How To Use Edibles with Weight Watchers PointsPlus

By Laura Moncur @ 12:26 am — Filed under:

Weight Watchers is launching a new program. In the UK, it’s called ProPoints, but in the States, they are calling it PointsPlus. The old Points system has been completely changed, which will change how you’ll calculate the new points on your Edibles program.

According to Wikipedia, the new PointsPlus formula is as follows:

PointsPlus Formula

Where pp is the PointsPlus value, p is the amount of protein, c is the amount of carbohydrates, f is the amount of total fat and b is the amount of fiber, all in grams. This formula is an empirical match to the Weight Watchers calculators and may not be exact; Weight Watchers has not published their actual formula.

This formula is pretty convoluted and very difficult to enter into the Edibles Calculator, so Mike converted it for me. This is how I entered it into my Edibles Calculator:

Edibles PointsPlus

Even if you’re using the Weight Watchers iPhone app, there may be a few days WEEKS when you won’t be able to track using your phone because the app won’t be available as soon as the program starts.

The App may not be available for a day or two after the new program launches. We appreciate your patience during this time. You can use the website for tracking, and everything else you usually do on your phone.

You might just want to try out Edibles to see if it works better than the official Weight Watcher app.

Update 12-02-10: Due to differences in food labeling in the US vs. the UK, the PointsPlus formula is vastly different than the ProPoints formula. I changed this entry to reflect the proper formula for the United States.


Be Your Own Cheerleader

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Be Your Own CheerleaderWhenever I get back on track, I tell everyone that I know that I am back to eating healthy and that I need a little encouragement. All the people who love me are really good at cheering me on, but there is something about getting that feedback that backfires on me. After every compliment and every positive remark, I lose steam. I don’t know what it is about having a cheerleader that makes me slack off, but I’ve definitely noticed a pattern.

This time, I’ve kept my mouth shut.

I’ve been working on the simplest of things: tracking my food every day, staying within my caloric restrictions and following five out of my seven healthy habits every day. If I do all three, I get another day added to my “food sobriety.” I’ve been food sober for over ten days now, but I haven’t really talked about it with anyone. Having a family of cheerleaders isn’t nearly as helpful for me as being my own cheerleader.

If you have noticed that every time you tell someone about your eating plan, you blow it, then try NOT telling anyone anything. Maybe you’ll see more success if you be your own cheerleader.


Kudos to Seventeen Magazine: Body Peace Treaty

By Laura Moncur @ 11:00 am — Filed under:

I want to give a shout-out to Seventeen Magazine for their Body Peace Treaty. You can see it here:

Seventeen Body Peace Treaty

You can read more inspiration here:

They were even featured on Huge (one of the best shows this summer):

Update 09-15-10: Here are some screenshots from Huge, where they sign the Body Peace Treaty.

Sign the Body Peace Treaty on Huge

Sign the Body Peace Treaty on Huge


When You Drink A Dr. Pepper, You Drink A Bite To Eat

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This photo of a Dr. Pepper advertisement from 1939 surprised me.

When you drink a Dr. Pepper

The advertisement says:

When you drink a Dr. Pepper

You drink a bite to eat

Dr. Pepper Nutrition FactsIt’s a surprising bit of honest advertisement. A can of Dr. Pepper is 156 calories, so it’s as much calories as an apple and a bit of cheese. Of course, if you eat the apple and cheese, you won’t be hungry again in two hours, but honestly, Dr. Pepper WANTED you to be hungry again in two hours.

In fact, they built an entire advertising campaign around it. If you notice on that advertisement, there is a clock with the numbers 10, 2 and 4 highlighted. In fact, I own a Dr. Pepper clock with those numbers highlighted as well.

Dr. Pepper Clock by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Their marketing campaign suggested that at 10 am, 2 pm and 4pm, you should have a Dr. Pepper. If you were to add three cans of soda to your diet every day, that’s an extra 468 calories a day, meaning an extra 3276 calories a week. That’s a weight gain of almost a pound a week, just from soda.

Back in 1939, most people didn’t need to worry about getting fat. They were too busy trying to get enough calories to maintain weight, but now, that Dr. Pepper slogan is ominous.

Next time you’re tempted to get a Big Gulp, remember the Dr. Pepper slogan:

When you drink a soda, you drink a bite to eat.

Wouldn’t you rather just have a bite to eat?


My Symbiont Part 3 of 3

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

If my digestive tract is a symbiont inside of me, how do I communicate with it? If there is a dumb animal inside of me that controls how much I eat, how do I tell it what I want? If there is a beast within me that makes me overeat, how do I retrain it?

Sid Loves The Summer Sun by LauraMoncur from FlickrIt all made me think back to my dog, Sid. We adopted Sid as an adult dog from a rescue shelter. He came knowing a few tricks, but he didn’t know the most important three: sit, come and stay. How did we teach him those tricks?

  • Positive Reinforcement: We gave him treats when he did things right. He usually did them right by accident, but when he did, we gave him a treat and LOTS of praise.
  • Negative Reinforcement: We scolded him when he did things wrong. We withheld the treat when he didn’t do the trick correctly.
  • Repetition: We spent HOURS and HOURS working with him. There were some days when we put his food in a bowl and doled it out a few kibbles at a time as treats to teach him what he needed to know.
  • Mimicry: I’ve heard that some dogs learn tricks from other dogs. We’ve never been able to do that with Sid because he’s an only dog, but I’ve seen that happen with others.

The problem is, my symbiont isn’t a dog. Most importantly, it’s a lot dumber than my dog. How do I retrain the beast within me?

Animals want a lot of things. You can reward them with food, but there are a lot of things that the beast inside of me may be appeased with:

  • Sex
  • Food
  • Praise
  • Play
  • Comfort
  • Safety
  • Community / Pack / Herd

Whenever I’m thinking about how to reward the beast within me, I look at this list.

I think it’s very important that I give the reward immediately after the healthy act. So, if I exercise, I eat some healthy food immediately afterward. If I choose a healthy dish, I immediately praise myself. If I refrain from eating dessert, I grab my Nintendo DS and play a fun game as a reward. If I have a perfect day, I spend some time with a good friend either on the phone or in person.

I realize that this is not a quick process. It took us MONTHS to train Sid how to sit, come and stay and he was only a two year old dog. My symbiont has had forty years of controlling my actions, so retraining it to do things that are healthy for me will take some time.

Thinking of my body as a joined species with my intellect as one and my digestive tract as the other has really helped me. There are times when I call Sid and he STILL doesn’t come. He’s just a dumb animal and needs a little more training. The same is true for my symbiont. I’m in the process of retraining the beast inside of me.


My Symbiont Part 2 of 3

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I have always felt like there was something else controlling me when it came to eating. I could always get the motivation to exercise consistently, but eating healthy has been a struggle for me my whole life.

I always chalked it up to lack of self-control, but honestly it was more than that. When I filmed this video back in 2006, I was struggling with a beast:

Click Here To Watch Video Confessional

It was like there was a beast inside of me that wanted to eat as much as I could because Mike was out of the house. To be completely honest, that beast won that war. Not that day, but over the last three years, I have been unable to control it.

Odan SymbiontYesterday, I talked about my digestive tract being a symbiont within me. An animal that lives within my body that controls how much I eat. It might be an incredibly DUMB animal with only one hundred million neurons in its “brain,” but it is a STRONG animal. It can take control of me when I least expect it.

How can I retrain the beast within me? How can I make it understand that I want to be thin? It’s not like I can just sit down and have a little conversation with the animal inside of me. I have to train it like a dog to do what I want instead of what it wants.

Tune in tomorrow for some ideas on how to retrain the beast within all of us.


My Symbiont Part 1 of 3

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Back in February, I had a nasty case of food poisoning. It was like my digestive tract was at war with the rest of my body. I was hungry, but anything I ate was immediately expelled (from both sides). I could feel my entire digestive tract complain in pain from my throat to my colon.

In my fevered state, I imagined my digestive tract to be a completely other being inside of me just like the Trill in Star Trek. This portion of the episode, The Host, explains very quickly about the Trill:

The Trill are a joined species with a host and a symbiont. When Odon’s host body was injured in an attack, Dr. Crusher must implant the symbiont into Commander Riker. The symbiont controls Riker’s body and both consciousnesses live in the body together. Odon makes Riker do things that he normally wouldn’t do, like kiss Beverly Crusher.

Digestive SystemIn my fevered state, I realized that I have a symbiont: my digestive tract.

According to Wikipedia, my digestive system has a huge array of nerves that control it called the enteric nervous plexus. It has as many as 100,000,000 neurons. Now, that’s only a thousandth of the neurons that we have in our brains, but still, that’s a lot of brain matter for stomach.

So, my symbiont is like an animal inside of me. For all I know, long ago, we used to be two animals and now we exist as one, just like the Trill in Star Trek. With only one hundred million neurons, it’s a pretty DUMB animal, though.

After a couple of months of considering myself a joined species, I’ve had a few revelations. Tune in tomorrow to read all about them.


How To Set Up Edibles To Work With Weight Watchers

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

How To Set Up Edibles To Work With Weight Watchers by LauraMoncur from FlickrI have been looking for a good iPhone application to keep track of my Weight Watchers Points for a long time. Weight Watchers Online has a page that works with the iPhone, but it is SEVERELY lacking in usability, so I kept looking.

Back when I had a Palm Treo, I used to keep track of my points using WWCalc. It was a GREAT program, but Weight Watchers shut them down. I used to wish that the programmer would alter his program so that it could just keep track of anything and allow me to put a formula of my own in it. That is EXACTLY what Edibles has done for me.

You can download Edibles for your iPhone here:

Here is a detailed guide to setting up Edibles to work with Weight Watchers: (more…)


Antioxidant Showdown: Hershey’s Vs. An Apple

By Laura Moncur @ 9:07 am — Filed under:

Hershey's Extra Dark ChocolateI am just about sick of chocolate bar companies bragging about the antioxidant power of chocolate. I got a promotional email from Hershey’s and The Best Life. Bob Greene has teamed up with Hershey’s to promote their Extra Dark Chocolate bars as approved foods.

They are promoting the chocolate as some great food for health:

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Hershey®’s Extra Dark Chocolate has become the first chocolate bar to earn the respected Best Life Treat Seal of Approval. Designed by renowned health and fitness expert Bob Greene, the Best Life Treat Seal is awarded to products that have a nutrition edge over products in their class and are available in portion sizes of 150 calories or fewer. The Treat Seal appears on select grocery products and is intended to help consumers make healthier food and lifestyle decisions.

The criterion for the Best Life Treat Seal is that it should be available in portion sizes of 150 calories or fewer. Let’s look at the nutrition facts for the candy bar, shall we?

Hershey's Extra Dark Nutrition Facts

For three squares of the candy bar (most bars have several servings), it’s 210 calories, so the Hershey bar fails the bare minimum requirement for The Best Life.

But what about those magical antioxidant properties of chocolate?

The most important antioxidants are beta carotene (provitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and proanthocyanidin (or procyanidin). Of these, chocolate has only procyanidin, or Vitamin P as it is starting to be called. If you look at the nutrition facts, Hershey’s has no Vitamin A or C. The other three antioxidants aren’t listed on the nutrition facts label.

Chocolate is known to have procyanidin, but it is by no means the highest in that antioxidant. That award goes to black chokecherries, but they are a little difficult to find at your local grocery store. A granny smith apple, however, is VERY easy to find. How does it compete against Hershey’s?

Granny Smith Apple Nutrition FactsA medium apple is only 80 calories, has 2% of the Vitamin A and 20% of the vitamin C you need for the day. It also doesn’t show how much procyanidin it has, but considering that there is zero fat and five grams of fiber, the apple beats Hershey’s hands down.

To me, The Best Life Food Partners just seems like a marketing ploy to sell you processed food. Here is the fine print from their website:

Best Life Partners benefit from use of the “Best Life approved” seal, as well as integrated book content and web site mentions, banner advertising, tour sponsorships and some of the most coveted national and local broadcast media coverage around. We are always looking for great food, fitness, apparel and wellness companies to partner with.

It all makes me a little angry, actually. Now I feel like I can’t trust Bob Greene…

For more information about antioxidants and procyanidin:


Primal Workout: Trick Your Body Into Getting Thin

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I’ve been reading up on The Gabriel Method and trying out his ideas to see if they work.

Jon Gabriel

I’m still not finished reviewing his plan, but I have found ONE very important idea in everything he says. It is possible to trick your body into getting thin by giving it positive stress.

One of those positive stresses is exercise. We need to convince our bodies that they need to be thin so we can outrun the predators or fight them off if we’re cornered. In his book, Jon Gabriel talks about a time when he was riding his bike. A vicious dog started chasing him, nipping at his heels. It took over a minute to shake off the dog and after he had pedaled himself away, he felt more vitality than he had felt all day.

The idea is to envision that we are in danger during an interval workout. Whether we are running, walking or riding a bike, it can be difficult to imagine that a pack of dogs are at our heels when the treadmill is steadily keeping its pace. Even if I boot the speed up for a minute, it’s kind of hard to materialize blood thirsty animals at my heels.

Sid Vicious: Demon DogThen I remembered that I live with one…

My dog, Sid, has never been vicious with me, but every day, he turns into an panicked lunatic. It happens Monday through Saturday between 9:30 am and 11:00 am. He starts barking and beating himself against the front door each morning the mail carrier delivers our mail.

So I set my audio recorder right next to the door and recorded his barking. After a couple of days’ worth of screeching at our postal worker, I was able to compile the recordings into an MP3 that is a little over a minute long. I’ve set this MP3, called Primal Reaction, as my Power Song on my Nike+. Every few minutes, I set the treadmill to the highest speed I can maintain for one minute, hold down the middle button for three seconds and the sound of five dogs barking at my heels gets my heart rate up faster than running on the treadmill could possibly do. It really sets off my flight response.

You can download it here:

Wii BoxingI’ve also been exercising with Wii Boxing. Despite the cartoony feel of my opponents, I have found that if I truly pretend that the guy wants to hit me, I get that adrenaline surge from the workout. Wii Boxing was the only section of Wii Sports that got my heart rate into the cardio zone, but I can keep boxing opponents for a twenty minute workout and by the time I’m done I’m sweating, breathing heavily and all wound up. It truly sets off my fight response.

When it comes to fight or flight, we humans have been at the top of the food chain for so long that it’s only natural that our bodies have been convinced that it’s safer to be fat than thin. Especially since we go on diets and impose a famine on them every January, our bodies are trying to hold onto the fat so that we don’t starve to death. A few primal workouts every week just might be enough to convince our bodies that it’s more important to be fast and strong. Maybe we can trick our bodies into making us thin so we can run away or fight ourselves out of sticky situations. That’s the whole goal of a primal workout.

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