My kids have been talking about wanting to lose weight for a while. After some discussion, I signed them up for Weight Watchers, a weight loss program that involves assigning a point value to foods. My wife - who seriously doesn't need it at all - decided to sign up, too, and then I joined them this weekend. I've always dismissed Weight Watchers for oversimplifying things by just assigning a number value to things without factoring in the specifics. But, I also have to admit that counting calories alone wasn't doing the job. I have used calorie counting websites, and I do exercise a lot. I always chalked up my lack of weight loss to my age and metabolism. But, when you find yourself adding up everything you eat, patterns start to emerge. I've been having mixed nuts as a snack, but I hadn't kept close tabs on how many I've had. Now, I see that 1 ounce of mixed nuts equals 1/5 of my daily food allowance: I think I know one reason why losing weight has been a challenge! This morning, I would have made a bagel to eat on the way into work. But, a bagel and cream cheese is almost half of my daily allowance, so I made half a bagel. Best of all, I can import my personal recipes! I add the ingredients for the recipe, and divide by the number of servings, and it calculates the point value. Since this is where I get most of my food, I'm happy about this. As with any weight loss plan, the more serious you are about it, the more effective it will be. It's still early days, but I can see that this will work out for me. My kids seem to like the fact that there's an app for it (and so do I): this makes recording on the go very easy. Some peculiarities that will take some getting used to: the point values aren't strictly a conversion of the number of calories. For example, an egg is 0 points. So are carrots, apples...basically any fruit or vegetable. This means you can have as many of them as you want. While it seems absurd to suggest that I could eat a dozen apples and have it not affect my weight, I believe the point is this: these foods make excellent snacks. Once I've "filled up" my points for the day with soup and bagel halves, I can always snack on grapes or carrots. And, it's unlikely I'd be able to get through more than 2 apples without getting sick of them. Has anyone else used weight loss systems? How effective were they?