It has been 3 weeks since Weight Watchers introduced the new Turnaround Program and so far, I’d say it’s been a success. Lots of folks are coming in to register, having heard about the new “no counting” plan. We were warned in the first week to expect weight gains as people got used to the new food plan, but guess what? For the most part *it hasn’t happened.* Folks whose lifestyles are the best fit for Core Plan *are losing weight.*
If you are following the new plan, read on for tips & tricks and clarifications to the program.
Apparently, the Core Plan is similar to South Beach phase II. But remember, Weight Watchers isn’t just about a food plan. It’s an entire approach to changing the way you think about food. What you eat and how often and how much is part of it.
There have been a few people who have needed help finding strategies to keep the core list with them and record their Weekly POINTS Allowance. We do hand out a paper tracker each week, but even I admit that it’s difficult to use if you’re not recording every bite as usual. For those members, I typically recommend the Day Tracker which is a small checkbook-like thing that has the core list on one side, and a place to check off weekly points on the other. It uses a dry erase marker. Look for it at meeting locations.
Things to keep in mind:
* Don’t eliminate oils (olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, or flaxseed) from your diet. You need a small amount of fat to keep things moving in the right direction. Literally. 2 teaspoons a day are required on both Flex & Core plans. Those 2 tsps are core, anything more than that is counted towards weekly points allowance.
* Make sure you read the ingredients carefully on the cereal box. Don’t go by the “All natural” claims on the front of the box. It is amazing how many cereals have added sugar, even ones that aren’t at all sweet. If it has *any* added sweetner, even natural ones, it’s not core. And there aren’t a lot of core cereals, trust me, I’ve looked.
* Core Foods are NOT 0-POINTS foods. Therefore if a food that is not a Core food is 0-POINTS it does not make it a Core food. A non-Core food such as Cool Whip even if 0-POINTS is counted as part of the weekly POINTS Allowance on the Core Plan. Use the calories, fat, and fiber information to determine the POINTS value for more than one serving. What does this mean? An entire tub of Cool Whip is not 0-POINTS. Calories count. This is important, so I’ll say it louder: *CALORIES COUNT!* If a single serving of something is 25 calories, that’s 0-POINTS. If you have 10 servings of it, that’s not 0-POINTS, that’s 250 calories and 5-POINTS! So if it’s *NOT* a core food, you *MUST* respect portion size and count it accordingly against your Weekly POINTS Allowance. Why is Weight Watchers doing this? Two words: Abuse potential. You’re not going to sit down and eat 250 calories of mushrooms in a sitting (or fat-free cheese…ick), but could you sit there and eat 1/2 a tub of Cool Whip without thinking about it? I know I can.
* Be careful with your pastas. Stay away from whole-wheat blends or “enriched” pasta if you want to count them as core. When Weight Watchers first started with POINTS companies took advantage of it by offering very high fiber foods to try and keep the POINTS down. There were muffins and breads that calculated to 1 or 2 points but they had as much as 350 calories (with like 10-12 g Fiber!) So members would have 2 of these for breakfast, ingesting like 700 calories in one meal and then wonder why they gained weight when they only ate 4 points at breakfast. I’ll say it again: *CALORIES COUNT!* I expect that companies will market “whole wheat” products to Weight Watchers members along the same lines. Don’t fall for it. Read ingredients carefully. Make sure the product is 100% whole wheat (NO FLOUR), and the “low-carb” stuff doesn’t count. But in a pinch I’ve purchased “low-carb” because the POINTS tend to be lower and then I count it as POINTS…just remember not to count more than 4g of fiber no matter what it says on the package.