Weight Watchers PointsPlus Versus Momentum

February 7, 2011   131 Comments

A few weeks ago, I posted Why Did Weight Watchers Change Its Points Program? and this article has received 70 comments. Why?

Weight Watchers PointsPlus Versus Momentum

My guess is that change is hard. Weight Watchers old program, Momentum, worked for many participants and they are having trouble changing to a new weight loss program (PointsPlus).

Here is a comment from Gloria her about her experience with PointsPlus:

SOOO glad I found this site! I was getting so discouraged! I'm a lifetime member that got a little out of control the last few months, and want to lose a few pounds before a trip to Hawaii at the end of March.

Figured, if I started in January, NO PROBLEM. I was wrong. Started the PointsPlus program and have not lost 1 pound yet! Broke out all my old points stuff this morning and am going back to it for sure. Perhaps I can still salvage part of my goal for Hawaii.

I read all the comments on this site, and I respond to many. As for the Weight Watchers' post, I am completely LOST as how to respond to many of the threads because I am not a member of the program.

I found that I couldn't read all those comments without wanting to DO something to try to help the people so desperately wanting to lose weight.

I decided to try help these members who seem frustrated with PointsPlus and get some answers that might help guide them.

So, I e-mailed Weight Watchers and asked Karen Miller-Kovach, MBA, MS, RD (chief scientist and general manager of research & development for Weight Watchers) a few more questions to try to address the PointsPlus concerns.

Snack Girl: Could it take longer to lose the weight with the PointsPlus program than on the former Momentum Program?

Karen Miller-Kovach: PointsPlus, as well as the former Momentum program, are specifically designed to produce a safe rate of weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.

That being said, the process of weight loss is very individual and how long it takes you to achieve these goals dependent on many personal factors. The programs themselves, are both designed to produce the same rate of weight loss.

Snack Girl: Why is the daily allowance of points larger and the fruits and veggies are now counted as zero points? It seems counter intuitive to some Momentum members.

Karen Miller-Kovach: PointsPlus is a completely new system and many of the numbers have changed. While the daily PointsPlus Target is higher, the vast majority of the values for foods are higher as well.

Fruits and most vegetables, being the exception were specifically assigned to be 0 PointsPlus as way to encourage their consumption because not only are they nutrient-dense, they are really filling.

That being said, we recognize that these foods still have calories, so an adjustment was made in the daily Target to account for these calories to ensure weight loss.

Furthermore, a clinical trial was also done where individuals followed the program with this feature and the researchers found that it did not hinder weight loss.

Snack Girl: Do you think comparing Momentum to PointsPlus is helpful or should Momentum Weight Watchers participants just move on?

Karen Miller-Kovach: No, and in fact in can be harmful (to compare the two programs).

One issue that some members have run into is creating a hybridization of the two programs. This approach will not work.

It is also not helpful to spend time and energy trying to compare and contrast every element of the new program with the old one as it will not bring you any closer to your weight-loss goals.

Your time is much better spent trying to learn and embrace PointsPlus!

Thanks, Karen!

I believe that it is in Weight Watchers' best interest to put forward the best weight loss plan they can design or people will just stop signing up and will quit the program.

I hope the people who need to lose weight and get healthy find the thing that works for them - don't quit! My suggestion is to give PointsPlus a chance, perhaps a couple of months.

Then, if you aren't getting results, take what you have learned from it and try something new. Whatever you do, don't give up.

Any thoughts on the new Weight Watchers Program?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 131 )

For what it's worth ... I'm the author of a diet, health, and lifestyle book. In the end, diets do not changes do.

I like busting myths and the biggest one is: Eat Less, Exercise More. This taken for granted equation does not work because it implies willpower and deprivation...not sustainable. And if you eat a typical restaurant meal, you will have consumed about 1,300 calories. It will take about 2-hours to "exercise that off."

Look for foods and snacks that are tasty (there are many) and create the feeling of satiety. The magic ingredients for satiety -- fiber and protein.

If you eat fiber/protein every time you eat, you will be able to eat more! As for exercise, you must do it. However, not for weight-loss. It will assist in sustaining weight-loss (once you have lost weight) and it's necessary for overall health.

Here's an article where I try to bust a few myths:

In good health,

Ken Leebow

I embraced the change, because if I tried to stay the same, I'd never lose the weight. We can't become what we want to be (thinner, more adventurous, etc) if we refuse to open up and embrace new things. There have been many versions of WW and this one is the most comprehensive, complete nutritional picture yet. Why would you want to waste te fighting it? If you don't like the new system, and you really tried to be on board, then maybe it's not right for you anymore.

Ken is absolutely right. If we are going on a diet, then that means that you will probably be wanting to go off the diet at some point. Learning how you got to where you are is the answer. It truly is in what you eat. Processed, fried, sugary, high fat/cholesterol type foods and all candy/junk foods are loaded with salts, chemicals, and other "stuff" that contribute to weight gain. You have to educate yourself about reading labels and eating fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts...low/no fat cheeses, milk and yogurt. There is so much out there provided by Mother Nature herself.

While people get frustrated and want results sooner rather than later, I have researched and found an extremely highly nutritious, low calorie, low points too, and cost effective shake that is a meal replacement. I truly can't tell you how tremendous it is and the astounding results people are having with it, including myself in such a short period of time! I have done my research on this shake and I feel I would be doing people a dis-service by not telling them about it as it literally has changed and saved people's lives! Whatever we can do to change the eating habits of America is what I would love to see. Not enough education out there in our schools to even help our children.

Feel free to check out this economical, portable and highly nutritious meal replacement shake:

I commend all of you for wanting to change your weight and your health. We are what we eat and your longevity depends on it!

Yours in health,
Karen MacNab
Wellness Consultant

Super post. This is very important to me.

Thank you, Lisa, for going the extra mile to unravel these issues surrounding the new PointsPlus program.

I continue to be frustrated when I hear how people are struggling with it. Without knowing what they are really eating and whether or not they are really understanding the intended changes, it's impossible to give good advice.

I hope the people who are struggling will talk with their meeting leaders, and I REALLY hope their meeting leaders are educating themselves and giving out good information.

It's a great program! It is a change for the better, and the most important thing to remember is that it's a change for good.

Bravo to Julie!

If you are struggling with the transition, please talk to your meeting leader! He or she can help make things easier!

This is the most satisfying and freeing plan yet!

What finally worked for me on the new WW program is (and ok, it sounds weird) not eating fruit after lunch, and not eating more than 2 pieces per day. I'm post menopausal, and my personal trainer (who works with a MD who specializes in nutrition) said that sometimes women have more trouble processing carbs after menopause, so to limit the fruit (which acts like a candy bar in your body, fructose being a sugar) and not to eat it after lunch. Well, after not losing ANYTHING while strictly adhering to the new WW program, now I am losing between 0.8 and 1.2 pounds per week. I tried posting this on several WW community blogs and got shot down so I just stopped. But it worked for me. Sometimes you just have to tweak it a little because we are all different.

I never took part in the Momentum plan, didn't start WW til 3 weeks ago.... so it works for me so far, it is definitely a lifestyle change, one that i am committed too, so I guess I am not having as many problems as converts....16# so far..... hoping to avg the 1-2 pounds a week from here on out. My wife is doing the plan with me, soi this definitely helps out

Seriously, I do think it's the best plan out there. You CAN make it a lifestyle, it's not painful, it's definitely doable for everyone, and it works. There IS no quick fix for weight. Diet and exercise.

I began Feb 2010 with the Momentum Plan and had lost 48lbs. It was working great and I was at 26pts/day. Have not lost 1lb since trying to do Points Plus.

*It is very hard to follow and you MUST have the Points calculator available at all times=before you could look at a nutrition label and easily determine the pts. It is way too time consuming-I don't want to always have food on my mind- that was part of my problem to start.

*I always chose fruits/veg first anyway on Momentum. So this isn't new for me

*I tended to limit cereals/brown rice/whole wheat pastas/oatmeal because of hi points for small quantity. Now it is even more restrictive.

*I realize WW wants you to choose fruits for snacks and your 'rewarded' with 0 pts, but sometimes you want something that's not 'cold and wet'!

Snack Girl,

I really would love to know if the new program was tried on those "Less to Loss" people. I have only 5 pounds and they aren't coming off with Points Plus.

Thanks, Tara ... I'm wondering if you're the Tara from my WW meeting!! ha ha

To Becky J: It's change. There's going to be a learning curve. The unfortunate thing for a lot of people is that they didn't get to choose to make the change, and I think that's making it more difficult.

What I can't seem to get across to everyone is that I can eat a soup that is 645 calories with a piece of bread plus a smoothie in the morning that is about 300 calories,lunch of cottage cheese and pineapple for a couple of hundred calories and use only 20 or so points. That is over 1000 calories and I still have 9 pts left. I could probably eat another 1000 calories and just use the 9 pts. I cannot lose weight on 2000 calories a day. Add to that the 49 points I have for the week and and "free fruit" and it's a problem. I have been on Points Plus since the first day. The first week I lost alot of weight and after that I have steadily gained it all back. I have always lost weight on WW and have always loved it and I embraced the change but it is not working for me. I logged all of my food, only ate my 29 daily points, got a few activity points but did not use them and did not eat any of my weeklies. I was so excited at the prospect of having a few more points (I used to only get 18)and finally getting to eat fruit, which I love. For those losing, good for you, it's great to lose weight but for those struggling with this program, I believe that the calories have a heck of a lot to do with it.

To add to what I said above, I plan all my meals each week (breakfast,lunch and dinner) and log everything that I eat so I am very meticulous about tracking.

I agree, Shelley. A calorie is a calorie and your body has to do something with it-burn or store it!

I realize that WW wants us to understand that carb calories are hard to use and want us to choose higher protein foods (more filling)but if I wanted to do Atkins I would have chosen it!

Yayyy Becky, finally someone who gets it. I have posted this on the WW message board only to be ridiculed and pooh-poohed that I cannot be correct.

The points plus program does not work for me.

I agree with Becky. IT is terribly different and to tell long time or repeat users of WW that they should just "forget" the old plan is ridiculous. They've spent years and millions to ensure we all know our points values.

Even all of the Smart Ones frozen meals are higher in point values.

I'm canceling my online membership and just going to use the old printed materials I have lying around.

I was skeptical about the PointsPlus program at first. I was losing weight steadily on the old program for several months. PointsPlus was a challenge at first, but I've been averaging between 1 and 2 pounds off a week for the past few weeks. I love the new program because it has encouraged me to eat more fruits and veggies. In the past, I've been on "low carb" diets that treated fruits like poison. So it has been resfreshing to have a tasty option for snacking. I've also tried to treat it like a challenge -- I try to go to the Farmers market and buy really fresh, local produce and make new recipes.

So this thread is highly entertaining and I just have to throw in my 2 cents. WW is not necessary, in my belief, and this is only my opinion, but all u need to do is count ur calories. If its not working for u then ur calorie intact is too high. I've been using myfitnesspal for 2 weeks and have lost 5 lbs. U can eat whatever u want as long as u don't go over your calories! There is no reason to pay for WW. That's just my opinion tho.

Brandi, I agree; that is another way of losing weight that is equally valuable and good. However, this thread is about the WW program. And INHO, the "free fruit" is messing up a lot of people, because yes, it DOES act like a candy bar in your system, and even in the WW guide they tell you not to overdo the fruit. So you can eat tons of calories just in fruit daily.

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