A new Weight Watchers program that focuses on healthier choices may help tip the scale for those struggling to keep the pounds off.
After 13 years of the original points program, Points Plus launched in late November.
Watching their weight in a whole new way, members on Points Plus are now looking at total fiber, protein and carbohydrates along with the traditional calorie and fat content when computing the points value of food. Expanding their knowledge of the various dietary nutrients, members are learning how these different energy sources function in the control of hunger.
“We found an improvement in behaviors that help people maintain weight loss and a reduction in the desire to eat when there’s no physical hunger or need for food,” said Karen Miller-Kovach, a scientific officer for Weight Watchers, after the launch of the new program.
The newest element of the program is what Weight Watchers officials are calling “power foods.” More commonly known as fruits and vegetables, these foods are low in energy density yet satisfying. In the new program, power foods have a zero-point value.
“I really love the new program,” said Gabrielle Holly, a group leader for Weight Watchers in Davis. “It nudges members in the direction of healthy eating by promoting the importance of fruits and vegetables. Processed foods tend to be higher in point value, so when members are feeling the need to eat and are out of their daily points, they can turn to the healthiest choice possible — the fruits and veggies.”
Holly, whose mother chose Weight Watchers for her at age 12, has been on and off the program for 14 years. By staying on track for the past 18 months, Holly has lost 40 pounds. Now, she’s teaching others the strategies that worked for her.
“I truly believe in the program and the success it offers. As a group leader, I work constantly to relay this message to my members,” Holly said.
After struggling with her own weight for many years, Holly is aware of the strength, consistency and effort it takes to change lifelong eating habits. Members like Holly have found success through Weight Watchers’ points tracking and weekly meetings.
At the meetings, friendly conversation, words of encouragement and smiles abound. Focusing on an aspect of weight control at each meeting, members gain the knowledge and encouragement needed to keep moving on with the program.
After attending her first meeting in October, Davis resident Lindsay Logan has been coming back for more.
“I originally thought the meetings would be stupid,” Logan said. “I laugh now because I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Meetings are so important. A lot of what we do is suggest ways to fight the false hunger and we encourage each others to keep going. It really makes the difference.”
Growing up with a brother who had diabetes, Logan was well aware of the effect food had on the body. After spending years fighting with food, Weight Watchers was the one program that has proved effective for her.
“I’m amazed at the results,” said Logan, who is 20 pounds lighter. “My habits are slowly changing and I am finally learning when to choose the right foods.”
Weight Watchers members say the first step is to choose the carrots over the chips, and knowing when to pick the frozen yogurt over the chocolate fudge. Allotting lower points values to healthier foods makes the decision process that much easier.
“I’m like every other person out there; I love those chips and I love those Cheez-its, but when I see the point value I step away and look for a healthier choice,” Logan said.
By recording daily points, members become conscious eaters.
“Tracking your success, and computing your daily points makes it a game,” Logan said. “Getting just the right amount of points per day and feeling full and satisfied is the goal.”
The success stories are rising as the new program builds its ground.
“I have seen extreme success on the new program,” Holly said, “and my members are really finding it easy to be healthy, happy and successful at losing weight.”
For more information about the program or to sign up, visit http://www.weightwatchers.com or call (800) 651-6000.