The Four Pillars: Food

It is often said that different paths can lead to the same destination and nowhere is that more true than eating for healthy weight loss.
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The PointsPlus program is built on a simple to learn, flexible counting system that helps guide people towards healthier, more satisfying food choices. With greater satisfaction and the ability to build a plan that fits your life, lasting weight loss is more likely.

Here is a snapshot of the PointsPlus program:

All food and drink has a PointsPlus value - a small, easy to remember number (e.g. 1, 2, 3). The number is derived from a formula, which uses advances in nutritional science to factor in the way your body processes the major nutrients: protien, fat, carbohydrates and fibre, as well as how satisfying each of these nutrients are. The harder the body has to work to process certain nutrients in a food choice, the lower its PointsPlus value and the more eating satisfaction it provides. For example, protein and fibre rich carbohydrates take moree energy to process and are also more satisfying than fat and non-fibre rich carbohydrates. This means that the system is based on a more accurate measure of those nutrients' impact on weight loss and provides guidance towards more satisfying choices.

The system also does not require exact weighing and measuring, but instead encourages focus on the bigger picture by building awareness of food choices and eating reasonable portions.

Each person has a PointsPlus Target, based on current weight, height, gender and age, which is the total number of PointsPlus values for the day. Choosing foods to meet the Target ensures a healthful rate of weight loss. On the PointsPlus program, awareness of food choices is reinfordced by tracking - a proven method to enhance weight-loss success.

This program also encourages the selection of Power Foods that provide an easy way to focus on healthy, satisfying food choices. Power Foods are foods from all the food groups. Each is chosen based on a system that assesses that foods'a ability to provide eating satisfaction as well as its impact on health (the system looks at the amount of sugar, sodium, saturated fat, total fat and/or fibre, a food contains in comparison to similar foods). Foods are ranked within categories and those that rank the highest are designated as Power Foods.

In addition to Power Foods, the PointsPlus program is designed so fresh and frozen fruits and most vegetables have a PointsPlus value of zero.

Flexible Restraint

Developing the skill of flexible restraint, which is the ability to put a moderate level of control on your eating, is important to weight-loss success. The key is to find the balance between control and flexibility in an eating plan that is not so rigid that it is impossible to stick with. To help build this skill, the PointsPlus program includes a feature called the weekly PointsPlus Allowance. The weekly PointsPlus Allowance provides a system for having treats and indulgences without sacrificing weight loss. By using this feature and experiencing the ability to incorporate the day-to-day food challenges into a method that provides weight loss without rigid food rules, the invaluable skill of flexible restraint is learned.

When following any food plan, there are some fundamental food choices essential for good health and nutrition. Weight Watchers covers these in its Good Health Guidelines and includes the daily recommendation to:

  • Include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (9 if current weight is more than 350 pounds).

  • Have at least 2 servings of milk; 3 for nursing females, teenagers, if over 50 years of age or currently weigh more than 250 pounds.

  • Drink at least 6 glasses of liquids.

  • Get a serving or two of a protein-rich food.

  • Take a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement.

  • Limit added sugars, sodium and alcohol.

  • Have 2 teaspoons of healthy oil, including olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, or flaxseed.

  • Choose whole-grain foods whenever possible.

Finding an eating approach that works is key to weight-loss success. The Weight Watchers food plan is designed to reach the objective of healthy weight loss by making food choices that meet individual preferences and lifestyle.


The Four Pillars: Exercise