One of the things I love about modern technology is the ability I’ve had to reconnect and stay connected with so many people, near and far. One of the people I’ve reconnected with most recently is my friend Debi from college. She is what I consider to be a Weight Watchers Success Story. She has lost 70 pounds while on the program and is now a Weight Watchers Meeting Leader, helping other people meet the same success she has had on WW.
When she approached me last week about using our chili recipe for her upcoming WW meeting, and computing the WW points for it, I immediately said yes and asked her if she would share her findings as to how healthy the recipe actually was (it seemed healthy enough to me) when she finished. I asked her to be a guest blogger for today’s post. Tomorrow is the Superbowl and I thought it was important to remind everyone that the Superbowl is just one day, but diets are a day in and day out commitment. Don’t let one day throw you completely off the wagon. Here is Debi’s post. Thanks Debi!
Super Bowl – Beyond the Game: Let’s Talk Food!
Ah, the Super Bowl, what’s better than a day filled with football, friends and food? Of course, the day would be perfect if YOUR team won! I’m not so concerned with which team wins. I’m more interested in the game itself and how it’s played. I cheer when someone makes a good play and route for the underdog when they just can’t seem to get their act together.
With the Super Bowl just one day away, and not being concerned about the game, my focus here is on the food. I can’t help but think of all the extra calories that people across the country will be mindlessly consuming on game day.
While you’re hooting and hollering, do you ever stop and think why are you eating all those tortilla chips? Are you really hungry? Do you even know how many you’ve eaten? How many beers did you drink? Were you really thirsty? Better yet, do you even remember what the beer tasted like? Being mindful of what and how much we are eating usually takes a back seat to the excitement of the game.
But, it doesn’t have to play out this way.
A couple of years ago, I would have been one of those people mindlessly eating. However, after joining Weight Watchers and losing 70 lbs., I have a new perspective when it comes to food; even more so now that I am a Weight Watchers meeting room leader.
Earlier in the week when I started preparing for this week’s meeting, I immediately knew that the timing of this week’s topic was purposely planned to help members think about how to make better food choices during the Super Bowl. I remembered that Jen had posted a Chili recipe recently and asked her if I could borrow it to illustrate how making simple ingredient substitutions can make a dish healthier.
To help guide members’ weight loss, Weight Watchers assigns a numerical value called a PointsPlus Value (PPV) to all food and drinks. Combined with Weight Watchers’ proprietary, scientific formula, determining the PPV of a recipe requires you to know three things: the ingredients, the serving size and how many servings the recipe makes. Well, Jen posted the ingredients (refer to her Chili recipe posted on Jan. 27th), but when I asked her about the latter two, she admitted that she didn’t know.
After discussing the ingredients and comparing them to other similar recipes, we estimated that the Chili recipe makes approximately 24 – ¾ cup servings. Therefore, the Chili recipe calculates to 7 PPV per serving. By replacing the regular ground beef with either ground turkey or 95% lean ground beef, the PPV decreased to 5 PPV. However, this does not include the cheese (1/4 cup = 3PPV) or the sour cream (2 Tbsp = 1 PPV) that you put on top of it, or the tortilla chips (12 chips = 4 PPV) that you choose to have alongside it.
So, the Chili itself is relatively ‘low-cost’ item. But how many of you actually measure how much you are eating? And, is this the only thing that you will eat? If you documented what you actually ate and drank throughout the game, the quantity may surprise you. Also, how many of the recipes are made with lower-calorie or healthier ingredients versus the regular, full-fledged ingredients?
One of my members reported hearing that after Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is the second biggest eating day of the year. How much food do you eat during the ‘festivities’ compared to a ‘normal’ day of eating? Perhaps you never thought about that before, but it is never too late to start looking at food differently.
Weight Watchers has taught me how to WIN the food game regardless of the event, holiday or circumstances in which I find myself. Only eat when you are hungry, be aware of what and how much you are eating, and take control of your game!
Some final pointers to get ready for game day include:
- Sit or stand away from the food. Being closer to the food lends itself towards mindless picking. Stay farther away from it so you have to make a more conscious decision to go get the food if you want it.
- Practice portion control. Be mindful of the size and quantity of the servings you consume.
- Bring a healthier snack with you to the party. Modify your recipe with lower-calorie/fat ingredients. Or, choose to bring some fruit or vegetables that you can pick on.
- Drink wisely. Liquid calories add up quickly whether it’s from beer, wine or even regular soda. Choose lite beer, diet sodas or even water! Drinking water (even if in between each beer) will help keep you hydrated, keep you from mindless snacking and help you feel full so you don’t over indulge when you eat.
- Get into the game. Focus on the game and socializing with friends. The more time you spend watching the game and cheering, or groaning, the less time you’ll be eating.
We cannot control the outcome of the football game, so may the best team win! However, you can make healthier choices and control the outcome of your food game. Plan ahead and join the winning food team!
Good luck and enjoy the game!