Saturday, October 31, 2009

Small objects can be dangerous to my circumference

(Found this image on a bunch of different blogs.  Inappropriate & disgusting but funny.  And a good cautionary tale for not eating too much candy.)  

Research just in.  All small candy has calories.  And most has fat.  It really doesn't matter how physically small the candy is, it still has calories.  A few fun facts:

  • Reeses cup.  Just one cup:  3 POINTS value
  • One solitary, sad and quite lonely Hershey's Kiss:  1 POINTS value
  • One fun size bag of M&M's (peanut or regular):  2 POINTS value
  • One fun size bag of Skittles:  2 POINTS value
  • One fun size Almond Joy:  2 POINTS value
  • One of those little tubes of Smarties:  1 POINTS value
All of the above consumed at once:  Priceless.  OK, technically, 11 POINTS.

I'm really not trying to be a preachy, irritating buzz-kill on this.  I did this research mostly for my own benefit as I brace myself for the onslaught (and aftermath) of Halloween.

I have two girls who still Trick-or-Treat, and they are very skilled gatherers.  I fully expect them to return with bags stuffed with all manner of empty calories.  My children are much stronger than I am.  They are perfectly happy to have one or two pieces of candy per night, and in all cases they are substituting for whatever treat they would have had otherwise.  I, on the other hand, would be perfectly happy to have three to four pieces per night in addition to whatever else I might have normally eaten.  In my past, heavier life, that might have been six pieces.

Three to four pieces of candy may not seem like a big deal, but it pretty much is.  It amounts to about 8 POINTS or 400 calories (plus fat).  It is roughly equivalent to eating an extra hot dog on a roll each night.  For a month.  It's not a wonder why people, including me, tend to gain weight this time of year.  My goal this year is to stay on my current weight through January 1st.  I did it last year, and I can do it again if I have a plan.

My plan for tonight.  Going to a Halloween party at friends' house.  The kids will do their candy hunting & gathering while their parents get their Mad Men on in a cocktail party disguised as "home base" for trick-or-treaters.  Drinks, appetizers, and candy.  My plan:  don't worry about it.  One night won't kill me, and Saturday night Halloween's don't roll around that frequently (every six years to be roughly precise).

My plan for the next 30 days.  Stay away from my kids' candy.  They earned their bounty, and frankly they will apportion it more responsibly than I.  Truth be told, I like the thought of eating candy more than the act itself.  Also, I find the notion of inhaling 2 POINTS of anything so smallish to be pretty unsatisfying.  Therefore, I am going with the zero tolerance strategy.  My kids don't approve of theft, so I am sure they will help me comply.

Two key takeaways for me from this exercise.
  1. Calculate ahead.  Knowing how crummy the POINTS deal is on a food can help take the fun out of abusing it later.  
  2. Make an explicit plan for the specific situation, and then work to stick to it.  
I've already done #1.  We will see how #2 goes.

Have a rocking Halloween, but remember the wise words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus from Hill St. Blues:  Hey, let's be careful out there.


  1. To put a WW spin on the dear Sgt.'s words...."Lets EAT careful out there!"

  2. Thank you for the blog! I find it refreshing and comforting that a man is so honest about his feelings towards food (this is not meant as a "diss" {to quote my children} toward men at all!!) - my husband is one of those people who can eat most anything so I don't have the luxury of connecting with him on this level. I like your challenges and while I have already gone a point overboard - I will ty to keep it just at that. Happy Halloween!

  3. I've had 10 points worth of candy already today ... but at least I'm counting it up! Thank goodness for the 35 extra points/week.

  4. DK, thanks for setting the bar for "realistic goals." I think maintaining between now and Jan 1 is a laudable, realistic and excellent goal!

    I thought I was "off the hook" for Halloween temptation because I have teenagers who don't really trick or treat. BUT today my daughter got the urge to bake and she made... mini pumpkin cheesecakes!! Agh!

    I went to the e-tools Recipe Builder and using her recipe, figured out that each mini cheesecake was 5 points. I split one with four friends who were visiting and we each savored our delicious 1-point bite. I still got to have a little Halloween treat, but didn't go crazy. It was perfect.

  5. It is really great to see the leader of a international company like Weight Watchers get so real with it's members! Love reading your blog it is so inspiring!!!!!

  6. Great blog! It is that time of year and I gained 10 lbs last year through inattention and lack of planning. This year, I have a plan and am only 5 lbs from goal so I'm moving on and not looking back!

  7. So the blog article is good, but couldn't the picture be construed as bad form form anorexics and bulimics? I'm just saying... because you guys are supposed to be giving out good healthy eating advice...

  8. Genetically PredisposedNovember 2, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    This is my first time reading the blog. Good stuff. I look forward to catching up and to further posts throughout the holiday season. This is the worst time of year for me, starting with Halloween through New Year's Day. The thing I'm taking away from this post is planning ahead and trying to stick to it. Thanks!

  9. It was theft?! My parents always told me that their periodic raids on my candy stores were just their levying the candy tax that all parents had a right to raise on their offspring. Theft was when my little sister crept in to swap all of my multi-colored jelly beans for the black ones that she despised. Of course looking back on it, I wish they could have taken it all and spared me the creation of those fat cells oh so eager to refill...

  10. I've been holding off 78 pounds since January, so this was my first Halloween on program. What worked for me was not having any trick or treaters come to the house. Guess a sign for a local political candidate was less inviting than a skeleton taped to the door or a gouged-out pumpkin on the stoop.

  11. The whole point of weight watchers is to be able to be flexible without overdoing it. Sure I ate a small tootsie roll for 1 point but I knew it was one point. But I have a piece of dark choclatae every night that is one point. However at the end of the trick or treat night i took all the leftover candy to work and gave it all to my friends ha ha

  12. I was a weirdo and towards the end of my trick or treating career. I would mark down each candy type and tally them up, rationing them daily with the excessive ones going sooner. The stash would last into January. I was shocked to learn later on that parents (except mine - guess I was lucky) stole from their kids. I think it's terrible and crosses a line which no one should venture near no matter what their personal problems might be. And my weight problems are my own. I could never steal from anyone to accommodate a craving, especially a kid.

  13. I do beleive that one Hershey's kiss is 1/2 point... or you do you not count 1/2 points? Nine Kisses are 5 points.

  14. I do my darndest not to eat that first piece of candy, zero tolerance as you say. But I put away one or two (ok, 4) pieces of my favorite candy for consumption *after* the danger of total meltdown has passed. Once passed, I can sit and enjoy my candy and not be deprived - but also without doing great damage.