For more information go to www.weightwatchers.com
Weight Watchers is a portion control / low calorie / low fat type program. It stresses the importance of making personal choices and accountability in making a lifestyle change through behavior modification type techniques. The basic diet today focuses on “Flex Points” rather than entirely on calories or fat grams, as it did in the past.
The behavior modification techniques include such concepts as journaling or recording all your food, creating a visualization of what is a portion size (i.e., a deck of cards equals one serving of meat, ½ of a tennis ball equals one serving of rice) and attending weekly meetings. These meetings consist of a weigh-in, a lecture or motivational discussion and an open forum for celebrations of losses or reaching goals and a discussion on any problems people may have or discoveries of things that worked for them. There is also an “on-line” version of WW called “Weight Watcher’s at Home” that you can join on at their website: http://www.weightwatchers.com. A number of separate websites founded by people who have been successful on WW provide a lot of information, support, and some great forums. Two that are well known are Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone: http://www.dwlz.com/ and Boot Camp Buddies: http://www.healthdiscovery.net/. These two sites also give a summary of each week’s meeting topics, which is particularly useful.
The “Flex Points” program: You are assigned a range of points to eat in a given day based on your current weight. You are also allocated 35 additional points that are yours to eat however you chose during the week. This was the major change to the past version when your points range was 5 points higher each day (5 x 7 = 35). Each food item is assigned a point value based on portion size and a combination of calories, fat and fiber. The basic formula is: (calories/50)-(fiber/5)+(fat/12) This sounds confusing, but just plug it into Excel and you won’t have much of a problem. If you faithfully journal your food and points for the first month to six weeks, you will have a good reference for the point values of most foods you eat on a regular basis. Dottie’s has a great reference section on point values of many foods. You may also be able to find a “Points Finder” for sale on e-bay. Of course, if you join a local or an on-line meeting, you will receive this and a lot of other useful tools.
A couple of examples of calculating point values: an 8 oz carton of Non-fat light vanilla yogurt has 110 calories, 0 grams of fat and 0 grams of fiber. (110/50) – (0/5) + (0/12) = 2.2 points. (Note: WW usually only counts by half points, so this would be 2 points). A ½ c serving of black beans has 100 calories, 0.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of fiber. An important note on fiber – you can only count up to 4 grams of fiber in your calculations. So, for this example it would be (100/50) – (0.5/5) + (4/12) = 2.2. Finally, a 1.5 oz serving of pretzels (brands may vary – this is Snyder’s of Hanover “Snaps”) has 170 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber so it has 3.3 points. I would probably go a head and round up to 3.5 points.
Points Ranges: Points are based on your weigh today and are as follows. The first column is your current weight and the second is the minimum number of points you should consume each day. Do not assume if you eat less you will lose more, as this is not true and dangerous for good health. The point values do not include the additional 35 points to spread as you like through the week or any activity points you may earn for the day (see next section).
000 – 149 20
150 – 174 22
175 – 199 24
200 – 224 26
225 – 249 28
250 – 274 30
275 – 299 31
300 – 324 32
325 – 349 33
350 – 999 34
Activity Points (big thanks to Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone for this): WW, suggests you to “move aerobically” at least 30 minutes a day. Anything over 30 minutes allows you to earn “activity points” which you can use in addition to your regular amount. Activity points earned must be used on the same day they are earned, if they are used at all. Activity points are calculated using the following formulas.
Activity points for light intensity = [your weight] x [minutes] x 0.00023
Activity points for moderate intensity = [your weight] x [minutes] x 0.00033
Activity points for high intensity = [your weight] x [minutes] x 0.00081
Light intensity is described as being able to talk and sing, with regular breathing and no sweating. Examples of light intensity activities are leisurely walking or biking. Moderate intensity is described as being able to talk but not sing, with deep breathing and sweating after 10 minutes. Examples of moderate intensity activities are brisk walking or brisk biking. High intensity is described as being able to only talk briefly, with rapid deep breathing and sweating after 3-5 minutes. Examples of high intensity activities are running or competitive cycling.
I would assume the Curves workout to be 30 minutes of moderate activity. So, for a 200 lb woman this would equal 200 x 30 x 0.00033 = 2 points, for a 150 lb woman this would equal 150 x 30 x 0.00033 = 1.5 points.
Phases: There are two phases to WW – the losing phase and the maintenance phase. Everything above is for the losing phase. After you have reached your goal, there is a six week period where you will work with your leader to determine how many points you can eat without gaining weight. After you have reached your goal and gone through maintenance training, you are a “lifetime” member and no longer have to pay for meetings as long as you stay within 2 pounds of your goal. You are required to weigh-in at meetings at least monthly, but may attend as many sessions as you wish.
Edited 02-10-06 by Nellie:
In 2004/2005 the Core, No Counting Plan was introduced to Weight Watchers, to complement the FlexPoints plan.
From: http://www.weightwatchers.ca/plan/turnaround/index.aspxOn the Core Plan focus on wholesome foods without counting…
- Eat wholesome foods from all the food groups, including fruits and vegetables, grains and starches, lean meats and poultry, eggs and dairy products.
- Enjoy satisfying eating without empty calories.
- Have the occasional treat in controlled amounts.
More information to come.