Healthy and Sane

Getting my focus back with Weight Watchers new Points Plus program

December 7th, 2010 · 24 Comments · Cooking Light, Eating Well, fish, vegetarian meal

You may have heard that Weight Watchers launched a new program last week, their Points Plus program.

I joined WW 3 months ago for the group support and the weekly weigh-ins. I never followed their actual program because I thought that counting points was a less accurate way of counting calories; so on-and-off I’d toy with the idea of going back to calorie counting instead, lasting maybe a day or 2 at a time.

And then I went to a meeting last week. The new program encompasses all the nutritional research that has been done over the past 13 years (since WW launched their original points system). The Points Plus program focuses on how each macro-nutrient is used by our bodies (with protein being much harder to use for energy and carbs and fat processed easily). The bottom line is not all calories are created equal and I’ve been a strong supporter of this system. The program also encourages you to eat as many fruits and vegetables (the fiber in these is what makes them power foods); lean meats and low fat dairy are next on the list and carbs + fat are the most “expensive” points plus wise.

I would really like to be able to eat intuitively one day and not count anything. However, at this point of my life I need to do something structured and this program encompasses everything I was already aiming to do… just adding that structural component that I need.

I’m dealing with my emotional eating issue as well. This is my biggest obstacle that no diet can fix. I’ve been questioning the reasons for eating outside of hunger. In situations where I can’t deal with the discomfort/anxiety/whatever I’m feeling at the moment, I’ve been grabbing fruit (zero points, baby!). And I’m seeing results so far. It’s only been a few days since I followed the program to the T and I’m very encouraged to keep going. I think this is really going to work!! Open-mouthed smile

With my new focus back, I’ve been really focusing on nutrition and enjoying some really wonderful meals lately. Let’s check out dinners from the past 3 days…

Savory Mexican pancakes


I used TJ’s pancake mix and loaded these babies up with corn, baby spinach, black beans and tomatoes.  A little salsa and low fat sour cream on top are a must! Smile


Adam has a mild obsession with black beans so he was a very happy camper. I loved how quick and versatile this recipe is. Smile

Moroccan spicy chickpeas with whole wheat couscous


I didn’t have ras el hanout (traditional Moroccan spice blend) so I used garam masala, so this was kind of an Moroccan/Indian dish. The sweetness of the dried apricots and the crunch of the almonds added a lot of complexity to this simple entree.


Today’s kick-ass lunch was the leftover chickpeas served over salad greens, tomatoes, hot peppers and cottage cheese. MmmMmmM.

Beer-battered fish tacos with tomato avocado salsa


One of the star ingredients (Adam really wanted me to show it to you 😆 )


I always have some kind of fish in my freezer. Last night I dug out a few mahi-mahi fillets and tonight the rest of the meal came together in about 10 minutes. Fresh, light, just the way I love my meals. Yum, yum, yum Nyah-Nyah

My clothes are starting to fit a bit better, I’m having more homemade meals, and my focus is back. I’m feeling GOOD.

PS – I’m going to be visiting my sister in NYC this weekend and I’m meeting Joanne on Saturday night for dinner. Anyone would like to join us? I’d love to meet some of my readers!!

PPS – In case you missed it, check out my Real Food Diet cookbook review and giveaway.

See you tomorrow! Send a kiss

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Hallie

    How do you count the points of meals like the one you listed? Do you estimate or do you sit there and figure the whole thing out? I am debating signing up for a 3-month trail of online WW to try out the new program (meetings would be better, but more $$) but I’m nervous about it! And I wonder if it’s smart to start now with all the holiday parties and stuff coming down the line…I know in theory “yes” but I know myself and I’d probably just not track points for a party night or something…

    • #2 - Elina

      Hallie – I have access to eTools so I input the main ingredients in to figure out how many points they are. I know that if it’s a high protein/lower in fat/carb meal, it’s probably going to be about 50 cals/point plus. That’s kind of my ballpark…
      About the parties, I actually have one I’m going to tonight. I think I won’t track there but try to think about the power foods and make good choices (except for alcohol, that’s definitely happening). Also, I plan on continuing to eat as clean as possible during that day. WW gives you bonus points for the week, so I figure if I just save those for parties (and don’t go overboard there), I should be able to stay within the plan. Good luck. I say do it!! :)

  • #3 - Lauren at KeepItSweet

    those mexican pancakes look delicious and your pictures in this post look great! i used to do weight watchers and then converted to counting calories but this new program sounds really interesting, i am actually tempted to go to a meeting for the first time in years just to try it. even if i don’t, i am adding a lot more fruit to my diet:-) i’d love to meet you but don’t know if i can do the dinner saturday… do you know what part of the city you are going to be in?

    • #4 - Elina

      Lauren- Joanne made reservations at V-Note (an organic vegan restaurant) for 6:30 on Saturday. The restaurant is on upper east side (google it :) ). Would love it if you could make it! 😀

  • #5 - Lauren

    Sounds like the new WW program might be a winner! The issue I always had with their original points system is that you could load up on junk, but still be consuming an appropriate number of “points”… the new stance that “not all calories are created equal” makes so much more sense! I hope you find it helpful :)

    Your meals look delicious – I’ve had Kath’s recipe for savory flapjacks on my to-make list for a while, so thanks for the reminder ;).

    Have a great time in NYC!

  • #6 - Joanne

    I have seriously been thinking about joining weight watchers recently because I’ve put on a few pounds and am having a really hard time with self control and definite emotioanl eating. I’m thinking that if I feel accountable to someone or something, I might have an easier time stopping. Hmm. Maybe we can discuss on Saturday!

  • #7 - Di

    I love the new system, too. I feel like I’m eating better foods than I did on the old one and I have more energy and I’ve gotten back into a pretty steady workout routine. Weigh-in is tomorrow and I’m hoping to see a loss.

    Good luck!

    • #8 - Elina

      Mine is tomorrow too. Hope tonight’s party doesn’t get me off track! Good luck to you too!!! 😀

      • #9 - Di

        Have fun tonight! Just do your best at the party and remember that one night won’t determine how the rest of your weight loss journey is going to go. :)

        Parties are always harder for me because of people saying things like “one cookie won’t kill you”. No, it won’t, but I don’t always have the willpower to stop at just one! Hehe. (Annnnd this is why I’m on a weight loss plan.)

  • #10 - CaSaundra

    I heard about the new Weight Watcher’s program–it’s sounds alot easier to follow. Hope it works for ya! :-)

  • #11 - Tracy

    Please update us with thoughts of this new WW program and good luck! I’m going through finals right now and feel like reaching for sweets EVERYTIME I get frustrated or stressed over something (which is frequent) and have resorted to chewing gum like a mad woman -> so much to the point where I could barely open my jaw this morning …

  • #13 - Michelle

    Good luck on the new program! Also, those Mexican pancakes look delish!

  • #14 - MelissaNibbles

    I just wrote about this today too! I think WW is great and it works. It’s all up to the person as to whether they’re going to eat a 2 point healthy snack or 2 points of junk. They need to make their own changes you know?

    • #15 - Elina

      Agreed – I love that the fruit and most veggies are zero points so it actually encourages people to eat more of them without eating into their points allowance. I know I’ve been eating more fruit the past few days and I love it! 😀

  • #16 - Meghan@travelwinedine

    It sounds like you are doing great AND eating nutritious, fun, delicious food. Keep up the awesome work!

  • #17 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Good luck with that! I need to keep myself in check, too. I’m only supposed to eat sweets 2 days per week, and this is the first week where I find that I am doing exceptionally not well at it.

  • #18 - Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon

    I hadn’t heard of the Points Plus Plan until now–sounds like they’ve incorporated some excellent research into the new program (as you said, not all calories are created equal! )

    Your healthy dinners look fantastic–I especially love the idea of the savory Mexican pancakes :)

  • #19 - Lizzy

    Those meals look A-MAZING! I’ve been lacking the motivation to cook lately. That beer battered tacos and pancakes look fab! I’m joining biggest loser at work on Jan. Hopefully it will kick start better eating habits for me : ) Good luck!

  • #20 - Kelly

    Love the sound of those pancakes. I am doing the program as well. I knew that changes were coming and wanted to wait until they rolled out. Enjoying it so far, definitely interesting adjusting.

  • #21 - Simply Life

    Oh my gosh, everything looks so good!

  • #22 - Heather

    I wondered if you’d been to find out about the new program yet. I love it & while I’m not eating any different from what I was before, I do get an extra 5 points daily now so I’m using those for more fats (PB & nuts.) It’s been perfect!

    I don’t use many of the weeklies either but will if the opportunity presents itself. I’ve used less than 10 between this week & last.

    Glad you are feeling good about it! You sound really encouraged & positive!!! Awesome stuff!

  • #23 - My motivation this week (+week 12 weigh-in)

    […] Getting my focus back with Weight Watchers new Points Plus program […]

  • #24 - Cara

    I know I’m super late to comment but I am finally catching up on my reading! It’s refreshing to hear someone so excited about the new WW program. It seems like all I’ve heard is whining. I am not a WW person, but from what I knew of the old plan, I wasn’t a fan. No emphasis on macronutrient breakdown and choosing a 100-cal snack pack was the same “price” as a 100-cal apple. And pretty much no one I know who followed that program understood a thing about what they were eating. I love that the new plan favors cleaner choices and more protein. I think a lot of eyes will be opened once people give it a chance!

    And I have to say, I love the savory pancake idea! Totally hope to try that soon.