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It seems I’m stuck in Weight Watchers Bermuda Triangle. I went to a meeting this morning to get the new materials but they won’t give you the materials unless you weigh in and I can’t weigh in because I’m pregnant. So I don’t have all the juicy juicy details but nobody really does. They are staying pretty tight lipped about the new formulas. I was able to buy a new calculator and stay for the meeting so let me give you as many insights as I can.
First of all, the program is completely different yet the same. What I mean by that is the concept of having a daily point target and a weekly allowance is still there. All the foods you eat have a points value as well. So you add up the points as you eat them and subtract them from your daily target as you go along.
That’s exactly how the previous plan work BUT the big difference with the new PointsPlus plan is HOW the points are calculated. In the old plan we used calories, fat, fiber to figure the points. In the new PointsPlus plan they use protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat. Notice, NO calories. (UPDATE: I am testing a new PointPlus calculator, please test for me if you can. Click here!)
There is also a different formula to calculate your daily target. As of now the only way to calculate either your target OR the point value of food items is to buy and use the new PointsPlus electronic calculator. That’s right, no more slider, no more little quizzes. All you are left with is this device…
Note: Right now it is $5.95 but it will be going up to $11 I believe, in a few weeks.
Honestly, all I can say is "ugh". I hate the electronic calculator devices. I always have. For as technical and gadget orientated as I am, I never, ever, used one. I always gravitated towards the slider and once I knew the formula I calculated points myself.
I just find the small electronic calculators to be clumsy and cheap. I routinely have to hit buttons multiple times for them to register a click. I’m also all thumbs, I have a hard time hitting just one button at a time as they are so small. Needless to say, I’m not happy about the lack of point calculating options.
You do get your daily point target by weighing in at a meeting and you can use the pocket finder or Companion Books to look point values of food up but for the home cook like me, that’s really not going to work.
Your only other option is to use eTools online. Again, something I never did as I always got more out of attending meetings and doing my only calculations. Not to mention that’s a whole other expense!
I hate to say but this new Weight Watchers plan seems to me to be all about making more of a profit which makes sense as Weight Watchers IS a business. But I digress. Let’s get back to the new plan.
In the old plan I believe the minimum daily points target given was 18, now it’s 29. That means if you are close to your goal weight (within 25 or so pounds) more than likely that is your target. If I wasn’t pregnant, my target would be 29. If I weighed 210 pounds, my starting weight before losing, my target would be 33. That’s based on my height of 5′ 8”
In the old plan you used to get an additional 35 weekly points to use as you see fit. Now you get 49. So that’s pretty much the same, taking in account the new formula for calculating of course.
The new program now seems to focus on "Power Foods." Like the last iteration of Weight Watchers, Momentum (click here for my thoughts on that version of the plan,) Power Foods are similar to Filling Foods which were similar to CORE foods. Think fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats.
Speaking of fruits and veggies MOST are now 0 points. Yes, including bananas and carrots. However, points for other foods have gone up so it really all equals out in the end. Honestly, I’m happy about this change. I never counted fruit as more than 1 point anyway. The way I figure it… no one is walking through the doors of Weight Watchers because they ate too many grapes. I believe the only fruit and veggies that are NOT 0 points are potatoes, corn, peas and avocado.
The Good Healthy Guidelines have also been updated. They basically include..
- Eat Power Foods (Fruits, Veggies, Lean Protein, Non-fat/low-fat dairy and whole grains)
- Consume Daily (water, healthy oils, vitamins)
- Be Active
- Watch sodium, sugar and alcohol
Overall I’m not sure how I feel about the new plan. As someone who was successful on the older plan the new changes seems overwhelming and unnecessary to me. However, I realize Weight Watchers is constantly changing to nudge members to eat overall healthier not simply making choices to lose weight. I thought Momentum (last years changes) did that without being so completely different and confusing as this new PointPlus system is. I’m curious what your thoughts are.
P.S. I have always provided protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat for my GreenLiteBites recipes so you can easily calculate the new point values for them IF you have the calculator of course. I’m also working on updating them with "old" and "new" values as I think a lot of us Weight Watcher old farts will still be using the old points for some time. I will be (and have started) adding the new values as well. It’s interesting to see the difference in them. You can see this new addition in my most recent recipes.
Note: Points and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of WeightWatchers. I’m just a lifetime member giving my opinion on the new plan changes.
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I’ve been doing this a looong time…