Starting the PointsPlus® Program: 5 Things Not To Do!

Avoid these 5 pitfalls, and you’ll be on your way to success on the PointsPlus program!
Starting the Points Plus Program 5 Things Not To Do

The Weight Watchers plan has changed, yes. But don’t think for a moment that you’re not up to the challenge. You learned the Plan once before! The fundamental parts are still the same: You are still tracking what you eat, watching portion sizes, aiming to meet the Good Health Guidelines, getting some activity, and remembering not to deprive yourself. This plan is built on those exact same principles. It’s the Weight Watchers you know and love — only better!

But to make the transition easier for you, we thought it’d be helpful to point out 5 things not to do as you start following the PointsPlus system.

1. Don’t combine programs

This is No. 1 for a reason; it’s the single, most important thing to remember. The PointsPlus program, including a higher daily PointsPlus Target, higher weekly PointsPlus Allowance and 0 PointsPlus values fruits, only works if you follow every part of it. (Check out the Plan Guides for the essential facts.) If you attempt to stick to the old POINTS® program, raise your daily Target and don’t count fruit, the program will not work.

Your daily PointsPlus Target has been calculated for you, and everyone gets a weekly PointsPlus Allowance of 49. As you track your food in the Plan Manager and calculate the PointsPlus values of foods you have in your cupboards and fridge, we’re confident that you’ll enjoy having more PointsPlus values to play around with every day and that you will quickly become more and more fluent in the “new numbers.” However...

2. Don't guess at PointsPlus values

The calculation that gives you the PointsPlus values of any food or drink is a lot more complicated than the previous POINTS values calculation. On the old Plan, lots of people had figured out a "cheat" that worked at a pinch if you had the food label at hand (or even just the calorie count), but no POINTS calculator.

But PointsPlus values go beyond calories. The calorie count you see on nutrition labels reflects the amount of energy in a food before you eat it. But once it’s down the hatch, your body has to process it. In that processing, some of the food’s calories are used. PointsPlus values reflect the energy that’s available after you’ve processed a food. Your body works harder to process protein and fiber than it does to process fat and carbs. Protein and fiber are also more filling than non-fiber containing carbohydrates and fat so the PointsPlus calculation is designed to guide you towards filling choices as you’re working to lose weight. Therefore, your food choices — even between two that have the same number of calories — matter a lot more than they did on the old program.

All of this means that you can't just look at a food label and guesstimate the number of PointsPlus values. You will over time, of course, learn the numbers for your favorite foods. But until then, use all the tools you have available to get to the proper number.

3. Don’t “eyeball” measurements

Just as we advise you not to guess at PointsPlus values, we also advise not guessing at portions. For many foods, each PointsPlus value represents a smaller amount of food, so you’re more likely to fall foul of “portion distortion.” A little extra rounding on a 1-cup measure might bump your serving up by whole PointsPlus values. (Our Plan Guide on making smarter food choices will give you more info about portions.)

Keep in mind, too, that because of the complexity of the new calculation, PointsPlus math doesn’t necessarily follow that 1 + 1 = 2; it’s entirely possible that while one serving is 1 PointsPlus values, two servings may be 3 PointsPlus values. Don’t let portion creep derail your efforts.

4. Don’t stuff yourself with fruit

Fresh fruits are free because we want to encourage you to eat them. They're filling and nutritious Power Foods and we've factored the caloric impact of even the highest-calorie fruits into our calculations of your daily PointsPlus Target. So go for it! Just make sure to eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

Be particularly aware of day-long grazing. It’s a great habit to have a fruit bowl on your desk or somewhere equally accessible, but be mindful of your portions. While you’ll hear a lot of people saying, “Yeah, I’m not doing Weight Watchers because I ate too much fruit!” there is still a possibility that not listening to your hunger signals can scupper your efforts. If you really think you’re doing everything else right while eating a lot of fruit and you’re still not losing weight, then examine the amount of fruit you’re eating, and why.


5. Don’t panic if you don’t lose weight

First of all, re-read the four pitfalls above, and make sure you haven’t become a victim to them. It’s never a bad idea to reread your starting materials again; go to your Plan section for ideas and motivation.

And look at the big picture: On the old plan you probably still had weeks when you thought you’d lose and you didn’t. Check the “usual suspects,” especially if you haven’t lost weight for a few weeks. Are your portions creeping up? Have you been honest with your tracking? Are you gorging yourself on multiple portions of 0 PointsPlus values foods? It’s tempting to attribute a period of no weight loss to a big change, but it’s important to work to find the areas where you might not be using it to your best advantage. Remember: If you rock the Plan, the Plan will rock you.

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