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Tweaking The Weight Watchers Program

Monday, September 03, 2012

I've lost a majority of my weight on the Weight Watchers program. It is the plan that I return to most often when I need to reign things in again, and to this day I log my foods in my Weight Watchers Points Plus food log even when I am maintaining. (I've always done better with a pen and paper than virtual tracking.) But I've found that with the new program that came out earlier this year I was having a hard time losing weight when needed and others were commenting the same.

Now, let me say before I go any farther that if you are using the Weight Watchers program and losing just fine, don't change a thing! If you hit a stall down the line you can revisit this blog and see if it helps, but in the meantime there is absolutely no point in fixing something that is not broke.

It didn't take me very long to figure out what the problems are, and the biggest in my opinion is the unlimited fruits. Now, I've always thought and still think that fruit gets an unnecessarily bad rap, along with wheat, white potatoes, and corn. But to let people eat fruit without accounting for it can completely stall weight loss, and actually cause people who are maintaining gain weight.

The problem isn't that fruit is bad for you. The problem is that most people in the weight loss world have an issue with portion control. Fruit is higher in sugars, albeit natural sugars. I don't have enough room in this blog to explain the entire biological process (and you'd probably get bored, anyhow), so just trust me when I say that too many sugars of any source can actually change how the body stores calories, sending more of them to fat.

Yes, the Weight Watchers gurus tell you to eat fruit until you feel satisfied. But lets get honest here: If people who are or have been overweight could tell when they were satisfied.... well.... there wouldn't be a need for Weight Watchers.

Consequently, my proposal is that you count the first two servings of fruit as "free", and account for any after that in your daily points. In case you weren't around for previous Weight Watchers programs, a serving/points-worth of fruit is about 60 calories, or the equivalent of a cup of cut-up fruit. Or in the case of bananas, a half of a large banana. (So if you eat a whole large banana for breakfast, that's the end of the "free" fruits for the day.)

The unlimited non-starchy veggies are still good, though. While it's not portion control, it'd be almost impossible to eat enough of them to mess with fat storage.

The second tweak I would suggest is to up the intake of water from 6 cups a day to 12. And make it real water- not "non-caloric beverages". (To read my blog on why water is so important, click here:

Another thing I would highly recommend is to rely more on whole foods rather than processed, to include Weight Watchers food products. While I think Weight Watchers is a good program, it bugs me a little that they don't put more emphasis on minimally processed foods. Calories are not all created equal, and the your body turns processed foods into fat much easier than foods the way Mother Nature made them. (This is, by the way, the reason I could never be a Weight Watchers leader: They push the employees to sell their products. I could not in good conscience sell people foods that I know aren't truly healthy.)

And lastly, eat your exercise points earned, but forget about your weekly Points Allowance, unless you are really desperate. Doing so seems to put the daily calories at a more metabolism-friendly level. And when you count your exercise points, err on the side of caution and don't be too generous with your estimations. But do go ahead and give yourself more than the 42 on the log, if you have earned more than that.

I realize this blog is not going to apply to the majority, and I am sorry for that. I just thought the few frustrated might find it helpful.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I realize I'm several years late to this post, but I googled 'tweaking Weight Watchers' and this is the first post that came up.

    I'm a lifer back at WW, and I'm stalled. In my meeting yesterday, I posed the question about the amount of points we are given on the new program, the 49 weekly points and free fruit. Our leader said she would answer honestly and she did. Some people cannot lose if they eat their weekly 49 points. Some people overeat their 'free' fruit, particularly bananas and watermelon and pineapple (highest fruits in sugar). Some people do better when they eliminate all refined carbs (bread, cereal, etc.) as well as regular potatoes.

    This week I'm going to follow her suggestions which are almost identical to yours and see what happens.!
    870 days ago
    Thank you....congrats on your weight loss....continued success for the future!!
    1847 days ago
    Thank you for the info!!
    1851 days ago
  • MIZINA730
    I agree with you on fruit and Weight Watchers foods. Fructose is a simple carb and too much of it will be a problem. After thinking about what you said, I'm going to tighten up my eating this week. Great blog.

    1855 days ago
  • LESLIE871948
    ok, I just had time to find your page and blog, since I am playing today. You are so on target here too. Do a google search on blue zones and see what you think about the argument for 80% full. I do WW of course also, and plan to be a leader when I get freed up from the current job. If I ate ALL the fruit I want? Ha. Their products? I don't eat them. I will do what I need to do to keep that job so that people can see for themselves that there is a path from over 365 pounds to normal. I will deal with the sales part of it some way. My leader now says that she does not eat them, but she doesn't say it in front of the room when she is "on". And she says things like "yada yada is on sale today, if you like that go get it....."
    1873 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/5/2012 1:59:09 PM
    I SO agree with you! The extra water and limit fruit intake are very, very important!
    1875 days ago
  • GOLDIE3331
    I have did WW in the past it has always helped thanks for posting.
    1890 days ago
    a lot of good tips I wonder about eating all the fruit you want phrase. I stopped going years ago. I did not like the way they had things set up
    1894 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Do you think it makes any difference if you include a protein w/ the fruit?

    I'm thinking when it gets down to the "under 10#'s" category, little things make a difference for people differently. science to back that up, but just a thought.

    I like how Tom Venuto reminds that if what you are is creating results that you aren't happy with, change what you are doing! (Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle)
    Enjoy your weekend! emoticon
    1901 days ago
    Although I don't follow the WW program, I do log my fruits. Veggies I often just track as servings though. In the beginning I tracked everything, but feel safe with the veggies now. It can be quite eye opening to see the cals in fruit. Did find that the fruits helped in bringing down my cravings for sweets:)
    1901 days ago
  • CICI510
    Awesome advice!! emoticon
    1902 days ago
    I wondered about the free fruits....I agree with one free and then count the rest.great advice!!! Thanks for sharing it helped!!
    1904 days ago
  • ILOVEJIM851991
    I guess I should look into weight watchers more emoticon
    1904 days ago
    I agree with you re: the fruit. I am fairly sure WW will be changing that in the program in the foreseeable future. I do disagree with the amount of water to take in however based on information from some kidney specialists. I agree that water does help to fill a person up but apparently too much can overload the kidneys- as well for some of us, send us on endless trips to the loo. We likely do not need more than about 6 cups a day, depending on the level of our activity - and this can include other clear beverages (not alcohol or caffeine). However, there are probably equally convincing debates on both sides on this issue.
    emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago

    Thanks very much for this. I am one of those women who did WW and ate WAY too much fruit.
    I think your comments are right on. Your blogs are very valuable to me, so keep sharing.
    Do you find, as someone who has lost weight and improved your body in so many ways, that you still have to be very vigilant about what you eat on a day to day basis? I was just curious... this weight loss thing seems like the journey of a lifetime and I wonder if I'm even up for that.

    regards, Hope
    1905 days ago
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