Friday, February 18, 2011

Weight a minute

I've given up on Weight Watchers new PointsPlus program. I was following it diligently for 3 weeks and did not lose a single pound. Whereas before on the Points program I would have lost 3-6 pounds based on past experience. So I went to LoseIt!, a free online weight and food tracking program that you can also buy as an App on iPhone or iPod Touch. It's very popular and works strictly on calorie tracking. I'm still going to attend WeightWatchers to weigh in, because I don't have to pay once I'm back below 165. But I plugged my Weight Watchers tracking into LoseIt! and even though the WW PointsPlus value was the same each day, it could swing as much as 500 calories up or down per day. That's a huge difference considering 3500 calories in excess puts on 1 pound.

However, I have run into an unexpected challenge. I'd been alerted to the issue of inaccurate caloric information on food labels and restaurant nutrition guides by Dr. Freedhoff over at Weighty Matters. I took my boys out to Boston Pizza today. I always ask for their nutrition guide because, quite frankly, they have some pretty grim menu items as far as calories are concerned.

I ordered the Delicious Alternatives Chopped Chicken Salad, and because I felt like them, a side order of fries. My calorie budget per day is 1620 kcal. Thus, I try to aim for about 500 cal per meal, leaving a bit of wiggle room. My choices, according to the nutrition guide, put me at 530 cals. Perfect.

When my fries came, I knew something was up. It was a full-size dinner plate heaped to the ceiling with fries. I promptly split the plate in half and had the other half packed up. When I got home I did a little experiment and weighed the fries.

The nutrition guide puts a side order of BP fries at 157g with 250 calories. Actual weight served to me? Almost 300 grams. Just under double the serving size listed in the guide. Had I not noticed how large the serving was, or not known any better, I would have unwillingly consumed 250 extra calories. Ouch.

I guess it's a good thing in a way because it means their food isn't 100% standardized and prepackaged. But it still makes keeping under a daily calorie budget a little tough.

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