Wednesday, 18 May 2005
The Points Vs. Satiety Game
There are lots of games you can play with weight loss. One is, How Many of The Foods I’ve Always Eaten Can I Eat and Still Lose Weight? I suspect players of this game may have originated the recipes for mac ‘n cheese made with fat-free cheese, and sugar-free-fat-free-frozen-chocolate-ice-milk. Another popular game is Beat-the-Scale. Players of this game vie to see how much clothing they can remove before weigh-in without getting arrested for indecent exposure. Note: players in the northern latitudes should exercise caution when playing this in the winter months. Advanced players have been known to forgo food and water on weigh-in day.
I have a game I play with weight loss, the Points Vs. Satiety Game. The challenge is to see how full I can get while consuming a minimal number of calories or points. Eating foods like zero-point-veggie-soup, taco soup, roasted mixed veggies, and oatmeal scores high. Foods like Smart Ones Double Fudge Brownie Parfait, BigMacs, and even pretzel sticks score low. A croissant and a 5? oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast both have 5 points. But I score higher at the Points Vs. Satiety Game by choosing the chicken.
The prize for winning at this game is losing weight without being hungry.
Advanced players learn to watch for traps. For instance, a cup of cooked spaghetti or a large (7 oz) baked potato with 2 tablespoons lite sour cream; which scores higher? They both have 4 points, but the potato leaves me feeling fuller, so it scores higher. A cup of brown rice and a cup of white rice both have 4 points, but the brown rice fills you up more. But, surprise, a 4 oz. lean steak may beat them both. Fresh oranges score pretty high, too. A large orange is just 1 point, and that’s going to leave you feeling fuller than 1/4 cup of spaghetti or rice.
If you’d like to play this game, but you’re a beginner, here’s a tip: choose foods from the Core food list (you don’t have to be on Core to do this); they are pre-selected to score high at this game.
Wednesday, 26 January 2005
The Fullness Factor
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks, but somehow the thoughts just don’t want to gel. It’s about the way I think about the foods I eat, and how that’s changed since I started WW.
See, I love a bargain. So, right from the start, I’ve looked for points bargains. Krispy Kreme donut for 5 points? Not interested. Give me half a cup of fat-free chocolate frozen yogurt for 2 points. It’s such a bargain. Lean Cuisine chicken chow mein, lunch for only 4 points, a bargain. Forty-eight pretzel sticks, only 2 points, a bargain.
The problem is, chocolate frozen yogurt, Lean Cuisine chicken chow mein, and pretzel sticks don’t fill you up very much. And they made me feel like I was on a diet. Because I was often hungry, I began filling in around the corners with vegetables. Zero-point vegetable soup (a REAL bargain) along with my Lean Cuisine. Baby carrots. Maybe, egad, even an apple. And I began to notice that I wasn’t as hungry when I ate those.
Now, one reason I was looking for all those point bargains was so that I could eat a more “normal” dinner. Read: with rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, a little serving of veggies, and a piece of meat. But because I was hungry, the veggie servings started to get larger, and pretty soon it was two different veggies (because how much cabbage can you eat at one sitting, really?). And sometimes it was corn or a sweet potato instead of pasta or potatoes. And I noticed I wasn’t nearly as hungry when I did that. Even the next day.
Slowly, my idea of what constitutes a bargain has changed. It’s not just about how few points a food has. It’s about how full you get for the points you spend on it. A bowl of salad is very low points, and makes you feel like you’re eating something, but it doesn’t fill me up. Same for a sugar-free Jello cup. A baked sweet potato or a yogurt cup may have more points, but when I eat them, they fill me up more.
Now my idea of a bargain is how full I can feel for how few points. I think of it as the “fullness factor” of the food. By that definition, baked sweet potatoes are a great bargain. I never liked brown rice all that much, but I started eating it because it left me feeling fuller, i.e., it has a higher fullness factor. And now I find I like the taste. I used to begrudge the points I had to spend on milk in order to get in my daily servings. But milk really fills me up a lot for the points, so now it seems like a real bargain.
I’ve started experimenting with new foods to try to find ones that have a high fullness factor. Like I’ve started to eat couscous pretty often. Beans. I’ve always liked beans, but they seemed pretty high in points. But they have a very high fullness factor, so now I think they’re a bargain.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the foods with a high fullness factor tend to be whole foods, that is, less processed. And often (but not always) they’re high in fiber. Sometimes, adding a teaspoon of olive oil (or other fat) to a food will increase its fullness factor. For me, a baked potato with a tablespoon of lite sour cream has a much higher fullness factor than one without. That makes it worth the extra points.
Finally, I noticed that many of the foods on the Core food list are the same ones I’ve found to have a high fullness factor. Ding! The light bulb comes on. I’m guessing that that’s how people can be on Core without overeating: those foods fill them up. I think I’m edging toward trying Core, but I’m not quite ready yet. But I have been browsing the Core food list for ideas, and while I’m still on Flex, I’m spending a lot more of points on Core foods. I think I will keep adding more Core foods in place of non-Core ones, partly because it works, partly so that the transition won’t seem so drastic, and partly to get DH used to the idea that this is “normal” eating.
I find I have a lot fewer of those “hungry days”; you know, where you eat everything in sight, but you’re still hungry. And it doesn’t feel like being “on a diet,” somehow, but more like just eating a healthy diet. And it seems more like, not only something I COULD do for a lifetime, but even something I might WANT to.
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