Colleen was asking me the other day whether I’d stopped “counting” BLTs, which raised a perpetual conundrum among those of us who count Weight Watchers points: If you follow the BLT rule of recording every “bite, lick or taste” as 1 point, does that mean that no “freebies” can exist outside the realm of fruits and vegetables (which count as zero points under WW rules)?
I used to find this paradox incredibly vexing. But I hadn’t thought about it for a while, and her question made me realize that part of the reason I don’t fret about it as much anymore is that I’ve evolved a system for dealing with it.
I’ll get to that in a moment. But first I want to note that I think this is an important example of successful dieters doing what you might call “playing your own game” or setting up your own set of rules or, my personal favorite bit of weight-loss lingo, “owning your diet.” Which is a way of saying that you take control of – and responsibility for – customizing the rules a bit, not so much for cheating purposes but to help you embrace a system that you know is successful as whole while rejecting (or customizing) some of the small bits that aren’t a good fit for you personally.
The way I play this BLT paradox maneuver now is like so: If I lick the spoon while I’m making a cake, or take a small bite of something indulgent “just to try it” – then that’s a BLT and it costs me a point.
But if I specifically design a snack to fit criteria that brings the WW score in under 1 point – like, say, raw broccoli florets drizzled with 1 tablespoon of salsa con queso (20 calories) – then that’s a zero-point freebie.
See, the first instance is an indulgence in miniature. But the second example is a tool designed to keep me in check. Something I can rely on to help me stay on course, rather than a slip-up that might lead to an all-out binge.
Here are three more examples of those kind of zero-point tools:
1. Celery sticks dunked in a peanut sauce made with a single tablespoon of powdered PB2 thinned with water and Buffalo sauce. Yum!
2. One date “stuffed” with half a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese and a single walnut. (This is a case where if you calculate all the nutrition data together you might go over, but calculating each component separately works out to zero points. Is that cheating? It depends on your perspective — and on whether you employ this particular tool with good or evil intentions.:)
3. The zero-point breakfast sandwich: 2 egg whites and 3 slices of turkey pepperoni on half a slice of toasted Healthy Goodness bread cut in 2 pieces. (Again, calculate each component separately.)