Monday, December 20, 2010

Buddy the Elf wanted for breakfast violations. Just one Grinch's opinion.

I spent Sunday night with my family watching one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies:  Elf.  It still makes me a little weepy when they will Santa's sleigh back into flight by singing.  

However, in my official capacity, I was horrified and upset.  What sort of horrible lesson is this movie trying to teach unformed and easily impressionable minds such as my own?  

Over at Weight Watchers, we find ourselves in a new glorious era of a PointsPlus program that encourages vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy.  By contrast, the four basic food groups of the Christmas Elves are apparently:
  1. Candy
  2. Candy canes
  3. Candy corn
  4. Syrup
It's one thing for Buddy to eat used gum off the railing at a subway station (not very many points at all), but his breakfast choices were truly unconscionable.  How bad you ask?  In one morning alone he had (in a single bowl):
  • Spaghetti (3 cups by my estimate):  15 PointsPlus values
  • Maple syrup (looked like 1/2 cup):  12 PointsPlus values
  • Marinara sauce (the bargain of the lot):  3 PointsPlus value
  • Chocolate chips (1/2 cup):  12 PointsPlus values
  • M&M's (conservatively one bag):  6 PointsPlus values
  • Chocolate syrup (1/2 cup):  14 PointsPlus values
  • Pop Tart (one):  5 PointsPlus values

  • 2 liters of Coke:  23 PointsPlus
That's 67 PointsPlus values for the breakfast and another 23 for the drinks.  This is simply not responsible behavior.  

It goes without saying that we are not targeting our new program to the denizens of the North Pole.  What about my house?  How do I coexist with PointsPlus during the holiday season?

I have to admit that I thought I was going to have a mild nervous breakdown yesterday.  My wife was in over-heated kitchen duty, creating Christmas treats for friends, teachers, etc.  Among her creations were Nutter Butter's ground up into balls coated in melted milk chocolate and then chilled.   She did the same with Oreos and white chocolate.  Then there were pretzel-peanut butter rounds, coated in chocolate and then by peanuts.  For the healthier touch, she made cashews with rosemary.  Of course, she wanted me to try them all to taste test, and I did.  It goes without saying that they were all fairly spectacular, particularly the pretzel-peanut butter-chocolate things.  

Having enjoyed the samples, my wife and I looked at each other and said the same thing:  we've got to get these out of the house.  Fast.  They are being packaged and delivered today, and my home can again become a safe place.

So really how much of a horrible combination of Scrooge/Grinch am I?  What's wrong with a little holiday indulgence?  Why can't I lighten up a little bit?  

In truth, Buddy the Elf is alive and well inside of me.  I love the decadent stuff, particularly this time of year.  When it comes to eating this kind of food, I know myself well enough to know my own limits.  If I am surrounded by chocolate delights for weeks upon end, I will eat them for weeks upon end.  

On Christmas Day, I have no intention of either tracking my points or hitting the gym (really!!!).  I just don't want the week that follows or the one the proceeds to feel like a mind numbing bender.  

For some people, the introduction of the new PointsPlus program in the midst of the holiday season was stressful.  I can totally understand that.  For me, (obvious bias caveats apply) it was a complete blessing.  I've been tracking my points most days, exercising like a nut, and I'm at goal right now.  That makes me happy and proud.  I can afford to lighten up at select moments over the next two weeks, but I just don't want to completely freak out and find myself sleeping in a damp gutter of junk food and sweets.  

So, my holiday plan:
  1. Track this week up until Friday night (I LOVE Christmas Eve)
  2. Do not track on Saturday (Love Christmas Day even more)
  3. Slowly re-enter responsible life on Sunday
  4. Fully back on program as of Monday with some grace for the fact that I have the week off (kind of)
  5. Exercise LOTS (I no longer consider this a hardship -- I like it!)
I want to hit January 3 feeling strong.  At the same time, I really am trying to leave my inner Grinch safely locked up.  As they say, moderation in all things, including moderation.  

What's on your docket?

Cheers & Happy Holidays!



  1. I love that you're honest and real. I hope you'll come to one of the Weight Watchers meetings I lead one day!

  2. AWESOME Movie!! You forgot to count the cheese and beef for the mall santa!

  3. I am so glad you are still blogging after the onslaught of postings you got. yeahhh!!!! And I love ELF too. And I love Points Plus too. We beat the new years rush. Now we are the examples to all the newbies to the plan come 2011. Love that. No stress at all

  4. Ahaha! Great Post. In Buddy's defense, he earned a bunch of activity points during that snowball fight and running through the park :)

  5. I'm hoping to just survive the Christmas season. 4 day weekend plus lots of baking and treat making, then a Monday weigh in seems hard. I'm hoping I can enjoy what I want, and not be so stressed about points when I should be focused on enjoying my family and friends. It's only my third week, so I hope I can be successful.

    We LOVE Elf in this house too!

  6. Hi there,
    I really love the weight watchers program. I think it's the only one that really works, and it's the one that I recommend. I spent some of tonite trying to find somewhere to e-mail someone from "higher up" in WW to talk to. I received an e-mail from WW Canada saying their "gift to me was this great promotion on their new product." Now I had been really interested in trying the new plan as it really appeals to me.(I have been a recurring member for like 2 decades on and off now, no fault of WW's, just of mine!)I was beyond ticked to find this great "gift" and "savings" was merely the same deal that's been offered for months. Smacks to me of false advertising actually, a sale when there really isn't one. It really disappointed me. I love the company, I love what it does. I have to say I struggle with the cost, and had to quit last year though I actually had been a little successful. When I got the ad I was so excited, I thought "wow, this is awesome. Maybe I can afford it for a few months with this great gift of savings they are sending me an e-mail about." To say I was disappointed and alot annoyed would be putting it mildly.
    I just wanted you to know. It really put a bad taste in my mouth, and I felt really let down. They may want to rethink that particular campaign. It wrecks the previous high standard you guys previously held.

    Sharon Hack
    Pitt Meadows, BC

  7. If I can make it through this week, just maintaining, I'll be thrilled! Had a caroling party last night, choir practice Wednesday (with a wine-and-cheese party afterwards), and then of course Christmas Eve and Day. Hanging in and trying to get in as much activity as possible just to counterbalance some of it!

  8. Well, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.

    Also, can you clarify? Isn't there a caveat that you get 10 extra points if you have a cool elf hat? I'm pretty sure there is.

  9. Maybe elves have a different PointsPlus target because of different DNA?? ;) I love that you pointed-out his breakfast, that makes me laugh!

    As for my holiday plan, it's much like yours -- tracking and being well within my PointsPlus weekly allowance during the week and being a bit more lenient on Christmas Day. My goal this week is to maintain (my next meeting is Sunday), and then next week will be 'normal', leading me into the New Year in a positive place, WW-wise.

    I love that the new program rolled out when it did, so we who are attending now could learn it and have the benefits of it during December holidays... our successes will be helpful to the new members in the new year!

  10. You made me laugh and laugh. Elf is my FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE of all time. But yeah. The points. And especially the PointsPLUS! Ackkk!

    I remember printing out your holiday plan from last year. It was really helpful. You can do this! And so can we! (just added spinning classes to my repertoire which will be super helpful next week)

    LOVED reading about your amazing WW blogger meeting meetup yesterday. All my rockstars together in one room!

  11. David: bless you and your team. You have saved my life. I just absolutely love the new PointsPlus program. I am a lifetimer and started back Oct 14/2010 and as of today I have lost 21.4 pounds. I agree with your post about the new program encourages healthy, clean food and moving more. Now that I have lost this weight, I am loving house cleaning, walking more and getting ready for a Christmas that does not focus only on food and overeating.

    I admire your persistance and spirit. Introducing this new program right before the holidays is a ver gutsy move. You were right however, it has paid off for many.

    Our leader in Kelowna, BC Canada is so positive, so committed, so passionate is rubs off on all of us. Both of you are my blessing at this Christmas time.

    I am now 300 pounds and I have ever confidence I will reach my goal (10 pounds at a time, one day at a time) and I will be a shining example of how Weight Watchers is a lifestyle, it is not a diet.

    Thanks for your support and example.

    Barbara, Kelowna, BC Canada

  12. Enjoyed reading your blog :) So far have been
    successful with my recent "rejoin". I like the points plus program so far.
    I have found myself wanting to buy thoses red & green decorated candies and pastries but so far have not given in. (not a good idea considering I am also a diabetic.
    Best wishes for a happy, safe and healthy holiday for all.
    Laura Fairchild, Metairie, LA

  13. Just what I needed a sensible plan and the freedom to allow myself some indulgence for the holiday! Now I just need to get back into riding and working out to keep moving forward!

    Thank you!

  14. Thank you for your honesty. I, too, am cutting myself some slack for my indulgences but am promising full speed ahead on December 27th. I recently reached 75lbs of weight lost which was my goal for the end of this year. It has taken me two years to lose this weight and I plan to forge ahead to lose the remaining 75lbs. Oh by the way, since the start of the PointsPlus program, I've lost 8lbs! I love it!

    Thank you for your inspiration.

  15. I have been a Weight Watchers Member and Leader for 24 years and have lived through so many programs and changes and I have to say PointsPlus is the BEST!!! Members were a little reluctant the first few weeks but once they got into it they love it - I don't see anyone who wants to go back to Momentum. 0 PointsPlus for fruits and most vegetables has been a life saver for so many of us and yes it is nudging us gently to make better choices rather than the sweet/fat or salty/fat snacks that we used to reach for. Love your blog - you are so realistic and as I always tell my members it's not perfection we are aiming for but progress each week. Happy Holidays to all.

  16. Thank you for you honest and fun approach to keeping on track for the holidays. I was stressing a little about it but now will go about it like you...take off for the day :-) Thanks!

  17. I've been allowing myself one home-baked christmas cookie a day (duly tracked)...maybe I'll let loose and allow myself two! (I am at goal also.)

  18. I never thought about not tracking on Christmas but I am happy to see someone at goal give us a good way to prepare for that day. So, I will keep working out, drink my water and reread this a few times.


  19. Thanks for another very enjoyable post!! I don't celebrate Christmas, but I managed to do very well on Chanukah!! I made up a recipe for "latkes" made with spaghetti squash, granny smith apples, onions, and seasonings that were zero points per serving (came out to 10 for one point!). I skipped the jelly donuts and had donut holes instead. I stayed far away from the chocolate Chanukah gelt. Over the last 3 weeks of PointsPlus on-plan-ness (hee hee), I have lost exactly 10 pounds! THE ONLY thing that I'm currently upset about related to WW, is that my usual Saturday morning meeting, which I'm dependent on for support and accountability, is not in session for TWO WHOLE WEEKS because of the holidays. I am going to weigh in on Friday morning instead but will miss all my meeting buddies, friends, and excellent leader.

    Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Happy New Year too!

  20. OMG, that was so funny. Your sense of humor is a perfect fit for me. I do the same thing when I see food commercials. LOL in fact if a program has three food commercials in a row I change the channel. I can get away with this as I am the Queen of the remote. Plus there is more then one tv in the house.

  21. Just a word from a teacher who gets LOTS of food gifts at this time of year...most of it deliciously laden with year, you may want to consider giving the teacher a sweet homemade card instead...we can't eat that and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling!

  22. I love this! Thanks for sharing - you have put into words what I have been thinking and living!

  23. Thanks so much for sharing. I think your approach to Christmas and the week following is both real and manageable. I was kind of freaking out about it. Now, I will follow your plan and at least HAVE a plan. Merry Christmas to you!

  24. well i have to say im a life time member over goal and just started the new plan when it came out and had lost 4lbs up untill tuesday i think i have turned into the cookie monster i keep telling myself its once a year and well the cookies that are beign offered at work well i dont get them but once a year i do plan on getting on track starting sunday. i do have to say i see why they changed the points program i really like that im now paying attention to carbs more i think i got into a rut with just looking at the calories.

  25. That is funny and real! Who wants to go to the gym on Xmas day, not me. I'll keep in mind my plan. It is been hard to release the pounds and I really don't want to get them back. Have a wonderful Christmas everybody =))

  26. That sounds great. Because like anybody else I was wondering what to do about Chrismas and New Year Thanks now I know what to do.Happy Hoildays

  27. I just weighed in tonight and hit a major goal: 70 pounds!!
    I am so not blowing that this week. I have worked too hard to get here.
    I have lost the last 8 pounds on the new plan. (I am a Leader) PointsPlus is awesome!!!

    Thank you for your great blog. I look forward to reading it every week.

  28. Great post - happy holidays and enjoy!

  29. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE W.W. - I'm a Lifetime Member BUT I have 2 issues with it.. I feel that once you become Lifetime W.W. should give you the online E-Tools Free of charge. It's not FAIR that we have to pay the $13 a month after paying $40 a month for the pass. And there should be separate meetings geared towards lifetimers and maintenance.

  30. I love to read your blog. Your holiday plan sounds doable, I'm going to try it! Thanks for being "real". Weightwatchers is my new way of life. I've lost 20 lbs, but still have a long way to go.

  31. I hope you continue to blog. It is good to know that the CEO is someone who faces the same issues as you members who ultimately support the organization. I hope to hear more from you as you continue what is a lifelong journey of health and wellness.


  33. Thank you for writing this blog! I enjoyed reading it. I'm enjoying the new Points Plus system....just rejoined beginning December and so glad I did! I've lost 12 pounds and feel very grateful. I love your plan to enjoy yourself on Christmas Eve/Day. I'm basically doing the same thing....except since I have a long way to go with weight loss, I am going to enjoy myself then, but track all the extra points so I don't get out of control come Sunday. It will help me still feel connected to WW, while letting me enjoy the holiday.
    Merry Christmas !

  34. I have been a leader for 11 years and believe this is the best program ever. Last night one of my members who has lost over 200 lbs said the only way she can describe the new program is "it's magic". The smile on her face (she is lifetime now) is the best Christmas present I will ever receive.

  35. I just got back from St. Augustine, FL and managed to stay on track. Christmas Day will be no big thing for me as far as eating is concerned. I'll track all my points. I just lost 5 lbs on Points Plus Program and I'm 20 lbs down and counting. I weigh in on Monday night, so I'll watch this week-end. I got lots of exercise (walking) in this past 5 days. I love the new program, but takes getting used to. I had to throw away my old program book and concentrate on the new points plus.
    Merry Christmas!

  36. I was horrified and delighted by the holiday goodies your wife makes! My mom used to make stuff like that and send each of us at least a hundred of them, no matter how much we protested (she was a tiny little thing). And I have to admit that this year I made super-rich French butter cookies in amusing shapes to give away. BUT! everybody only gets six of them, which is just enough to make you sick, but not stuffed. And, in the needs-something-special gift category, such as my personal trainer, I finally let go of the homemade tamales (with lard), etc. This year I made pickles, which may not sound festive, but they're bright green, with red chiles. And people really love them!

  37. Dear Mr. Kirchhoff,

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. The information you give and share is always on-target. It's nice to know that you struggle like the rest of us. I agree about the "goodies"...the sooner they are out of the house, the better!!

  38. Mr K, this post made me smile :) and your plan was fantastic. I watched Elf for Christmas and thought of this entry, and remembered that back in my pre-WW days, I ate a lot like Buddy the Elf. I will always have a little bit of Buddy inside me too, but I'm in a much better place than I used to be and I'm not so worried about him anymore. Hope you had a great holiday.

  39. This is a great blog! You are a clear example of how weightwatching can give you a balanced relationship with food. Thanks for your posts and your great work at WeightWatchers! Happy Holidays!

  40. Thanks for your honesty. I always wonder why we all think it is ok to make all the sweet treats for other people yet we want them out of our house? I wish it was cool to give the teacher/neighbors/boss a fruit basket. Why is their health less important than ours?

  41. I absolutely intend to live by MODERATION IN EVERYTHING, INCLUDING MODERATION!!
    It should be a cross-stitch hanging in every kitchen! Love ya...keep up the great work!

  42. Well, I was a member once in 2008 for half the year. I really liked your plan then and I lost 25 lbs., but I quit the plan in July because I moved to a different town and my whole life changed for certain reasons. I haven't been on a real weight loss plan since, but I remembered how much I liked the WW plan. So, recently I just started the week before Christmas. My family is far away and I was able to stay on the plan pretty easily. Granted, I am genuinely hungry when meal time comes, but it's manageable, real hunger. I like your new PointsPlus approach and me not being a fruit eater actually found myself consuming 10 oranges last week that I probably wouldn't have otherwise ate. I went to the store tonight and I am upset with myself because I forgot to pick up some fruit. Lucky for me, I love veges, so no problem there.

  43. My first day at Weight Watchers - I am very encouraged by the new program and the eTools and tickled by the fun in this blog! Happy New Year!

  44. Dave,

    Love your blog and look forward to your next entry.

    I too decided against tracking on Christmas. Although I did not track on paper I found myself doing some mental math as I was enjoying brunch with my family. Yes, I had cookies and half a cannoli, but I also made a conscience effort to eat a lot of veggies and fruit. I weighed in yesterday and maintained my weight after Christmas....that has NEVER happens.

    I am LOVING the new plan. I have lost a little over 7 lbs in December....after losing and gaining the same 2 lbs for longer than I care to admit.

    2011 will be the year I hit goal !!

    Have a great New Years !!


  45. LOL. Your posts are fun and funny! What's on my docket, you ask??? Well, this... and more as time goes on.