About PointsPlus® 2012

David Kirchhoff, President and CEO of Weight Watchers International, introduces PointsPlus 2012.
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This time last year was a very big time for Weight Watchers. Twelve years after launching the original POINTS® program, we unveiled the biggest change to our program in over a decade: PointsPlus. It is worthwhile to go back to all the reasons we moved to this new platform.

The original POINTS calculation was heavily based on calories with a bonus for fibre and a penalty for fat. This approach served our members and subscribers well for many years, but we saw that it ultimately had limitations. It did not fully reflect the fact that not all calories are created equal when it comes to nutrition, satiety and how hard the body has to work to process them into usable energy. One of the simplest expressions we often use when comparing the old formula to the new is this: It’s 3 p.m., and I want a snack. On the old program, I can choose an apple for 2 POINTS values or a 100-calorie cookie pack, also for 2 POINTS values. Too many people were inclined to say, “I don’t want to waste 2 POINTSvalues on an apple. Give me the cookies!”

With all of this in mind, we changed the formula to better reflect the true underlying energy and satiety value of the big components within calories: protein, carbohydrates, fibre and fat. The new calculation was relatively nicer to protein and fibre and relatively harder on carbs and fat. We further made the decision to have the program encourage our members and subscribers to opt for healthier food choices by making fruits and non-starchy vegetables 0 PointsPlus values. Ultimately, we wanted to provide a program that favored nutrient-dense, satisfying and energy-friendly foods.

It’s been a year, and we have all had a chance to live with the new program. Overall, the response has been fantastic, and we have seen and heard countless stories of member and subscriber success on this important new platform. Members who had been shying away from apples and bananas are now choosing them instead of low-calorie — but nutrient-light — processed foods.

During the past year, we spent a lot of time listening to your comments about PointsPlus to better understand what was working well and what could work better. Armed with all of this information and feedback (you are not a shy bunch!), I am happy to announce the following changes in response to your requests:

Help me get off to a better start!

Introducing PowerStart in our meetings

  • We have changed and improved the Getting Started sessions in our meetings. The new format will help you better understand the program and get you off to a quick start.
  • We have new meal plans printed directly into your Trackers to give more and better ideas for those struggling with the pressure of making a whole host of new food choices. These meal ideas are easily found in the Plan Manager too, for easy tracking. (Online subscribers also have access to them.)

Make the plan more personalized to me and my body!

When we first launched the new program, we wanted to ensure that everyone could get the minimum nutritional requirements at any daily PointsPlus Target. Now that we have a year of observations under our belt, we are creating a new level of flexibility to allow members and subscribers to fine-tune the program to their specific needs.

  • We’ve lowered the bottom level of daily PointsPlus values from 29 to 26.
  • We now have a system that allows members and subscribers to tweak their daily target by +/- 3 PointsPlus values (with a minimum of 26 to ensure nutritional needs are met).
  • We’ve introduced more flexibility in how members and subscribers use their activity PointsPlus values as well as the weekly PointsPlus Allowance.

Make it easier to live with!

  • Introducing the option to do Simply Filling for a day, a week, or more. Some days, we just don’t want to count our PointsPlus values, or it’s too inconvenient. For these days, we have created a way to not track PointsPlus values but still stay very much on plan.

Give me more and better gadgets and tools that make it easier to stay on plan.

Technology never slows at Weight Watchers, and our engineering team has been working at breakneck speed throughout the year. As we go into 2012, we are pleased to offer a whole host of improved tools.

Our goal this year was to take our best program ever and make it even better. Join us, and let’s make 2012 our healthiest year ever!



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