Monday, 1 November 2010

Weight Watchers gets a revamp.

On the 7th November, Weight Watchers will officially reveal their brand new weight loss plan to calorie-counters worldwide. And it's very different.
The new plan, ProPoints, is the result of three years of planning, testing and tweaking, and 10 years of nutritional research. In fact, the plan has been tested in Weight Watchers meetings across the UK, and the rest of the world, for over a year with similar weight loss results to the current system.
I was introduced to the ProPoints plan when Weight Watchers invited the blogging community to get a first hand look at the new plan. So, what did we discover?

The ProPoints Plan

The new plan chucks out the old concept of calorie counting and replaces it with a ProPoints plan based on protein, carbs, total fat and fibre. This new direction is based on years of research that suggests that counting calories is pointless, as it only takes into account the amount of calories a product has before it is consumed, rather than how many calories are available to the body after it has been digested. They call this 'calorie delusion' and believe it's outdated. A bold claim considering their current plan is solely based on this. But it's great to see that they're brave enough to overhaul their whole plan to realign it with new research and technology.
On the new plan, food with higher fibre and protein values have lower ProPoints values as they're harder to digest.

How will this affect my diet?

The ProPoints plan means you'll get around 29 ProPoints a day on average (depending on height, weight, gender and age). On top of this, you'll get 49 extra ProPoints a week to spend as you like. So you can splurge it on a curry on a Friday, or spread it out across the week for a cheeky glass of wine or that much needed chocolate bar. I *love* this idea of having a little wriggle room during the week, especially as I tend to eat out several times a week. However, this does mean you can't carry ProPoints over from the previous day. Use your 29 ProPoints, or lose them.
Close-up of fruit saladImage via Wikipedia
The plan also means fruit is now zero ProPoints. Hurrah! Effectively, this encourages healthier eating, as the previous plan put fruit at quite a high ProPoints value (around 2 for a banana). A bowl of fresh fruit at zero ProPoints value is a little more appealing now, then gobbling a tiny chocolate bar for 2 ProPoints.
The majority of vegetables are still free, although starchy options like potatoes, parsnips, peas and sweetcorn still carry a ProPoints value.
On first viewing, everything apart from fruit and vegetables seems to be higher in ProPoints. For instance, a glass of wine is 5 ProPoints now, when it used to be 2. But the extra ProPoints you get each day, and your 'backpocket' 49 ProPoints a week, should make this manageable. There's also a few nice surprises. Bacon is much lower in ProPoints now (as long as you grill it), as are eggs. Add some Weight Watchers beans, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, and you've got yourself a low point, tasty breakfast at the same value as a bagel!
The ProPoints plan takes the overall nutritional value of each food into consideration, which means those lower point foods are hopefully healthier too. This, combined with the free fruit and vegetables and the 49 guilt-free weekly ProPoints, should help the dieter make healthier eating choices, and therefore make the plan easier to stick to long term.
Oh, and you can still earn extra ProPoints from exercise. Should probably do some more of that.


The Weight Watchers ProPoints Plan Challenge

The lovely people at Weight Watchers kindly gave me a goody bag filled with products from the new Weight Watchers range, including the new calculator, the guide, a new cookbook and a few weight watchers products. Having recently rejoined Weight Watchers, I've decided to give the new plan a go.
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBas 
It's going to be tough. I've been on the current plan on and off for years, so I know the values of most foods off the top of my head. Wiping all of that from my mind and starting a new plan is going to be a challenge, but it's also quite exciting to be starting a brand new plan. I've got 2 stone to lose before my sister's wedding next year, and I'm hoping this will be the motivation I need. I'm also going to continue to attend my local meeting with the lovely Sue Moses, as I'm sure there will be plenty of useful tips flying around.
The thing I'm most excited about? There's going to be an iPhone Weight Watchers app! It should be released in the next few months, and will make tracking so much easier.


  1. Hooray for the iPhone app! I've been thinking since I started how useful one of these will be!

  2. Hopefully it will have a restaurant section too, much easier than dragging all my books around!