By Jackie Wicks PEERtrainer Founder
December 2011 Update: Weight Watchers has announced some changes to their Points Plus System For 2012. The changes are not all that big. The three most important changes are:
- Added flexibility for daily points ranges
- Greater flexibility to follow their healthy eating plan instead of counting Points
- Bigger focus on activity points which will help you earn points for exercise.
That's about it. To understand what makes Points Plus "tick" keep reading:
What Makes Weight Watchers Points Plus Different From Their Previous Programs:
Weight Watchers has announced that they are coming up with a new version of their Points System. The company has stated that this new points system or new program will better reflect the latest "science."
According to Gail Gedan Spencer, the new Weight Watchers Points System will be called "Points Plus."
Summary Of The New Weight Watchers Points System:
- The Points System will better emphasize the quality of food.
- Fruit and most vegetables will have zero points.
- Addition of 49 "Real Living" bonus points to help people deal with party foods and "snacky" situations.
Why Are These Changes To The Points System Necessary
Hopefully this will address the biggest weakness of their system. Which is simply that people CAN lose weight following their points system by eating food that is really bad for them and bad for long term health. Weight Watchers has helped perpetuate a notion of dieting that almost primarily involves a portion controlled, low fat, high fiber diet. What they have not done over the years is done a good job with their points system of differentiating between high nutrient foods and low nutrient foods.
Last year Weight Watchers made a step in the right direction with the launch of the Weight Watchers Momentum Program. The points system did not change, but their recipes did start to include foods that were higher in plant content and higher in overall "nutrient density."
The company had visited with Dr. Joel Fuhrman before the launch of the Momentum Program, so it is clear that they are going in the right direction. It would appear that the "New Weight Watchers Program Of 2011" is a continuation of the direction that they began with Momentum.
The biggest thing to watch for with Weight Watchers new program is a shift in how points are calculated that properly rewards high nutrient foods like greens, and properly penalizes low nutrient foods.
What Is The Science That Weight Watchers Is Changing Their Program In Response To?
The most important change in the understanding of the "science of hunger" is that certain foods that contain high nutrients can almost "turn off" hunger. Any green vegetable like broccoli and spinach or green leaf like kale, romaine lettuce are very high in micronutrients. These greens and vegetable are packed with nutrients that cause people to call them superfoods. This is something you have probably heard before, and it is no secret that greens are considered good for you. But what has changed is how these foods are strongly correlated with reducing your hunger. So in addition to reducing your calories and fat, you MUST increase your greens.
Again, this is common sense, but Weight Watchers has such mindshare (and large marketing budget) that they have, for many years, essentially controlled how people think of a diet. What Weight Watchers should be doing with this update is creating an incentive structure where if you eat a huge portion of greens, you should get a very small point "credit." We will see if this new Points Plus system includes that, but it would make a lot of sense to provide people a half point "credit" if they ate 8-16 ounces of greens.
Will This Program Change Improve Weight Watchers Success Rate?
A lot of people look at programs like Weight Watchers and ask "will I succeed on this or not." The short answer to this question is that if you are looking at ANY one company or product as your single solution, your odds of success are going to be low. But if you rethink and redefine how you approach your weight loss efforts, you are going to be a ton more successful.
At PEERtrainer we recently created a presentation that outlines Why Most Weight Loss Programs Set You Up For Failure. One of the key concepts that we have isolated is "magic bullet thinking" which is really a function of weight loss program sales processes. Companies have to make you think that their solution is THE thing that will work for you. In reality, one has to turn this concept on it's head, which is tough because it is more work.
But you can do this. Once you get into the mindset that no one company or idea is going to be "the magic bullet", it frees you up to really focus on what will work. Frankly, a big part of weight loss success involves simply managing your own expectations better. When you make the decision to go easy on yourself, your odds improve. When you commit to a plan BUT give yourself plenty of time, your odds improve.
When you do a simple thing like write down one daily goal in the morning, your odds improve. There is no secret to any of this. But there is a structure component, and often we see that when people choose their correct structure, it helps them a lot. Some people like the in person accountability of a Weight Watchers Meeting. Some people love being motivated by a leader. (<link takes you to a motivational video that you can watch without entering any information!)
Some people feel as if they really know everything about eating less, eating more vegetables and moving more- but they just have a hard time following through.
Additionally, if you feel as if your weight issues are emotional in nature, you probably need to dig into that a little. PEERtrainer has put together an emotional eating course which may help you a great deal if you are one of those people who struggles with night eating, emotional eating and stress eating.
As we learn more about the details of this program we will make sure to update you on a periodic basis. We will also work to make sure to guide you to good recipe ideas that are based on these new Points values. We find that people love these specific suggestions that they can do on their own. (And For Free!!) If you want to be sent these suggestions, make sure to join the (free) PEERtrainer Tip Of The Day email list.
December 1 Update: Concerns About The New Weight Watchers Program.
We are starting to be sent some feedback from members of the PEERtrainer community who are also longtime Weight Watchers members. These are people who have been helped by both companies. The concerns fall into two general categories:
1. People feel like this system was designed primarily with the profitability of the company in mind. Here is a snippet of something that just showed up in our email:
"I'm thinking the new "system" requires a person to think of all foods they consume in terms of protein, fat, carbs and fiber in the form of extracting that specific information for the purpose of inputting it into one of the new Points Plus calculators they will gladly sell you for that purpose.
This "new" Points Plus program all but requires you to buy an accompanying calculator, introductory price of $5.95, otherwise there is no way a person can figure a points value of the foods they eat. That was a tidy little decision made at a corporate level destined to boost the profit margins."
2. The emphatic emphasis towards Protein and away from Carbs and Fat seems to be taking a page out of the Atkins and South Beach playbook. There have been some serious concerns about high protein, low fat and low carb diets. You can read here about the fundamental differences between Weight Watchers and other approaches which many health professionals consider much healthier and safer.
Whole Foods Market has recently entered into this debate, and has strongly endorsed an alternative view, which we discuss in the following paragraph.
We will be updating this post as we get more information and feedback.
Suggestion For Making The Adjustments On Your Own
The single best thing one can do to improve the quality of their diet is to understand how powerful high nutrient foods like green vegetables are. If you are near a Whole Foods Market, take a stroll into their produce section, and you will see something called "The ANDI Points System." You just need to spend about 15 minutes looking at the scores to get a good sense of what you should be eating. Stick with the Weight Watchers Points system that you know, but FOCUS on as many high nutrient foods from the ANDI points system as you can.
Discuss the new Weight Watchers Points Plus Program in the PEERtrainer community.
Feb 15th Update:
Click here to read about the new "PEERtrainer Cheat System" which is a new, simple to follow system for eating. The objective is to help guide you towards a way of eating that will make it easier to lose weight, give you more energy and help you feel better.
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