I have a love/hate relationship with counting points. Mostly, I love it and my girlfriend hates that I love it so much because I’m always analyzing what she’s eating! No, that’s a lie… well, a half lie. She does feel that way, but I always end up hating it too. I get too meticulous and calculator-like and turn into a living, breathing, points counting robot for weeks at a time. Then, I forget my stupid little weekly points book on the kitchen table one day and all of a sudden I’m about to eat lunch at a restaurant and I have no way of figuring out how many points I’ll be ingesting in the not-so-distant future and how that will affect the rest of my day and what the HELL am I supposed to do for dinner if I go over my points and WHOOSH. I implode. See how my crazy obsessive A.D.D. brain works when an insignificant, yet vastly crucial point counting system is introduced as a regular guest? My eyes go crossed and I start to drool (thinking about chocolate cake, most likely) and I find it very hard to get onto the point-counting bandwagon again.
This has not happened yet. It’s only been six days, though, so give it time. I’d like to stave off that day as long as possible and because of the wonders of modern technology and my skillz as a fancy schmancy “data curator” for Wolfram|Alpha, I’ve found some helpful tools to turn to when my little gold book has escaped me. Believe me, I want to keep that implosion from happening as long as humanly possible!
The first tool I found was actually shown to me by a colleague and fellow Wolfram WW participant. It’s called “Weight Watcher Wiki” – http://www.wikiweightwatcher.com/. It’s fantastic! And one of the best parts about it is that I was able to reach it on my Blackberry when I was at a restaurant trying to figure out the points for what I’d just eaten (and then I almost fell out of my seat after actually seeing the amount of points I’d just had!). It has a point calculator, a list of restaurants by name and a list of foods by type. I have found it tremendously helpful! When I think about what I want to make for dinner, I go here to look up the ingredients and figure out what the points would be. The breakdown is very easy to understand and the whole website in general is really user-friendly. For example, the first time I used it was while trying to figure out the breakdown of a Jimmy John’s sandwich. It listed each sandwich and it’s points, but then it also listed a breakdown of all the ingredients. I was able to figure out that if I did NOT put mayo on my sandwich, I’d save myself 6.5 points! HOLY COW! Needless to say, I did not have mayo that day. I now have this site bookmarked.
Another super helpful site is the one I work for, Wolfram|Alpha – www.wolframalpha.com. It’s a computational knowledge engine which means that instead of merely pulling up a list of websites where you can find information on your query… it actually computes it right there in front of you! How has this been helpful? Let’s say you’re interested in the nutritional information for a cup of chocolate chips (baking or devouring… both are things I’ve done). You’ll get a nutrition breakdown similar to the nutrition facts on a bag or box showing you everything that’s in it based on the serving size that you set. It also gives you assumptions. Maybe you meant dark chocolate chips? Click on that assumption! Maybe you live in Europe or Canada and you don’t use our measurements in the US. Click on “Canadian cups” or “metric cups”. See how easy it can be?? I use W|A constantly for nutrition facts and recipe conversions.
Another one of the useful tools that W|A supplies are these things called “Widgets”. There are all sorts of them! You can link to them, embed them in different webpages, or just use them at your leisure. I created one a few weeks ago that does unit conversions. It’s super helpful when I find a recipe I like, but the units are all in grams or ounces and I only have one clean tablespoon! I just quickly fill everything in, press the “Convert me!” button and it will convert it right there for me. You can reach these by going to – http://developer.wolframalpha.com/widgets/. I haven’t gotten around to embedding some on this blog yet, but I will soon! You can also create some of your own.
There’s a world full of online resource out there for us to use as Weight Watchers foodies; we just have to find them. I’ve found a few and I hope that they help you all in your journey. They’ve certainly helped me so far! Each little tool makes it just a bit easier and keeps me further away from that impending implosion due to built up point counting anger. Who knows, maybe with all these helpful tools, that implosion might not be “impending” after all! It’s hard to break myself of old habits. Sheesh, how many quotations are out there about that whole mess? But there’s a lot more of them with positive messages. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Where there’s a Weight Watchers, there’s at least three different food stores. Where there’s a carbohydrate, there’s my girlfriend’s fork. Where there’s cake, there’s my fork. But where there’s helpful tools for healthy living, there’s a better chance of success!