WW Then and Now: Points vs. PointsPlus

When I first started, WW had not yet transitioned over to PointsPlus, so I started out with the old points system and over time transitioned to the new system as resources emerged on the Internet for figuring it out. If asked to compare the two, I’d say the biggest difference is 0-point fruits. I will never forget eating my first 0-point bowl of grapes after I transitioned to the new system. It felt scandalous and wrong and delicious.

The PointsPlus values for food are often (but not always) higher than the old Points numbers, to compensate for fresh fruits now being “legal” without docking you points for that apple or banana you just ate. It’s really a matter of personality, preferences, tastes, and convenience when it comes to which plan you choose. Myself, I actually have gone back and forth a couple of times for one reason or another.

PointsPlus: Obviously, convenience is key if you’re buying a lot of officially branded WW-affiliated products that have pre-calculated PointsPlus right there on the label at the store. Also, I really love fruit, so particularly in the summer months I tend toward the PointsPlus side, at least until I plateau — then it’s back to the old version, which i feel like keeps me a little more accountable for actual caloric intake if I go on too much of a “I can eat all the fruit in the world!” bender. Which I’m occasionally known to do. Because I’m a human.

Old Points: In the winter, the old Points system has its draw because seasonal fruit produce is not as appealing and I tend to back off it a bit and eat more vegetables, which is probably the more optimal way to go in general unless you have the sweet tooth I do that demands something sweet (like a bowl of cherries or raspberries) right before bed after you’ve used up your daily points. (In the winter, a cup of hot fruit tea with noncaloric sweetener will often tide me over before bed.) As an added bonus, I like to return to the old points system occasionally when I start to miss some of the go-to snacks that helped me slim down in the beginning that saw a rather larger surge, points-wise, when PointsPlus recalibrated the system values. (CLIFF bars, I’m looking right at you.) Just like many people, I get on certain “kicks” with some foods where I crave them a lot for a while and then forget about them for months at a time before the hankering returns. I usually evaluate which system I use periodically by what sort of thing I’m tending to eat more of at the time, and then determine which system will enable me to do that and not get my points all out-of-whack.

As I lay out the Starting Basics of the plans in coming posts, it’s good to keep these things in mind. Just because PointsPlus is newer than Points, it doesn’t automatically make it a better fit for you. Yes, you get more daily allowance of points, but nearly every non-produce food item out there has increased in its points value to make up for that whole fruit thing.

Differences in calculating points:

PointsPlus: Determining factors in point values include: Carbohydrates, Fat, Fiber, and Protein.

Old Points: Determining factors in point values include: Total Calories, Fat, and Fiber.

You can see how certain items (like cereal) may fare way better — even in ratio to the decreased daily allowance — in the old system. Beware that you can eat a whole box of Lucky Charms and nothing else that day, which is delicious, but probably feel like crap the next day even if your scale keeps going down. And over time it’s really not a sustainable plan. Both systems, old and new, are geared around teaching you to incorporate healthier choices into your daily routine, and over time it does become second nature. I promise.

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