Weight Watchers Points Plus: The Problem of 29

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Weight Watchers Points Plus - Problems with the PointsPlus Program

Is Weight Watchers' PointsPlus not working for you? The problem of so many people at 29 points

On February 9, 2011 Weight Watchers CEO David Kirchhoff took the unusual step -- unusual in that Weight Watchers finally has a CEO who is engaged in social media while the company's participation in their own online communities is virtually non-existent -- of acknowledging that perhaps not everything is working well for all members since the introduction of their newest weight loss system, PointsPlus. Kirchoff said:

"OK, here is my advice for those who lost on the old program but are having trouble getting traction on the new one... Eat exactly what you were eating on the old program and see what the new PointsPlus values come out to. Try it for a week and see what happens. Sometimes the trick is to find an eating pattern that works, and then stick with that pattern. While some people have struggled with the transition, many others are finding it to be a real boost. In any case, change is never easy, but stick with it!!! Hope that helps."

Meanwhile a group of Weight Watchers members successful on prior Points-based plans have created a SparkTeam at Sparkpeople.com where over two hundred former and current Weight Watchers participants who are finding the new PointsPlus system unhelpful have banded together for support continuing with the plans that work for them.

One common thread linking most of these participants together -- and those struggling on Weight Watchers forums as well -- is that they pretty much all have a daily target of 29 PointsPlus values and almost all are women. Given that Weight Watchers patent applications are published, we can look at the formulas and get hints to what might be going on.[FN1]

All charts and graphs on this page were created by the author, sockii. This article was originally published on Squidoo in March 2011. You may not republish this article in part or in its entirety elsewhere.

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Cautionary Note

I am not advocating any modifications to Weight Watchers' program based on this article and this article is not medical advice. It is a scientific review of Weight Watcher's approach. Given the level of confusion and frustration of many participants on PointsPlus it is useful for individuals to have the formulas underlying their diet program explained.

Weight Watchers PointsPlus Formulas

Looking closely at PointsPlus equations for women and men

The formulas for computation of the daily target are located in Equations 16-19 of the patents. In my prior article "Weight Watchers Introduces PointsPlus: A Critical Examination of the New Plan", I hand-waved at the formula as (target calories-1000)/35. But let's look more closely at the equations and specifically how a 40 year old, 5' 4" tall woman weighing between 110 to 250 pounds will have her daily target set. The image shows a graph for this woman.

PointsPlus Requirements for a 40 year old, 5'4" woman


Let's start with Equation 17, that computes the total energy expenditure (TEE) using gender (female), height (in meters), age, and weight (in kilograms):

TEE = 387 - (7.31 * age) + 1.14 * (10.9 * weight + 660.7 * height).[FN2]

Next up, the adjusted total energy expenditure (ATEE) is computed with adjustments made for conversion cost of nutrients into usable form for the body (10%) and for foods treated as having zero PointsPlus value (add 200 calories):

ATEE = TEE - (TEE * 0.10) + 200.

The real "magic", though, happens in equation 19 where the fancy sounding "predetermined whole number benchmark data" or PWNB is computed. For the sake of sanity we will refer to this as the initial daily PointsPlus target (IDP):

IDP = min(max((ATEE - 1000) / 35,29),71).[FN3]

To keep working in calories, we will look at the initial daily calorie target (IDC):

IDC min(max((ATEE-1000), 1000), 2500).

The graph now highlights the first small shift, less of a calorie deficit than you would expect. But quick checks of these formulas in point terms lead to the quick revelation that Weight Watchers was sneaky, the IDP, or PWNB, does not match the targets anyone was given.

We will leave potential issues of patent invalidity due to failure to disclose the best mode to the side and focus on how the actual daily PointsPlus target is computed. The 49-weekly PointsPlus values, or 7 a day, is one missing piece. The other is another 4 that many believe relates to the foods with calories treated as having 0 PointsPlus value, e.g. fruit. But just subtracting 11 will not give the right results either. Weight Watchers still keeps the formula bounded below by 1000 calories, or 29 daily PointsPlus values.

So appropriately modifying equation 19 in the patent for the actual daily PointsPlus target (ADP):

ADP = min(max((max(ATEE-1000,1000) / 35) - 7 - 4, 29), 71).

Or keeping with calories, actual daily calorie target (ADC):

ADC = min(max(max(ATEE-1000,1000) - 245 - 140, 1000),2500).


Interlude - An Analogy

Comparing Losing Weight on Weight Watchers PointsPlus to a Game Show

A friend came up with this analogy to explain where things came off the rails. Pretend you are going on an odd game show where the producers are giving you money each day based on a complex formula. You will be given between $1,000 and $2,500 a day. If the formula says you will get less than $1,000, the producers give you $1,000 anyhow. That's a smaller calorie deficit than expected, number one.

Now, the producers want you to be able to splurge now and again and also not have to worry about using the money for certain daily necessities. So they decide to put some of your daily money into a "weekly splurge and necessities fund" to the tune of about $400. However, these producers really do not want to hand out less than $1,000 a day to anyone, so the people who would go under $1,000 get that and the $400 also. Smaller calorie deficit than expected, number two.

Quick Comparison - Male Participants on Weight Watchers PointsPlus


For quick comparison, similar graphs have been generated for a 40 year old, 5' 10" tall male at weights from 130 lbs to 260.[FN4]

Using the game show analogy, the man is never getting extra money at stage one, lower limit of $1000 and all of the "weekly splurge and necessities fund" is removed from his calorie target, ADC.

Conclusion on Weight Watchers PointsPlus and the 29 Point Daily Target


So let's go back to the 40 year old, 5' 4" woman and stop double-limiting her targets at 1000 calories. What would her targets look like?That's right, smaller women would get targets based around roughly 600-800 calories (before weeklies and 0 PointsPlus value foods) or more like 17-23.

Remember: I do not advocate that anyone modify their Weight Watchers daily PointsPlus target to hit such a calorie range.

Some Thoughts in Weight Watchers' Defense: - Losing Weight on PointsPlus versus Points

  • If Weight Watchers actually recommended a sub-1000 calorie a day diet they would likely be called out as irresponsible in the press for the decision. The lowest level generally considered safe/acceptable is 1200 calories a day. However, previously daily targets were as low as 18 points a day, roughly 900 calories. But if a person consumed 1/7th of their 35 weekly Flex Points per day, that would bring the bottom daily consumption close to 1,150 calories.
  • On paper, the calorie target at the bottom of the new system and old systems are within 100 calories of each other: New = (29+7)*35 = 1260 versus Old = (18+5)*50 = 1,150. If you add in 0 PointPlus fruit, the New system is at 1260 + calories for the fruit.
  • Theoretically anyone consuming below the ATEE line should lose weight. Even for the women whose actual daily target is adjusted, they should lose weight as long as they are below the ATEE and they are unequivocally below the theoretical ATEE.


  • [FN1] Mathematical formulas are not, in and of themselves, patentable. See the US Supreme Court case of Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63 (1972). The terms Points and PointsPlus are trademarks of Weight Watchers; their use in discussing the patents is a nominative use to provide clarity to the article and to link the discussion to the patents. These calculations have not been verified or endorsed by Weight Watchers.
  • [FN2] Equation 16 is fairly similar and should be used for men.
  • [FN3] The actual boundaries in the patents are 1000 at the low end and 2500 at the high end, those line up with 29 and 71 PointsPlus values respectively.
  • [FN4] Weights under 130 would put the male at an underweight BMI and thus make the male ineligible for participation in Weight Watchers.

Sources for "Weight Watchers PointsPlus: The Problem of 29" - References utilized for this article

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Are you a veteran Weight Watchers member or someone new to the plan on PointsPlus? Is it working for you, or are you having a hard time reaching goal on the new system? Leave your comments here and let me know what you think. Thank you for reading!

Please note: all comments are subject to approval first. If your post contains ANY foul language, links to other weight loss programs, spam or otherwise inflammatory material it will NOT be posted!

© 2011 Nicole Pellegrini

More by this Author

Your Thoughts on Weight Watchers PointsPlus - Are you losing weight, or struggling with the new system? 116 comments

UKGhostwriter profile image

UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

Thanks for this observation, I'm please I read it ...good work!

anonymous 5 years ago

It's not just Sparkspeople, there are groups on the Canadian, UK and US Weight Watcher Sites that have gone back to the older Weight Watcher Plans. Nice article.

ankandhk 5 years ago

awesome lens, thanks for this lens!

anonymous 5 years ago

For me. a RLT member Points Plus was a disaster. Weeks 1-19 on Momentum I lost 28.8 lbs.Then came 14 weeks on PP. Lost 5.6 lbs. Returned to Momentum 5 weeks ago and lost 6 lbs. Had a loss every week.I believe in WW. I DO NOT believe in PP. What especially angers me is the POV from WW and MANY message board posters is that those for whom PP is not working are 1) stupid, 2) stupid. and 3) stupid. I will continue to attend meetings and get weighed in, just tune out when the word PP is mentioned. Oh yes, the last few meetings PP was never mentioned. Only 'the plan' or 'the program', AND my leader who said she lost 7 lbs during the trial/leader period, gained it all back.The sparkpeople.com site has as of today 410 members. All this since February.WW has to understand we are all different. My body. My money. My choice.

sockii profile image

sockii 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

@anonymous: Personally I just canceled my on-line membership to WW today. PP just was not cutting it for me at all and I agree, there is a negative attitude expressed in a lot of places toward those who do not embrace PP. Same thing happened, as I recall, when they rolled out Core as opposed to Flex. I'll go back to following Flex on my own as that's the system that worked best for me overall, although I still find it difficult as someone at the lower end of the Points range now as opposed to when I first started WW at a much higher weight.

anonymous 5 years ago

My perception is that MOST of the people having trouble with Points Plus a) do not want to lose a lot of weight. Many are trying to lose 5-15 lbs. Some, but not all, are a HEALTHY weight and shouldn't even be dieting. And b) many people stuggling with PP eat REALLY, REALLY healthy. In all likely hood, they are eating too large of portions, because what they eat has a "health halo". And c) On average, MOST people underestimate their calories by 400-500 a day. WW'er left very little room for error with this plan. My own take on the subject: http://www.freewebs.com/goingskiing/wwpointsthough...

anonymous 5 years ago

I just canceled my ww online membership. I was on the PP for 4 months and only lost 5lbs. I was on WW previous program and lost 40 in 1 year. This program really has something wrong with it. Thanks for the great article and for naming sparkspeople I just joined their great team. Hopefully I'll get back on track now.

anonymous 5 years ago

I joined ww in June 2010 and lost 25lbs. by December. From the inception of points plus to May 2011, I've lost another 5lbs with a great deal of yo-yo'ing. I have talked to my leader, had my tracker looked at numerous times, appealed to the online ww community for advice, everything I could do. I work out at the gym three days a week and walk every day, just like I did on the old program. WW makes me feel that I'm the only one with a problem, and that i'm subconsciously sabbotaging myself. I'm relieved to read your article.

anonymous 5 years ago

I'm doing okay on the new Points Plus. For some reason I am not reaching my usual plateau on this new system. I started in Dec '10 and have lost over 30 lbs. I like the fact that if I have eaten all my points for the day I can still eat veggies and fruit.

sockii profile image

sockii 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

@anonymous: I've really struggled with WW - both old Flex and new PP - with having less to lose, absolutely. When I had 70 pounds to lose and was really out of shape and had very bad eating habits, it was easy to make the big change to WW and start losing weight. But every time I've tried to get back on the program with 5-15 pounds to lose, and at a lower starting point of points, I've failed.Now I'm really creeping into "need to lose weight" not just for vanity but for health - I've hit being 20 pounds over my old maintenance weight and just don't feel good physically any longer. I've switched to SparkPeople and am finding it a much better system for me. It feels much less restrictive and more geared toward helping me balance my dietary needs instead of just telling me "how many points" I have to spend for the day. I like that.

sockii profile image

sockii 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

@anonymous: It's definitely not just you. You might want to check out SparkPeople as an alternative, seriously. I'm just getting on board that program as WW has failed me so badly as I've tried to get back on the program with "less to lose" than I did originally, and that's been so frustrating and difficult.

anonymous 5 years ago

I was consistently losing weight on the old Weight Watchers program (some 85 pounds in 11 months). Since the Nov introduction of the Points Plus program I have not loss ANY weight I'll drop a couple of pounds then next week I'm back up. This new program is NOT working even though I've stopped using the 49 weekly points AND I've more than doubled my exercise regime (to the point my Dr. said to scale back my exercise sessions). I don't know what the problem is, but from my perspective this new system if poor science at best, fraudulant at the worst.- a 45 year old male in the over 300lb category.

Ann Hinds profile image

Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

In between updating lenses yesterday, I joined Weight Watchers. I am overweight enough not to have to worry about the point system yet but this is nice to know when I get to 29 points. Thanks for the info.

saraPalmer 5 years ago

Great lens! I am sure a lot of people are interested to know more about point plus systems. It is indeed important to know what age group you belong to and know your ideal weight. This is a system I can recommend to my clients too. Thanks again for this wonderful information. More power to you.

anonymous 5 years ago

I have been by the "plan" for my first week and GAINED!!!!!!This is very frustrating.I have exercised, drank my water,weighed my food, tracked my points. I'm 57 years old. Post menopause, no water retention.What kind of explanation can WW come up with? I don't want to pay for this online program to GAIN weight! How can 29 points work for everyone? Help me please!!!!

sockii profile image

sockii 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

@anonymous: Shopper55, I wish I could help, but I think you are an example of the problem WW has with the new Points system. It really doesn't seem to work for a lot of people at the 29 points a day target. The only advice I can offer is if you upped your exercise levels over what you had been doing before, you may actually need to eat MORE to lose, or are just experiencing a temporary muscle gain of weight. But I totally feel your frustration having been there for the past year or so - both with the old WW system and the new.

sockii profile image

sockii 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

@Ann Hinds: WW can work really well for a lot of people - I know when I had a lot to lose it worked fabulously for me. My problem has come being in the 10-20 pounds to lose category, where it's a lot harder to stick to the WW system or come into it "cold". And looking at the statistics and numbers helped me see perhaps why that would be the case.

anonymous 5 years ago

@anonymous: I am so glad to have found you. I am experiencing the same problem. I have been on the points plus program for 3 weeks and have not lost an ounce. It is very frustrating. A few years back I did tne old program and actually lost weight. I am thinking about switching back. I am sorry that you gained weight but I am glad to find out it is not just me experiencing these problems.

mivvy profile image

mivvy 5 years ago

Interesting lens. I am not losing weight, have never been on a diet. I am a grandmother and weigh the same as when I was 20. Secret? I never eat in between meal, very little meat lots of pulses and cycle about 150 km per week., but not in winter.

KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

I've never tried weight watchers, but I am counting calories right now and trying to stick to around 1500 per day.

anonymous 5 years ago

I haven't tried weight watchers but I take note and monitor my weight which I am trying to reduce

happynutritionist 5 years ago

I haven't tried weight watchers...have used SparkPeople as a "wake up" call and to get back on track when I see myself gaining again. I am using them now to lose. Interesting info...I'm blessing this and adding it to Diet and Nutrition Squid Angel:-)

miaponzo 5 years ago

I have done weight watchers and it worked for me... but I really couldn't keep up with all the point counting.. ... oh well.. :)

anonymous 5 years ago

I'm a lifetime member, who reached my goal in 1994. Sadly, due to my own over eating and not going to meetings, I gained back my 50lbs plus, in 2003. Also being on steroids from a neck injury didn't help. I finally took control on 2/26/2011, I rejoined WW, and it's the best thing I've done for myself. As of this past Saturday, Aug 5, 2011, I have lost a total of 54.8 lbs! I'm also a menopausal woman, age 51, and I follow the program everyday, write everything down, make sure I eat my 29 points a day, and I use my extra 49 points throughout the week. I also exercise 2 hours a day, and never felt better. The weight is just melting off, and I'm loving myself again. My hubby finally has the woman back he married in 2000, when I was slim fit and trim. Please follow the program, and DON'T GIVE UP!! You are worth it.

lbrummer profile image

lbrummer 5 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

I love the Weight Watchers program and the PointsPlus system. Check my lens for some great recipes that worked for me. I just think it is so important to be healthy and to learn what that means in regard to the foods we consume daily. I eat more fruits and vegetables now, and that's a good thing.

anonymous 5 years ago

I've been on WW most of my entire adult life. On the "old plan" I lost 100 lbs in 52 weeks. I fell off the wagon and gained about 60 of it back then decided to re-join again last October. I heard about the new Points Plus plan and was really excited, but long story short - it's not working for me. 29 points is a lot of points and I often find myself eating just to fulfill the 29 points. I've been really "legal" since I rejoined, but have added back 6 pounds since April. My meeting advisor says I'm not eating enough protein and that's why I'm gaining the weight. This is really frustrating and disappointing. How can 29 points be the same for almost everyone?

ShariBerry profile image

ShariBerry 5 years ago from Michigan

I loved the idea of 0 points for fruit but the new plan doesn't work as well for me as the old plan. On PointsPlus I can have 29 points and on the old plan 24?? I can tell you put a lot of work into this lens and it will be helpful to many. thank you...

justholidays profile image

justholidays 5 years ago

I tried the WW system and their famous points, but never found out the way to stick to the max points per day. Now that I've been really sick, I'm on a diet; and believe me, fear can definitely help lose weight, lol.

Lynne-Modranski profile image

Lynne-Modranski 5 years ago from Ohio

I've never tried Weight Watchers, but I highly recommend SparkPeople - 30# off - took me about a year and I've kept it off for about 3 now! And it's free, so I'll probably just stick with that.

anonymous 5 years ago


anonymous 5 years ago

very nice lens interesting thanks for sharing. Squid-liked

anonymous 5 years ago

I am a lifetime member of WW and have been so for about 4 1/2 years. Let me begin by saying I am a woman, 56 years old, 5' tall and weigh 104 pounds. I had no problems maintaining on the old system. While I am still managing to maintain I have wondered about the PointsPlus system since it first came out. Personally I found that if I ate the full 29 points I would gain weight. So I took it upon myself to account for my fruits & vegetables even though they are supposed to be "free". I deduct 1 point for each fruit/vegetable that I have. In some instances, where I eat for example, a larger piece of fruit, I deduct 2 points. I basically never use my exercise points and rarely, if ever, use my 49 weekly allowance points. Yet it is still hard for me to maintain.I found another online website where, after I've entered my personal data, and enter my foods eaten each day, it calculates my caloric intake. If I don't stick to about 900 calories a day the weight goes up. I've always keep track of my points but for me, it must be done WITH keeping track of my calories per day. Without both those bits of information the new system has definitely been more of a struggle.

allonwatson 5 years ago

Nice post Thanks for sharing.

allonwatson 5 years ago

Nice post Thanks for sharing.

anonymous 5 years ago

Interesting, I'm an online member of WW and got an email this morning telling me to get ready for the "new points plus 2012 program" being rolled out December 2nd, so I guess they've realized the program needs adjusting:"So, we took your suggestions, made a few small but important tweaks, and developed PointsPlus 2012. Its the same great PointsPlus program on which millions have lost weight but taken to a new level of customization."I can't wait to see what they've done. I do follow it and it works but more slowly than the old program. I only want to lose 10-15 pounds or so but I was concerned about all the comments related to 29 points not being low enough for women like me (5'4" 133).

sockii profile image

sockii 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

@anonymous: Hi LSadowy,I've heard & read some about the planned changes and tweaks - it looks like the minimum point level is going to drop (not a good thing for someone like me who found it very difficult to stick with even 29 "nu" points) and there'll be some returning back to Core ideas of trying to eat to fulness. I am planning on updating this page in December once the details are finally made public and I've had a chance to analyze the changes.

anonymous 5 years ago

I'm a Lifetime WW member as of July 2011, having joined at the beginning of April 2010. I am a 5'4", 45-year-old woman. When I joined at about 206lbs I had 80lbs to lose. I lost about 44 lbs on Momentum between April and December 2010 and was very happy with Momentum. When PointsPlus started, my weight loss rate dropped by half (I evaluated after 11 weeks on PointsPlus). Therefore, I started adjusting the program for my own needs. First, I started counting all my fruits/vegs within my 29 daily. That was insufficient, so I eventually dropped my daily points target to 25 (still including all fruits/veg in that amount). I did use my 49 weekly. That enabled me to lose 20 lbs altogether on PointsPlus, so I hit Lifetime at 144 lbs. I continued to eat only 25 daily points (still using my 49 weekly), because my ultimate goal is 125 lbs, but I could not lose any more weight. By the end of September, I was finding it VERY discouraging, and even finding it hard to avoid gaining (and finding it hard to stick to the 25 target). Apart from anything else, if you have to shave your points target, it leads to feeling deprived and a "diet mentality" which is the opposite of what WW is about. Therefore, I switched back to Momentum at the end of September 2011. I feel better, find it easier to manage the program, and I've started losing again slowly.From my own observations I would say that the 29 daily target is a problem for some people, especially depending on their eating habits. On Momentum, I wasn't just sticking to the daily target, I was also following the healthy eating guidelines. My daily diet was at least 90-95% filling foods; my "junk food" intake was very low. I ate lots of veg and some fruit, got in all my healthy proteins and fats, did not feel deprived or hungry. Since the points values for protein and fats did not change on PointsPlus, the 29 points simply adds up to too much food, unless you are a person who tends to eat a more carb-rich diet, especially the less healthy carbs. As far as I can see, Weight Watchers was deliberately targeting the needs of members who tended to eat a higher proportion of refined carbs and sugars (and alcohol), because those foods DID go up significantly in points values. They adjusted points values to force a lower food intake for people with a higher refined carb (or junk food) intake, but that played havoc with the program for people who had already adjusted their eating habits towards the filling foods of the Momentum program.I may go to a meeting to see what changes are being made, but I doubt that I'll switch back to PointsPlus until I see real evidence that it's working for women like me (especially, as this article mentions, women of my size/age). It's too much work, and too much disappointment, to switch programs and then find that your weight loss has come to a halt! It's also not possible to stay on a program where you never even get to "maintenance." If I had ever eaten what I was "supposed" to for maintenance on PointsPlus (around 31-34 daily), I would have been gaining steadily!There is another weakness with Weight Watchers, I think. It does not take into account the fact that as you get closer to your final goal, weight loss does slow down, and there comes a point where the difference between maintenance/losing/gaining becomes a rather precarious balance. There has to be some way to address the question of restoring metabolic function, so that the body does not get stuck in a low calorie "habit." Unless you have a totally sedentary lifestyle, it should be possible to lose your weight and then return to a more normal daily calorie intake without gaining (which is what the Curves program developer maintains), as long as you stick to a healthy, balanced eating plan and don't go back to eating all kinds of junk food, refined carbs, processed high-salt foods etc. I would really like to see them doing more work/research on this area so that it becomes easier to make a clear distinction between losing weight and maintaining your weight, and so that you can eat a sufficient amount of healthy food while maintaining.

anonymous 5 years ago

This sounds like what I said earlier. Eating 29 points just wasn't working for me either. I also cut myself down to 26 and was STILL counting all my fruits & vegetables. I do however admit I eat an abnormal amount dailywell over the 5 a day minimum...sometimes to the extent of 8 daily servings. I figured as long as I was accounting for them in my daily points I was covered. Then at a meeting I was convinced not to go below the daily total of 29. At that point I went back up to the 29 but was STILL DEDUCTING all my fruits and vegetables. It's a continual struggle to keep to the 29 and my weight seems to be going up ever so slightly (.8). Remember I rarely, if ever, use my Weekly Points Allowance either.I think you are spot on when you say this plan may not work as well for those of us that already eat healthy and stay away from most carbs and sugars.After finding this blog Ive decided to officially change my points back to 26. I've been allowing myself 5 FREE fruits and vegetables. I will continue to deduct points for anything I consume after those 5. Something in me wonders though if I should cut back to 26 AND deduct for any and all my fruits & vegetables to boot!If I knew enough about the Momentum Plan I would give that one a try. However I just don't remember enough to switch.What to do.what to do.

anonymous 5 years ago

I am a lifetime WW member as of 2005 but a new WW Online member since I'm living overseas currently. Today, I discovered that my points target went automatically from 29 per day to 26 -- I guess this is one of the promised, but not-so-small, "tweaks." I'm sorry to see those points go, but it will clearly make a difference for someone like me who eats lots of fruits and veggies. At two weeks in, and one of those weeks including Thanksgiving, I have not seen the dramatic results I did with the previous system, but the 0 points fruits and veggies concept resonates with me -- it strikes me as sustainable in the long-run, and clearly incentivizes the right foods. I will gladly give up daily target points for the freedom to not track fruits and veggies!

anonymous 5 years ago

My points also switched to 26 as of yesterday, and I switched it back to 29 plus my breastfeeding points(+7). I've had really really great results so far with the pre-2012 plan. I realize that not everybody's metabolism is the same- this doesn't seem to be addressed much in this article. I exercise hard-core 4 times a week (long runs, climbing stairs for 30 minutes, spinning), never using my activity points. I only use about half my allowance every week. I did the math, and while I could use the point allowance for 2012, I'd have to use all my allowance and activity to cover my needs. Mentally, I don't like that- every single day being into these points before dinner- yuck! I'd rather stick with the current 2011 plans and just leave points on the table- makes me feel more in control. I'll be switching when things stop working for me.

Kiwisoutback profile image

Kiwisoutback 5 years ago from Massachusetts

It's great that you've had such detailed responses in your guestbook. That's a hard thing to do! Well done.

Kiwisoutback profile image

Kiwisoutback 5 years ago from Massachusetts

It's great that you've had such detailed responses in your guestbook. That's a hard thing to do! Well done.

anonymous 5 years ago

I don't like the Points Plus plan at all. I joined way back when it was Fat and Fiber and I loved that. If I could find my information or remember how many grams of fat and fiber I was supposed to consume each day, I would go back to that.

anonymous 5 years ago

@anonymous: Try the site called MyFitnessPal.com Once you customize your information it will tell you how much fat, etc. you should have each day.

sergionei 5 years ago

excelente deberiamos probarlo

sergionei 5 years ago

excelente deberiamos probarlo

gottaloveit2 profile image

gottaloveit2 5 years ago

I'm pretty happy being able to grab a piece of fruit instead of a bag of fritos. I know, I know, I could always have made that choice on the old plan but I'm actually doing it now. I also love the apps for the iPhone with the online WW!

anonymous 5 years ago

Works for me when I follow it. Lost 75 pounds on the old program and another 50 on the points plus. The trick is getting enough exercise and following the program. It also helps to be male as we burn the fat easier due to more muscle mass.

anonymous 5 years ago

Works for me when I follow it. Lost 75 pounds on the old program and another 50 on the points plus. The trick is getting enough exercise and following the program. It also helps to be male as we burn the fat easier due to more muscle mass.

mary lighthouse15 profile image

mary lighthouse15 5 years ago

Great lens! Thanks for sharing, im on south beach diet though...

anonymous 5 years ago

Thanks, I always wondered how it works.

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dessertlover 5 years ago

Very interesting. I know a few people who are doing Weight watchers. This was helpful to understand it.

anonymous 5 years ago

I have been on the new Points Plus program for over 12 weeks now, and i seem to be going back and forth - losing a pound or two and then gaining a half of pound. I have talked to a few people and it seems that if you exercise a lot on the plan, it does not seem to be working as well. Also, the fact that the point plus actually went down automatically for certain people did not seem to help. I think when you exercise you need more points - did anyone take that into consideration when they lowered the points???? Is anyone else having the issues or have any recommendations it is very frustrating?

writerkath profile image

writerkath 5 years ago

I was curious about this "points" information I'd been hearing about, so I'm glad I stumbled onto your lens. For me, I'm not sure the whole idea of points really resonates with my own style. But I do like the idea that you can do this online without having to go check into a meeting somewhere in a town where you actually know people and they know you... I'd feel far too exposed! :)

anonymous 5 years ago

The main problem with WW now and in the past is that it has always been about reducing calories mostly by cutting fat. At least with the new program it respects protein more now, but it still very anti-fat (2 teaspoons a day) which is just behind scientific research. Research has show that if you eat fat, and exercise, along with having a balanced diet that looks similar to the South Beach you will lose weight consistently. The key is to daily keep carbs (all carbs, not just the "bad" ones) at or below 100 grams, eat 100 grams of protein, and ensure you are taking in about 300 calories of dietary fat. Athletes have known for years this bio-chem formula works (100 g protein/100 g carbs/300 calories fat) for a while, but the diet gets little coverag because most people just do not want to exercise and the marketing scheme for companies like WW know this. People just want to stop eating and lose weight and this just does not work. Though WW highly encourages exercise it is not mandatory, and that leads to starvation mode at a certain weight pre-determined by your genetics. Your body perceives you are starving when you do not eat enough fat so then it slows your metabolism down. We are physically designed to survive during times of famine and that is what the body perceives when food/fat intake goes below 1000 calories, the brain begins to tell the body to conserve. It is also the main reason one gains so fast when more calories are added back in, because the body wants that fat back. Instead of just eating 1000 calories and not being active, a better plan is to eat 1500-1600 calories and burn 500 calories in exercise. You will not only feel less deprived, you will reduce your stalls because you are forcing the body to work the way it was designed. Live by eating, moving and breathing (which includes adequate sleep), and you will lose weight. But if you eat and sit and stress you will stall. You have to move to burn calories period. That is why people stall at 29 pts, it is more than just a calorie reduction issue, because loads of people also stalled on the old plan, as well. I know because I was one of them and nothing worked until I changed what I ate and how I moved.

anonymous 5 years ago

love it! Losing weight can be easy if you REAlly know what to do, my site http://www.helphere.biz is about that too! Love your stuff!Sheila

anonymous 5 years ago

(Sarah) You have made more sense than anyone else (including my own comments) on this Blog. I am one of those people that felt things only worked if I kept my calories down less than 1000 a day, which is REALLY HARD TO DO. Even though I'm a WW lifetime member I struggle to keep my weight where I want it. It feels like if I eat anything extra I immediately go up and it's harder and harder to get back down without REALLY cutting back on calories, thus trying to stick around 900-1000. The calories in those free fruits and veggies still add up not leaving enough extra for the basics sometimes. I virtually never get in those two daily fats simply because I don't want to waste points (calories) on them. I must admit it will take a lot to get my head around the concept of upping the calories and fat intake in order to actually stay at the weight I want.I hope Sarah continues to leave posts because hers was more informative than most as far as what I needed to hear.

anonymous 5 years ago

@anonymous: (Sarah) You have made more sense than anyone else (including my own comments) on this Blog. I am one of those people that felt things only worked if I kept my calories down less than 1000 a day, which is REALLY HARD TO DO. Even though I'm a WW lifetime member I struggle to keep my weight where I want it. It feels like if I eat anything extra I immediately go up and it's harder and harder to get back down without REALLY cutting back on calories, thus trying to stick around 900-1000. The calories in those free fruits and veggies still add up not leaving enough extra for the basics sometimes. I virtually never get in those two daily fats simply because I don't want to waste points (calories) on them. I must admit it will take a lot to get my head around the concept of upping the calories and fat intake in order to actually stay at the weight I want.I hope Sarah continues to leave posts because hers was more informative than most as far as what I needed to hear.

anonymous 5 years ago

Wow, what an interesting lens on weight watchers, and the guestbook comments are too. I'm one of those people that can't gain weight and keep it on, but still this is interesting.

KathyMcGraw2 profile image

KathyMcGraw2 5 years ago from California

Fascinating read....so many have a better handle on this than I do, and I liked reading all the comments.

anonymous 5 years ago

What's missing from the points allotment is the individual's actual energy expenditure which can vary markedly from that calculated by formula. My basal metabolic rate is 1430 kcal/day and my resting energy expenditure as measured is 1690. The calculations say I should be burning 2254 calories based on my height, gender, and weight. Thus when I was on weight watchers I lost 47 pounds and then while eating my points allotment for two more years I did not lose anymore but maintained my 47 lb lost. It is now clear why. I was eating about 1690 calories based on the points I was told to eat and it was not enough for me to lose because I did not have the average resting energy expenditure.Studies have shown that there are differences in BMR even when comparing two subjects with the same lean body mass. The top 5% of people are metabolizing energy 28-32% faster than individuals with the lowest 5% BMR. For instance, one study reported an extreme case where two individuals with the same lean body mass of 43 kg had BMRs of 1075 kcal/day (4.5 MJ) and 1790 kcal/day (7.5 MJ). This difference of 715 kcal (67%) is equivalent to one of the individuals completing a 10 kilometer run every day. If these two people are given the same points allotment because they will lose at different rates and the one with the lowest metabolism may stop losing or not be able to lose. there are differences in BMR even when comparing two subjects with the same lean body mass. The top 5% of people are metabolizing energy 28-32% faster than individuals with the lowest 5% BMR.[7] For instance, one study reported an extreme case where two individuals with the same lean body mass of 43 kg had BMRs of 1075 kcal/day (4.5 MJ) and 1790 kcal/day (7.5 MJ). This difference of 715 kcal (67%) is equivalent to one of the individuals completing a 10 kilometer run every day.[7]

anonymous 5 years ago

@anonymous: Hi DJ, from my understanding, you 'earn' points for exercise, which you can use that day or any other time during the week (like weekly flex points). Does this not address your concern? I have been working out 4 or 5 days a week (cardio 3x and weight training 2x per week) since I started WW PP Jan 1st (I know, I know, lol) and I have lost 10 pounds. My mother, who started with me, similar food and exercise schedule has lost the same.I would say to your -2 +.5 scenario that its the trend that important and it sounds like you are going in the right direction. Don't give up! The plan works :)

linfcor profile image

linfcor 5 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

No one diet works for all. I tired the Atkins and it wad a no go for me. The basis of the Weighht Watcher system is working for me. I average 2 lbs weight loss or more a week. I eat a balanced diet and never feel deprived. Even with a slow thyroid, I am losing weight. The basis of the program is portion control. Just my opinion

top101 profile image

top101 5 years ago

very interesting lens!

anonymous 5 years ago

@anonymous: Yes, Sarah, thank you for explaining it!And thank you to the OP; but formulas just make me wish I had paid more attention in algebra.

TTMall profile image

TTMall 4 years ago

Loved Your Lens! You really put a lot of good information in it.

ChrisShaefer profile image

ChrisShaefer 4 years ago

Hello,You have out done yourself on this lens. It is very informative and I love the layout of it. Great work, I appreciate a well done lens. Please stop by my new "Multivitamins for Psoriasis" lens it really needs some love. Thanks and please keep up with such great content.Chris

anonymous 4 years ago

I absolutely love the points plus system. I cannot understand what all the fuss is about. It seems so simple, count points lose weight. I've lost 21 pounds since Jan 9-12. Admittedly the first month was an absolute flop, there was so much I didn't understand but the support of my group really helped me to keep going. I will not quit WW, eating right and making healthy choices. I am extremely grateful to WW.

fish-oil-expert 4 years ago

Points are kind of confusing. I've found then when i completely cut out the grains and starches, I lose weight naturally!

anonymous 4 years ago

@fish-oil-expert: The only problem with that is we really need "some" of those GOOD grains. Plus I don't know anyone that can honestly cut out all Carbs (starches) forever. More power to you if you do but you might be attempting something that you won't be able to do for the long haul. Just one persons opinion.

anonymous 4 years ago

Another thing that has changed, and I am a long-time veteran of the programs, is the meetings are no longer supportive. They have changed to be more like quick captive infomercials. The meetings used to be an hour with topics and lots of personal discussion. Now they are barely 20 minutes where we get a topic to go think about over the week. Several months back, I was really struggling, and instead of finding a way to bring up the issues I was having with the new plan, the meeting was completely monopolized with a push for everyone to try being a vegetarian for a day because there was a new vegetarian cook book. The support groups were a vital part, and I am lost without them. They have shortened since then, and include a PowerPoint presentation to talk at us now. I have completely had it. The program is not just changed with respect to food, it is less effective on support. I really think that is what had set Weight Watchers apart from other plans. Support seems to only be available in a blog, and following the plan requires technology. I am almost done with my MBA, and it seems obvious to me that they have become so focussed on marketing paripheral products, that they have strayed from their core compencies. Technology is everywhere, and it is fun for a lot of things, but it can be very isolating. People struggling with ongoing human issues need other human beings, not a smart phone app.

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: That must be the way your particular leader does her meetings because the one I attend is way different. Everyone is very supportive. There are tons of ideas and suggestions that go along with the subject of the week. Ours is the exact opposite of an infomercial. There has never been a question in my mind that the leader makes all the difference in the world. If yours isn't working for you I think you should check out another one before you come to a final decision.

anonymous 4 years ago


anonymous 4 years ago


BubblesRFun profile image

BubblesRFun 4 years ago

I haven't attended any meetings but for me I've lost a little weight w/ the points plus. Although, I have to admit I haven't wholeheartedly done the plan yet......

KimGiancaterino profile image

KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

I know several people who follow Weight Watchers with success. Thanks for explaining "behind the scenes" so well. The only program that works for me is food combining. I would go nuts measuring food and counting calories.

anonymous 4 years ago


anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: I rarely post comments online, but your situation compelled me because I can see that not all meetings are created equal. I am a long-time veteran of the programs as well, but I started back anew on January 2nd and my WW meeting and friends have been the things that have kept me going. Our support staff is wonderful and the friends I've met and made at the meetings have provided incredible support. One lady in our group has lost 50 pounds since November. The other women in the meeting, as well as myself, have lost 30+ pounds each since the first week of January. We do receive a small sales pitch each week, but the majority of our meeting time (30 minutes) is all about the participants. We are asked to share new recipes and success stories as well as challenges and questions. Our meeting has consistently had about 40 - 50 people since January. Group dynamics and a supportive leader make all the difference in the world. You may find more support in the online groups or you may need a different meeting. I too do not have the etools or high tech phone so I know the program can provide success without those items. I'm grateful that our meeting includes tools for success for the high tech and low tech people. I hope you find a meeting like ours soon. I know what you mean about the isolation caused by technology and I know I would not be this successful on this program without the face to face weekly interaction of our group. My group enjoys the meetings so much that we generally arrive 30 minutes early for the weigh in and sit around and talk for 30 minutes before the meeting begins. This allows us the one hour window that you mentioned. I wish you much success in your weight loss journey.

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: Exactly what I was trying to say only you said it really so much better. If you aren't getting what you need out of your meeting find another one. They work!!!

jeromeyoung 4 years ago

Such lens has packed with useful information for everyone's mind. Looking forward for more of your lenses!

anonymous 4 years ago

I lost 5 lbs my first week using 29 points. I was strict and careful on the type of foods (mostly fruits and vegs, meat dairy, etc) - did not count points for even bananas and peas. Second week I stayed at 29 points - not as strict on the type of food but still ate 6 servings of fruit and vegs and gained 1.5 lbs back??? I feel hungry and quite crabby.

anonymous 4 years ago

I honestly think everyone who has lost more weight on the old program is just to used to it, and you're setting your body to not lose the weight you should be. I am on Points Plus. I have been on for about twelve weeks, and I have lost thirty pounds. That may only be 2.5 pounds per week, but look at it in months, and I've lost 10 pounds every month at a steady rate. I think that's amazing. To reach my goal of 120 pounds I have to lose about 45 pounds more. I am so happy to have Points Plus. I finally found something that has worked for me, and I have never felt better with an estimate of only 4.5 more months before I am comfortable with my weight.

anonymous 4 years ago

I like Online system points plus. Typing a food item in, get the points instantly, program automatically adjust your points=convenience. Having everything CONSOLIDATED on my lap type is GOOD. I do not need one more piece of paper on my "at home desk" to keep track off. I have lost 18lb in 5 months, not particularly fast, and I do keep tracking the activity points daily. Stayed at same wt. for 3 weeks. I independently lowered daily points 3 points below WW recommendation 4 days last week that = 1 lb. loss this week. Having healthy checks is helpful in monitoring the balance of ones diet. Or lack of balance. Scanner and WW phone apps helpful when eating out. Feel online needs to educate members on using these apps more. Online good for people who have discipline and well motivated. ZERO points for fruit and veggies greatly encourages a healthy diet and choice of snack.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks for posting this. It is so true. I lost weight at 26 points but then when I got to about 120 lbs, I plateaued. Finally going to 20 points took the last three pounds off. I am 5 ft 1 inch and 47 years old with a desk job.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks for posting this. It is so true. I lost weight at 26 points but then when I got to about 120 lbs, I plateaued. Finally going to 20 points took the last three pounds off. I am 5 ft 1 inch and 47 years old with a desk job.

lyttlehalfpint profile image

lyttlehalfpint 4 years ago from Canada

Maybe a month ago I signed up for WW online. I lost weight .. but I did find that many many people were hung up on the numbers. Honestly weight watchers online mostly just teaches you smart food choices, the weekly's help you to form new habits and for some seeing their numbers change is motivating. I have mostly stopped using it and only use it for reference when shopping or cooking new foods. Guess what, I am still losing weight. Thanks for posting this.

DoesP90XWork 4 years ago

@anonymous: Hi guys, I am new to weight watchers. Excuse my ignorance but what type of exercises does the weight watchers program typically recommend?

anonymous 4 years ago

@DoesP90XWork: They don't really recommend any particular type of exercise as long as you are moving to the best of your ability. For some that may be just getting a walk in while for others it may be hitting a gym several times a week. Any activity is considered exercise when or if you haven't been the type to typically "move". If you garden you can count that. I take exercise classes several times a week. Focus on moving MORE than you do now then bit by bit increase what you are doing and how much you are doing. Mostly find something that you enjoy so that you'll stick with it.

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karlawhitmore 4 years ago from Arizona

It seems to me that all of the points figuring make Weight Watchers more complex than simply measuring out your own food and counting calories! My sister lost weight with Weight Watchers several years ago. It worked then -- I wonder why so many try to fix what isn't broken. :\

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JCarruthers 4 years ago

I've never used the program, but as a personal trainer with nearly a decade of experience, a lot of times the points are used incorrectly. The reason that weight loss stops isn't based on the points themselves, but what the points represent. Just my two cents :) Thank you for all of the information as it makes communicating with my clients that much more effective.

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: Totally and completely agree with you. I may or may not elaborate more below, but essentially, I found that there are huge fluctuations in calories within the same point allotment per day. Example: on the old weight watcher points program, when I finally hit a plateau, I found that it was because even on 22 points, my calories were fluctuating between 1300 and 1800 calories, for the same point total!

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: Almost the exact same thing happened to me! I'm going on week 4 and I'm up almost 8 lbs from when I started. What's up with this?

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mouse1996 lm 4 years ago

I'm curious about the program. I've seen so many people use it with success. I could use the help in losing weight. Might have to look into it.

Sunnsyne 4 years ago

@lyttlehalfpint: I think your are absolutely correct in your observation. I just started and have already gotten discouraged seeing myself lose the first two weeks and then gain the last week, doing the same exact thing. Will take your advice and stay encouraged and use the site as a reference tool as well. Thanks for the great post.

anonymous 4 years ago

How canI determine what is the correct daily total for me? I was told 26 however most here are saying 29.

anonymous 4 years ago

What a great article! I am a Lifetime WW member. I remember starting back in 1986 and we used the Exchange Program. I actually was a WW employee for 2 years after reaching my Lifetime goal. Circumstances and geography took me away from the job - but I always kept the skills and was thrilled that this plan was so successful. In 1991 I had another child and quit smoking and gained 40 stubborn pounds. By this time I believe WW had gone to the Points program- and I had that great little cardboard "slide" counter - and I lost weight again. After too many failed attempts at quitting smoking - I've finally quit for GOOD - I'm 54 years old and I am back at WW trying to get this weight off. Well ..........this whole Points Plus nonsense......?? holy cow. I went to a few meetings, consistently gaining .4 , .8 , 1 lbs .........and said 'no more'. I dug out my old slide points counter ...and in less than 2 weeks ...I've lost 4 lbs already.On an interesting note: when I went to one of the meetings and lamented the 'new improved' program - I said "I'm going to just go back to the original points program" and the advisor said "you don't want to do that" and I told her that it worked in the past and I think it's what I needed to do...she said ......'well obviously it didn't work that well in the past"!!! Can you believe that!? I have not set foot back in there again and I'll be darned if they'll get another dime from me - I can insult mySELF just fine...I don't need to pay someone to do it!

anonymous 4 years ago

My husband is doing the on-line WW and is doing well. I on the other hand at 51, 176lbs, and eating my daily points, is not working as well as the old program for me, prior to the counting of carbs on the tracker....I also attend Curves 4 x per week....Not sure what more I can do...but I have been on the program with my husband for 1 month and lost a total of 2 lbs....very frustrating.

anonymous 4 years ago


anonymous 4 years ago

I did the weight watchers on line points plus and couldn't believe how the weight came off. When fruit is free and vegetables free, I would switch to those for a snack. Further I treated this as a change in my eating habits and not a diet. I lost about 1 1/2 - 2 lbs per week. So over almost 8 months I have lost 68 lbs. I have tried every other diet before and nothing worked.There is more pleasure in being thin than there is in the "fleeting" pleasure of overeating. This plan really does work if you honestly stick to it as a change in eating habits.

anonymous 4 years ago

The PointsPlus is a great program and I can't believe well it is working. I must say that it took a few weeks of losing and then gaining a bit here and there for it to start but now that I am consistent with it, the weight is just falling off. I am tracking my daily and weekly points with a great iPhone App called "WWPoints". It is a quick and simple way to punch in a couple of points when I eat and see how many I have left for the day in an instant. I recommend it as a great tracking system and not have to worry about the time consuming finding the item in the database to work out the points...

Gypzeerose profile image

Gypzeerose 4 years ago

Yeah! I have lost weight with Weight Watchers - but only when I was much younger and it was the old program that allowed for no leeway - absolutely nothing with sugar, no carbs at bedtime, exactly four eggs a week. I have not found as much help with the new program, although my level of fanaticism motivation is not as great. I do profit greatly from the camaraderie. I am very excited about the free program you have provided us with. tweeted and blessed.

EddyFridman 4 years ago

Yes a very well written lens, with lots of information...

myspace9 4 years ago

Very informative and helpful lens.

anonymous 4 years ago

The original points system worked great for me I lost an average 2lb per week until total loss of 21lbs. 10 years later I have tried twice but the pro points system just does not work for me at all, have lost 1lb in 3 weeks despite exercising at bootcamp twice per week. Really disheartened :(

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GetPregnantFAQ LM 3 years ago

Very, very good, very complete article. Another mystery is that my wife was on the lowest allowable points (26) at a weight of 210. Seriously? So she'd be eating the same amount of calories as someone who weighed, say, 100 (since she was already at the lowest allowable points)?

Cari Kay 11 profile image

Cari Kay 11 3 years ago

I had great success with the program 14 years ago. When I tried it again more recently, it didn't work well at all for me. I really learned a lot here. Thank you and Blessed!

anonymous 3 years ago

Try using Stresstabs Weight along with PointsPlus. Anyone feel free to s see my 'Stresstabs' lens and let me know what you think... I'd really appreciate it, thanks!

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kathysart 3 years ago

Wow there is a LOT of action here regarding this diet. I tried it and then went back to Atkins. I am going to see a doctor this Thursday about my hormones though. I have many of Suzanne Somers books and like what she has to say about hormones. Darn.. why can't I just eat what I want! LOL

geosum profile image

geosum 3 years ago

I tried WW about 12 years ago with limited success. I had a lap-band operation in December 2012 and followed their diet plan for 7 months, finally reaching my goal weight this week. Their plan worked so well that I didn't need to have the lap-band filled. My total weight loss was 85 lbs. I'm now working on a maintenance diet.

Projectlazy profile image

Projectlazy 3 years ago

I like that weight watchers doesn't ask anything crazy of you. It all comes down to eat less. It gives simple rules so you don't need to learn the science. It's like in grade school when you learn to calculate the volume of a sphere. Sure it's good to know but a calculator can do it faster.

seodress profile image

seodress 3 years ago

Great one.

SusanAston profile image

SusanAston 3 years ago

I found it too complicated. I started justSlim instead and it is so much easier.

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KathyZ1 3 years ago

Great lens, thanks for your sharing!

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Tom Maybrier 2 years ago

Love the graphs - I admit to ignorance regarding the program but I enjoyed the visual "proofs".

alifjames-deanakmal 2 years ago

It is good if you're on diet atkins now

debra1026 2 years ago

Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the site is also very good.

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