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Apr 13, 2002 10:39 PM

Weight Watchers: moving thread from LA Board

  • j

Yep--you can be a WW and a Chowhound--it's not an oxymoron. I just have to be judicious about my points. I watch portion size and increase my exercize before and after Chowhound experiences. In fact the reason I'm a WW and not on any other "diet" is I CAN still be a Chowhounder.

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  1. So, are you seeing results with WW?

    I've been struggling with the battle between my 'houndish tendencies and my ballooning waistline. I'm getting a little desperate, here.

    My plan is to reduce portions and increase exercise. Just can't stand the idea of having forbidden foods. But maybe some extra support, a la WW, would help?


    6 Replies
    1. re: Oopsie Daisy

      "Just can't stand the idea of having forbidden foods."
      That's why I'm in Weight Watcher's--there are no forbidden foods. WW is a pain--you do have to weigh and measure and count points but I'll endure it so I can also be a Chowhound (within reason). I can't bear the thought of eating frozen prescribed food, drinking my meals, giving up entire food groups. So that leaves Weight Watcher's. Give it a try. Good luck and bon appetit.

      1. re: jenniferfishwilson

        Sold! I just enrolled in the online program.

        So far, I actually like using the online food journal, and fiddling with the "points" calculators. Seems like a very useful way to raise my portion-awareness quotient.

        Thanks, all.

        1. re: Oopsie Daisy

          I don't think you'll be sorry you started on the program. I lost 20 pounds three years ago and have kept it off. I'm under my goal weight right now, so I can cut myself some slack. I don't formally count and record points anymore but I'm still mindful of what I eat. That's been the most valuable thing I took away from the program, the sense of awareness.

      2. re: Oopsie Daisy

        yes, decrease the proportions and exercise more. that is the only thing that is proven to work long term (except, oh maybe a crack addiction, but doesn't that force you to reduce portions?) for keeping the weight off. For example, one serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. this means you will need to eat more vegetables and fruits and grains than you may be eating now. Grains should actually be the base of your diet, whole wheat bread (check the label and make sure its not dark because of coloring added) oats millet and barley are good things to start with.
        best of luck,

        1. re: Oopsie Daisy

          I had great results with WW: lost 18 pounds in 12 weeks to get from chubby to reasonably slim. Between the WW cookbooks and Cooking Light magazine, I've found plenty of delicious, chowhound-worthy dishes to fill out the menu. And, I must confess, I generally go entirely off-program one night a week. Either the missus and I go out for a nice dinner or we go over to friends' for dinner: in either case, I just try to eat less than I would have back in my pre-WW days and toe the line the rest of the week. As I said, so far it's worked fantastically for me.

          For snacking, I've grown quite fond of

          --grilled whiting fillets, usually sprinkled with Tony Chachere Cajun seasoning or Old Bay
          --shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce (shrimp are incredibly low cal)
          --Rice Chex
          --Turkey burgers (WW recipe, very good!)
          --cooked spinach
          --egg white omelettes
          --Chinese corn and crab chowder
          --avolegmono soup
          --Greek salad (with a from the Cooking Light Cookbook that's low in olive oil yet surprisingly good)

          Good luck!

          1. re: Tom from NC

            Congrats on your success. I'll share a recent discovery about shrimp. Try them steamed! I was going to make a dish calling for shrimp and intended to just taste taste them before moving to the next step (as I had always "boiled" them before, including the whole high seasoning bit). They were so wonderfully sweet, I abandoned the meal I had planned and had the steamed shrimp au natural. Even cocktail sauce (which I love) would have been heretical.

        2. So, jenniferfishwilson (and any other Hounds), it begs the question: what are your foods, recipes, tips, tricks, strategies for eating WW-friendly yet maintaining your Chowhound stripes?

          I for one would be lost without the following:

          Silhouette Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches
          frozen yogurt
          Laughing Cow low fat cheeses
          Trader Joe's black bean dip
          sparkling water
          Orowheat "lite" whole wheat bread
          whole wheat pitas
          Lean Cuisine french bread pizza

          Some of which I would not have touched with a ten foot pole previous to WW.

          I eat reeeeeeeally sparingly (egg white on slice of toast, salad, raw veggies, frozen yogurt kinda stuff) throughout the day so I can gorge myself on a "real meal" at dinner. It maintains my food sanity.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Lisa Bee

            Where would we be without Skinny Cow?! (Sometimes I wonder if they lie about the points.) And Pirate's Booty was the perfect low point snack food until they increased the fat and lowered the fiber.

            My other favorites:
            Santa Fe Farms Chocolate Chip Cookies: 2 cookies/1 pt
            Trader Joe's Cat Cookies: 15 (!!)/2 points
            TJ Savory Thin Mini Crackers: 37(!!)/barely 3 pts
            TJ Tzatziki: 2 Tbs/1 pt
            TJ Eggplant Hummous: 2 Tbs/0 (really)
            TJ Mini Pita: 1/1 pt
            TJ Reduced Fat Greek Salad: 3 pts
            TJ Shrimp Louis Salad (skip the dressing): 4 pts
            Eggbeaters: 1/2 cup/1 pt (prefer to mix w/ real eggs)
            Kashi: 3/4 cup/1 pt
            Sushi: 4 pieces/2 pts

            And waterwaterwaterwaterwaterwaterwaterwaterwaterwater

            I grill a lot of fish, chicken breasts, vegetables: marinade, spray with olive oil, grill.

            (It goes without saying--stay away from those awful Weight Watchers/Healthy Choice/Lean Cuisine frozen meals.)

            And then to reward myself for being such a good WW I slip into a telephone booth and become SuperChowhound!

            1. re: jenniferfishwilson
              Caitlin Wheeler

              I live by laughing cow cheese. I eat it every morning on Freihofer's light 100% wheat bread. (Freihofer's is the only brand of light bread I've found that tastes like wheat bread). Skinny cows are also good, though I find myself eating far too many. Other standbys:

              Sushi. I eat a lot of sushi.
              Pho. (2 pts per cup!)
              Asian inspired coleslaw -- coleslaw mix with rice
              vinegar and fresh grated ginger
              Quaker Corn Bran -- like Captain Crunch, only better
              for you.
              Baked Sweet potatoes
              Homemade meringues.
              Turkeyburgers, without buns, but with srirachi chili

              1. re: Caitlin Wheeler

                Thanks, Caitlin. I'm going to buy Laughing Cow and Freiofer today.
                I could eat pho morning, noon and night. I'm curious--how did you calculate points? Wouldn't it depend on what's in it?

                1. re: jenniferfishwilson
                  Caitlin Wheeler

                  I'm doing the online program (which I much prefer to meetings, and it's cheaper) The online food database has an entry for Vietnamese beef noodle soup. And the point value given is 2 points per cup. So I don't quibble. The difference in ingredients is probably quite small -- the amount of meat used per cup is pretty small, and I've never had pho with greasy stock.

                  1. re: Caitlin Wheeler

                    Great--now I'm going to add pho to my WW favorites list. Went shopping today for your Freihofers Light 100% Wheat bread but couldn't find it. Any idea where it's from?
                    Re meetings: I agree--most WW leaders are painful to listen to. My leader is an exception--she was named #1 leader in US (and Fergie came to California to present her award).

                    1. re: jenniferfishwilson

                      I'll have to try Freihofers...I usually get Orowheat Lite (.5 pt per slice) and it's "fine." Especially once I slather it with Laughing Cow and a fried egg white! (In general, tho, I'm much more fond of TJ's whole wheat handmade torillas or pita bread - God bless TJ'S!)

                      I'm a big fan of noodle soups, especially Pho. At home I make soba with ginger, mushrooms and bok choy, sometimes in a mushroom or chicken broth, as a main course or alongside fish. Really fast and low in pts.

                      BTW, for those of you who do WW online, how do you handle the weekly weigh in? I find that coming eye to eye with the scale keeps in me in line and wonder if I would maintain my willpower without it...?

                      1. re: Lisa Bee

                        "In general, tho, I'm much more fond of TJ's whole wheat handmade torillas or pita bread - God bless TJ'S!"
                        Speaking of Godblesstraderjoe's tortillas I just discovered their "Low fat mild Truly Handmade Sund Dried Tomato and Bahanero Tortillas". Very tasty! Like their handmade corn tortillas too.

                        1. re: jenniferfishwilson

                          Ooooh, and have you tried the black bean dip in a jar? Spicy goodness. I like it spread over toasted pita "chips"....

                      2. re: jenniferfishwilson

                        Who is that leader? (#1 in the US) I'm curious - I have an inkling that it might be one I go to when I'm at home but am not sure...

                        Happy WW-ing!

                        1. re: seadrifter

                          Mary Anne Bennedetti--in Concord and Pleasanton or Danville. We'll have to go to a meeting together! (And be Chowhounds afterwards).

            2. d
              Dan Sonenberg

              I've changed the subject line because the Weight Watchers post reminded me of a post I've been wanting to make. What follows is inspired by, but not in direct response to the WW thread.

              One sensibility I've often detected on this site (a site I dearly love) is that chowhounding is necessarily equated with reckless disregard for nutritional concerns. The general sentiment implied goes something like this:

              A night of good chowhounding leaves one reduced to immobility, clutching his/her stomach with pain;

              In traditionally oily cuisines (say, Indian (yes I know that covers a rather large range of cuisines, not all of which are oily!)) it is unchowhoundlike to wish for a lighter, less oily preparation (if you don't like the oil, choose another cuisine, or stick to boring American)

              Vegetarian/Health Conscious = Boring/Bland

              I often wonder why the full gastronomic experience, which in my mind includes how you feel not only before and during, but after your meal, isn't taken into account. For me there's nothing better than eating the world's most delicious meal (spicy, exotic, super fresh) and feeling physically perfect afterwards, not too full, no heart racing sugar rushes, just right.

              Please don't get me wrong, I'm no puritan. There are unhealthy pleasures I can't resist, and I sometimes (often, actually) exhibit gluttony. Nonetheless, I have never seen my chowhound self and my health-conscious self to be completely at odds with one another. I love finding new and exciting foods, at new and exciting locations (or in my kitchen), and I enjoy considering their nutritional value. For me the ultimate chowhound find is a dish/snack/whatever that transports me while I'm eating it, and leaves me happy (yet mobile) when it's gone.

              Clearly such a dish is pretty tough to come by. But I say its pursuit is fully chowhoundish. I'm tired of feeling like a second class chowhound because I don't eat meat and I yearn (here in Astoria) for a good health food store! (Or better yet...a good garden).

              Am I the only one who feels this way?

              9 Replies
              1. re: Dan Sonenberg

                This is a most interesting question. The dialectics of Chowhounding. As a once fervent vegetarian – during my days of a studious yoga practice and a heightened, some would say Draconian, sensitivity to the after effects of food – I am now firmly in the abandon-all-restraint camp of the carnivorous Chowhounder. And yet…something disturbs. There are far too many a night spent laying awake pondering the unholy bouillabaisse that churns in my mid-section. Many a resolve has been declared from a night spent tossing and turning from the riches consumed, seemingly in joy, only hours earlier. What to do, what to do?

                Well, I am sympathetic to your desire to seek that perfect state of samadhi, of balance between desire and restraint, pleasure and foresight, indulgence and intelligence, and yet methinks you are seeking too much balance in the end. There’s the old saying that for a man who head is in the freezer and whose feet are on fire, he is on the whole comfortable. Although this phrase is often used to assert that extremes are to be avoided, and are not an accurate indicator of overall well being, I actually think that, strangely, it is the inverse use of this phrase that applies to the true Chowhounder. It is precisely the well-chosen, balls-to-the-wall indulgence that makes for the truly satisfying gustatory experience, tomorrow morning be damned! Believe me, I respect your goal. I am someone who likes to exercise everyday, whether it means running 5 miles, lifting weights, practicing yoga or playing basketball and I well know how over-indulgence can interfere with such an avocation, but at the same time, the effort to avoid such compromised functioned finally compromises Chowhounding itself. I suppose it comes down to the old "there’s a time and a place" philosophy; for me, I need to obey my Chowhounding impulses, in full, at least a couple of nights a week (mind you, I make a serious commitment to those other nights, but in a different, more delicate way; with salads, and herbs and fish, rather that with steak, bread and wine).

                I am cautioned against living a life doled out in "measured spoons", wherein each meal must be as balanced as the next. I seek an overall balance, and that means a tremendous variety from one night to the next. And sometimes, you just have to say "What the f***!" (I hope I haven’t just terribly dated myself with reference to one of the few good films starring the feckless-turned-soulful Tom Cruise). But, I really mean it – how terrible to eat every, single meal with a concern for how you’ll feel tomorrow. I admire your value on an over-all sense of well-being, and share that state of affairs as a goal, but that doesn’t preclude the blowouts when the rules are dashed altogether and true indulgence may be enjoyed with fellow, like-minded souls.


                1. re: Fidelixi
                  Dan Sonenberg

                  An interesting reply - and fun to read! But...

                  "Well, I am sympathetic to your desire to seek that perfect state of samadhi, of balance between desire and restraint, pleasure and foresight, indulgence and intelligence, and yet methinks you are seeking too much balance in the end. "

                  Au contraire. I was not really advocating restraint, foresight, and intelligence. Well, maybe the latter two a little, but this is exactly the point I was making. As a chowhound, I crave the experience that fully satisfies desire, gives pleasure, and even feels like indulgence. I am not talking about fat free cookies, but fresh caught fish. Something so fantastic going down, and equally fantastic once it's there.

                  "I suppose it comes down to the old "there’s a time and a place" philosophy; for me, I need to obey my Chowhounding impulses, in full, at least a couple of nights a week "

                  There again, you confirm the sensibility I decry. Why are "chowhounding impulses" necessarily opposed to healthful ones? I need to obey MY chowhounding impulses EVERY day, EVERY meal. It's just that mine are calibrated somewhat differently.

                  "I am cautioned against living a life doled out in 'measured spoons', wherein each meal must be as balanced as the next. I seek an overall balance, and that means a tremendous variety from one night to the next."

                  Point taken. But I don't want measured spoons either, and I don't count calories, and don't combine eating with worry. I do, however, try to maintain some kind of awareness of what my body, and not just my tongue, crave. And it's true - sometimes it's just balls to the wall, tongue wins, and tomorrow be damned. But that's not my IDEAL chowhound experience, a place for it though there may be. I am against the ethos that equates healthful eating with self punishment. I have found the opposite is true. Sometimes, in the ostensible name of honorable gluttony and willful chounhoundery, I have found myself ingesting degrees or kinds of things beyond the limit of all reasonable desire. At these points I had ceased to obey the dictates of body OR tongue, and simply become mechanically submisive to some misguided inner creed...or perhaps I should say greed.

                  "But, I really mean it – how terrible to eat every, single meal with a concern for how you’ll feel tomorrow."

                  Agreed. But to tune your chowhounding instincts so that they crave simple, fresh, healthful foods is another story. Nothing, to me, tastes so good as fresh peas, just picked. I'll eat a bowl of them and rapture. Of course they're very hard to come by. But presented with the freshest of foods I come to understand butter, cream, salt, and sugar as ways to correct natural imperfection. Butter and salt can distract from the reality of a lousy ear of corn; glops of cheese can distract from the sting of a cynical, cardboard slice of pizza with canned sauce. Sugar can spruce up an insipid strawberry or grapefruit. This, to my mind, extends into the various arts of cooking. Too often these "indulgent" ingredients are used to hide the flaws in a dish's make-up. I'm not saying they should be banned, but simply that it is unchowhoundish (for me) to be duped by them. This is not to say that all meals should be steamed, or ice cream done away with (heaven forfend). Just that the nobility attached to interminable excess reflects, to mind mind, a misguided chowhoundology.

                  1. re: Dan Sonenberg

                    Great point by point dissection of what I had to say, and what it revealed to me what that I had indeed -- in my sated, late night stupor -- missed the point of what you were driving at in that first post: that you have a problem with the ethos and stated values of OTHER Chowhounds. You don't like the emphasis they put on a certain richness (by their standard, not yours) in their dining experience, and clearly, to your mind, veer into the gluttony for gluttony's sake territory. Seriously, I think it's an interesting observation well worth discussion but (and maybe you know this already) you seem completely resolved in your own balancing of opposing impulses, for example, and I suspect you're going to balk at this, Taste versus Responsibility (okay, so I loaded it on to make you seem priggish, I cheated). But, really, the line between contradictory impulses seems so crystal clear to you, and I applaud your sober and balanced walk through the world of desire and temptation but what I am left with is your desire to (gasp) reform self-avowed Chowhounds! And I do worry more personally about you -- are you being honest with yourself? Can you not see your own, dark and desirous self inside the bloated, pained and overstuffed stomach of each and every gluttonous chowhound? And, can't your unrestrained, foolhardy gastronomic Id see, inside each craven expression of "more...richer...butter...salt!" it's own mad ravings? In short, don't these poor souls deserve more compassion from those blessed with darshan from the Source of Food Balance Between Taste and Wisdom? I think it will prove to be far more effective to mount a campaign over many months, perhaps years, in which reform is sought. And the keyword will be subtle. Subtle, subtle, subtle. Try to mention in posts (perhaps in made-up dining experiences) that you felt " a little full, almost unpleasantly so" after eating. Don't push it. Go very slow at first. A little bit of this could go a long way to making better citizens of the community. In time, mountains may be moved.

                    I'm just giving you a hard time, and expressing my envy that you've graduated from the conflict that I find myself in all too frequently. And, I suppose, my sensitivity to it is heightened because I was once less tempted that I am today, or at least my rectitude held over many a night. And now, I would like to reform (myself) a bit, and thus am interested in the topic.

                    Thanks for the conversation!

                    1. re: Fidelixi
                      Dan Sonenberg


                      thank you too for the conversation! Indeed, if only I could entirely live the life I preach(!) I like your suggestions, but overall my complaint is that in these parts you tend to be written off as soon as you mention health. I wonder if anyone saw the other response to my initial post, which I assume the moderators mercifully deleted. I'll quote it here, in its entirety: "I think I'm gonna puke." That's the attitude I have sensed here in the past, and it's an attitude that assumes there is only one acceptable definition for "chowhound."

                      Your reasoned and thoughtful replies seem, to me, to argue intelligently and with depth for the chowhound orthodoxy while still allowing for alternative visions.

                      1. re: Dan Sonenberg

                        Being a chowhound is often a round-about way to achieve a healthy eating. Nutritionists stress the importance of a varied diet. We happily comply. I suspect that it's a rare hound that truly prefers all rich food all the time. Most of us eat lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meats in addition to our more decadent choices,

                        Organic and artisanal foods often taste better than their over-processed, additive sodden commercial equivalents and chowhounds are willing to spend the extra time and money to have the best. We tend to load up on garlic, hot chilis, and other spices--all of which have long- and short-term health benefits. Many of us also reap the nutritional dividends of red wine, green tea, and dark chocolate, to name only a few. We avoid a lot of the worst dietary fats, like palm oil and margarine because they taste bad.

                        1. re: Dan Sonenberg

                          Dan, thanks for a thoughtful piece. Clearly you're not eating (and reading along) with the San Francisco Bay Area community enough if you feel that only rich, fatty food defines chowhounding on this site. Come join us in the light.

                        2. re: Fidelixi

                          we are ultimately only responsible for our own actions in this world. And deeper than that it is the intention behind those actions that matters more. some people eat an unhealthful diet because they don't know any better (and there are many reasons for ignorance), some eat poorly because they are eating all they have, some because they really just don't care, and some don't even know this but may have grown accustomed to symbols of luxury as an everyday occurance.
                          Do not judge the eating of other people. Macrobiotic, Jenny Craig, Pesco Veg, anorexic, everybody is on their own journey and we can't draw the map for anyone else. I am only 20 and follow none of the eating things listed above, but i know folks who do, and believe it or not, they all serve a purpose that goes far beyond nourishing (or refusing to nourish) the human body. Food has a lot to do with a soul, which can only be known by the person lifting the fork, and maybe, maybe maybe by those closest to that person.
                          I can't remember what my point was when i started typing, hopefull all who read this will understand something about themselves or a friend that they didn't before.

                    2. re: Dan Sonenberg

                      may i say i have enjoyed READING this conversation! it is all so true: chowhounding (i believe) is the overall balance: the eating and enjoyment of all the beauty on the plate (preferably fresh, and completely balanced in seasoning or richness, etc...) and the satisfaction afterword of gastrointestinal joy without pain and guilt of gluttony. but on the other hand, on those indulging days, you know you've enjoyed the food while eating it, but things are not perfect and there is the uncomfortable flip side. excellent opinions! great conversation! thank you!

                      1. re: Dan Sonenberg

                        There is something life-affirming about the smell of garlic radiating from one's skin and a
                        feeling of having eaten and drank to our heart's content. Even though it may be
                        overeating, it is, in a sense, overliving and that is always good. The zest for food that can express itself through genuine indulgence can be the perfect antidote to the control and
                        Regulation that shadows us in so many areas.

                        I recently had an experience of complete and total absorption in a chowhound experience at an excellent Thai restaurant (Palms Thai in Los Angeles): There were many fabulous dishes, especially a fiery bowl of garlic beef; there were two guys tag-teaming soulful version of Bob Marley and John Lennon tunes on guitar; there was the exotic feel of the place. All of this and our quest for some adventure, made me feel damn good and then net result included some overeating, which I regret not at all.