Posted in Being Healthy

Momentum versus PointsPlus: Choosing Sides in the Weight Watchers Debate


My Personal Weight Watchers Journey

So with everyone else who is on Weight Watchers today, it’s the new Points Plus Plan that you see advertised. Yes, WW changed its plan after nearly 17 years of success with the Momentum Plan, a points-based calculation of calories, fat and fiber, with the ability to “earn” points through exercising. Weight loss was “practically guaranteed” if you ate more filling foods than non-filling foods and if you met your daily nutritional needs, all of which were easy to remember and track with the weeky food journals.

Very little of that plan structure has changed, but a very important aspect has, though it seems to be hidden from most. Unless you have looked up the actual mathematical formula for the new Points Plus, you may not know that calories don’t factor into your points anymore. However, the published rationale for changing the formula is to improve how you value foods based on how they are metabolized.

The problem: you can’t determine anything about metabolism without using calories–both input and output–in the formula.

The evidence: since beginning Points Plus on December 2nd (that was my introductory meeting), I have lost a total of 12.6 pounds but have gained a total of 22 pounds…in JUST 12 WEEKS (3 months). This has put me back behind my 5% goal and back at less than 10 pounds lost since beginning WW 24 weeks ago.

Let me put it this way: In 12 weeks on Momentum (old points), I lost 20 pounds; in an equal 12 weeks on PointsPlus (new points), I gained back 10 pounds. Add to that the fact that during the second phase, I joined a gym, go to a minimum of one class every day of the week, and burn an average of 800 calories per class. This girl is going back to WW Momentum Points as of Thursday, March 3rd.

The evidence of my own case is astounding, but if you take the time to read testimonials of others’ experience with the new plan, you’ll find that many are reverting, thankful to have saved the old information and slide calculator. Oh, and my meeting leader seems to think that telling us frequently that our own (Charleston’s) MUSC developed the PointsPlus plan will convince us to stick with it, that it works, almost that it’s a grassroots plan, despite the many who are gaining while being much more strict than I. Well, yes and no. MUSC played a key role in validating WW-funded research findings through pilot testing. But MUSC NEVER said that one plan fits all, which is what WW wants you to believe; rather MUSC’s own weight loss center spends 2 weeks testing each individual to determine his/her needs and body’s reactions to different options before designing a plan customized to each person’s metabolic needs and goals. That said: MUSC KNOWS THAT CALORIES ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE FORMULA.

Yes, I will still go to meetings, as I am paid through the spring and WW does not offer refunds if you quit. Yes, I will keep going to meetings after that if my mom still wants to go and wants the support; after all, that’s our deal. I just won’t tell them that I switched back.

Oh, yeah, and NO, Weight Watchers does NOT give you an option of which plan to follow. The ONLY plan they will support is PointsPlus. Anyway, that’s some of what I’ve been doing with my time and life since I stopped working.

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If you've had my cooking or heard me sing, you've shared some of the happiest and most memorable moments of my life. But if you've been lucky enough to listen to me sing while I cook, well, then you've seen the real me. And if you've sung and cooked with me, you know what being loved by me is!

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