Friday, April 13, 2012


I recently threatened to rejoin Weight Watchers again, but this time on my own terms. I would follow Paleo principles as closely as possible and take advantage of the weekly weigh in for accountability, as well as the psychological training you get at the group meetings. I would use the PointsPlus as a surrogate for calorie counting, as that is clearly important for losing weight.

So I actually did it. I rejoined. Then I quit a couple of days later. Why? My new dietary philosophy is, simply, incommensurable with Weight Watchers. The new PointsPlus system penalizes foods that are high in carbs and fat and rewards you for eating foods high in protein and high in fiber. Which means Weight Wathcers would penalize most of the foods I would eat, as they tend to be high fat and low fiber.* See Weight Watchers' CEO David Kirchoff's explanation for the new points system.

So they are still fat phobic and have deep faith in the health benefits of fiber, which is disappointing. They recognize that refined carbs are perhaps not so healthy and that is a good thing.  But then they offer tools like a bar code scanner for your smart phone that will tell you how many points there are per serving in packaged foods. Real food does not usually come with a bar code. And the thought of eating skinless chicken breasts and canned tuna fish (high protein and low fat) in order to get the most out of my points was not appealing. They still list canola and other seed oils as "healthy" and promote non-fat products such as fat-free yogurt.

But what really sealed the decision to quit was that the first item I looked up in their data base, coconut oil, was not even listed. That's when I remembered the word "incommensurable" from my philosophy of science studies. We are talking about competing world views and it just isn't possible to mesh them together. It's a bit like trying to get an evangelical Christian to mesh her/his beliefs with Mormonism. It just ain't gonna happen.

*I have nothing against fiber, but believe it should come from whole fruits and vegetables, not ground psyllium husks added to packaged foods. I also do not think it prevents heart disease and cancer.

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