First off, here’s what we had for dinner last week, complete with links to recipes in my cookbook. An asterisk (*) indicates recipes we tried for the first time:
Monday: Grilled chicken sandwiches and Baby Red Potato Salad
Tuesday: leftover grilled chicken sandwiches and Baby Red Potato Salad
Wednesday: Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Sauce* and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Friday: THANKSGIVING, Part 2
Saturday: Chicken Cacciatore with Red Pepper Tomato Sauce and Parmesan Polenta
Sunday: Leftover Chicken Cacciatore with Red Pepper Tomato Sauce and Parmesan Polenta
Treat Monday: Mom’s Chocolate Fudge
Now for more fun stuff:
Weight Watchers launched a new system today called PointsPlus. Instead of considering calories, fat and fiber when determining the points value of food, they now consider all of the macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber. Notice that calories are missing from the new formula. The goal is to encourage healthier choices, while discouraging consumption of processed foods. It's also to take into account the way our bodies process nutrients - it takes more energy to process protein than sugar, so foods with higher protein content, like chicken, are worth less points than before.
I really like the sound of this new approach. This semester, I have been taking a Human Nutrition class and I've learned a great deal about macro (and micro) nutrients, how the body processes foods and what each nutrient can do in the body. While I already knew much of the information thanks to Weight Watchers and a general interest in the subject, I learned a lot that I didn't know about what too much or too little of certain nutrients can do in the body.
For example - did you know that food that naturally contains cholesterol doesn't necessarily raise your cholesterol? When you eat food that naturally contains cholesterol (like shellfish), your liver responds by producing less cholesterol, thereby balancing out the scales, so to speak. However, when you eat food that is high in saturated fat, your liver produces more cholesterol to process the fats, raising your overall cholesterol. So go indulge in some cholesterol-rich shellfish. It's okay!
I'm a good example of why Weight Watchers revamped the points system. Why? Because I've been eating a lot of VitaTops lately. Under the old system, VitaTops had one point a piece. One point for a sweet, cakey, chocolaty treat that, while loaded with vitamins, is also exactly the type of processed food I should be reconsidering. But one point is so low! Contrast that with the points value of a banana - under the old system, a banana had 2 points. Why on Earth would I choose a 2 point banana over a one point chocolate snack cake? I didn't. I opted for the food that was lower in points, but not as natural. I was opting again and again for a processed food over a natural food. And I think that's why I've been at a plateau for over three months.
Under the new system, all fruits, including bananas, are "free" - that is, they have zero points. And that VitaTop I like so much? It's now worth three points, because it's loaded with carbohydrates and has very little protein. So while I have a mini-surplus of VitaTops that will be staying in my freezer for a while, I am stocking up on fruits that I love - like red grapes, mangoes, bananas, kiwi, berries, etc. - and will be indulging in them more than ever.
I'm really excited about the new system, because I think it will help get me out of the rut I've been in weight-wise. But it also means that I have to recalculate the points values for all of my recipes. For now, all points, unless otherwise marked as PointsPlus, were calculated under the old system.
The goals for this week are to get acquainted with the new system, to try to stay within the allotted points, and to get my ass on my exercise bike at least three times this week. I started off right by getting up early this morning and going for 22 minutes. There's some truth to the notion that if you pretend to be what you want to be, you will eventually become that person. I'm going to try it out by pretending I'm an athletic person who loves exercising. We'll see how that goes.