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Weighing in on Weight Watchers

December 7, 2010

Last week Weight Watchers overhauled their POINTS program, originally launched in 1997. The original program outlined a number of points a person should consume a day where a point is based on the number of calories (~1 point = 50 calories) with some adjustments for fibre and fat content. Now all fruits and most vegetables are point-free. So a banana that is mostly carbohydrate content and roughly 100 calories, or 2 points is now a free-for-all. In the new system, oranges are free, but eight ounces of orange juice cost three points. Processed foods also have higher point values than given in the original plan.

Not surprisingly some WW members are fighting back. “I don’t want to be forced to choose veggies. I do NOT like veggies or fruit,” one member wrote in an online discussion on the Weight Watchers Web site. “I feel like I am being forced to ‘diet,’ and that is what I DO NOT WANT.”

I have been following a very loose version of WW myself on and off for the last 4 years now. I went to my first (and only) meeting while I was in my undergrad. I walked in, paid the registration fee, was weighed and sat down for the tortue meeting. I’m sure there are some great, supportive WW meetings but this one was absolutely terrible. I was given a recipe, hamburger soup, even after numerous attempts of refusing since, you know, I don’t get meat. I finally took the paper to be polite. The meeting leader was perky to the extreme and this to me felt like listening to nails on a chalkboard. The meeting attendees were laid out in a half circle. One side had consisted of the slightly overweight people who just wanted to bitch and vent. The other side consisted of the skinny women who were there just to gloat. And in the middle beside me was the man who only ate canned sardines. I never went back.

What I did get was the WW materials. Until that moment I didn’t really understand what I was eating. WW made dieting into math. As an engineer/scientist this was very appealing: This was something I could understand. The realizations that occurred over then following months, the sandwich I liked at Tim Hortons has more calories than a Big Mac for example, were mind-blowing.Over time  I strayed away from following a strict WW points program. I still maintain a calorie-restricted diet with “points.”  I just don’t make adjustments for fibre or fat. I find rounding to 50 calories is easier to keep track of.

I understand why there is a backlash from the WW community. Over the last 4 years I could tell you the points value of almost any food off the top of my head, aside from meat. Not being able to read the nutrition label and calculate the points value in my head would be frustrating.

Source: The NY Times

Via: Fitbomb

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 12, 2010 7:13 pm

    I did Weight Watchers back in 2004 and found it to be a great program for me. I went to the weekly meetings, got the 5lb stickers and the whole nine yards. I lost about 20 pounds. Overall, I find it to be a good system. The quote from the dieter who doesn’t want to eat fruits and vegetables sort of highlights a problem I do find with their plan. If you don’t have a good leader and you’re not very up on nutrition, it would be easy to eat all of your points in junk and not truly have a healthy diet. I had seen some buzz on Facebook about the new plan and was curious as to what the changes were.

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