Monday, November 5, 2012

The Point of Points

by Kris Pitcher

Being rewarded is nice. I'm a member in a million reward programs. Earning points for this and racking up rewards for that. You're familiar with these loyalty programs. You're earning miles, and points yourself.

Some people are really savvy at earning and using their points. These systems are perfect for the very frequent shopper or consumer. Which admittedly, I am not.

I think it's this "rack 'em up!" mentality which frustrates me about the points based diet programs. I'll preface my frustration by saying - these are great programs. It's really your behavior that I'm going to challenge.

Let's talk about the way you use your points, and the way the points might best serve you. I know you are saving your points like miles toward a big trip of a life time. When you want to drink with the girls or go out after save up all week.

What your "saving" means is you are going without meals. You are going without nutrition during the week so you can uncork your points later on. Now, if these were simply "reward" points for being a loyal customer...that would be fine.

But they are not reward points. They are points allocated for you to make food choices with. They are assigned in value form to various foods and combinations of foods so you can make educated choices regarding how you will spend your daily allotment of points.

They are a learning tool so you can make choices about how much things "cost". Your points help guide your decisions about food. It's currency to be spent on a daily basis. So, what's the big deal about saving them all up?

Well, calories are not created equal. What you will get nutritionally from an apple is much different than a 1 point 100 calorie snack treat. And certainly the calories from either of those are different than what you would get from 2 ounces of chicken breast.

The worst part of the save mentality, is by going without we are choosing to shut down our metabolism. Less is not more in the battle of the bulge. And the bottom line is if we save up all our points to use on empty calorie, zero nutrition, items...we're making a clear choice about our progress.

If you've gotten really savvy about ways to save up your're not cheating the system. You haven't pulled one over, or tricked anyone. You're just racking 'em up for the big one!

Think about your points in terms of currency you get to spend rather than rewards you are saving up. Make good choices about how you spend that currency and the value of the choices you make regarding the nutritional profile. The reward will be yours!     

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