The Weight Watchers Flex Plan includes a use-it-or-lose-it weekly bonus of 35 Flex Points in addition to your must-eat personal daily Points Target. Each Point provides about 50 calories, so the weekly Flex allowance offers just enough wiggle room to enjoy a favorite treat without derailing serious weight loss efforts. Consider using Flex Points for tasty condiments--the extra flavor may be just enough to help banish your dieter’s blues and bolster your resolve to lose excess weight.
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If your morning coffee isn’t complete without a splash of half and half or a few cubes sugar, then the weekly Points allowance is for you. The same holds true for tea lovers who can’t resist a drizzle of honey or milk drinkers who stir in the sweet goodness of chocolate syrup. Go ahead and enjoy, but don’t forget to track your add-ons by using your weekly Flex Points. Use 1 Point for each serving of half and half (2 tbsp.), sugar (3 tsp.), honey (1 tbsp.) or chocolate syrup (1 tbsp.).
For those days when mustard alone just doesn’t make for a satisfying lunchtime sandwich, consider adding a big dollop of ketchup (1 Point per 4 tbsp.) or a slice of avocado (1 Point per ounce). Even a serving of mayonnaise adds only 1 Point when portioned properly--1 tsp. regular mayo, 2 tsp. reduced-calorie mayo or 4 tbsp. fat-free mayo. Ask for it on the side when dining out--a 2007 survey published in "Obesity," the official journal of The Obesity Society, found that most chefs serve foods in amounts that are up to four times the standard portion.
Dipping into the bread basket or splurging on just a bit more salad dressing are two trouble spots for dieters, especially when dining out. To avoid feeling deprived, consider enjoying these add-ons in moderation by using weekly Flex Points. Use 3 Points for a typical 1-oz. dinner roll or slice of bread topped with 1 tsp. butter. Points can rack up quickly with salad dressing if you’re not keeping an eye on portion size, so it’s best to order on the side and measure with a spoon. The Points value for a 2-tbsp. serving of creamy salad dressing depends on the variety--regular (4 Points), reduced-calorie (2 Points) or fat-free (1 Point), while the same 2-tbsp. serving of an Italian-type dressing is more forgiving--regular (4 Points), reduced-calorie (1 Point) or fat-free (0 Points).
All herbs and spices and popular condiments such as horseradish, hot pepper sauce, mustard, relish and fat-free salsa have a Points value of zero. Consider reaching for a serving of these flavor enhancers to add zest to your meals without the need to tap into your weekly Flex Points allowance.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- "Weight Watchers TurnAround: Eat Wisely"; Weight Watchers editors; 2007
- PubMed.gov: Chefs' Opinions of Restaurant Portion Sizes
- Weight Watchers Online