Understanding Weight Watchers PointsPlus

The Weight Watchers PointsPlus program replaced the Momentum program in late 2010, making this the biggest change in their innovative weight loss program in 13 years. The PointsPlus program combines the latest nutritional science with the proven Weight Watchers approach to develop an effective method for making healthy, satisfying choices. All this gives you an edge that can help you reach your weight loss goals.

With Weight Watchers, every food has a PointsPlus value, which takes into account a food’s protein, carbs, fat, and fiber. The goal with the PointsPlus program is to encourage you to eat more nutrient-dense foods, like veggies, fruits and lean proteins. PointsPlus also features Power Foods, select foods that have exceptional nutritional value and satiating power. Power Foods include such healthy noshes as a banana or low-fat Greek yogurt with berries. There are plenty of Power Food ideas and recipes on the Weight Watchers website.


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As a Weight Watchers member, you’ll get a daily personalized PointsPlus values goal, so you know how much to eat to lose weight safely while feeling satisfied. On the PointsPlus program you can eat anything you like as long as you stick to your daily PointsPlus values goal. And true to the Weight Watchers unrestricted food plan, there’s plenty of room for treats and extras as long as you stay within your PointsPlus values range.

If you’re a Weight Watchers Online or Weight Watchers eTools subscriber, you can use the PointsPlus values calculator tool to find the PointsPlus values of restaurant foods, and you can also consult the Eating Out Guide. Weight Watchers Meetings members can also use the A-Z food list found in the Pocket Guide, or purchase the Complete Food Companion, and the Dining Out Companion to help them plan for their night out.

As a quick history lesson, here is how the previous POINTS system worked:

At the end of 2010, Weight Watchers expired the POINTS program, and replaced with the PointsPlus program, a significant overhaul based on Weight Watchers expertise and nutritional science findings.

The POINTS System helped you understand the role food plays in your weight loss, much like the new PointsPlus program does. Every food has a POINTS value (now called PointsPlus values), and each individual had a daily POINTS target that varies (as the current PointsPlus program does). You and your counselor, or via Weight Watchers Online determined the healthy target POINTS range (this is still done with PointsPlus) based on gender, height, weight, activity level and other factors including whether or not you are a nursing mother.

There is no set eating plan, you have the flexibility to choose any foods you like, so long as you don’t meet and do not exceed your daily POINTS (this is still true). You can use the handy tracker given to you at meetings or available in your online account (or via eTools) to keep track of your POINTS (and now PointsPlus) consumption each day. If you want more POINTS, simply introduce more activity into your lifestyle (these are called activity points).

The POINTS were based on a proprietary calculation of the fiber, fat and calories in a food. The higher in fiber, lower in calories and lower in fat a food is, the lower POINTS value it receives. Just like in golf, you want to maintain a lower score.

See how it all works for yourself by joining Weight Watchers today.

DietsInReview.com is a paid affiliate of Weight Watchers. This article is in no way sponsored.

186 Responses to Understanding Weight Watchers PointsPlus

  1. Lisa says:

    I’ll tell you why I love weight watchers. I have never paid a dime and all I do are the calculations in my head. Generally, it’s 1 point for every 50 calories and 1 point for every 12 grams of fat. I don’t even include fiber in my calculation. Worst case, I calculated it higher than it is, so it works in my favor.

    I go to Popeyes, Mcdonalds, out to restaurants. Barley eat any of the weight watchers meals. (A snickers ice cream bar is 4 points). General rule of thumb. Half a portion of most meals at restaurants is between 10-12 points. You don’t have to get the WW frozen meals or lean cuisines. I’d much rather get somethign taht’s 400 calories and 20 grams of fat than a 6 grams of fat Lean Cuisine. It’s one point more and waaay better (and satisfying). I’ve been doing this for 4 + years and never gained my weight back. I went from 120 pounds to 100 in about 6 months and have maintained it. Now I can just tell how many points I’ve eaten based on how full I get. I also eat a lot of fruit and workout so this really has been perfect for me.

    So I don’t think you have to join WW or go to meetings. It’s discipline. With such few points, it’s not hard to keep track of it in your head. But that’s just me. One size doesn’t fit all. No pun intended. 🙂

  2. Alvina says:

    hi can somebody help me figure out how many points i need to eat in a day.
    my weight is 178lbs, 28 turning 29 in may.” 5 3″ height, female, and activity is i walk.
    thanks

  3. AlizeBleu says:

    It should be 27 Alvina.
    2 points for being a Female
    3 points for your age, 27-37
    1 points for your height range
    4 poins because you said u are a walker &
    17 points for the two first number of your weight
    Add all the numbers up and what do u get ?
    Good Luck !

  4. Gail says:

    Can you guys please clarify the plan for me? I’m a lifetime member, who recently came back. I’d like to lose @ 10lbs. On this posting, I keep reading about point range. I’m unaware of that. I thought I had 20 points per day plus another 35 for the week. What’s up with people referring to a point range?

  5. Gail says:

    Karen, at your weight you can have 21 points per day. When you dropinto the 130’s, you will drop to 20 points a day

  6. laf says:

    I started ww and Im confused on the extra points. Doed anybody have a chart they can share. Thanks

  7. ks student says:

    I am a 19 year old female, I am a freshman in college, i am about 5’4 5’5 and weigh about 175 lbs. I work out at least 3 to 4 times a week. I would really like to lose about 15 to 20 lbs. I have no idea how the WW system works. I do not know how many points I would be allowed and what not. Could someone please help!
    thanks!:)

  8. Rochelle says:

    ks student – please scroll up on this chain, where it is listed twice on how to calculate your daily points.

  9. Rochelle says:

    Iaf- WW allows 35 flex points a week that are in addition to your daily points. These are to be used for those times when it’s difficult to stay within your daily alloted points, i.e. a wedding; special dinner occassion, etc. You do NOT have to use them, they are there just in case.

  10. rebecca says:

    i was scrolling through these posts and was curious about how many of you on the program are against the 35 flex points. i was always under the impression that these were worked in as necessary calories that will actually help you to lose the weight – does anyone actually use them?

  11. Jenny says:

    Can someone who is more familiar with WW than I am please help (I just started this week… and so far, I’, not starving, so… we’ll see).

    If something is 0 points (like vegetables, for instance) – is it okay to eat double the portion size? or does it really only count as 0 points if you eat exactly the portion size (like 2 cups of salad)?

    Also, I am wanting to lose weight kind of quickly… I want to be healthy about it, but… I also want to look good in a bridesmaid’s dress this summer…. any tips to speed up the weight loss process in a healthy way would be appreciated.

  12. Lynn says:

    Does anyone know, if you don’t use all of your points one day, can you roll them over to the next? For example. I am allowed 25 points but yesterday only used 20, can I tack on another 5 for today?

  13. Rosie says:

    To Lynn—-The only points you can carry over for the week are the bonus points allowed (each week) the 32 (or something like that), can;t remember, its been awhile since I’ve done WW.

    To Jenny– As far as veggies that is probably ok, but, let me give you an example like Progresso Soup, one serving might be 1 point, but if you have two servings that might be 3, you need to check your paper scale, that has calories, fiber and fat grams for the correct amount of each. If you don’t understand, when at the grocery take your scale and check for one serving, then double all the calculations and check again, then you will understand what I am stating. Good Luck

  14. Geralynn says:

    Hi, I have a question………Can anyone tell me how to calculate points if I were to have 2 servings. I was told just double the points for 1 serving & then I was told to double the calories, fat grams & fiber then calculate. Who can help me? Thx Geralynn

  15. loulou says:

    It is simple numbers based on the first 2 digits in your weight, your gender, your age and your activity level. If you are a woman and are breastfeeding you are allowed more points. If you are under 18, but older than 10 you are allowed more points. If you look up the weightwatchers patent you will be able to find the points system there.

  16. loulou says:

    Oh, yeah, your height also plays into the formula as well.

  17. Robbie says:

    OK, Here is the formula for the point WW point system to lose or maintain pounds. 🙂

    1. Are you:
    Female? Score 2
    Male? Score 8
    Nursing mom? Score 12

    2. How old are you?
    38 – 47 Score 2
    48 – 58 Score 1
    Over 58 Score 0

    3. What do you weigh?
    Enter the first 2 digits of your weight in pounds.
    For example, if you weigh 145, enter 14. If you weigh less than
    100 pounds, enter the first digit of your weight in pounds, i.e
    for 98,
    enter 9.

    4. How tall are you?
    Under 5’1″ Score 0
    5’1″ to 5’10” Score 1
    Over 5’10” Score 2

    5. Do you spend most of your day:
    Sitting down? Score 0
    (e.g. as a receptionist, bust driver, cab driver)
    Occasionally sitting, but mainly standing? Score 2
    (e.g. sales person, housewife, cook, teacher)
    Walking most of the time? Score 4
    (e.g. waiter, mailman)
    Doing physically had work most of the time? Score 6
    (e.g. nurse, gardener, construction worker)

    6. Do you want to:
    Maintain your current weight? Score 4
    continue / or resume losing weight? Score 0

    TOTAL POINTS TARGET _______

    I took your information and plunked it in and got your score of 22.

    Good luck!!! 🙂

  18. Joanne says:

    Hi, I weighed 120lbs before my baby, he’s 13 months now and despite my efforts I still weigh 160lbs and my goal is120lbs, I have never seen it mentioned about your goal weight having anything to do with the points you’re allowed to have. Can someone explain this to me.

  19. Ron says:

    Robbie: On maintenance do you still get to add in the 35 weekly points and the activity points?

    I joined WW and got the books and did it at home. However, the materials I have in the at home kit do not tell you very much about the maintenance program. From Jan. 09- May 09 I lost a total of 50 pounds with WW and high intensity work-outs 5 x’s a week! I would recommend WW to anyone!

    Joanne: adding in the digits for your current weight has been a part of WW for several years! Makes weight loss safer and even though the weight comes off slower your metabolism has time to adjust correctly thus making the weight loss more permanent.

  20. MilO82 says:

    I have been back and forth on WW and it has been the only thing that has worked all this time. I am not very disciplined, even for WW so once again I am here. Looking for support…. I have read many of the postings and it is very encouraging. I started yesterday @ 188. Hopefully I will have some good news to report by the end of the week. I also plan to work out as well and hope that will help kick things off.

  21. Ron says:

    I am a VERY disciplined person but admit at first I hated the idea of journaling my food BUT now I don’t even think about it and its just second nature! So glad that I have done WW. When my children were younger my wife worked second shift and I teach school so it was almost like single parenting for 8 years! I went from a thin work-out-aholic to tending to the children. Now that they are older and I get more “me” time I have been able to workout again and follow a good eating plan. Hope to stay this way for the rest of my life. I feel good, have energy and very happy with my new me! WW was a HUGE help!

  22. Holly says:

    I use fatsecret.com it has a place for journaling that keeps track of your points etc. and a great place for some support

  23. Jessie says:

    I lost 30 lbs out of highschool using weight watchers… through the stressors of College and Med School I have gained 60 lbs within the past 4 years! I’ve tried everything to loose it so I’m going back to this. I started when there was just the point range and you could “bank” the points you didn’t eat. Now I see there are a lot of newer programs.. anyone have any thoughts on the programs? Which are the easiest to stick too? I don’t have any real schedule in my life I’m so busy, any suggestions which plan would fit most with a busy and slightly unactive life style (studying constantly!)??

  24. Dee says:

    How many points do you get for exercising? I am running a 5 K every day on an eliptical, (in 40 minutes) doing upper body low weight reps and abdominal work outs. Takes about 1.5 hours. Any ideas?

  25. Ardy says:

    I love WW. My question is alike Dee’s… I run for 45-50mins (7km) 4-5 days a week. This is outside and up and down quite steep hills, I also spend roughly 45mins-1hour strength training 2-3 days a week. I have been thinking that 2points is enough, would I be right?

    I am 125lbs and 5’1

  26. Ron says:

    Dee and Ardy,

    I can calculate these values for you when I get home. The points are based on your weight, duration of the exercise and intensity level. For example I weigh 200 lbs. and do an intense elliptical workout where my distance is 5 miles and I burn an average of 900 calories in 30 minutes. I get to add 5 points for that!

    So, Ardy I doubt your two points is enough!

  27. Ron says:

    I also forgot that you only get to add the exercise points on days that you do the exercise

  28. Ron says:

    Ardy, I checked out your exercise points and you should be adding 5 – 6 points, six if you are doing the full hour, on the days you do this exercise!

  29. Michelle says:

    Hello, I am considering joining ww and going to meetings, but I wanted to know if most people think the meetings are worth the money. I know how to calculate my points and keep track of everything at home, so I wanted to know if the meetings are really necessary. Thanks!

  30. Bella says:

    It is definitely worth going to the meetings. Stats show the success rate is 40% higher, if meetings are attended.

  31. Barb says:

    I haven’t had a job in the past 10 months all I do is eat, my Dr. told me yesterday that I must loose weight or will end up in the hospital
    please I DON’T HAVE MONEY TO GO TO ww i AM 5’3 233 LBS AND 56 Years old I spend all day on the PC applying for jobs I don’t excersice
    I did the point as you showed but I get 30 points isn’t that too much? Please help me.

  32. Ardy says:

    To Ron.

    5-6! Really, no wonder I have stopped losing… I have been adding 2 to adding none when I exercise, Thank you so much. I will try adding 4 for starters and see where my body takes me. I do 45-50 mins… pretty high intensity.

    You have been really helpful, thank you again.

    Ardy

  33. Carrie says:

    Would someone be willing to email or talk to me and explain WW?? I don’t have the extra funds to join and I have surgery in 6 weeks and my doctor wantsw me down to 125. If you don’t mind, please email me at mrscarrielambert@yahoo.com

    thanks

  34. april says:

    WW ISNT A SCAM! IT DOES WORK! IF YOU ARENT LOSING THEN YOU ARENT EATING ALL YOUR DAILY PTS AND YOU ARE SCARED TO EAT YOUR EXTRA PTS A WEEK AND YOU ARENT DRINKING ALL YOU WATER & YOU ARENT FOLLOWING THE GUILDLINES. I’VE LOST 11.8LBS IN 3 WKS.
    AND FOR THE PEOPLE WHO SAYS I CANT AFFORD IT..PSSH ITS $12 A WEEK. I BET YOU SPEND$12 A WEEK ON SOMETHING THAT YOU DONT NEED BUT YOU WANT IT.(SO IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT SO BAD THEN YOU JUST FIND A WAY TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS).SO WHY NOT SPEND$12 ON SOMETHING THAT WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU..OH AND IF YOU LIKE ONLINE ITS LIKE$6 ONLINE. I PERSONALLY DONT LIKE ONLINE CUZ I LIKE SEEING PEOPLES RESULTS IN PERSON & GETTING HELP IN PERSON. ALSO, THEY RUN SPECIALS ALL THE TIME.
    IM NOT YELLING IM JUST THROWING OUT MY POINTS. I HOPE SOMEBODY READS THIS & STARTS LOSING THE WEIGHT THEY WANT TOO & FEELING GOOD, CUZ IM SURE ENJOYING WW & LOSING WEIGHT

  35. april says:

    ALSO i just found 2009 weight watcher start kit which has everything in it..Pay onces & do it yourself
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001NE3UQS/ref=nosim/?tag=wwweasyfreesc-20
    but just a reminder 40% of people who go to the meeting lose & KEEP THERE WEIGHT OFF!

  36. ash says:

    I just started weight watchers today 🙂 I am allowed to have 29 points a day and have only used 14 so far! I don’t see how people eat all their points, but I don’t mind indulging a little later today 😉

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