A friend of mine has recently returned to Weight Watchers for the second time. This time, they have introduced a new program, the Pro Points system.
She has achieved a great deal of success with this program and I have been fortunate enough for her to agree to write me an article on the difference between the old and new system, from the perspective of someone who has been through both programs and ultimately achieved her goal weight both times.
So if you are wondering about the Weight Watchers Pro Points system, the article is well worth the read:
So I went back to Weight Watchers and this is what I found…
I recently returned to Weight Watchers after 8 or 9 years. I had reached my goal weight first time around and had become a Lifetime Member. After the birth of my first child and some health issues, I realized I needed to lose some weight again and I returned, only to find that there is a new program in place. The new system is called ProPoints whereas the old system was called the Points system.
The key differences I have found between the old Weight Watchers Points system and the new Weight Watchers ProPoints system are as follows:
1. The points are different! This is a fundamentally important thing for experienced weight watchers to remember when embarking on the new program. The old Points values and the new ProPoints values of any particular food are not necessarily the same. There are two main areas where this could trip up people experienced in the old system:
a. If you are really experienced at Weight Watchers, you will know instinctively the points values of your most commonly eaten foods. You will need to unlearn these and come to grips with the new ProPoint values.
b. If you buy Weight Watchers branded foods, you need to be aware that supermarkets currently have both Point and ProPoint packaging on the shelves. Weight Watchers is in the process of moving all packaging over to ProPoints but before that happens you may be caught out. I bought a frozen meal which had 4 Points written on the side. I didn’t realise until after I had eaten it that it was actually 9 ProPoints. A significant difference!
So pay attention! Points and ProPoints are not interchangeable and making this mistake could mean the difference between success and failure.
2. The total number of ProPoints you can eat a day is different. The minimum ProPoint level and the level that most people are on is 29 ProPoints per day. This is higher than the number of old Points per day, but this does not mean you can eat more per day – remember the food values are different too.
3. The structure of the system is slightly different. Under the previous system, you were allocated a number of Points to eat per day. You could save some of these Points to carry over for another day within a week. The new ProPoints system is simpler. You have a certain number of ProPoints per day and the system says you should eat all these each day. Then in addition you have 49 optional extra points to eat per week. You can choose to eat all or none of these and spread them across any number of days you like within one week.
I find this to be more flexible and simpler than the old system. I know people who work the system all different ways. One woman spreads her 49 points across each day of the week to have a bit extra daily. Another I know, keeps hers for social blowouts on the weekend. I am aiming for more rapid weight loss so I choose not to eat my 49 points but it is very handy to know they are there. On occasion I have eaten 6 to 10 to allow for a special treat or to satisfy higher than normal hunger.
I have noticed those weeks that I dip into my optional extras, my loss is not as large but I still lose. Like the old system, you can earn extra points by exercising and as long as you eat fewer of these than you earn, this should help your loss.
4. The Points for each food under the old system were calculated considering calories and fat content. ProPoints are calculated giving consideration to not only calories and fat but also fiber and protein. You can buy a calculator to input values using the nutritional guide on food packaging, or there are ProPoints guides available.
5. The single most fabulous part of the system is that fruit has zero ProPoints. Yes, ZERO. This is a significant difference to the old system, where fruit, although very good for general health, often had a higher point value than less nutritious, lower quality foods. This change has 3 quite significant benefits for me:
a. Firstly, it makes the whole program much easier. Instead of measuring or weighing or estimating the sizes of various fruits to count the points, I can snack on fruit and not worry about counting.
b. Secondly, it encourages healthier choices. Fruit no longer competes with biscuits or the like on points for snacks.
c. It makes sticking to the daily ProPoints budget a lot easier. If I am hungry and have eaten my daily allowance I can just keep eating fruit until I am satisfied. This has been very successful for me.
This is the one thing that most people I have met converting from the old system to the new system have the most trouble comprehending. Many are suspicious that the system won’t work as well as the old system because of the fruit. Weight Watchers claim they have factored this into the ProPoints you are allocated for the day and into the structure of the program. I know it has worked for me so I am no longer questioning it.
I’m sure there are more differences between the two programs but these are the ones that stand out to me after having been away for 8 or 9 years. I’m sure in that time I have forgotten some of the elements of the old program. There may be other stand out differences for people who have been counting points under the old system more recently. The Weight Watchers meetings are still the same and the onus is still on you to learn how to manage your own food intake in your day to day life within the parameters of the program. I have lost 14.8 kilos (a little over 32 lbs) on the program in 15 weeks and I’m still going.