INSIGHTS

My Take on the New Weight Watchers PointsPlus Program – Share you Thoughts…

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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…

the New Weight Watchers Point Plus Program
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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Discussion

There are 153 comments so far.

    Michele @ Healthy Cultivations

    November 29, 2010

    I don’t use Weight Watchers (but I’m close to people that do), but it seems to me that this new plan makes a lot of sense. It should encourage people to choose the fruit over the granola bar, which is probably a good thing. Of course, common sense is required too. Consuming 12 bananas a day is going to lead to problems, but if people keep portion control in mind, this should work… and focus on making better choices… not just lower calorie choices.

    Jennifer D

    November 29, 2010

    My meeting is Saturday so I won’t get materials until then. From what I’ve heard of the new plan, it seems to be WW’s attempt to address one of their main criticisms – that is, that you could eat fast food, processed food and still be “on plan.” I think if the new plan can incentivize making healthier choices while still providing some flexibility for real life, I might be a fan. I am with you however on the technology aspect. I don’t calculate and I don’t eTool – but I guess maybe it’s time I did!

    Nichole

    November 29, 2010

    Thanks for the info! I’ve been thinking about going back to weight watchers (this would be the fourth time, I think), and i’d been wondering about the new plan.

    jacque

    November 29, 2010

    I’m an online Weight Watcher member (only) and feel the same! Overwhelmed! Eat more fruits and veggies, easy! Be more active, no problem! Eat less processed foods, kind of hard! I’ve heard they’re going to have a new app for the Iphone and droid market, and maybe blackberry too! I always find these easier to use then the calculators, and one less thing to carry in your purse (and find) since most of us usually always have our phones! Good luck!

    katie k

    November 29, 2010

    i’ve been on the momentum plan for 2 years and feel pretty set in my ways. this is my first day on the new plan. already, i’m finding that i can eat a lot more (volume wise) than i could on the momentum plan. unfortunately, this worries me. as someone close to her goal weight, and someone used to eating a lesser volume of food, i’m concerned that i’ll start gaining weight back on the new plan.

    Jenni

    November 29, 2010

    I was a bit anxious about the change since Momentum has been working so well for me. As a breastfeeding mom I am averaging a bit over 2 lbs a week and I am happy with the flexibiity. I focus on making good choices so although my Points went up (I currently get 47 dailies with the change) I haven’t really seen the need to change anything…so that is good. I think some will think the change unneeded and in some ways I think people who make healthy choices won’t seen much change but the change will encourage people who weren’t making the healthiest choices to reign it in a bit and focus more on the Daily Guidelines, I think. I do think the reasoning and how the Points will be calculated makes more sense now. I am not pleased with having to buy another calculator but the program works so I am going with it and just ‘taking one for the team’ I guess.

    Josie @ The Skinny Way Of Life

    November 29, 2010

    I understand Weight Watchers is a business but my goodness they can be overwhelming with their plan changes. I started WW when I was 14 and I did the point system for awhile but I never stuck with it. The life changer for me was the Core Plan and even to this day I use those rules in my daily life and I have been able to maintain my weight loss for almost 10 years and after two pregnancies. I liked that plan b/c it was simple and focused on wholesome foods and exactly like you said, “The way I figure it… no one is walking through the doors of Weight Watchers because they ate too many grapes.” I’ll stick with that plan and they can go on their merry way with all the new changes lol!

    Lisa

    November 29, 2010

    Hmmm…I don’t know how I feel about that. I never did WW but I am calorie counter. I lost 110 pounds counting calories so clearly it works.

    Denise

    November 29, 2010

    I have been doing WW online now for 4 months. I had lost about 24 lbs until last week when I gained some back. I don’t get this new system, I really enjoyed momentum. Thankfully I decided today to recommit to my weight loss….so maybe viewing this as a newbie and not thinking so much about what I did will help. I am gonna be challenged though as I learn to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed/fast food. That’s a huge deal to me and what makes me most nervous because I love that stuff….

    Kate

    November 29, 2010

    I am happy with the new plan, sure it’s going to take time to adjust to it after almost 4 years of doing Weight Watchers on and off the “old way”, but one thing that always bothered me about Weight Watchers was that fruit and vegetables often were more expensive points wise then the hostess 100-calorie packs or something like that. I think the new plan takes not just losing weight into consideration, but also eating healthier, and once everyone adjusts it really will be a big hit.

    Karen @ Not Just Celery

    November 29, 2010

    While the new formula doesn’t “use” calories in the calculation, it is inherently there in the background because the calories from fat, carbs, and protein must equal the total calories. Fat has 9 calories per gram and carbs and protein both have 4 calories per gram. Let’s do a little math…

    For example, my favorite light cheese has 4 g of fat, 0 g of carbs, and 6 g of protein. So in order to calculate the calories it is:

    (4g of fat x 9) + (0g of carb x 4) + (6g of protein x 4) = 60 calories

    Can you tell I’m an accountant? hehe…

    I like the new program. I have been good about eating fruit for snacks so I am excited for them to be 0 points. And even though lots of other stuff changed, 29 points seems like SO MUCH MORE than the old 18 minimum, or even my old current target of 24.

    WW friendly

    November 29, 2010

    I work for WW and have known about this new plan for a few weeks now. I’m not crazy about it. I lost 40lbs with the prievous program and like most folks Im a little nervous about the change when the last plan worked so well for me. I dont like how they pretty much MAKE you buy the new PP calculator. My guess is that in the not so far off future those formulas your looking for are going to become public. Its just to new right now.

    Kelly Rowe

    November 29, 2010

    I signed up for a free week on the website just to get the information – and found a site that had what they “believed” the new equation to be (from the UK originally, I guess?) but I can’t find the site anymore. I don’t know if it got taken down or not.

    I did, however, jot it down. And I’ve been doing some manual comparisons between what the e-Calculator says and what the equation gives me and they match thus far…

    (protein/10.9) + (carbohydrates/9.2) + (fat/3.5) + (fiber/35)

    I make no guarantees, of course but we’ll see how it goes longer term.

    Alissa

    November 29, 2010

    I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the plan, too. First of all, I had to reset all of my information 2 days before WI. It would have been nice to start on my WI day. I feel like I am using all of my points very quickly. Once I get the hang of it, I think it will be just fine. I do know that I will be eating more fruits and veggies though- which is a good thing.

    Shawn

    November 29, 2010

    I found this great post with info about the new plan. http://danicasdaily.com/weight-watchers-points-plus-the-new-program/

    Melissa

    November 29, 2010

    Thanks for the info. My meeting is Thursday morning and I now know just to get the calculator first thing! I do like that they are taking carbs into consideration now. I try to make healthy choices and using points for fruit or having some chocolate will seem like an easier choice now…..

    Trisha

    November 29, 2010

    I love the new plan. I am finding it easier than the old plans were. The hardest thing was to give up what I had already memorized but I am finding myself eating healthier naturally. I am grabbing fruit and veggies more than I ever did. I am not going over my points like I was.
    I like the new plan, just give it some time.

    Sarah Jane

    November 29, 2010

    I hear what you’re saying about WW being a business, but I may be naive to believe that they are making good, scientific choices. A banana is better than a fiber one bar. They shouldn’t be the same.
    We’ll see how it all shakes out.
    And thanks for posting about it. I’ve been waiting for your review!:)

    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    November 29, 2010

    Could you sign up online? I’m doing it online so I have the online calculator. Still not sure how I feel about the changes, I see a lot of my recipes going up in points, but then others staying the same. It’s having to relearn everything that I find most frustrating.

    Jane

    November 29, 2010

    Thanks for the input. I am an online member, but I also attend meetings, so I will get face-to-face input tomorrow. I think this will throw a lot of people who were in the process of successfully losing weight using the old points plan. I wonder if WW clients are able to continue with the old plan, if they are in mid-weight loss mode. I can see starting new clients with the new program, but for current members– change when things are going well is not so great. What’s the old saying, “”Don’t mess with success.”

    I also think that this new change is to get more people back into their program. I know that their clientele has declined in the past two years–at least in our community. Maybe the economy has had something to do with it. Changing to a new program always sparks a flurry of new members and returnees.

    Jen

    November 29, 2010

    You don’t have to follow the new plan. If the old plan worked, use it. If you do go to the meetings, you could get a monthly pass which gives free access to etools and did (I only do online now as I get nothing out of meetings) calculate to one free week.

    Tamela

    November 29, 2010

    I was a tried and true member of the original points system. I lost over 30 lbs. on it in my 20’s and 40 lbs. after my 2nd was born (I did it on my own w/out rejoining.) But once I weaned my son, I gained it all back and have had little success with WW since. I’m VERY intrigued by the new program and I’m now contemplating going back to meetings.

    Quick question…if I join at meetings, do I get to use all the e-Tools or would it be better to just join online?

    roni

    November 29, 2010

    I think you get eTools ONLY if you buy the monthly pass. Someone else may have to chime in as I’m so out of touch with membership options at the moment. They did have all these fancy shmansy things when I was paying. ;)

    Anna S @ History Running Girl

    November 29, 2010

    I love the new plan! I’m excited it is taking into account carbs and and protein. I track via my phone though and use stools. I can see nor liking the electronics.
    My dad still does weight watchers from the 90s. No points. It is working him so he stays with it! I like the change though!

    jessey

    November 29, 2010

    I’ll be interested to see how the calculat the total daily points. At age 40, 5’6″, 192, I am at 29 as well. But so is the girl next to me 4’11”, 130 lb, since 29 is the lowest # points, which means I will never drop in points.

    I think the new plan will be good – I think it will encourage me to eat more whole foods – It is so easy to grab processed foods when you are bringing the 4 out of 5 meals you eat every day to work with you.

    But I am going to Disney on Thursday so I think I will wait until next week to give it a try :)

    Michelle

    November 29, 2010

    I am a member on the online program only and I am concerned about the fact that I am at the lowest 29 point level now and I still have over 40 lbs to lose. So after I lose another 20 or so lbs, it seems to make sense that my daily points should go down. I don’t know. I felt like I was in a groove on the last plan and am very worried that I will start this new plan and start gaining and LOSE MOTIVATION!!!!! I guess time will tell…

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    November 29, 2010

    I like the new changes but I have e-tools and use it all the time. I think that the changes are helping us to make sure that members make healthier choices like fruit instead of the bars and replacement treats all the time.

    I don’t like the having to purchase a calculator but I think that is the business part of WW.

    So far I’m loving it.

    Danica

    November 29, 2010

    First of all I have to say that I LOVE that you are as addicted to Weight Watchers and their new programs as I am :D I LOVE that you went even while preggers to get the info :)

    I have successfully lost on the Flex, CORE, Momentum and Filling plans, but, I personally am really excited about the new plan. I like that they are gently nudging people to make healthier choices towards REAL food versus how many points they can get for this itme or that just because a company added fiber to it. 100 calories of ice cream with 4 g of fiber added may be less points than 100 calories of chicken, but, obviously one is way better for you than the other. And don’t even get me started on those 100 calorie pointless packets :D

    On the other hand, I do think that they should’ve given everyone the calculators because well it’s a real tool of the program.

    That being said all people who buy the monthly pass to attend meetings (anyway) get ALL of the online stuff including the new Weight Watchers Phone Apps (droid & iphone) for FREE. So in a sense, you have the calculator that way.

    I posted the highlights on my site of the materials you couldn’t get as I showed you earlier….let me know if you want me to send a link :)

    I LOVE the motivation I have from the new plan and knowing I have a HUGE points target now :)

    Robyn @ New Every Morning

    November 29, 2010

    So if I want to calculate Points values (I think the new program is rolled out here in Eastern Canada- New Brunswick – next week) I need to put out extra money for a Points Calculator? If they’re changing the plan, I think that they need to make the Points Calc system a part of it and not charge for it. I know they wouldn’t want to take the loss on having to give out these things for free, but really…it seems like it’s one more thing – one more way for WWers to charge you for something.

    Mandy

    November 29, 2010

    I used WW for a while a couple years ago. While I was successful in shedding some weight, I ultimately switched to calorie counting for the very reason they seem to be addressing. While “on plan” I caught myself eating much more processed foods- the ones engineered to be low-point by food manufacturers. I ended up switching to calorie counting and found myself getting away from trying to cheat the system and focusing much more on portion size and teh quality of my food.

    I think the switch is a good one. Confusing, but good. I hope it will help assist in retraining the brains of WW members. Rather than a 100 calorie pack for a sweet fix, why not a banana? With the new points, the banana becomes a lot more alluring- something we should be thinking from the outset.

    I think they have some kinks to work out (your points about calculating), but overall I think it’s a step in the right direction to start encouraging a more holistic diet rather than ways to get a cookie fix multiple times a day, but remain within points. I may even consider going back on this new plan at some point to shed a bit more weight.

    Amanda

    November 29, 2010

    I have done WW for a while now. It works, it really does. However, a few months ago I decided to eat even healthier–but that meant that it costs me more points every day. The ‘healthy’ stuff was more points (avocado for example). I have always felt like WW didn’t really encourage the healthier stuff. Lean meats were always costly (in my opinion). I am looking forward to hearing about the new plan. I go to my meeting on Thursday–YAY!

    Suzie

    November 29, 2010

    Hi there, I went to my meeting today and was a little overwhelmed and quite PO’d that I would have the buy the calculator since I couldn’t find the promised Droid app in the Market (grr). But, I paid the measly $6 and am am going to consider today as day 1.

    If you go to meetings and want e-tools the monthly pass is great, it ends up being cheaper than just going to meetings if you go every week ($9ish per week instead of $12).

    I just wish I hadn’t packed my lunch before going to the meeting because I tend to eat a lot of high carb/high fiber foods that were 1-2 points (bagel thins, fiber one bars, etc.) before but are now 3-4 points. I’m sure this will help me eat more whole foods, fruits and veggies but it will take some getting used to!

    By the way, thanks for the formula! It’s complicated but once I memorize my favorites it shouldn’t be too bad.

    deb roby

    November 29, 2010

    I did WW a number of years ago. Wasn’t terribly successful -or happy with it- because the point count ignored protein -emphasizing processed grain products (in my memory) over unprocessed foods, healthy proteins and good fats.

    What I hear about the new plan sounds more encouraging -but if you have to use fat, protein and carbs to calculate your points -why go through that extra step? Why not just calculate fat, protein, and carbs?

    Mo

    November 29, 2010

    Thanks Roni for your input!
    I’m an on-line user and as a life-timer at goal, I’m attending meetings (f0r free) as I still have some weight that I’d like to lose. I will be attending my meeting on Wednesday, so I’ll be hearing more about the program then as well as reading on-line.
    I have heard that the calculator is being sold for the month of Dec. at $5.95 and a lot of the material will be on sale or marked down during the first month of the program. (There is also a coupon for a FREE calculator as part of the deluxe kit.)
    I did WW 13 years ago and was a big WW frozen meal fan. My kids were young and it was easier for me to just pop something in the microwave. This time around I’ve been using recipes from Roni’s site and http://www.skinnytaste.com/ to cook “real” meals for the whole family and everyone loves them. Both sites offer family friendly recipes that are delicious! Thanks ladies for all your hard work. I will be giving the new plan a try and will continue to look to your sites for inspiration.

    Lori

    November 29, 2010

    I went to the meeting today also and I think I am going to love the new plan. A lot does not change for me as I try to eat more whole foods vs processed but I get more points. It does seem the focus is on being healthier as well as lighter. So many people were very negative at the meeting and I get that change is hard for some to accept but I say give it a shot and if it doesn’t work then go back to the old plan. I actually said that to the lady sitting next to me who whined about everything said. I also think if you go into it thinking it won’t work, then it won’t.
    I was upset that it cost me more money since they decided to change. I bought the “new member” pack for $35. It has a lot of info but again I have been paying my monthly dues for a long time. The pack included a points calculator, food companion, fast food companion, 3 month journal, a cookbook and coupons for WW products.
    I am looking forward to a kick in the butt and this new plan is making me focus and scrutinize my choices again.

    Becky F

    November 29, 2010

    Unlurking a bit! I am planning on getting back in the WW groove post-pregnancy (@10w) and too am quite interested in these new materials!

    +1 on the “ugh” for required pseudo-electronics (as a fellow high-techie).

    I’m interested in the formula – calories after all can be calculated from carb, protein and fat content. I have a feeling WW stuck with the penalize fat, reward fiber mentality. With the latest research pointing toward calories as king, but WW encouraging healthier eating, I suspect they somehow hybridized the two. Very interesting indeed. It’s good to renew focus and reexamine once in a while, I am anxious to see what I learn from the new program.

    Carin

    November 29, 2010

    I’m in New Zealand and here it’s called “ProPoints”, not “PointPlus” – don’t know why, unless they’re concerned that “plus” soulds too much like “plus sized”? Anyway, WW have really stuffed up with the staggered roll-out because the latest magazine came out here this week with NO mention of ProPoints – all points values in recipes are still on the old system. Confusing eh?

    Overall, I don’t think it matters (unless you’re some sort of banana obsesive who’ll eat a tree-load whilst fondly believing them to be “free”…) – it’s the routine of pointing, thinking about hunger/ what you’re putting into your body, meal planning ad making healthy choices that makes the difference, which are all common to any of these plans. I just think there’s a more overt move toward fruit & veg consumption and protein, rather than being carb-dependent. It’s gonna work if you work it!

    krissie

    November 29, 2010

    Last spring, I was losing well on Weight Watchers. I tried several different meetings, though, and I felt such a disconnect. I felt like the program in theory taught us about eating better but the meetings in practice were all about finding 1-point processed items to eat instead of the banana. I have such high hopes for this new program.

    I’m really excited to work this program for a while. We’ll see!

    Nancy

    November 29, 2010

    Hey Roni- I’m on WW Staff…we were told that the powers that be really tried to get a working slider with the “top sliderule makers” , but with 4 elements to measure they just couldn’t come up with one that was workable. I know it feels like a play for additional bucks, but I don’t think so in this case.

    Kristin

    November 29, 2010

    I love the new program!! It rocks!! If you actually do it, you will notice it is way easier to maintain your weight!! You eat better! I have been doing it for the last 3 months! It rocks!! I love it!!

    Jen

    November 29, 2010

    This link is a copy of the patent application. What I was able to find is that the points = Protein + Fiber+ carbs+Fat. I could not decipher how they calculated each of the above items, i.e. Protein. Also, if you look, it shows the formula for figuring out how many points you get. I am excited about it, just wish I could finish figuring out the formula, I am a math person and it bugs me that I don’t know.

    roni

    November 29, 2010

    Jen – I’m pretty sure Kelly was right about..

    Points = (protein/10.9) + (carbohydrates/9.2) + (fat/3.5) + (fiber/35)

    I used that in my new calculator and it seems to be working out…
    http://ronisweigh.com/ronis-resources/wwp-calculators

    Leanne

    November 29, 2010

    I love that the new plan is making is easier for people to want to make healthier choices. It always drove me crazy to see people losing who were logging such crap each day. But, hey, they stayed within their points, so good enough, right? Wrong. Part of why I had stopped attending meetings was because of the emphasis on meeting your points instead of your nutritional needs. I love that the new plan pushes people towards more healthful items and “penalizes” the less healthful ones. It’s not that you can’t have them – it’s just that you have to realize that they’re just not as good for you.

    Still, here I am at the end of the day with 13 points to use up… That’s the part I’m finding hard. I never had that problem before.

    Laura

    November 29, 2010

    My meeting isn’t until Thursday but since I have access to online as well I’ve been reading up. So far I don’t really understand it – points went up but your daily/weekly pts. went up as well. My normal breakfast old plan was oatmeal (2) and a banana (2) for a 4 pt. total. Under powerpoints today I had oatmeal (now 4) and banana (now 0) for a total of 4!! What changed???

    After lunch and dinner I’m still staring at 9 pts. and I’m just not hungry!! Fruits won’t give me the points but junk food would (but I’m not doing that).

    Hoping my meeting will explain some of this!

    Trisha

    November 29, 2010

    Leanne, Your daily target is recommended but you no longer have to make sure you eat every point. If you aren’t hungry don’t eat them.

    s

    November 29, 2010

    thanks for this post. i’ve been at goal for a little over a year and only attend meetings to check in so the post and comments are helpful to me. i am curious to find out more about this plan at my next meeting … i’m a little bummed that the new equation will make it difficult to do the mental points calculations :( but i am curious to see how the points values will change for my daily meals.

    K. Nicoletti

    November 29, 2010

    I hate the new plan. Like you, I have been successful with the old plan. I have lost nearly 50lbs. I just happen to be super busy with my job right now. I admit I got a little off during the Thanksgiving weekend but was pysched to get back to my lifestyle this morning. I wake up and Bam! I have to recalculate all of my food and figure out this new system. I agree with you that I think that it seems very confusing. Also they kicked off the program without having all of their systems updated. My mobile weight watchers today which is the way I most frequently track my food information was not available. I also really miss the manual slider. My daughter and I would slide calculate most of our foods in the kitchen. So I’m sad and a little frustrated. My old program made my life so easy for me. Now I have one more challenge to deal with :-(

    Carol

    November 29, 2010

    As someone who has been through many, many changes of the WW plan, I am always excited when new plan comes out. It gives us “experienced” members a new way of looking at things and each version seems healthier and easier than the last.

    With that said, I also believe that it isn’t the particular plan that you follow, but your attitude while following it, that breeds success. I have been on a lot of WW plans over the years (starting with selections in the early 90s), but I’ve never made it to goal. I’ve always given up and gone back to my old habits. When I restarted WW for the last time back in 2007, I promised myself that I would keep going to WW for the rest of my life. I was only 40 at the time, so that was a big commitment! I’m 1.4 lbs away from goal and I know I’ll make it this time, new plan or not. I’m looking forward to maintaining on the new plan.

    I don’t know if anyone answered this, but you can just pay for e-tools online without buying the monthly pass. That’s what I intend to do once I’m at Lifetime.

    Mike

    November 30, 2010

    I don’t think that formula is what the WW e-tools site uses.

    If you enter 0 carbs, 0 fat, 0 protein, and 100 fiber, your calc gives 2.9 points. The WW site gives 0.
    I think the e-Tools site subtracts out fiber somehow like the old formula did.

    As a lapsed WW’er, I’m almost tempted to go back just to learn all about the new plan. But I’m also so sick of counting (anything) that I’m on the fence.

    Of course, what I’ve been doing (nothing), isn’t doing me any favors …

    Svanhvit

    November 30, 2010

    Eeeeeeeek, that sounds soooo intimidating!! I did well on the old program and I have the materials, so I think I am sticking to that. I did try to go on the “new” plan, which would probably be the momentum one in the US, and that just got me all muddled up. I could not cope with the allowance and the different amount of points. So for now, I am going to start again on the old program. Back in the day when I actually managed to lose weight with it, in time started looking more at the quality and ingredients as opposed to the points. Also, what really helps me about the points system is the portion control. I am pretty fit on what is healthy and what is not, I just struggle with the amounts.

    Sam

    November 30, 2010

    We have been using this new plan “Pro Point” here in Australia for a few weeks now and it does take a bit of getting used to but i LOVE it. I love the 49 points you get each week (didnt have that before here). It really makes you change the way you think and go back to calculating a lot to start with but you soon get the hang of it. I love that it is taking into consideration what makes up the food and not just the calories it holds. This way you are naturally made to eat better and make better choices. Also it does not hurt to go back to weighing and looking things up again, as i am sure that the portion sizes for most have slowly crept up again. I use WW online so everything changed over automatically and there was not much change.

    Jane

    November 30, 2010

    I am an online member, so I have seen the program. I am a bit confused by it, at this point. I’m not sure why they had to make such a change, because when people who are doing well have to change their program, it may be too disruptive and have a negative effect. I was told by someone who works at WW that their membership has dropped in the past two years. Perhaps a new program will get more people in the doors (new people and people who have dropped out). Thanks for the great update!

    Kat

    November 30, 2010

    I do not disagree that this plan might, in fact, be better for weight loss than the old plan. The weight loss under this new plan might be faster and it might be healthier. But what it is not, is easier.

    I, like many people trying to lose weight, have been on diet after diet after diet. Weight Watchers is the one that I was able to stick to and finally lose 30 pounds (still have a long way to go!). NOT because it’s the best, most scientifically-sound diet out there… but because it was the easiest. Because I could fit it into my lifestyle. Because, since it was so easy, I had NO excuse NOT to follow it!! It gave me a framework for counting calories, basically, which is what I needed.

    Well, with the forced change to the new program, that’s all out the window, and I’m really upset. GONE is the ability to look at the calorie information alone and estimate the points. So when I go to a restaurant and ALL they give me is the calorie information (as MANY restaurants do), what am I going to do? On the old Points program, I’d estimate 1 pt per 50 calories, maybe pad it a little bit for fat, and be done with it. Now, I have NO CLUE what to count for the points. I don’t find this encouraging at all! I find it frustrating.

    And it is so gut-wrenchingly frustrating to feel like I have finally found a program that works for me, to have it, literally, TAKEN AWAY.

    What I don’t understand is why they didn’t make this an optional change, as they have in the past when they’ve introduced new programs. Or at least given online members like me the *option* to continue to use the old tools. How dumb is it, that if I want to keep counting the “old” way, because its easier and better suited to my lifestyle and approach, that I have to do it myself… and therefore, might as well cancel my subscription and stop paying them?! If they had just left us access to these tools, they would keep getting my money… seems like a no-brainer to me.

    The old plan *worked*, it may not have been based on the “latest scientific research” or whatever, but it worked and it was easy. And even on weeks when I didn’t lose 1-2 pounds, I stuck with it because it was simple and I knew I could do it.

    To be honest, I really wonder if they did this *because* the old method was too easy, maybe people were dropping their memberships and just doing it on their own. They had to make it extra-complicated so we’d be dependent upon their tools.

    Anyway, I am frustrated. To say the least. I do not know where I am going from here. Until yesterday, there was no question in my mind that I would be doing WW for pretty much the rest of my life, it had become second nature to me and my weight was going down, maybe not quickly, but constantly and that is what is important. Now… I don’t know. Maybe I’ll cancel my subscription and keep doing regular Points on my own… though I really wish we still had access to the tools and ALL THE INFO I HAD STORED AND SAVED ON THEIR SITE!! ARGHHH.

    I think forcing everyone into this new system is a very bad move on their part. I’m sure there are others like me who used WW as a simpler framework for calorie-counting, who will bail now that calories are out the window completely (by the way, I saw the tip to divide by 40… that is definitely helpful! But still not nearly as good as 50 calories per 1 pt… which makes much more sense and is easier to do in my head…)

    roni

    November 30, 2010

    Kat – I think you covered exactly what I couldn’t put my finger on. The reason why I was so successful was because the plan WAS simple. Now it’s just like everyone other complicated diet out there. Weight Watchers never embraced their community and it seems to me to be all about the money at this point.

    MaryB

    November 30, 2010

    Thanks for the quick review Roni. And I love all the info in the comments. I like the new change because it seems to focus on better eating habits. I always get so annoyed by people eating the 100 calorie packs. NOT nutritious and NOT good for you, with the exception of almonds. Sure you could eat anything within your points target but the real question was should you? I pretty much stick to the theory of don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce, no more than 5 ingredients, no meat or dairy. I loosely follow points because I am having trouble giving up anything deep fried!
    I think this new plan will encourage people to eat healthier and really, isn’t that what it’s all about? It should be

    Kat

    November 30, 2010

    It’s nice to find someone that agrees with me. I agree with you, I think it must just be about the money, because if it was just the case that they truly felt this plan was better, they would have *encouraged* us to move to the new plan but left the old plan as an option. I think the fact that they forced everyone into it shows that they’re purposefully making the plan harder to follow so we’re all more dependent upon their tools and foods.

    So now… I guess I just have to hope someone will jump in to fill the hole WW left in the weight loss market, and create a simple, calorie-based program with some well-designed online tracking tools… 50 calories = well we can’t call them Points… 1 ticket? 1 token? 1 notch? LOL I’d even give up the fiber bonus and fat penalty… I really just want an online tracking system that assigns 1 point per calorie and has a nice database of food values, and lets me add in my own. *sigh*

    Kat

    November 30, 2010

    1 point per 50 calories, is what I meant. LOL

    roni

    November 30, 2010

    Have you ever played with FitDay? It just tracks cals. You can add your own food to the DB too. http://FitDay.com

    Kat

    November 30, 2010

    I haven’t, but I’ll definitely take a look. I’ve used http://SparkPeople.com in the past, it too has free calorie tracking and a decent database… and I think lets you save your own stuff too (its been a while since I’ve used it, because I’ve been doing WW since February). I guess I’ll need to switch to one of those options, but I really did like the simplification of 50 calories to a point that WW offered. Much easier to remember I ate 7 points than 343 calories, much easier to add 7 points plus 3 points than to add 350 calories plus 150 calories, etc. I know I can always just do the math back and forth if I really want to… I just really want to be able to keep using my online WW tracker the way I have been all year! Hmm I wonder if any of those online tracking places will let me say I want to eat 29 calories for the day, and then I can just enter in points as calories… LOL. But then there are still the weekly points which can’t be tracked as simply.

    Robin

    November 30, 2010

    Thanks for your quick review, Roni. I echo the feelings of confusion and frustration. Like you, I lost weight on WW points and can eyeball the points in anything even if I am not religiously tracking anymore.

    I am going to give the new system a try. I don’t think my eating habits will change too much, though I suspect I will cut down on the (few) remaining processed foods I eat for convenience. Basically, this means Arnolds Thins for my sandwiches…

    Just wanted to let everyone know that there seems to be a quick cheat that approximates the new points.

    (Protein + Carbs)/10 + Fat/4
    Add a point if there is a lot of fiber. And round up.

    I’ve tested this cheat out on about two dozen items in my pantry and recipe book, and compared it to etools calculations — it gets the right “pointsplus” everytime. This makes me feel a lot better, knowing I don’t need the silly calculator. Everyone can divide by 10!

    I am sure this new system won’t be for everyone, and that is fine. I also wish they retained the option to continue with the old points. Roni, thanks for doing the footwork for us, since many of your readers are still tracking and following WW formally.

    Mike

    November 30, 2010

    I found this version of the suspected Points Plus formula in this blog’s comments:

    http://www.starling-fitness.com/archives/2010/11/25/how-to-use-edibles-with-weight-watchers-points-plus/

    (Fat)(9/35) + (Carbs)(19/175) + (Protein)(16/175) – (Fiber)(2/25)

    I don’t have a calculator to test with yet, but this seems to support the behavior I’m seeing in the WW e-tools site.

    Kat

    November 30, 2010

    I have an android phone, and was able to find several apps that use the old calculations for WW… none of them are as good as the online WW tools were, but I think they’ll be passable. I hope when I cancel my subscription for their online tools, WW will get the point… I sent them a message last night, but I have a feeling they care more about our wallets than our words.

    katie k

    November 30, 2010

    i too am skeptical about the new program (mostly because i’m so used to the old, and we all fear change), but i will say that i don’t think calorie counting is the healthiest way to “diet”/live. before i started weight watchers, i calorie counted and i lost weight all on my own. so yes, calorie counting works. but i was still eating crap — processed, unhealthy crap — just less of it. weight watchers helped me focus more on eating healthy, real food, and supposedly this new plan is even more centered around that.

    if you think about it, weight watchers has always been a little hypocritical — boasting “filling foods” (now “power foods) while simultaneously marketing frozen foods full of sodium and 1 point cookie bars made of ingredients you couldn’t pronounce. but overall, it’s a good program, and i think (and hope) that it will continue to be.

    Lori @ All About Me

    November 30, 2010

    I am super excited about the new plan! I have lost 80 lbs this year by counting Points so this will be a change, but I think everything will balance out and I’ll still be eating the same, just counting differently (I have 20 lbs left to figure it out). I think the shift from calories to nutritional content is way better and shows how WW is into keeping up with the times, but it is a bummer that a calculator will be a required purchase. I use my iPhone so the calculations are very easy/convenient, and since I’m already used to tracking everything online (mostly using the iPhone app) it will be okay. I can see how it might feel daunting to some though.

    I would encourage you not to list the Points or WWPP for your recipes, though. Has WW ever contacted you about not doing that because of their trademarks and stuff? You’re kind enough to list the nutrition facts so people should be able to calculate the WWPP themselves, right? I can’t imagine the time it will take you to convert it all otherwise.

    Lori @ For the Run of It

    November 30, 2010

    Dang, my name was wrong on that other post!

    I also wanted to say that I don’t fault WW at all for keeping business going and trying to keep things fresh. I agree with Carol, most of your success will be in your attitude. Embrace change, it is the way of the world.

    Jessica

    November 30, 2010

    I’m of the ” If it ain’t broke…DON’T FIX IT!” mentality. When I stick with counting regular Points, I’m successful. I’m even more successful when I eat more veggies and fruit. That alone, is motivation to avoid the processed crap.
    I really think that WW, as a corporation, has consumer’s best interests at heart. But they are just that. A corporation.

    sarah

    November 30, 2010

    As a lifetime member I am not sure if I want to mess with success. I will attend my monthly meeting tomorrow to obtain the new materials and learn about the new program, but like many posters here, I like the simplicity of the current program of calories, fat and fiber. I suppose I will decide on whether or not to switch after I learn more Thursday. I also wish WW would take into account lifetime members a little more. Do they recommend we switch to the new program too, even though we’re done losing and trying to keep off the weight?

    roni

    November 30, 2010

    Here’s the thing.. I DO embrace change. Every year I looked forward to the updates and edits Weight Watchers were releasing. Especially last years Momentum plan. However, this year it’s more than about change. It’s a completely different system, requiring additional cost, more products and gadgets.

    In my opinion Weight Watchers is losing it’s appeal because it’s more complicated then it was before. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. That’s just my opinion. The old plan was the first thing that ever worked for me long term. It taught me the core fundamentals through that simplicity. My fear with the new plan is that many people will give up and quit because it’s more cumbersome to follow. Nutritional info about protein and carbs isn’t as accessible as calories, fat and fiber. Now people are required to use electronic devices to track. You can’t get by with a slider and a food tracker anymore.

    I totally agree with you and Carol.. it’s ALL attitude but weight watchers really had an edge in the diet market in my opinion because of it’s ease of use. I think that’s what I’m having the hardest time with in this new plan. I’m sure from a diet perspective the new plan is better and will get people to eat healthier I just hope they can stick with long term to learn the basics without getting frustrated and feeling overwhelmed about eating out or calculating points when NI is not available in the detail needed.

    MaryB

    November 30, 2010

    I agree they could have done this differently. Maybe make fruit free but lower daily points by 1 or 2? It used to be so easy to kind of calculate points in your head…this does make it sound frustrating. I read somewhere that an app for Android will have a bar code reader that tells you the new Points

    Holly B

    November 30, 2010

    Does anyone know if the new ProPoints plan has a fiber cap? It used to be 4g. I’m also not seeing much about exercise points out there and if they’ll work the same.

    I’m probably echoing someone above, but the fact that my daily allowance is 30 points right now and the lowest is 29 and I still have 40 lbs to loose, well, it’s a little scary. How’s that going to work?

    Lori @ For the Run of It

    November 30, 2010

    It does make things more complicated and certainly counting calories is the easiest way of “dieting”. But counting calories will help you lose weight, not necessarily get you healthy and help you maintain your loss if you don’t know a good calorie from a “bad” one. I have heard many people through the years say they loved WW when they were following plan because they lost weight, but they were not able to maintain. Of course, this has never been the fault of WW, but teaching people to incorporate more balanced meals filled with whole foods will help them in their long term success, I think. Eating 100 cal packs is not a long term solution, but that’s what a lot of people seem to eat when following WW. I agree with those who posted that the meetings seem to be focused a lot on what kind of foods you can cram in for the least amount of points, regardless of their nutritional value. This mentality needs to shift a bit and I hope this new plan will help.

    Lori @ For the Run of It

    November 30, 2010

    Holly, I tried calculating something with 4 grams of fiber and 11 grams of fiber, I left all other categories the same. The WWPP did go down with 11g of fiber so I think there isn’t a cap. I did try to find the specific info on the site and was not able to.

    It is interesting that 29 is the lowest daily amount. I understand the increase from 22 since the value is higher for many foods now, but I have 20 lbs left to lose and I’m used to losing a point every 10 lbs or so. For someone with 40 lbs to go also they have 29 for the day. That seems like a wide range to me.

    Is the daily number an “up to” amount, or do they still recommend eating all your points? I haven’t read about this yet, either.

    Tamara

    November 30, 2010

    I agree that fruit should be 0 points. I did the same, and never counted fruit as more than 1, because even though a banana might have been 2 points, if I chose that over chocolate or chips for a snack, it felt like that should be less stringent. I like that they are encouraging people to make healthier choices, but I’ve done that all along, When I realized I could have a miniature bag of microwave popcorn and a vitamin water for the same points as two Oreos or a can of soda, I started to make food choices based on getting the most nutritional bang for my buck (so to speak). But I hate that they’re forcing people to use those calculators. It’s also going to be a big adjustment for those who have been following the plan for a long time. I have certain foods programmed into my brain. I know my breakfast of whole wheat toast with low-cal jam and egg whites is four points. I don’t want to have to start recalculating every single thing I eat. I haven’t been to a meeting in a long time and had success with the original plan. I try to make healthy choices (filling, low-fat, high-fiber foods) anyway, but enjoy the flexibility of being able to incorporate treats. Therefore I’m planning to hang onto my old materials and keep following the plan that way. I’m resistant to change and I like some things better traditional. Weight Watchers is one of them.

    roni

    November 30, 2010

    Lori – I think it is an up to amount. Not like the old plan which was a min recommendation.

    Tamara

    November 30, 2010

    An an addendum to my last comment, I’ve been thinking about it for the last few minutes and I just read Kat’s original comment and I’m in total agreement with both of you. I’ve enjoyed WW because it provides a good framework, but isn’t super-stringent an complicated like other plans. The plan (of recent years anyway) has always encouraged people to choose lean meats, whole grains, etc. I guess I just don’t see how this new plan will encourage people to make healthier choices more than the old one. I always had the incentive to choose low-fat, high-fiber options, because as I said above, I got more bang for my buck. So why wouldn’t I choose a whole grain pasta over white when it decreased the points value? If WW really wanted to encourage people to make better choices, it seems to me they could have saturated their materials (and leaders) with information about why choosing nutritionally dense foods is more beneficial and how to do that. I like to think I’m bright enough to realize that a cup of whole wheat pasta, with lean ground beef and red sauce is going to be less points and fill me up more than a piece of chocolate cake. Even with the old points system, if I had an indulgent treat, I had to account for it. So can someone please explain to me how this new plan makes it more likely that people will choose better food options? In the end, let’s pretend that it will. If you factor in the added complications of how the new system works, I think rather than encouraging people to make better choices, the complex nature of calculations will be more of a deterrent and make it less likely for people to give it a shot period.

    katie k

    November 30, 2010

    reading everyone’s critique on the new plan has been really helpful for me. at first, i was worried because it seemed to be getting a lot of negative feedback. but after really thinking about it, on a personal level, i think i really like the new program (or the idea of it since i just started it yesterday).

    i was down to 18 daily points on the old plan and to be honest, i was usually starving and always went over my points. now my point value seems more liveable and i don’t have to feel guilty about eating a banana, although i do worry that i could start gaining weight.

    most of the foods i eat have the same or very similar point values and with the increase in daily points it’s not that much different than the momentum plan, so i think returning members will be okay. it may be a little difficult for people to get used to the complicated calculation but maybe eating shouldn’t be “easy.” that’s part of the reason why americans are as obese as we are — we look for easy, convenient fixes, whether that means eating fast food every day or going on a fad diet. the new plan forces people to look at food in a more in depth way, instead of focusing on just calories or just carbs. so for now, i’m giving it a thumbs up. but who knows, i may feel differently in a few weeks haha.

    Lori @ For the Run of It

    November 30, 2010

    Tamara, An easy comparison is as follows: on the old Points plan you could have chosen a Choc Fiber One bar, a banana, or a 100 calorie pack, each worth 2 points. On the new WWPP, the 100 cal pack is 3 WWPP, the banana is 0, and the Fiber One bar is 4 WWPP–which one do you think is more likely to be chosen? A lot of the foods I eat are the same points as before because I think I choose the best options already, but lots of poeple at meetings seems to choose by first, the number of points, and second what they want between several things with the same Points value. A banana should not count the same as a 100 cal pack.

    Lori @ For the Run of It

    November 30, 2010

    Sorry for the terrible typos and hortible English in that last one!

    Susan

    November 30, 2010

    Hey Roni, will you keep your current WW calculators on your site?

    Yikes! So many calculations, so little time! I’m a former Weight Watcher who decided to opt off the diet bandwagon and have never been happier or slimmer :-) I am encouraged that they have devised a system to encourage the eating of fruits and vegetables, instead of highly processed junk like sugar free jello. I lost all respect for WW back when a leader suggested making a cake from a box of cake mix and can of diet soda.

    Denise

    November 30, 2010

    I am actually happy about the changes in the Weight Watchers plan. I have always been more of a “clean eater” on my weight loss journey and tried to get in as much healthy, whole foods as possible. Weight Watchers had gotten (and continued) to get such a bad, with lots of members eating processed food to lose weight. I give 2 thumps up to any plan that suggests people to eat “real food”.

    Becky

    November 30, 2010

    As a lifer I too have trepidation about the new system. I’m looking forward to re examining everything and hopefully will only take a few weeks again to relearn my usual foods. Using a sharpie to put points values on nutrition labels at home helped when I was new, I’m planning on doing that again.

    If someone was “playing the game” with points then they reaped what they sewed when they stopped playing the game and went to old habits. By trying to beat the system, you’re only hurting your self. WW is supposed to be educational, so in a way it makes sense to encourage healthier choices. It really is too bad it comes off more complicated. It’s been said before – the simplicity of effectively reducing calories to Points makes other lessons so much easier to learn. The other stuff will come through but the PP become more of a hurdle.

    I too suspect WW Corporation is playing the money game, and too am saddened that they are limiting accessibility so hard. $6-$10 is an insult after paying initiation fees and everything else. Why not just include it with that fee?

    @KAT – thank you for your post.

    Becky

    November 30, 2010

    Quick thought – since WW no longer requires a minimum number of points be consumed, where is the safety rail that kept under-eaters in check To me this is a huge hole in this change.

    Holly B

    November 30, 2010

    Thanks For the info Lori!