Welcome to my new series of answers frequently asked questions about Weight Watchers! Today’s question? Can you eat too many ZERO point foods on Weight Watchers?
Before I tackle this question, I’ll give you a little background about me and how Weight Watchers has been in my life for the last 24 years! Yikes – that’s hard to believe its been that long!
My history with Weight Watchers
I’m not even sure what prompted me to walk into my first WW meeting. I know I was at my heaviest weight – 213 pounds and I’m only 5’2. I had a daughter who was 3 and my son was 1 – and keeping up with them was getting difficult and I wanted to be a good role model for them. Back then I was working part time, so I was able to go to my Wednesday morning meeting in the lower level of a park district building less than a 5 minute walk from my house.
I LOVED going to those meetings – although bringing 2 kids that didn’t want to stay still could get frustrating – LOL. I would pack a blanket and toys and hope for the best, however sometimes I had to leave early as to not disrupt the others attending the meeting.
The summer of 1999 is when I began WW and by the fall of 2000 I had lost 70 pounds! I attribute my success to following WW – tracking like a boss – and for the first half of my weight loss, the only exercise I did was walking -pushing a double stroller. As I started to lose more weight, I introduced Taebo. Anyone remember those VHS tapes with Billy Blanks?
Over the years – even when I haven’t gone to meetings – it’s always been in my back pocket and the techniques I’ve learned over the years have served me well. I’m confident that if I hadn’t had WW all this time – I could easily be much heavier!
What are zero point foods?
When you join WW, the first thing you do is answer a few questions. The number of points you get in a certain day are determined by your answers. You current weight, your age, if you are breastfeeding, if you are diabetic, what activity level you have. Everyone is given a list of zero point foods. That’s right – you can eat as much as you want and not track a point!
Weight Watchers purposefully makes a ton of foods zero points – and for good reason: it’s fruits and vegetables! Specifically non-starchy vegetables. Squashes, asparagus, greens, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, eggplant, endive, kale, mushrooms, onions, radishes to name a few.
Fruits can be apples, bananas, berries, canteloupe, watermelon, grapes, kiwi, mango, peaches, pears, starfruit, tangerines to name a few. (If you are diabetic, you have to count points for fruit).
Can you eat too many ZERO point foods on Weight Watchers?
I’m using myself as an example. Before WW, my diet was NOT filled with tons of fruits and veggies. A typical breakfast for me was a giant muffin by the bakery at my house (probably 20 points), lunch would be probably take out. If I didn’t bring my lunch, a go to was fried chicken strips and fries from the restaurant around the corner from my office (probably 40 points!). For dinner, I frequently made pasta, with Italian sausage, lots of garlic bread, and parmesan cheese on top. My serving was at least 2-3 portions (probably another 35 points) and lets not forget dessert – ice cream! (another 15 points)
So when WW says eat these zero point foods – it does a few things. It BULKS up your meals – and seeing a pile of food on my plate is much more satisfying than seeing a small portion. I add tons of vegetables to stir fry’s, in salads, eat them as a snack or munch on veggies while I’m making dinner. These zero point foods are high volume – low calorie foods – and they are super filling. So if you are filling your plate with zero point foods in addition to what you are eating, you will stay fuller longer, or even not feel like snacking in between meals because you are satisfied. Try my zero point Chicken tortilla soup!
The zero point foods are steering you in the right direction for nutrition and satiety. Before I joined Weight Watchers, I was a SUPER picky eater – I hardly liked any vegetables, didn’t snack on much fruits. I challenged myself to start trying new vegetables. Every week when I went to the grocery store, I would buy something I thought I hated, and figure out how to prepare it, and guess what? I liked a TON of vegetables!
Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone to widen your food palate. I assumed for the longest time, vegetables would never be my friend and today my shopping list is filled with my favorites: baby bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, bok choy, kale, green onions, apples, bananas, all berries.
What other zero point foods are there on Weight Watchers?
Protein! Chicken breast, 99% fat free ground chicken, ground turkey, tofu, beans, peas, lentils, fish and shellfish, fat free yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs!
By eating unlimited zero point foods, and you find the scale isn’t moving – you can then reevaluate and adjust the quantities if needed. My guess is that won’t be an issue. It’s the processed, fast food, sugary drinks, sweets that should be your concern, not fruits and veggies and lean proteins!
Aren’t fruits and vegetables expensive?
Grocery prices have skyrocketed over the last few years and many times people refuse to “eat healthy” because it’s too expensive. Here’s my argument against that. I never pick up a family sized bag of Doritos for $6.99 and say – “I’m not buying that!” so why would $5.00 bag worth of apples I would all of a sudden think that was too much to spend? Or if I’m tired at the end of the day and order pizza instead of making dinner, I never think twice about that expense!
If you eat more fruits and vegetables, you are trying to eat better and maybe not do so much take out or ordering pizza or going out to dinner – which can save a ton on your food budget and be better for your health!
Before you grocery shop – look at your stores weekly sales flyer to see what’s on sale. If blueberries are .99 cents a pint this week, I’ll stock up and freeze what I can’t eat. You can also see what items may be buy one get one free (my store has BOGO deals on salad kits a lot!).
Try a lot of Zero point foods!
My goal of this post is to tell you – lean on the zero point food list – but don’t make your whole day zero point foods. For one, that’s not very many calories and another reason is that going to be sustainable in the long run? Probably not. The hardest thing I think for people who start Weight Watchers or any other type of program for losing weight is getting out of the diet mentality!
We are so ingrained that losing weight is restricting, we’ll be hungry all the time, we can’t have a life, have to miss parties and events. WW doesn’t want you to do that. I belong to a few WW facebook groups and a common question I see new people ask is “what’s the lowest point breakfast” “what is your favorite zero point snack” etc.
Think the opposite – eating healthy is eating in ABUNDANCE! I can still indulge in my favorite foods (pizza!) (beer!), but I can’t have every meal a free for all like I used to in my pre-WW days. That’s a recipe for disaster!
I would love to hear about what favorite zero point foods you eat on the regular. Leave a comment below!