Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weight Watchers VS Weight Watchers Points Plus VS Calories

When my son was a few months old I joined Weight Watchers. The points system wasn't something new to the program, but it was definitely new to myself. I enjoyed it for its benefits, but I hated that nearly everything counted. Due to both matters of finances and time, we as a family, as we attended together, stopped attending the meetings. It seems that because we stopped attending, Mom stopped following, Grandma stopped following, and it most certainly wasn't possible to follow the plan without meetings and nobody else in the house following.

Last year after a whole grip of motivating factors, I started counting calories. I joined a nifty website called

It was great. I was making healthier choices and losing weight. It was great. But once I got back into the work force, it was difficult to keep track of calories.

After the holidays, which became a huge reason as to why I came off of healthy eating, I had no motivation to get back on it. I went back to my poor choices, but to a lesser extent, and had a tad bit better control of my portions.

Once I got my amazing Android Smartphone, which, by the way, anybody on the go definitely needs to make life easier and less cluttered, I was one step away from weight loss.

I became motivated once again and browsed the free app market. After all, I'll be damned if I have to pay any amount of money for an app only to find that it's not for me. We all have our own personality quirks and so not all apps are a one size fits all so to speak.

I ended up getting an app called MyFitnessPal. Neat program for those who count calories. I did well on the counting calories 'program', however I began to do more research. What's the difference between counting calories and the WW program and the WWPP program?

Without getting super scientific on the more simpler folks, counting calories is too broad. Something can be relatively low in calories and not be nutritionally beneficial while other items may be a bit higher in calories yet are incredibly good for you. I realized that though I was losing weight by counting calories, I wasn't necessarily allowing my body to reach a healthy point.

So what about Weight Watchers, and why did they revamp their program thus forming the Points Plus program?

In the old WW Points program, points were determined by calories, fat and fiber.

According to Karen Miller-Kovach MBA, MS, RD, WW revamped their program based on what the last 10 years of research and studies concerning health and fitness have shown us. They realize that carbohydrates are healthy in moderation and need to be recognized. They also recognize that protein is a necessity. So they created the Points Plus program, which calculates points based on  protein, carbs, fat and fiber.

That's not the only change, however. MOST fruits and vegetables are worth a 0 points value, encouraging the user to consume more fruits and, especially, vegetables, which help keep you fuller longer, among other things. With the old points plan, most fruits had a points value and a decent amount of vegetables did too.

This is why I chose the WWPP system. They focus on the important aspects and help steer you into healthier choices.

Because of the drastic changes, especially regarding fruits and vegetables and their values, it's important that when calculating points or searching for meals with points values online, you research your sources. Be sure the creator of a recipe does not calculate points for the fruits and/or vegetables that may be included in the meal unless it's a fruit or vegetable that, as stated by WWPP themselves, is worth a PP value.

The Android market (see, it's come up again) is a great resource for those on the go. No more carrying papers with you, or calculators.

If you have an online subscription to WW you can use their online tools. They also have an iPhone app you can download with your online subscription.

I don't use an iPhone, so I did my research and through trial and error and a lot of comparisons (basically, a whole weekend of screwing with my phone and online) I found a couple amazing (free) apps in the Android market. The first is the calculator. It's simply called 'WW Points+ Calculator'. This is the logo:

The second app you'll want to look for, in my opinion, is called WWDiary. This is the logo:

This diary is amazing. You can track your weight, activity, and set up a profile that logs your height, gender, etc, and how many points you are allotted daily based on your information. It also allows you to choose when your new week begins. For me, it's Saturdays.

After calculating the points for the item you'll be eating (assuming the points aren't already calculated for you), you will type in the name of the food/meal and the points. That's all there is to it. It will log this information and automatically deduct your consumed points, leaving you with what its remaining. In the upper right hand corner it will also have your WP (weekly points), so if you go over your daily points, it deducts from your weekly points. Should you borrow from your WP, the remainder of the week you'll have your total remaining WP.

What's more is that if you have 2 servings, you don't have to put in the diary that you've had a certain item twice. You have the option of immediately putting in your serving size, and there it will automatically (and correctly) calculate the amount of points consumed. (Hope that makes sense.)

So there you have it. If I've been unclear about any of the above information, don't hesitate to ask me to clarify!

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