weight Watchers bandwagon shoveling in three servings of cake each after eating a plate of junk this past weekend. Then they told me that they were using their ‘flex points’ for the day. As you might imagine I found it a bit odd that Weight Watchers would now allow free gorging one day a week. So, I looked up the whole flex points thing.

Apparently the new Weight Watchers plan offers up flex points in addition to your daily target points. Each week you are allowed 35 flex points, regardless of what your daily point target is. The flex points are intended to be used on days that you need to splurge a little. Say you have a birthday party you want to go to and you want to have some cake, so just use some flex points. They key with the flex points is that they are to be used in moderation throughout the week. The people that I know were saving them up for one day a week and the going crazy. So, one of them had a target of 22 points a day but eats 57 points every Saturday.

I fail to see how this is a good idea. Clearly the intention of the people at Weight Watchers was not to have people having 60 point days once a week. Maybe it was, but I seriously doubt it. I wonder though if my friends will be able to actually lose weight by sabotaging their diet one day a week? I say they might not do so well. We know that 3500 calories = 1 pound. So, I suspect that they both easily consumed 3500 calories on Saturday based on what I saw them eat and the fact that they told me they had McDonald’s for lunch. That means that the other 6 days would have to have been a decrease in their normal calories over 3500.

I’m not sure why people who clearly want to stuff themselves with things that are horrible for them go on diets in the first place. I think maybe the whole problem is diets versus new eating habits. For instance, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am trying to decrease my sodium intake to lower my blood pressure. As a result I am noticing that I am extremely sensitive to salt now. For example hot dogs have an insane amount of sodium in them. I eat the Ball Park Fat Free Franks (made with beef, pork and turkey) as they are some of the lowest in sodium. When I found out that I needed to lower my sodium I had 2 packs of these in the freezer that I am now going to eat in moderation since one has 440 mg of sodium. Anyways, I have been eating around 1500 mg of sodium per day and today I had no sodium for breakfast and will only have 150 mg in my dinner so I decided to have one hot dog for lunch. It tasted so salty! There is no way I can eat as many of those as I used to. See, that is a healthier eating habit. My friends are keeping so much crap in their diets that they aren’t going to be able to develop healthy eating habits!

Here are some of my new healthy eating habits that I have established over the past few months:

1. Portion control – I don’t have to eat everything on my plate. I stop when I am full. And I only put a small amount on my plate to begin with and most times that is enough. As a bonus I end up with more leftovers!

2. More whole grains. Not only are whole grains like oatmeal full of heart-healthy fiber, but they are low in sodium too! I have oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning, make scones with oats for snacks and eat a lot of brown rice.

3 . More fresh fruits and veggies. The key here is FRESH! Canned veggies are loaded with sodium. (rinsing the veggies gets rid of some of that) If I cannot get fresh fruit and veggies I go for frozen ones. If you have not had frozen cherries as a snack you do not know what you are missing! Seriously! Go get some now! I eat them when I am craving something sweet.

4. Water. Not only is it good for your skin but drinking water helps your belly think its full. A great way to eat less when you don’t need it.

5. Avoid restaurants. I used to dine out at least four nights a week. Now I barely go out three times a month. Restaurant food is loaded with sodium and calories. And if you don’t cook it you can’t control what is in it! Nevermind the fact that I can usually make better food at home.

Developing new healthy eating habits is an ongoing process for me. Unfortunately it is not something that can be accomplished overnight. It takes some hard work and definite dedication. But I know it is worth it because it’s for my body and it’s the only one I’ve got!

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