This post isn’t for everyone, so if you’re not into the Weight Watchers thing or learning more about it, rest assured there will be pictures of my bunny insulting me in the next post.
…or in this post. Rude.
I’ve been on and off Weight Watchers (WW) for about 4 years. When I started the program, I lost 26lbs in the first 4 1/2 months and then stayed on the program and maintained my weight for about 3 years.
After that 3 years, I got seriously tired of counting points. So, even though I was still counting them, I wasn’t very strict about it and gained a few pounds back. Then I decided I needed a change and for a year I counted calories instead. Counting calories helped maintain my weight, but I never really lost what I had gained back.
When the Points system switched to the new PointsPlus system, I decided to give WW another shot.
For those of you who don’t know, the basic idea behind WW is that every food has a PointsPlus value and you get a certain amount of PointsPlus values you can eat each day. WW also has Weekly Points values, which are “extra” points you can use if you go over your daily allotment. Activity Points can be earned from doing exercise. More Points = more eating.
For 3 years I was all about WW and counting Points. I was one of those people that worked out all the time, but never lost weight because I didn’t realize what I was putting in my mouth. WW didn’t restrict any foods from my diet and really taught me how to make better food choices.
For the last 3 or 4 months, I have been doing the PointsPlus system. Now that I’ve tried both Points and PointsPlus, I thought I would talk about differences between both systems and my general impressions.
*Note: I have never gone to a WW meeting. I have only used the online tools. So that is where my experience lies.
WW gives you a fancy little tool to track your food and excercise each day and use of their tools is about $17 a month. When I first started, the online tools weren’t so “high-tech” and they worked much better than their glamed-up counterpart.
The online searchable food database sucks. While you can find certain foods, other foods are missing completely. (For example, you won’t find any Lean Cuisine dinners in the database because that’s competition for the frozen Weight Watchers meals. Lame.)
WW also has a smartphone app that allows you to track food and it syncs with your regular online tracker. The phone app (I used the one for my Droid X) is painfully slow and annoying.
The online tracker also allows you to see nifty little charts that you’ll be enthralled with for about a month. Also, it lists all your weight statistics and measurements, if you choose to put those in.
No matter how many times I used the online tracking tools, a “Welcome to the Plan Manager” pop up would appear. And no matter how many times I clicked the “Get Started” button and went through the orientation, the pop up would appear like I was a brand new user everytime I logged on. Super annoying.
Here are the main differences I found between the Points and PointsPlus system:
- You get more PointsPlus per day. (I had 21 for Points value and 29 for PointsPlus.)
- Most foods are higher in PointsPlus values. (For instance, a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich was 2 Points and is now 4 PointsPlus.)
- Flex Points are now called Weekly Points.
- There were 35 Flex Points for the week. There are now 49 Weekly Points for the week.
- Activity Points roll over each day if you don’t “eat” them. They were zeroed out at the end of each day on the Points System. Now, remaining Activity Points are zeroed out on your weigh-in day each week.
- If you have used any Weekly Points and then gain Activity Points, the Activity Points will replenish your Weekly Points.
No one knows, Jackie.
- You can choose where you want PointsPlus overages deducted from first – your Activity Points or your Weekly Points. (Not sure why this even matters. If you eat, you eat.)
- Activities are given higher PointsPlus values. (For example, I used to get 6 Points for 50 minutes of running. Now I get 9 PointsPlus for 45 minutes of running.) This makes up for higher food values.
- WW accounts for protein in its values, when it didn’t before.
- Fruit is now a zero PointsPlus food. (Fruit used to range from 1-2 Points values on the old program.)
Overall, I think WW is a great program. It really teaches you a lot about eating the right things and eating the naughty things in moderation. I think that the rollover Activity Points is the best change to the program and is the small advantage that makes PointsPlus better than the Points system. So, the new program is a slight improvement. With that said, I don’t think the differences in the programs matter that much. For me, eating 21 Points a day or eating 29 PointsPlus a day still equates to about 1200-1300 calories and not much food.
I think WW needs to improve its online tools with a bigger food database and a less annoying and convuluted system. They also need to add an area that shows a tally of daily nutritional values. When on WW, I have no idea how much protein/carbs/fat I eat each day and that’s important for me to keep track of with all of my workouts. I’m no longer on WW and am back to counting calories with my Tap and Track phone app, mainly for that reason.
Have you ever tried Weight Watchers or another diet (ahem, way of life) system? What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything?