Friday, December 03, 2010

The PointsPlus plan: A midweek review

I was one of the people going bonkers with excitement over the new plan. I read all the speculatory threads on the Weight Watchers boards. I read all my plan information Sunday night (see below) and then I went on Tuesday to my meeting to hear it all confirmed in person. I even bought the turquoise "Deluxe Member Kit" with a three-month tracker, food and restaurant guides, and a coupon for a free calculator. I'm not really sure why I bought all of that stuff. I mostly use my iPhone to track and rarely need to look anything up in a book, I think I was swept away by the promotional price and the excitement of it all. The kit came with a cookbook with some recipes for the new plan.

How has the plan changed?

It seems that every PointsPlus point is slightly smaller than on the old Points system, which is why members get more daily and weekly points. I didn't get a whole lot more daily points (7), but we all get 14 more weekly points than on the old plan. The points for some things, mostly low-fat protein items, have stayed the same as before, but some carbohydrate-heavy foods and alcoholic beverages have doubled in points. With the zero-point fruit, though, I think it actually adds up to more food. I also notice that I earn more points for activity than I used to, so working out really pays off.

The biggest criticism of the old plan was that you could eat junk all day, as long as it was low-points junk, and could stay under your points. Sure, there were Good Health Guidelines that emphasized healthy foods, but those never seemed to feel mandatory for a lot of clients, and the points system itself rewarded extremely lowfat and fiber-filled versions of things, which were often highly processed. There also didn't seem to be enough emphasis on exercise. I found it difficult to follow as an active person. I was either hungry or perpetually going over my points. I didn't feel disciplined enough to make it work. I found out that one successful Weight Watcher I knew never ate any fruit when she did Weight Watchers.

The new plan is designed to nudge people toward healthier choices. Protein is emphasized, with fiber a little less so. Foods that have a lot of carbohydrates but not a lot of fiber are the highest in points. Because fruit and most veggies have no points, the hope is that clients will eat more of them. I find it very satisfying to have the option of eating one of those huge honeycrisp apples without counting points for it.

Despite the fears expressed by commenters on this blog and others, I don't find myself binging on fruit. The highest number of servings I have had in one day is 4, spread out through the whole day. Usually I have 2 or 3, plus veggies. Today we were going out to eat so I had a big apple before we left. That helped me to make better food decisions. Overall, it feels like I can eat a little more without going over my points, which makes it more likely that I will stick with it.

I am on Day 4 of my week and have 3 more days and 22 weeky allowance points to use in addition to my daily points. Most days I have earned some activity points and I have set up my tracker to use the activity points before the weeklies. That gives me an easy way to check the status of my week.

The only problems are some tech glitches and a lack Because I am a monthly pass member, I have access to Weight Watchers information with both the online tools and meetings. The night before the site was officially launched, someone figured out where the new site was and posted a link in the message boards. I was able to log in on Sunday night and read all of my plan information. This is a good thing, because since then, I have gotten this on every computer I have tried to use to log into Weight Watchers and read online plan information by clicking on "My Plan." It seems to be the Weight Watchers equivalent to the blue screen of death:

I tried clearing my cache, deleting cookies, loading a different browser. Nothing is really working. I emailed tech support explaining all of this and got an auto-respond "clear your cache" message, which I responded to with more details about the things I have already tried and my login name. I saw other people posting about a similar error but it does not seem to be universal.

Luckily I can still access the points tracker and the message boards, I just can't read a lot of my plan information online. I haven't tried to call customer service because I have print materials, and I imagine they are swamped. I hope they get these kinks worked out soon. I'm glad I have access to the print materials.

Speaking of print materials, I like that they are all available in the first meeting. Weight Watchers doesn't dole out booklets week by week anymore. Instead, there is a weekly newspaper-type
What do you think, are you enjoying the new program? Or are you scanning ebay hoping to score an old food guide? (eBay takes those down right away, by the way.)

If you're curious, give it a try. Go to one meeting and you'll have everything you need to do the program. So far I think it's the best plan yet. Tuesday I will know more about how well it helps me lose.


  1. Thanks for the info on the new plan, Jen. One complaint I always had before was that it didn't matter what the protein and carb values really were in calculating points values, and it sounds as though the new plan fixes that. I hope this one shakes out to be a good option for you, and that those tech glitches get fixed soon!

  2. Which browser are you using? I had trouble and got the same error page repeatedly using firefox, but finally decided to try Explorer and the issues disappeared.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07