Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Smoothie Rude Awakening!

(Berry Banana Smoothie)

Last week at my Weight Watchers weigh in, I gained a pound.  I have actually been pretty frustrated lately about my weight loss since the switch to the new Points Plus system.  But I didn't want to be one of those impatient "dieters" looking for a quick fix.  I know that weight loss takes time.  It's not a race; it's a lifelong process.  I know all of this.  But I was still frustrated thinking that my weight loss was abnormally slow.  Then R came home from her meeting and she maintained weight again.  She said that when she looked at her records from her weigh ins, it had been about 5 weeks of maintaining weight.  So with both of us being frustrated, we decided to sit down and come up with a plan.  Being vegan, we already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  So the whole concept of the new Points Plus system of pushing people in direction of making healthier choices with fruits and vegetables doesn't really apply to us.  That's the foundation of our diet already.  Plus, with my tendency to overeat, I have found that I can eat way too much of fruit just like I can with "junkier foods."  However, I feel like it's a great move for Weight Watchers and the new plan is great for a lot of people.  So we decided to not only keep track of points, but to keep track of calories too.  I have an account with Spark People, so I updated my goals, weight, fitness, etc. so I would have an accurate range of calories I should be consuming each day to lose weight.  Once I had all of that figured out, I knew I would have a better idea of what was going on with the stalled weight loss.  This was a HUGE eye opener!!  I started measuring out ALL fruits and vegetables and figuring up the calories for EVERYTHING.  I was easily eating 2 cups of grapes a day-one cup has 100 calories!  That's 200 calories right there; just in two cups of grapes!  I would often pull some grapes out of the fridge and just eat them while I was cooking dinner and not even think about how much I was consuming.  With the concept of "free" fruit, I was no longer measuring out fruit and I was mindlessly eating it like it wasn't really calories entering my body.  I was acting like I was not accountable for those calories!  Crazy!    Another shocker was my morning smoothie!  My kale smoothie pictured below:

This "innocent" kale smoothie has over 350 calories in it!!  I was only counting this as 1 point for the almond milk because everything else is just fruit and that's "free" on the Points Plus plan.  I would drink this smoothie on Friday mornings thinking it was a better choice since I usually use more points on Fridays for "Friday Night Pizza."  Ha!  I quickly modified that!  Also, the smoothie recipe makes a VERY large smoothie.  I decided that I don't need this much-I just need about half of it.  It easily makes two servings.  

So, this has been a very educational week for me.  I have never really paid attention to calories because I have done 2 diets in my life--Sugar Busters and Weight Watchers.  Sugar Busters is more about eating low on the glycemic index and Weight Watchers is all about points instead of calories.  Actually paying attention to calories was very empowering.  I decided that I only needed one cup of grapes instead of two and, like I mentioned before, I could easily split my smoothie with R and still be satisfied.  I also decided to play around with smoothie ideas this week and come up with a smoothie that would be a little more satisfying and stick with me longer.  It's the smoothie that's pictured at the top of this post-the berry banana smoothie.  Because I weigh everything out on the food scale, some of my amounts listed on the recipe are in grams instead of cups.  

Berry Banana Smoothie
(2 servings)

-1 small banana (82 grams)
-1/2 block of silken tofu (227 grams)
-1 cup almond milk (I use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original)
-1-2 packets of Truvia or sweetener of your choice 
-1 cup/100 grams frozen blueberries 
-150 grams of frozen strawberries 
-water (around 1/4 cup or as needed)-optional 

Add the banana, silken tofu, Truvia, and 1/2 cup of the almond milk in the blender.  Puree until smooth.  Then add all of the berries and other 1/2 cup of almond milk.  Puree until smooth.  If you have a super powerful blender, it might blend all of this up with no problems.  I have to blend for awhile, stir it around a bit and add a little water, and then puree again.  I do this process until it's smooth and there are no longer chunks of fruit anymore. Once it's all blended up, I pour it into two glasses and serve.  

If your weight loss is stalled and you are struggling, I highly recommend that you pay attention to your calories (even if just for a day or two).  It was such an eye opener for me!  R has even switched over to totally counting calories, carbs, protein and fat with Spark People.  She feels like it's a better option for her and she feels like she has more freedom with how and what she eats.  I am still going to stick with Weight Watchers for awhile, but I am also going to track calories along with points. is a great site that you can find calorie listings for almost ANYTHING!  I have been referring to it as well as Spark People a lot lately.  

What do you think of the new Points Plus system if you are a Weight Watcher?  I would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. As a follow-up, here's the FAQ from the WW site. I'm not trying to upsell WW -- it's far from perfect. But they have accounted for things like your 350 calorie smoothie. (Hilarious that it doesn't actually answer why, just reinforces that it does it.)

    Why do fruit (and vegetables) in recipes contribute toward the PointsPlus values?
    Just as we've always done with 0 PointsPlus value vegetables, even 0 PointsPlus value fruits contribute toward the total PointsPlus values of a recipe, whether it's a Weight Watchers recipe or one you build yourself in the Recipe Builder. Recipes add up the nutritional info for all their ingredients. If you ate fruit only, save it as a "meal" rather than a "recipe."

  2. Thanks for posting on this topic, Katy. It seems like people have either been losing like crazy on P+ or sort of stalling. I'm in the latter category.

    I've been trying to troubleshoot-- am I calculating things incorrectly, am I not measuring accurately, do I need to change what I'm eating?? It's crazy-making. I'm going to start tracking at Spark too, to help see what I need to do (I'm guessing it'll be something like, don't eat all of my Weekly WW points+).

    Looking forward to hearing about what you find out from tracking calories and nutrition on Spark!

  3. Angie-it turns out, I went to my WW meeting tonight and lost a lot! I lost the pound I gained last week and then another 3.4! I definitely think there's something to tracking on Spark People! Just make sure that you go in and edit your goals. I had to go in and change some things since the last time I was really tracking on SP. I think Points Plus is great for those who do not eat so many fruits and vegetables. But for those of us who eat so many already, I think it's just consuming too many calories.

  4. Katy, thanks for posting this. I've been stalled for awhile too and while I know my not being able to move a lot plays a huge role in it, I've been drinking my "green juice" almost everyday. It's not even a smoothie - just kale, spinach, cucumber and apples. But they put in 3 whole apples!! And you're right, half of the drink would be enough. I'm starting to think the juice might be upsetting my normal balance.
    Thanks again.

  5. I am glad that I shook things up, Rhea. I know that was the reason I was stalled too. I am back on track now and I am also using Spark People along with WW.

  6. thanks for this post.. i too am stalled.. and reading everything i can get my hands on to try and figure it out.. i have cut back on my pts.. because i have said from the beginning that it is just too many for me.. once going back to my 22 instead of 29.. things began happening for me.. this is like a game to me.. i am going to out wit and out play and i am going to be the winner !

  7. I've definitely seen more results since I started tracking calories on Spark People. I still track in my Weight Watchers journal and go to my meetings, but I have almost made the full transition to Spark People.