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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/21/2010

What's up with Weight Watchers?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

(Eric Palma)

At the end of November, Weight Watchers switched up its popular weight-loss system, moving from the 13-year-old Points program, wherein every food was assigned a value mostly according to the number of calories it contains, to the new PointsPlus program. What's the diff? Under PointsPlus, points are assigned according to a formula that takes into account not just calories but the mix of key nutrients a food contains and other, harder-to-quantify values.

PointsPlus takes into account a food's protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat content, along with the extent to which the body has to work to convert it to energy and also the extent to which it makes you feel full and satisfied. Weight Watchers is also using its new formula to help "nudge" users toward more healthful food choices in general; it favors "natural" foods over processed ones that have lots of added fat and sugars, for instance. And, as I write in this week's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column, under PointsPlus, fruit (and most vegetables) is fair game, costing no points at all. 

As a failed Weight Watcher myself, I'll be watching with interest as my colleague Joe Yonan, The Post's food editor, uses Weight Watchers to drop some weight he wants gone before he begins a book-promotion tour in a few months. Inspired by my "Me Minus 10" journey, Joe's embarked on his own "Me Minus 23" campaign. I'm sending him all my best vibes and encouraging thoughts.

Have you tried Weight Watchers? How did it work for you? Have you used PointsPlus yet? Do tell us all about your experience, good, bad or in the middle.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 21, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Me Minus 10, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity, Weight loss  
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I belong to Weight Watchers, and I'm very happy with the new program. You can consume lots more fruit and veggies, and my experience so far is that allowing "free" (no-point) fruit and veggies helps me feel satisfied, especially since I use fruit for snacks between meals. The points formula give you an incentive to eat foods that are less sugary than before, which is great. Before, an apple and a small piece of candy had the same points value; now, the apple is no points, and the candy's points have soared. Guess which one you choose? But still, Weight Watchers says that you can eat all foods as long as you stick to your point limit and abide by its Good Health Guidelines.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 21, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I've been on WW for 10.5 years and have maintained a 55 pound weight loss for that entire time. I still do the old Winning Points program and it works for me.

This new program is too much work. Now you need a calculator to figure out the points value of a food compared to your points slider. Now everyone thinks they can't have carbs, can't have cereal, etc.

I ALWAYS ate my recommended five servings of fruit/veggies daily. Plus I drank the water, tracked in my journal and lost my weight in six months. I still do the same on maintenance and it works.

This new program is for people who considered a Vitamuffin Top a meal. I never did. Plus, my leader even told us that this plan was created because most people over-estimate their activity level.

I exercise daily - cardio and weight training 6 days/week plus yoga and pilates 3 days/week. I've always eaten with protein in mind, something that WW now just came around to.

WW should encourage more activity, not accommodate those who weren't eating right.

I'm sticking with what works and with what is LESS work. This new program feels like a diet. The old program is a lifestyle and it's liveable.

Posted by: ladydiNYC | December 21, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Being a part of "Hypersonic Weight Loss" has put me back in touch with the fun-loving, exotic woman within.

Posted by: attincus | December 22, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I have done WW since May '09 on the old Points programs, and have lost 35 lbs, with another 10 or so to go. I don't think the new changes are going to trigger out of control fruit eating, certainly not for me. I have been getting in 1 or 2 servings of fruit per day, and have lost 1 lb in my 1st week on the new program. I think juice is often the "problem" when talking about fruit intake.

Posted by: fancypanther10 | December 22, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

This "new" plan is just another way of distracting you from the fact that you are doing good old calorie cutting. For some people, this is one way to make it work for them. Thumbs up to whatever "works" for you!! It sounds alot like the old "Dr. Phil Food Plan" to me though. I eat at least 10 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit per day, have kept the weight off for over 3 years eating like that, unlimited veggies has personally helped me the most, and flaxmeal every day.

Posted by: kuchen | December 22, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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