First Impressions: Weight Watchers PointsPlus

So I took the plunge and rejoined Weight Watchers last night. After my extremely indulgent trip to New Orleans (more to come on that!), I was feeling readier than ever to commit to losing the last pounds I need to to get to my goal. I had a few friends and readers meet me at the meeting, so that was really nice – Meg, Elizabeth and Liz.

When I first got there (after sprinting there because of the blistering cold!), I weighed in and was shocked by the number. It’s even higher than the number I saw that night after the buffet, and I know that it is partially inflated due to the massive amount of fried food and sugary alcoholic drinks I had in NOLA, but it was still a bit of an eye opener. With that number in mind…

I need to lose 21.6 pounds to be at my goal.

That feels like a lot more than I was expecting it to be, but I know that I’ll lose a lot the first week if I focus on clean eating and combat the bloat that is still lingering from New Orleans.

With the new program, you get a bunch of materials at your first weigh in.

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The Pocket Guide (lower right) and the PointsPlus Getting Started (top left) basically replace all the weekly books you get with the old program and have all the information you need. You also get the Weight Watchers Weekly, and they gave me the one from the first week which talks about transitioning to the new program and the main differences between the old and the new one. There’s also the PointsPlus Weight Record, which fits handily into the Pocket Guide. I also purchased the PointsPlus Calculator, which is on promotion for 5.95. I used it last night at the grocery store a few times so I’d say its worth it.

In terms of the plan itself, it seems really good to me. The basic premise behind the changed science is that our bodies process different types of calories differently, so the PointsPlus calculations look just at protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates, not calories (though calories are derived from the number of grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, so in a way its in there). The plan focuses on having you eat more protein and natural fiber, and I do notice a trend towards less processed foods. However, there is still a big emphasis on fat free cheese which drives me a little nuts, but hey – nobody’s perfect.

I’m not really sure what exactly I was expecting, but the plan itself hasn’t really changed that much in my opinion. I do love that fruit is zero, and a lot of the foods that I eat on a regular basis are what they refer to now as “Power Foods,” which you’re supposed to try to focus most of your diet on.

The one sad point discovery for me (to date) is that oatmeal is now 4 points for a serving! It used to be 2, and when I looked that up yesterday I was a little taken aback. That said, peanut flour is only 1 pt for 1/4 cup (which adds 16 grams of protein!!), and the banana I use on top of my oats is free – so my standard bowl of oats hasn’t changed in value at all.

After my meeting, I did my first grocery trip in too long, and managed to do really well.

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  • Spring Mix (last free coupon!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • sprouts
  • 1 lime
  • red onion
  • 3 fuji apples (on sale for 1.69/lb)
  • 2 oranges (on sale for .50 each)
  • scallions
  • cilantro
  • bell pepper (on sale for .99)
  • broccoli (on sale for $2)
  • 3 bananas

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Other Stuff:

  • Sprinkles, Pretzels, Chocolate Chips – making a treat for an office party on Friday
  • Muffin tin liners
  • 2 Fage 0% greek yogurt
  • light sourt cream
  • Quorn Turk’y Burgers (On clearance for $2.44)
  • Salsa
  • Mayfield Snow Cream (on sale for 1.99 from 5.99!)
  • 2 kinds of seltzer
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Tomato Paste
  • 2 Packets Reduced Sodium Taco Seasoning
  • 2% Milk Mexican Cheese

The Mayfield Snow Cream caught my eye because of the sale for 1.99 from 5.99.

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Then I looked at the nutrition facts and ingredient list, and I was sold!

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I haven’t tried it yet, but those stats were impressive to me. It would have been just 2 points on the old plan, but is 3 on the new plan. Boo.

Anyways, all those groceries were only $42! I was super happy with the results, and found that I didn’t shop much different than I normally do with or without Weight Watchers. The only problems in the grocery store came when I couldn’t decide on a kind of bread to get, so I didn’t get any, and the moment I caught myself with fat free cheddar in my hands because it was on sale and its a “Power Food”. I quickly put it back after looking at the ingredient list but it scared me that I did that for a second. 🙂

What diet products skeeve you out? For me – spray butter (though I used to use it a lot), fat free cheese (same story) and fat free gravy (never!).

46 Comments on First Impressions: Weight Watchers PointsPlus

  1. Rachel
    December 15, 2010 at 9:49 am (10 years ago)

    Looking forward to hearing how everything goes for you this week. You seem like you are in a positive mindset and that’s great. Keep up the great work and earn AP! 🙂

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:31 am (10 years ago)

      So far so good but I’m only 1 meal in! 🙂

  2. greensandjeans
    December 15, 2010 at 9:50 am (10 years ago)

    Interesting! I’ll be curious to hear what you think as you continue with it. When I initally lost weight in high school I used WW online and really liked it.

  3. Liz @ lizrunsdc
    December 15, 2010 at 9:52 am (10 years ago)

    I used to eat ff cheese and butter spray, but after paying more attention to ingredients I cut those out too.
    Thanks again for letting me join you. I was actually really nervous beforehand but seeing your familiar face made it so much easier!

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:34 am (10 years ago)

      It was great to see you too!!

  4. Katie Photiadis
    December 15, 2010 at 9:54 am (10 years ago)

    Beth, it’s really good to hear about your feedback on the new plan. You know, I noticed the same thing–many of my meals actually didn’t change in points values (although various ingredients did). It all seemed to even out in the end.

    And try not to sweat about the bump in your weight. It’s probably directly related to the New Orleans eating and drinking. I bet you’ll have a great loss next week.

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:36 am (10 years ago)

      I hope so!

  5. Anna S.
    December 15, 2010 at 10:12 am (10 years ago)

    I’m sure your weight is related to Nola! You will do great.

    My leader hasn’t emphasized fat free cheese/didn’t talk about it. I know it is a power food, but my regular cheese didn’t change in value (and I get more points) so I figure that is a good start.

    My meals only went up a few points, but I have so many more points I love it!

    I can’t wait to hear more about NOLA!

    As far as diet foods that weird me out, I’ve never liked fat free cheese. Eww. I had a dog that would eat anything that wouldn’t even eat fat free cheese.

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:42 am (10 years ago)

      My leader didn’t mention it I just noticed it through the book and as a suggestion in the meal planning and stuff. I’m just going to try hard to stick to my way of eating and try to make it with work P+!

  6. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    December 15, 2010 at 10:15 am (10 years ago)

    I actually had no idea fat free cheese was any different than other cheese – which is kind of silly… since they obviously have to change it to remove the fat. I just looked at the ingredient list – omg.

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 10:16 am (10 years ago)

      Yeah its kind of scary when you start looking at ingredients for modified stuff. Anytime theres “fat free” or “sugar free” or any word really in front of the food (cheese), they’ll probably done something to it that you don’t want to know about. 🙂

  7. Beth
    December 15, 2010 at 10:26 am (10 years ago)

    Every time I have the “oh boo!” reaction to something going up in points, I do a little calculation in my head, because for the most part, things haven’t changed for me. The old minimum daily points level was 18 and the new minimum is 29, so 1 point is not worth 1 Point+.

    My old daily # was 24, my new is 29.

    For example, if something that used to be 5 points is now 6, it didn’t go up a point. It used to be 5/24, and it’s now 6/29. Still roughly the same percentage of my total.

    And the free fruit more than makes up for the other things that have increased, for me.

    You want to see something terrifying though? Go look up Points+ for alcohol. Can’t use the calculator, have to look it up in book or online.

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:51 am (10 years ago)

      That’s an interesting way to think about it – the points out of your total rather than stand alone. I like it!

  8. Beth
    December 15, 2010 at 10:28 am (10 years ago)

    Oh! And I’m really annoyed that chemical-laden light bread is a Power Food and the amazing whole grain bread that I eat regularly is not. So in many regards, I ignore the Power Food label as bunk, because hello! Fake food!

  9. Ryann
    December 15, 2010 at 10:30 am (10 years ago)

    I’m really skeeved out by the peanut butter substitutes (Better ‘n Peanut Butter, PB2). I’d just rather eat my Skippy Natural and spend the points. I’m glad your return to WW went well – good luck with your first week!

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm (10 years ago)

      Thanks! The only PB substitute I like is the peanut flour, but i use it more for flavoring/protein powder than as a PB replacement. I’ve never tried PB2 and don’t like the Better ‘n Peanut Butter Stuff!

  10. Lori (Finding Radiance)
    December 15, 2010 at 10:42 am (10 years ago)

    I am glad to see a lot of positive thoughts on the new program.

    Diet foods freak me out. I call them frankenfoods. Things like sugar free jello. And what is fat free half and half anyway?

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm (10 years ago)

      I know. The whole concept of FF half and half blows my mind.

  11. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    December 15, 2010 at 10:51 am (10 years ago)

    What does snow cream taste like exactly? I’m intrigued…

    And good luck with the new program! I’m excited to see the changes because some important factors were being overlooked before. My friend is also considering rejoining now that it’s been switched up a bit!

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:13 am (10 years ago)

      I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll let you know!

  12. Ashleigh
    December 15, 2010 at 10:59 am (10 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this. I am so interested in the new program and really feel like I need to get back to WW to lose about 20 pounds.
    Just wondering.. did the points in PB change?
    Good luck with everything! I can’t wait to hear more about it.

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:07 am (10 years ago)

      The points for PB went up slightly. 3 pts for 1 tbsp of regular, 2 pts for 1 tbsp of reduced fat – used to be 2 for both.

  13. Gwen
    December 15, 2010 at 11:05 am (10 years ago)

    OMG if you went last night – I’m guessing you went downtown and that you went to MELVIN’S Tues night meeting!

    Good luck with Points+. I’m loving it so far, though I do worry what will happen when my points go down (I’ve already dropped one point!). But then it will just keep reminding me to go more frutis and veg. I miss the 2pt oatmeal too, but bulking it up with fruit for zero kind of balances it out for me!


    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:10 am (10 years ago)

      Yes!! I LOVED Melvin! He is awesome, funny, and so relate-able. My last leader was a little too over the top for me. I’m excited!

    • Beth
      December 15, 2010 at 11:12 am (10 years ago)

      Same. I used to for a while when I first started WW because I couldn’t get over the bang for the buck. Now I use reduced fat and can’t tell too much of a difference in taste from regular. One day I will take the plunge to full fat cheese. 🙂

  14. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    December 15, 2010 at 11:30 am (10 years ago)

    Fat free cheese and “light” butter give me the creeps! FF cheese just tastes GROSS and doesn’t melt – what kind of cheese doesn’t MELT???

    Can’t wait to hear more about what you like/dislike about the new WW system. I’ve never done WW and have been curious about how the program works!

  15. Lisa
    December 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m with you on the spray butter…I used to use it a lot too because it was zero calories…but now it feels like I’m just eating cancer and chemicals. I’d rather eat real butter.

  16. couchpotatoathlete
    December 15, 2010 at 12:24 pm (10 years ago)

    I totally agree about the spray butter, or how about the 0 calorie Walden Farms stuff — chocolate syrup, peanut butter (???), salad dressing, etc. How can it have 0 calories?!?!?!

  17. indeeskitchen
    December 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm (10 years ago)

    I don’t get it – isn’t FF cheese just made of oil instead of milk? I can’t think of any FF products i eat, i just try to eat the full-fat stuff in moderation 🙂

    • Danielle
      December 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm (10 years ago)

      And, velveeta and margarine freak me out. Do I look like I want to eat plastic?

  18. biz319
    December 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm (10 years ago)

    I am loving the new plan! I went out last night for an impromptu dinner, had pizza and beer – yet still have 18 activity points and 20 flex points until Saturday – woot!

    And I am loving the fruit!!

  19. Vicky @ eat live spin
    December 15, 2010 at 5:04 pm (10 years ago)

    you got a lot of good food! Cheese Wiz freaks me out… but now i am reading The End of Overeating by Kessler… and now more and more foods freak me out!!!

  20. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    December 16, 2010 at 9:24 am (10 years ago)

    Fat free cheese is disgusting. Why even bother?

    I used to eat 100 calorie packs (EEK!) way back when I first tried to start losing weight.

    Most “diet” food scares me because it’s SO processed.

  21. Gabriela @ Fro-Yo Lover
    December 16, 2010 at 10:00 am (10 years ago)

    Wish you only luck at Weight Watchers, Beth.
    I’m sure you can do it 🙂

  22. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    December 16, 2010 at 10:16 am (10 years ago)

    I’m proud of you for not totally freaking out and just taking a step back and getting back in the saddle. Good luck!!!

  23. Monica
    December 16, 2010 at 4:39 pm (10 years ago)

    Great job Beth! I am glad that you held your ground and didn’t get a product that compromised your food philosophy. 🙂

    Ok, one – I really wish we lived near each other so we could go to meetings together.

    Two – Don’t worry about your starting weight too much, you are being proactive and I hear that productivity quickly sheds the lbs. 😉

    And finally, I am think I am going to stop by a WW center to see the new stuff in the place. I am an online member only, but think some of the new stuff would be helpful.

    Good luck on your first full week!

  24. sarahsscrumptioussamplings
    December 16, 2010 at 11:28 pm (10 years ago)

    Sorry I couldn’t go with you guys this past week. If you guys keep planning on going on Tuesdays I’ll try to join up with guys after Christmas. Good luck with the plan and don’t worry about the weight I’m sure you’ll do amazing!

  25. Jourdan
    July 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Beth!

    I share your disgust with both fat-free gravy and cheese! I’m currently following the WW Points Plus plan and training for the MCM marathon as well. Did you find that it was much harder for you to not only keep track of your points, but lose weight during your training?

    • Beth
      July 14, 2012 at 9:43 am (8 years ago)

      Hi Jordan! I had a REALLY hard time training for the marathon (which I then dropped out of) and trying to lose weight, and had the same trouble losing when I was training for halfs. I think you really need to be in tune with your hunger signals in order to be successful with losing while training, but i found that i had to prioritize one or the other. I know not the answer you wanted, sorry! 🙂

  26. Jourdan
    July 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm (8 years ago)

    I stumbled upon your website because I currently am living in the D.C. area as well, and have been curious as to how many athletes realistically use a program like WW when training. People keep telling me, “The weight will just fall off” because I’m running 5 to 6 days per week; however, my body just doesn’t seem to want to let go of the additional pounds.

    I appreciate the advice! I changed from being an online user to now using meetings, maybe the structure of a group setting is what I need to kick myself into gear.

  27. Whitney
    December 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm (8 years ago)

    Not sure if you’ve answered this before- but did you do the meetings or online? What would you recommend?

  28. Manija
    March 14, 2013 at 12:26 am (8 years ago)


    what are the power foods you mentioned?


    Love your blog btw =)



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