Sunday, February 6, 2011

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans now out in the wild. The recommendations look curiously familiar...

Last week the US government through a joint effort between HHS and USDA published the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).  They are required by law to update these guidelines every five years.  This is a huge effort that has a lot of very smart and knowledgable people combing over mountains of scientific studies using a method called systematic evidence-based review methodology to answer roughly 180 scientific questions related to the way we should eat.  They have now published the results of this, which can be found on their website (  For those curious about such things, it is actually a pretty easy and interesting read, and it is a nice place to find a lot of fun and interesting facts and analysis, all nicely collected and collated.

The primary audience for the DGA is professionals that use the recommendations to help shape policy, nutrition programs and educational materials.  The Center for Nutritional Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the group that publishes the DGA, will at some point also put out some materials intended for the consumer audience (i.e., all of us).  This is where the famous food pyramid first came on the scene in 1992, though the USDA published its first food guide in 1917.  The first Dietary Guidelines were published in 1980.

I have a vague recollection of being a teenager and hearing about such recommendations.  I recall something about eating so-many cereals and grains and that many fishes and meats and X fruits and vegetables and maybe not quite so many sugars and fats.  I suppose that many of these guidelines were somehow incorporated into the nutritional education I vaguely recall seeing in school from time-to-time.  Nonetheless, I did grow up with a notion that somewhere out there was an official guide on the correct way to eat.  In truth, I think it would be hard for me to say that any of this had a huge influence on what I should eat other than the very clear message that fat was bad.

Over the years, there have been a number of iterations on the pyramid.  In truth, I personally found the visual somewhat confusing.  The stuff at the top of the pyramid was foods to restrict, but isn't the top of the pyramid supposed to be awesome stuff (i.e., the pinnacle of food)?  Further, I could not for the life of me ever remember what was in those pyramid bands.  Nor could I remember how much of what kinds of food I was supposed to eat.  Frankly, the whole thing was kind of confusing for me, so I never paid it much personal attention.

According to some, it's a good thing I didn't pay too close attention as the food pyramid has come under fire from various places over the years.  It was perceived as being too heavily focused against fat while ignoring the impact of excessive carbohydrates.  Nutritional science is a very political and controversial topic area capable of spurring brawls among academics, journalists, politicians and food companies.

So lo and behold, we now have new Dietary Guidelines.  So what's in them?  Mostly, common sense, and that is a good and welcome addition.  The 2010 DGA can be summarized as having two primary recommendations:

  1. Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.  Translation:  don't eat too much and exercise more to lose weight and sustain the losses.  
  2. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.  Translation:  eat more food that is high in nutrients and low in calorie density.  Translation of translation:  eat mostly food that's good for you.  
The DGA then goes on to give a summary of foods to limit, mostly recommending that we limit sodium and only use a small portion of our calories on foods with added sugars and fats (i.e., junk food).  More interesting to me was their summary of foods to focus on.  For the latter, here are their guidelines (their words, not mine):
  • Increase vegetable and fruit intake. 
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas. 
  • Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains. 
  • Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages. 
  • Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. 
  • Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry. 
  • Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils. 
  • Use oils to replace solid fats where possible. 
  • Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products. 
One simple mnemonic they have already introduced is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.  Frankly, I am hoping they stay with the visual of the plate rather than the pyramid as it seems much more intuitive and easy to remember.  

Even in it's simplified form, along with any good visuals that they might introduce, it's one thing to know what we should eat.  It's quite another to put it into action.  Therefore, the 2010 DGA finally goes on to encourage people to put into place eating patterns that reinforce all of the above guidelines.  

What if there was a system that used the principle of budgeting and keeping count in a way that supported the kinds of healthy choices by promoted by the 2010 DGA?  Such a system might use some form of simple measure that allowed us to know how much we were eating and stick to a budget each day.  It would further use a currency that rewarded healthy choices.  It would also allow for indulgences, but it would help us to make more informed choices by making them a little more expensive.  It might even get behind the half-your-plate of veggies & fruits by assigning a value of Zero to fruits and non-starchy vegetables.  In summary, said system that would promote vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy, but do so in a fairly simple and straight forward way.  

Sound like a system we know?  It's PointsPlus.  As I read through the 2010 DGA, I realized that I've basically been eating this way even more since I started following the new program.  

I know this post sounds horribly self-congratulatory, but I can't help it.  I'm flat out proud of the program that my co-workers developed and that our Leaders and delivering.  If the 2010 DGA is the goal, then PointsPlus can be the path.  It's nice to be on the right path.  




  1. Glad to see the US Govt in "on board" with the new Point Plus program, LOL !!

    Good job Dave and Crew !! :)

    Until next week,

    PS....I've been waiting all morning for your new entry !!

  2. Which leads me to ask, which came first, PointsPlus or the new DGA? (rhetorical, of course)

  3. It also sounds very similar how us lap banders are recommended to eat...

    thanks for your continued posts!

  4. Sounds like the plan is right on track!

    I think having plate image would be good--a picture that anyone could relate to and understand easily--even kiddos!

  5. Hi Dave -

    Your back-pattiness is well-earned! I'm in a self-induced slump right now. Very grateful to know that my WW crew will be there with open arms when I can get my head removed from my arse. ;)

    Have a great week! - Kirsten


  6. Hi Dave,

    My comment is not in response to this post, sorry! I am a current lifetime member at goal for a little over five years. I learned a few weeks a go that I am pregnant, so exciting times. I talked to my leader last week and learned that I am no longer able to attend meetings at Weight Watchers. I have long believed that attending these meetings has allowed me to keep nearly 50 lbs off for over five years. While I understand that WW does not want anyone trying to lose weight while trying to have a healthy pregnancy, I wish that the organization offered a resource for those of us who are living the WW lifestyle and pregnant at the same time. I hope that I have voiced my frustration clearly as a long term believer in the program. I'll be back to meetings in about 7 months!

  7. Here! Here! Us leaders out here in the field are very proud to deliver this program each week. We are seeing great results with our members. I personally have never felt better since following PointsPlus!

  8. I would point out that on Weight Watchers, there is no differentiation between healthy fats and unhealthy fats, and no tracking of sodium. There are also no dairy alternatives beyond cow's milk and soy milk, which are 2 allergens that often go hand-in-hand - many people who can't drink milk also can't consume soy products.
    WW would be well-served to look into alternatives like rice milk, and to look into whole grain food products for the gluten free as well.

  9. I think the PP system is an excellent approach. However, there is no "numerical" benefit for selecting whole grains. Given the impact on such health risk factors as cancer, cardiac conditions, diabetes, stroke, etc., I would love to see a revision which specifically encourages whole grains.

  10. I would like Almond milk to be considered as a dairy as well. It also is fortified with calcium (mine has more calcium in it than regular milk) and vitamin D. Please condiser this addition to the program.

  11. To Dani & Shanna...

    On the point of whole grains, foods that are high in fiber will do better than those that are not. Therefore, on balance refined grains will do less well in the PointsPlus calculation.

    On the point of unhealthy fats & sodium, we address those via our PowerFood designation which absolutely look at unhealthy fats and sodium as well as other health factors.

    Hope that helps!!!

  12. BTW, I will take the question on almond milk back to the team.

  13. I lost on the old program and now over 60 days on the new program I have gained and lost and gained the same 2-3 pounds...there are many who are also saying that the new plan isnt working..I am at my wits end on what to do..maybe have to go back to the old plan that helped me lose 50 pounds

  14. OK, here is my advice for those who lost on the old program but are having trouble getting traction on the new one... Eat exactly what you were eating on the old program and see what the new PointsPlus values come out to. Try it for a week and see what happens. Sometimes the trick is to find an eating pattern that works, and then stick with that pattern. While some people have struggled with the transition, many others are finding it to be a real boost. In any case, change is never easy, but stick with it!!! Hope that helps.


  15. Love your post...and it confirms what I have felt after joining WW on 12/31 and learning about feels like a plan that makes all of the science of nutrition very easy to adhere to...I love that WW encourages EATING to lose weight (vs. starving) and encourages (via PP) much less processed food and more real food that we cook ourselves and know the ingredients of...and more fruits/veggies but not ALL fruits/veggies or you could never get your points in...perfect!

  16. I would like WW to provide easy specific guidance for dairy substitutes which those of us who allergic to milk need in order to make up that portion of our Points Plus program. The groups and forums online are not helping in this issue.

  17. I would like to know how Weight Watchers Math works. 20 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph is 2 AP but 40 is on ly 3 AP - I don't get it.

  18. Thanks for getting this info out to us all. My favorite part? Because WW has helped me incorporate the GHGs within P+, I don't have to change a thing about the way I'm eating :)

    Weighed in today and was down 3.2 this week! 31.8 total. Only .6 away from my 10%! Can't wait for my celebratory massage!

    .:. process>progress .:.

  19. Hi Kellie: the reason for the 2 AP vs. 3 AP is undoubtedly rounding. For example, if the mathematical formula for you resulted in 1.7 AP's for 20 minutes, that rounds up to 2 AP's. If you double that, you end up with 3.4 AP's which would round down to 4. Hope that helps!!!

  20. I have been on the program since 08/2010. Under the old program, I would gain and lose, gain and lose, with the net results being an overall loss of about 1 lb. per week. But, the loss-gain-loss cycle was confusing and depressing (on the gain weigh-ins). Under the new program, I no longer have this gain-loss cycle. PLEASE DO NOT change anything about the new program. Donna

  21. I have a question that has been brought up in meetings and not answered because I don't think anyone really knows.

    Those of us struggling on P+ (after huge success on other Momentum and Flex) have seen quite a bit of negativity in response to our comments that P+ just isn't working for us (mostly us lifetimers and those with less to lose). One of the quickest responses is that we must be eating too much processed foods because that is now "bad" according to P+.

    I'm curious though. If processed foods are the enemy in this plan, why does WW continue to produce them?

  22. David - I appreciate your interaction here.

    I'm a long-time WW member who is one of the ones who is struggling with the transition. I did as you recommended - "Eat exactly what you were eating on the old program and see what the new PointsPlus values come out to" - but found that this was adding up to only about 25 PointsPlus values.

  23. "Eat exactly what you were eating on the old program and see what the new PointsPlus values come out to." Great idea! Except that I can't pull up my old Points Tracker entries before mid-December, and I took the recommendation to "forget the old program" to heart. Pity.

  24. I have gone back to eating what I was eating on Momentum, I did have records and also all the books and calculator. On PP it comes out to anywhere between 21-24 points. Why not give us less to lose and maintenance people the ablility to adjust those points, and also the weekly points so we can at least use the online tracker that we have come to depend on. I have been an online member for 7 years and it makes everything so much easier.

  25. Dear Dave,
    I am 4'11" and at goal. I lost 20 lbs. in 2009 and I have kept it off and I have stayed at, or slightly below goal until November 2010 when Points Plus rolled out. I was told that I should eat 32 points per day AND use all my weeklies. Guess what? I gained. But I persevered. I cut back to 29 points. Guess what? I gained. Dave, I gotta tell you, you tinkered with a great program and you made it worse. I made the mistake of throwing out all my old books because they hype was that the new program was awesome. You better do something fast. I'm not feeling the love from WW anymore.

  26. I am with Rachel, Caroline, Sandy, etc. I am a Lifetimer at goal who had great success on Momentum. I embraced the new program whole-heartedly, and applied all my techniques used to succeed (tracking, measuring, exericse, GHGs every day) and I gained. Every week. I don't know why it took me so long, but after 8lbs GAINED on one of the leading weight-loss programs, I have canceled and gone back to Momentum on my own. I know many are 'tweaking' their daily points to suit their needs, but I cannot justify giving my money to a plan that I have had to 'outsmart' in order to see success. I hear a lot of backpedaling in the materials, and here on your blog. Is a change coming? We need one!

  27. After initially telling us to eat all our daily points and our weeklies, too, the materials now tell us "it's okay to stop short of your 29 if you are satisfied." Really?
    Would we have joined WW if we could simply stop when satisfied? There's a reason SFT is considered "an advanced skill". How can WW tell people "just stop when you are satisfied" and honestly call that a 'program'?

  28. I am a lifetime member and after almost three months of having "trouble getting traction" on the new PointsPlus plan, I am returning to the Momentum plan. My decision was based on the following chain of events….

    In November, Weight Watchers said forget the old program and embrace the new PointsPlus program.

    1) "Eat your points target of 29 points each day"
    2) "Focus on power foods" (aka Healthy foods)
    3) "Fruit and Vegetables are great to have around for starving off hunger pangs, for snacks or for bulking up meals and deserts"
    4) "Feel encouraged to use your allowance. The weekly PointsPlus allowance and the daily points target work together to create the energy deficit you need to lose weight".

    In January, the Weight Watchers material said ….

    1) "Aim to meet your daily PointsPlus target. It's ok to have a few PointsPlus values left over".
    2) "Don't eat so many fruits and vegetables with 0 PointsPlus values that you have no room for anything else"
    3) "Use your weekly PointsPlus allowance of 49 to treat yourself now and again.

    And on February 9, on this blog, you suggested …

    1) "Eat exactly what you were eating on the old program and see what the new PointsPlus values come out to. Try it for a week and see what happens. Sometimes the trick is to find an eating pattern that works, and then stick with that pattern".

    My conclusion …. I should eat what I was eating on the old program (whether or not a Power food), eat less than my PointsPlus target, use my weekly allowance now and again, monitor my fruit intake, AND stick with it. I believe that is called Momentum!

  29. Hello David,

    I am one of those who can't gain traction on PointsPlus. I was on momentum and very successful since March of 2007. Then came PP+ and I gained 5 pounds. I rarely if ever ate more than my DP, ate all of my GHG, exercised regularly and still gained. With that 5 pound loss I said no way I'm going back to a plan that works for me.

    The phrase "One size fits all" is how I look at PP+. The reality of it is one size does not fit all. There are hundreds of us either tweaking PP+, or leaving for their old plans that were successful.

    As far as the health issues. WW endorsed all the other plans. We who used them ate as healthy as we were told. I'm sure you have received many e-mails, letters and tweets about the failure of PP+ from the hundreds that are not finding their "traction" on PP+.

    We hope that with so many of us who went back to their reliable WW Plans that you would cater the website to all of us. PP+ works for some, Momentum works for thousands, Core, Flex, Simply filling and more.

    We are paying for what we need and what we get is only PP+, maybe it is time to look over your decision and open up the website to the masses you had following WW prior to PP+.

    Again, "one size does not fit all"

  30. Hi, Dave.
    I've noticed that you haven't responded to the comments here since the very strong criticsm of P+ has been posted. I'm anxious to hear your response to those of us who are LT or have less to lose and--faced with gains--have had to return to previous plans or tweak P+ until we figured out--ON OUR OWN--how to make it work for us.

    What do you say to us??
    P.S.: I post on the WW site as "LovesFrance"

  31. wow, you guys are kinda ballsy here. telling dave "you better do something fast"????? when sooooo many ppl are SO SUCCESSFULL on P+??? I am stunned.
    Dave, I love your blog and I love WW.
    keep on keepin' on.
    very happy employee here.

  32. I couldn't be happier with the new P+ system. After 1.5 years, I've finally gotten that extra push to meet my 31 lb goal. I've actually had a hard time maintaining my new weight, as my body keeps shedding more weight.
    Loving it here in Franklin, TN

  33. Hello Mr. Kirchhoff,

    Thank you for sharing your views with us about the new PP program and for allowing us an opportunity to reply.

    I have been a WW member since the 1990’s and have been very successful on the Core, Flex and Momentum plans. I re-joined WW in December to lose a small amount of weight. I carefully tracked my 29 pts/day, but my initial loss was followed by 2 weeks without a loss and then 2 weeks with small gains. As you can imagine, this was extremely discouraging.

    I read your advice to someone else who is not losing and you suggested they try eating what they normally did on the old plan, see what the points come out to on PP and see what happens after doing this for one week. I did this 4 weeks ago and discovered that I was eating fewer points on the older plan, which explains why I was not losing on the new PP plan. 29 points is simply too many points/calories per day for me to lose weight.

    Mr. Kirchhoff, when a famous carbonated soft drink company introduced a new improved formula in 1985, many people preferred the taste of its old formula. The company, recognizing customer loyalty, brought back its old “classic" formula and sold it alongside the new improved formula. Since so many people who have less to lose or who are trying to maintain are having trouble on the new PP program, I’m very hopeful that WW will bring back its old points programs as an option for those of us who had better results when following it. Perhaps you could give it a new name, like “Points Classic”?

    I have loved WW for years and I am loving it again now that I’ve returned to Momentum’s winning program. Thank you.

  34. I don't think it is ballsy to ask for options. It would be ballsy to say scrap the new and go back to the old.

    I think it comes down to good old customer service. If you know so many want the old way and are actually gaining weight the new way it would make sense from a business perspective to give back that option or risk losing a lot of customers.

    From someone who did great using CORE.

  35. Mr. Kirchhoff,

    It seems quite odd that WW would steer people away from the evil processed foods and yet WW continues to produce and sell their own line of processed foods. P+ does not work for everyone. I have been a lifetime member for 4 years and have never had as much trouble with a plan as I had with P+. I have canceled my etools and am doing Momentum on my own now because that's the plan that works for me. If WW truly wants to help their customers, they will listen to the negative feedback on P+. I used to love WW and now I just don't.

  36. In my personal experience, it's all about "calories in, calories out". If you are eating too many fruits just because they have a 0 PPV, then you need to look into that.....especially if you are not seeing the results on the scale. Also, I have found that if I am not getting in the GHG then I'm not following the plan and dont deserve to lose an ounce.


  37. Dear Anonymous (@February 12, 2011 11:28 AM ),

    While I agree with you that the PP program shows us that processed foods are not always the best choice, I can't imagine the world without them. I have an issue with pretzels....I tend to over do it. They are a red light food for me but I can't ban them from my life. I am grateful to WW for their Pretzel Thins. I have one bag when I have a craving, and it's done. To say that I will never have a pretzel again is unrealistic and denying myself any food as shown to be a disaster when in an uncontrolled situation (like a party).

    If you are lucky enough to have all foods in check and have no need for WW products then that's great. I am not so lucky.

  38. Just going through all these comments now. To all who have commented, as always thank you. To those who are succeeding, fantastic. To those who have had a frustrating time making the shift from Momentum to PointsPlus, I take your comments and concerns seriously.

    This particular blog, despite the fact that I write it, is probably not the best place to carry about this kind of debate. The nature of the forum and the fact that I have too many other responsibilities to attend to it regularly makes it inherently limiting. Nonetheless, I certainly understand how someone feeling a level of frustration would want an outlet to express their concerns.

    It is clear that there is more we can do to better convey how to best manage the transition from Momentum to PointsPlus for those who are struggling. If you are a meetings member, the best place to do this is with your Leader. For everyone who does not have access to a Leader (e.g., Online subscribers), we are working to develop a plan of attack to address your concerns. We are already in the process of listening to all the feedback and coming up with the best approach to help your work through the change. At minimum, many of the comments that I have read suggest that there are a lot of misperceptions about PointsPlus that need to be cleared up. It's our responsibility to communicate in a way to clear these up and to do our best to give you additional actionable advice to help you successfully navigate through the change.

    Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more...



  39. I found that the leaders at the meetings do not know how to deal with members who are not losing or maintaining on the new program. All I've heard is be patient and it will work. It is not working for me. I calculated my daily food intake by old points vs points plus. I was out of momentum points but still had points plus, I also counted calories and I was eating approximately an extra 150 to 200 calories a day. Something is not right. I've be a member of Weight Watchers for over 16 years and a lifetime member for over 15 years, I know what to do, but if I increase by points from 22 to 29, my weight slowly creeps up. My 10 pound weight cushion has not become a 5 pound cushion. I've gone back to Momentum. I've read the same comments and concerns on the UK and USA boards. I love Weight Watchers but only the old program, I'm happy the new one works for many members but there are a lot of us struggling. We have been slammed by these people as being disgruntled members, we are not weight watcher haters or trolls. We are paying/attending or online members who want to continue to lose or maintain our weight with Weight Watchers. We do not want to be abandoned by Weight Watchers but we want to free and have support to follow the program which works best for us.

  40. 60 to 90% of the world's non-Caucasian population is lactose-intolerant. Billions of Asians and Africans don't consume milk once weaned from Mother's breast, and yet they have strong, healthy bones and teeth. It's just unconscionable how much Weight Watchers continues to push dairy as a health requirement when, in fact, the health requirement is *calcium*, for which there are plenty of other sources. Leafy green vegetables come immediately to mind. Fortified nondairy milks such as almond milk and rice milk also come to mind.

    Also, WW seriously needs to distinguish between unhealthy and processed simple carbohydrates and healthy, fiber-filled complex carbohydrates and encourage people to eat the latter by having a lower point value for them. According to the nutritional information, my 100% whole wheat bread with 5 grams of fiber is 3 points, but empty, fiberless Wonder Bread is only 2 points. That encourages people to choose the Wonder Bread.

    WW supposedly extols the virtues of protein and fiber. Protein and fiber! Protein and fiber! Well, guess which foods provides both: Beans and legumes and whole grains. But you lowered the point values of animal protein, which still has saturated fats and cholesterol, and significantly RAISED the points of beans, legumes and whole grains, which deliver up protein without any saturated fat and cholesterol but with an abundance of fiber, which you claim to encourage, and yet... The USDA now recommends people eat between 6 to 11 servings of grains, pasta, cereals, and bread. I wonder how many points the 11 servings would come out to with the new, higher values.

    Sorry, but the new plan feels like Atkins Lite to me.

    Oh, and I was foresighted enough to continue eating exactly as I had on Momentum and continued to lose weight as I had been doing on Momentum, but guess what? At the end of the day, I routinely had between 4 and 10 points left over which I didn't eat. Had I eaten them regularly, I would probably be gaining weight like many others.

    WW really needs to tweak the new program.

  41. Ok, David. So this means I should continue to go to meetings and pay $14 every time I weigh in. I'm supposed to be able to maintain on P+, but continue to gain, but I have to attend a meeting just to talk to a leader, who is probably equally frustrated. Nice!

  42. Dave-
    Just a quick note here to (again) say how much I appreciate your candor and openness on the blog. It is really neat to be able to have this sort of dialogue with the CEO of WW!

    Long time LTer here--- one thing that I've always appreciated about Weight Watchers is the company's willingness to be self-critical and to make adaptations to the program throughout the years. This isn't the kind of organization that says "this is the way that it is going to be b/c we said so". Rather, I've been pleased to see the program shift throughout the years as new information has surfaced-- likely both from research and science, as well as member experiences. I've certainly struggled with transitions at time too- and would simply add to the other encouraging comments to really be self-aware of your own choices. Ultimately, this is YOUR personal program--- use the Weight Watchers program as support and guidance to your own choices.

  43. Thank you for letting us know that you're listening to our concerns and that WW will be providing 'additional actionable advice to help you successfully navigate through the change' in the coming weeks. I attend meetings and have done exactly as I've been told which is to NOT go below 29 points per day, NOT combine programs and to NOT count fruit. I stuck with the new plan for a few weeks, even though I wasn’t losing, and I’m now back on my old WW plan and thankfully losing again.

    I read your advice to the people having trouble and I took a day out of my journal on the PointsPlus Plan and beside each item listed I put its value on the old points plan. The 30 PointsPlus points I ate on this particular day are equal to 34 points on the old plan and this is counting the fruit. If I subtract the fruit I am left with 28 points on the old plan. My daily points target on the old plan is 19 points. Do you think the reason I didn’t lose on PointsPlus could be because I was eating too many points a day? When I made the switch to the new program I was used to choosing my foods carefully and suddenly found that I had to eat MORE food each day to satisfy the WW requirement of never going below 29 points a day on PointsPlus.

    I agree with what you said braelin. I too appreciate being able to have the CEO of WW listen to my concerns! Various members of my family have been members of WW for approximately 35 years now and it is a wonderful organization. Since WW is still working on how to help people like me through this transition period, I was wondering, David, if you could you please pass on my concerns to the people who are developing the plan of attack that you mentioned in your comment yesterday? I’m very anxious to hear what the solution will be for people like me who seem to require fewer points a day to lose weight.

  44. I would like to comment as well on the views expressed here that the new PP plan has too many points for some members. I gave the new plan my all - tried it and followed it to a 'T' and ended up gaining weight. I felt the entire time I was eating too many points for me and I didn't need to make any lifestyle changes to incorporate healthy eating into my life - I was already doing that.

    I switched back to the Momentum plan and immediately started losing and have continued to do so. I eat 19 points minimum plus some of my 35 alloted extra points and track my activity points. I feel WW has designed this new plan with the idea of encouraging members to make some healthy choices in food, and I'm all for that. What I think WW has done though, is forget about all of us members - and I've been a lifetime member for 11 years - who are already living the WW lifestyle, those who are near their goal weight and those that are maintaining.

    Please readjust your website to include the information for one of the older plans as well as the new PP plan. We are paying members and are unable to utilize the information on the website since it's only for the new plan. Also, please understand that no plan should be a 'one size fits all' when there are so many members out there that have different goals.

    It should be fairly easy to incorporate one of the older plans into a combined version and offer the data for that - and the online tracking tools, as well as the new plan.

  45. I have been following PP since it rolled out in Canada on Dec 6th, I was very excited. I have been with WW for many years and was a Core fanatic at one point so I do know my nutrition, I do not eat the processed foods, rarely eat junk, I know how to track with the best of them and yes I do on occasion not track, we all are guilty of that! I have never been a big loser or a fast loser but a steady loser, I can usually count on a minimum of 5-6 lbs in a month, my net loss since Dec 6th has been 1 lb.
    As you can imagine I am not happy with this at all. I have paid a lot of money for that 1 lb. Is it worth it? Well I guess it is 1 less lb I have to worry about, but what about the other 51 lbs I have to lose!
    Many have mentioned maintaining or those with only a few pounds to lose as finding the new program not working well I think 51 lbs is a lot to lose and it is not working for me.
    I started back on Momentum 3 days ago, I feel so much better, less bloated, no heartburn and in control. I also feel a sense of peace that has eluded me because I kept thinking it was me that was doing something wrong, I was failing, I was not failing, the plan was failing me. yes I will say it, Points Plus failed me. Luckily there are enough sites out there that I can get information to fill in the blanks for Momentum and with the support of some very good friends I will lose those 51 lbs. Unfortunately WW will lose me as a paying customer, I cannot afford to pay for a program that does not work. Thank you WW for all the years you did help me. If you decide to revisit the Momentum plan I will be back.

  46. I have to agree with the other short people who aren't being successful. I lost way back when I had 18 points a day only by eating APs I earned but no weeklies. No surprise, 29 points is not working for me. But at least then, there were different point values assigned to those under 150 lbs, the range to 175, the range to 200. Now, with P+, those who should be 105 lbs are factored the same as those at 195, and that makes no mathematical sense.

    A lot of people vented here on your personal blog because there is no other way to communicate to WW corporate anything, esp. those of us that are online only. The canned responses we get to emails we send are painful they are so vague or irrelevant to what we wrote about, and serve to make us feel everything goes straight to a circular file. If there is one thing this blog post response might teach you, it's that it's probably not good enough these days to have forums where users can talk to each other, but the corporation is behind a big curtain.

    At least you seem like a real person. Interviews with Karen Miller-Kovach give the impression she's OCD.... or creepy.

  47. I agree w/ the many others who have posted their concerns about the new PP+ program. The old program was simple, and just worked - period....if you stayed within your points range, you lost weight. If you had a week where you did not lose, or even gained a bit , it was easy enough to figure out why, and re-adjust least that was my experience. I lost 65 Lbs from Mar 2010 thru Nov 2010, and since PP+ started, I have lost & gained the same 6 lbs over the course of 10 weeks ( 2 of the 10 weeks, I dropped 3 lbs ) ....which is really, really frustrating, since there is no real differences from one week to the other in eating, or exercising habits . I'm not looking for a quick weight loss program, am happy to lose .5-1 lb a week, but it is beyond me how I can have the exact same DP (29), and WP (49) as a friend, who is 50 lbs lighter, and same age, height, and she works a very active job, and is on maint, and I still want to lose another 35-45 lb's , and have a sedatary job???? I am going to join the masses who are dropping the on-line program, and returning to the old program on paper , unless I see PP+ version 2 come out within the next month. And please don't get me wrong, I loved WW, and always boasted about what a great and easy program it was to follow, but sadly, I can no longer state that, so when folks ask me how I lost my weight, I tell them WW, but tell them to stay away from the new program. WW should take notice that word of mouth is very, very powerful amongst the overweight.

  48. One step ahead of you... Brought my tracker with me to my meetings 3 weeks in a row, and my leader was clearly at a loss. She couldn't find anything wrong. It got to the point where I just felt like bringing my tracker for her to look at was upsetting her, so I stopped. It's not her fault the plan doesn't work for so many people.

    With Momentum, if someone was struggling, 90% of the time, they were missing a piece of the puzzle. I feel that is not the case with Momentum. These are Lifetimers speaking. We didn't get where we are by ignoring GHGs, sitting on our butts, and saying "nah" to tracking. We know what's up. And something is *definitely* up.

  49. The comment about Karen Miller-Kovach is rude and unnecessary. She's not a professional spokesperson. It is probably hard for her to have such a public profile. She's a scientist not a performer like Jennifer Hudson. I will say, I do love how passionate Ms. Miller-Kovach is when talking about WW, nutrition and weight loss.

    I do agree with you, Pamela, that something needs to change with customer service and WW corporate's non-responses. We don't have an outlet to engage in dialogue with corporate. As nice as the customer service reps are, they are often less than helpful. There just seems to be a disconnect between corporate and members. Now that the P+ plan is out, I hope you will soend some time making the experience of being a member a little better.

    Thank you for the blog. I enjoy reading about your adventures in maintaining. :) Mostly you see blogs about losing so having one that discusses keeping the weight off is great.

  50. I posted a few days ago, but back again, because I am now more frustrated than I was before, as a result of your most recent response ….“many of the comments that I have read suggest that there are a lot of misperceptions about PointsPlus that need to be cleared up”.

    The definition of misperception is a false perception, and so I would like clarification if you believe it is the long time members that have a false perception of the new plan. After purchasing the monthly pass, the new food calculator, the new food companion & dinning out books, the new cookbooks, read all the material cover to cover, followed the plan as written, I “perceived” I would experience weight loss. Is that the misperception?

    I know you don’t believe this blog the appropriate space for this dialogue but as it has been stated, the struggling members have no other outlet, as the customer service line, the leaders, and the receptionists don’t have the answers, and even if they too believe there is a flaw in the program, lets be honest there is absolutely no way they could say so, and so they continue to promote the new science behind the program and that bananas are zero points. We deserve better than that!

  51. David - I love the new PP program. I didn't feel like the old program gave me enough food to work with so I tweaked it the other way and just found what works for me. But I am probably not your avg WW person either. I teach fitness classes and earn about 45-50 AP's per week. I track with CalorieKing and have for years but needed to switch it up and stop eating processed foods to get a few lbs off so I started PP hoping it would get me back to eating fruits and veggies with the incentive of it being zero points. And BTW, I track side by side with CK and so far, I net to 1200 calories everyday on avg so PP is on target with what they are doing over there too. Generally I eat all my AP's and almost all of my WP's. I am wondering if the AP's are the problem on this new plan in the calculation? On the old plan, it seemed like AP's were rewarded and equaled about 100 calories burned per point while a food point equaled about 50 calories if it was a healthy one. So in effect, if you earned a point, you were only eating half of its caloric value back. Now it seems that AP's are rewarded on more than a 50% basis now so if I eat it back, I am eating most of it back. Again, I am not complaining because I had to tweak the old plan to eat more food (I lost on an avg of 35 points a day on the old plan before I netted out AP) but it seems less active folks are struggling on PP and that maybe you need to add another variable to set points. Perhaps you need to use a setting for how active someone is to establish their base PP level? Many other diet plans do this such as The Schwarzbein Principle, The Zone and many many more. It's just good science.

  52. I am one of those who LOVE the new PP program. I feel it is a much healthier program than the old plan. On the old plan I had a small gain about every 3 - 4 weeks, but did lose overall. On the new PP plan my loses have been smaller, but I lose consistently, every week. And I feel that I am eating much healthier on the new plan.

    There are quite a few complaints on here about the new plan. Out of the 53 comments probably about 40 are complaints about the new PP plan. But let's put this into perspective. That's about 40 out of thousands of WW memebers. It's a very small percentage. And since most customers don't speak up when they are satisfied, only when they are unhappy it appears that there are more unsatisfied people than is the reality. I believe most people are successful and happy with the new PP plan.

    I'm not saying tweaks shouldn't be made to the program. Each person is an individual and their body reacts differently from others. There can never be one plan that works for everyone in the world. It's just not possible. So while I'm happy with the plan and I believe most WW members are also happy with the plan, there will need to be some adjustments made for some people. If WW isn't making the tweaks that work for you, then find what does work for you.

    Keep up the great work Dave and team!

  53. I will be canceling my membership. I lost 50 lbs on Momentum and Flex but after 6 weeks and $80 on P+, I have lost nothing and I feel frustrated and angry. I LOVED Momentum and Flex and if your website ever gives members the option to choose their plan, I'll be back.

  54. Here is my input on this. I started in December on the new plan at about the same weight I started the old plan back in December 2007. OK, I am a big guy so on the old plan I had 42 DPs, now on the new plan I have 71 DPs. I lost about 30 lbs in 2 months on the old plan, but I felt like I was starving the whole time. I eventually quit tracking, plateaued and quit in 6 months. Now I'm on the new plan. I've lost about the same amount of weight in the same amount of time. The last couple weeks though, even though I've been staying OP, with the Superbowl, etc. I started drinking more sodas and sneaking in more sweets than during the first two months all the while staying OP. Well, I stopped losing weight on the new plan. I'm not blaming WW. I'm blaming myself for thinking I can still drink a soda everyday and consume more sugar than usual. I stayed OP, but I had too much processed foods with sugar. I will make the adjustment and start losing again next week. I don't have to point the finger at anybody but myself. - Paul

  55. I have been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers since 1977 and just recently got my lifetime status back. Most of that time I was on the Momentum plan and did well, but slowly. Since I started on P+ at the end of November I lost and gained back the same pound for 9 weeks, until I took the matter into my own hands and changed my eating. I then lost 3 pounds and then 1 pound to get to goal again. I find I can eat from 20 to 22 points and continue to lose, but the P+ as it is designed just doesn't work for me. And, I know I can't go on maintenance and add 6 more points. I agree with all the comments that one size doesn't fit all. I like the new plan, but not so thrilled that it took me so long to figure out what works for me. In the beginning, WW said eat all the points, then my leader said "eat until you are satisfied." Thanks heavens I know what that is now. AND, I can't believe how WW tells us not to eat processed food yet makes a lot of money by selling just that.

  56. I did WW online for 7 years and lost and maintained ~20 pounds at 18-20 points per day during weight loss mode. After trying the PP plan since November, I have realized that 29 PP + weekly points is WAY too much food for me to lose weight (I am 5' 1" tall). With much regret I cancelled my subscription this week and am trying to do the old plan by hand, which is not nearly as convenient.

    If you offer us the alternative to do the old plan online, I would be back in a second! PLEASE consider it, I have been a loyal WW fan for years. We used to have the option of Core or Flex, why not two choices now? Thanks.

  57. I have been an online WW member for years. When the new P+ program rolled out I was extremely excited but after 8 weeks of being back I have lost very little. At first, I thought I was doing something wrong but I kept going with no results. I have decided to cancel my subscription this week and continue my weight loss journey on my own (ww manually) If WW decides to bring back the flex/momentum plan I will consider going back.

    Thank you so much for listening...


  58. David,
    I am an Australian WW member and there are alot of people here having similar problems. I think that not enough is being done to really explain properly the science behind the new programme. I think there needs to be a greater presence on the forums by WW representatives and perhaps a program where experienced health professionals could come to address those of us who go to we can feel more confident in what we are doing.

    I also think a comprehensive check list could be put on the website to help us all, especially those online members. It could give you different scenarios and ways of dealing with problems.

  59. I am new to WW, so I had no history with older WW programs. I never joined before because I didn't think WW emphasized healthy eating enough, especially with all the fake foods/sweets offered for sale. I decided to join in January precisely because of the new emphasis, and, for the most part, I am having a lot of fun (and weight shedding) on the program. That being said, I don't eat anywhere near 29 points (18-24, averaging 20.6). I count apples as 1 point and bananas as 2 points, and I underestimate my Activity Points. I guess that's called "tweaking." Bottom line: (1)The PP+ allotted should be more individualized.(2) There should be some professionals monitoring the boards. Why should I pay to get advice from other lay people?

  60. I had great success with Flex several years ago and reached lifetime in May 2007. Life got in the way and I gained back about 1/2 of what I lost. I went back to Flex and had great success again.

    I joined up for meetings again when Points Plus started, hoping to lose these pesky 6-8 extra pounds. Since the beginning of December, I'm down net 3. Previously I'd lose 3-4 pounds a month, minimum.

    I've had to tweak the program - not eat any WPs, eat 2/3-3/4 of my APs, and count any fruit after 3 servings per day in order to lose any weight at all. Previously I'd eat every point available to me and I'd still lose.

    You've just lost another WW customer. I canceled my membership about 5 minutes ago. Why would I continue to pay for something that doesn't get the desired results when used as directed?

  61. The poster a couple above mine said that she doesn't have any experience with any of the old WW programs and is enjoying the new plan, however she also said that she doesn't eat anywhere near her 29 points (eats 18-24 DP) and counts points for her fruit (1 for apples, 2 for bananas). Sounds like she's paying a monthly PP+ fee to "enjoy" Momentum to me.

  62. I'm a leader and even I'm frustrated. I've voiced my concerns to my TM, trainer, and on here several times, but I don't seem to get any advice that will actually help me.

    Until today, when I posted on the WW Can msg boards - and a member suggested I eat fewer than 29 DPs per day. A MEMBER. I mean, I wish this type of useful advice could have come from the company I work for, but alas, they just kept asking me to have blind faith.

    Which I did.

    But now that I'm 4 lbs higher than my original goal (I had to change my goal higher to sustain employment with WW), I am depressed about my weight gain, and although I would have LOVE to have lsot the 9 lbs I want to lose b4 my wedding in April, sadly I just don't think P+ will be the plan to get me there.

    For the first time in my life, I actually do feel like I am dieting.

    Momentum made me feel like I could breathe. P+ makes me feel guilty every time I reach for crackers instead of a banana.

    Go figure, all that "flexibility" is making me feel terrible about myself.

    There is a flaw, and the flaw is that some people don't need 29 P+ per day, especially if they're only active 5 hours per week. IMO, I only need about 25 per day, tops.

    I've been doing P+ since mid-fall-ish, and now I'm sitting at 4 lbs higher than when I started, and gaining and losing the same 2 lbs every week.

    I am so frustrated...can you tell??? I get in all my GHGs, even the oils lol, look up the P+ on everything, stick to my 5 servings of f& v every day, I mean I KNOW HOW to do this program, and I am doing it.

    Its making me anxious and stressed that every time I try to talk to those above me, they tell me that I must be doing something wrong (drink less alcohol, ok I don't drink), eat less fruit (3 per day is what I ate before), be more active (so I added in an extra day of high intensity aerobics every week), don't drink so much water (so I'm down to 6 cups per day), multivitamin (I take it religiously), switch up meals (I use the Quickstart guide for mixing and matching pretty much every day), less processed foods (so I'm down to one or two per day, max), I am lost lost lost.

    And I am getting fat again :( Right before my wedding. I am once again riddled with body image issues and guilt. Not exactly how I thought I'd ever feel about myself and/or WW ever.

  63. I was a member of WW about 3 years ago and quit after 6 weeks because I wasn't impressed by the lack of focus on proper nutrition in the program. I am fortunate that I do know a lot about nutrition and what's good to eat versus what shouldn't be eaten as often (I refuse to call any foods "bad" - it's all about portion control). One of my co-workers joined WW at the beginning of January and after hearing her rave about the new P+ program, I decided to give it another shot. I joined a month ago and to date have lost 20lbs. Not once have I felt like I've been on a diet. What P+ does for me, is force me to consider my portion sizes. I was pretty good at eating healthy foods before rejoining, but bad at limiting how much I ate. The simple act of recording the food makes me plan ahead. I don't feel any urge to grab fast food on the way home if I've already planned what I'm going to cook that night. Also, I've always tried to avoid eating too many processed foods, but sometimes they're necessary. My blackberry has the P+ calculator app on it and I've been known to spend quite a bit of time in the frozen food section of the grocery store entering numbers to get the P+ value, and then choosing accordingly.
    If I could change anything about P+, it would be to add the ability to track sodium. I always closely examine how much sodium is in anything I buy and I opt for the lowest amount possible.
    I think long and hard about all of my food decisions these days and I'm thankful to WW for that. There isn't some magical program that can tell everyone EXACTLY what they need to eat. At some point, you have to take ownership of it yourself. Educate yourself in nutrition and then make your choices appropriately.