You may have heard—Weight Watchers recently had a makeover. Their 13-year-old Points Plan has been remodeled and replaced with the PointsPlus Plan, which members have had the opportunity to learn and try ever since it launched at the end of November.
Now, there is an increasingly loud contingent of members whining about the updated version. They're kvetching that now their favorite processed foods that used to be, say, 2 Points are now more like 4 or 5. They're upset that the new plan seems to work better if you're choosing foods that aren't made in a factory. Oh my. Having done the new plan for the last couple of weeks, I have to say ... I'm one Lifetime member who is enthusiastically welcoming the switch.
First, a little backstory: I joined Weight Watchers for the first time after struggling with my weight my entire life and ending up 40 pounds overweight during my senior year of high school. I joined, and I stayed, because the plan purported to help me change my lifestyle instead of go on some diet that would help me drop a few pounds fast only to regain them even faster. It was only a matter of time before I "figured out" the formula and memorized Points values for foods or could even calculate them quickly in my head. Really, all you needed to know was "more calories and fat, bad; more fiber, good."
While friends of mine, my mother, or even Bill Clinton were trying diets like South Beach, which emphasize low GI or high protein while limiting sugar and carbs, I'd scoff and say, "I can have all the carbs I want on Weight Watchers!"
The thing is, although I was successful on the old Points plan—and I understand why many a Weight Watcher wouldn't want to give up something that was working for them—I wasn't as healthy as I could have been. Focusing on how much fiber a food has and how little fat or calories it had wasn't enough. Plenty of processed snacks have fiber, but not much else in the way of nutritional value. To top it off, after reading about all of the evils of processed food in Jillian Michaels' book, Master Your Metabolism, I grew increasingly frustrated that the company was pushing Points-friendly, but trans-fat/high fructose corn syrup-filled snacks. Weren't they supposed to be invested in their members' overall health?
Enter PointsPlus. Whole foods are king now in the new plan—all fruits and veggies are 0 PointsPlus, and given the new formula for figuring out points, the plan naturally steers you to higher protein, higher fiber, lower carb, lower fat foods. Basically, foods filled with nutritional value. But it's not like you can't eat that plate of baked penne vodka ziti casserole with fried breadcrumbs. You'll just account for it with the extra PointsPlus you get every day. That's because the plan is still aiming to be a lifestyle, not a diet.
So, to all you PointsPlus naysayers, or even just the people out there who think they're going to somehow lose and maintain weight-loss by eating packaged, chemical-packed foods (ahem, Jenny Craig): Give. Me. A. Break. Woman wasn't made to subsist on 100-calorie Little Debbies, diet soda, yogurt made with Splenda, or whatever other crap you're eating just because it fits into some numbers game. You're not fooling anyone. You may be at your goal weight, but if you're eating mostly processed, packaged food and boo-hooing about filling your plate with more fruits, veggies, and lean protein, you're not eating healthy. And isn't that what your ultimate goal should be? Not necessarily just some arbitrary number on the scale? If you agree whatsoever, you'd be doing yourself a favor by making over your diet with the innately healthier PointsPlus plan.
Image via Kristine Riskaer/Flickr