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What are Weight Watcher POINTS®?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated Feb 13, 2024
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Weight Watcher POINTS® are a food intake tracking system used by the weight loss organization of Weight Watchers®. Weight Watchers® was founded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1963 by Jean Nidetch and is now located in over 20 countries in the world. Members of Weight Watchers® have the choice to lose weight by following one of two different eating plans. The Core Plan involves eating from a list of healthy foods while the Flex Plan requires tracking food intake by counting points.

Counting Weight Watcher POINTS® is very similar to counting calories, however, Weight Watcher POINTS® include the nutritional value of a food and the energy consumed. Where as a calorie is only a measure of energy consumed or spent. More specifically, a Weight Watcher POINTS® value takes into account grams of fiber, grams of fat and calories consumed when referring to food. When considering activities, a Weight Watcher POINT® is a measure of used energy.

Foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber allow members to eat the most food while consuming the least amount of points for that amount of food. Fatty foods, such as a fast-food cheeseburger, and high-calorie, low-fat and low-fiber foods, such as pasta or white bread, have the highest point values, which should discourage a Weight Watchers® member from eating them.

When an individual joins Weight Watchers®, a daily Weight Watcher POINTS® allowance is assigned to them based on their starting weight. As weight is lost by a member, the Weight Watcher POINTS® allowance is decreased. POINT® values range approximately from 18 POINTS® per day to 35 POINTS® per day depending on the member’s weight. There is also an additional 35 Flex POINTS® per week that can be used all at once for a special occasion or spread out throughout the week. However, if these Flex POINTS® aren’t used, they do not carry over to the next week.

When Weight Watchers® members add movement and activity to their lives, a POINTS® value is assigned to every activity. For example, one hour of walking will allow a Weight Watcher’s member to add an additional number of POINTS® to their day for consumption. Activity POINTS® do not have to be earned from a formal exercise program. Members may earn POINTS® by doing every day things like gardening, vacuuming or chasing after a toddler. It is important to remember that a Weight Watcher POINT® value for activity takes into account the intensity of the activity. Running versus walking will earn more activity POINTS® and a brisk walk versus a leisurely stroll will earn more POINTS®.

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Discussion Comments
By comfyshoes — On Sep 12, 2010

Latte31-I used to be a Weight Watcher member and I would love the motivational tools that they would use during the meetings to get you excited about weight loss.

They usually offer a bookmark for a 5 pound weight loss, and a key chain when you reach a 10% weight loss.

The nice thing about it is that they announce it to the entire group and everyone congratulates you. I think the accountability along with the support is what makes Weight Watchers work.

If you have a bad week, nobody chastises you and by going to the meetings you learn how to deal with temporary slip ups that happened to everyone.

By latte31 — On Sep 12, 2010

Moldova-I know that they also have low fat recipes in their famous cookbooks. These recipes are easy to follow and provide the total nutritional value including the point value.

I know that there is a site called Dotties Weight Loss Zone which is a community of dieters seeking support for their weight loss efforts. She does mention Weight Watchers and its point system and member talk about how they are adapting to the plan.

But for Weight Watchers support it is best to go to a meeting. They usually have specials for new members. They have waived the registration fee for most promotions and you have the option to pay weekly per meeting or save money by buying multiple weeks at a time.

I think it is best to buy multiple weeks at a time because it forces more of a commitment out of you.

By Moldova — On Sep 12, 2010

Sunshine31-I know that they sell a weight calculator that can calculate the point value of any food.

For example, a food that happens to be 200 calories but has three grams of fiber and three grams of fat would be three points, while another 200 calorie item that contains no fiber and a fat content of 8 grams will have a point value of four points.

Weight Watchers also provides an optional 35 weekly points that the member may or may not use. This is to provide flexibility so that the member does not feel deprived and will less likely fall off the program.

After the third week of the program, the members are given additional points for exercise. Weight Watchers really encourages high fiber foods in order to combat hunger and stabilize blood sugar and eventually lose weight.

This is why high fiber foods tend to have a lower point value.

By sunshine31 — On Sep 12, 2010

Weight Watchers bases it Point system on how much the member weighs.

On the first week you are given various collateral that explains how the program works. In one of the booklets offered there is a quiz in order to determine what the starting point value that the member has.

The point value is the daily allotment of food that the member can eat. For example, the beginning two digits of the member's weight is the start of the point system on the quiz.

The first two digits of that number is the starting point. Additional points are added based on the sex and activity level of the member. If the member weighed 175 on the onset of the program, they would start with 17 points and additional points get added based on the sex and lifestyle.

A breastfeeding mom might add an additional 8 points, while a sedentary mom might only add 2 points.

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