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Weight Watchers catches on…

Bbrrrrrrrrrr!!! Mid Ohio has gotten down right cold!! Hope it’s toastier where ever you are! Check out what the mornings bring:

Told you so…COLD!!! I guess being a Southerner for 18 months did turn me into a wimp!! 😉

Before I gush about an awesome fall recipe I tried, read about changes coming to Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers in the UK has launched a new program that includes “ProPoints” that will take into account protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and fat. According to the Grocer, a British news outlet, calorie-counting as previously endorsed by Weight Watchers has since been proven “inacurate” and “outdated”. The new Weight Watchers program in the UK also gives participants “real living” points that can be used on occasional treats and alcohol. No details on the new US Weight Watchers program are available as of yet.

While these changes in the UK program are vague, they seem to be working in the right direction. In recent years, types of calories are being examined more closely. In other words, all calories are not made equal. In theory, all calories are made equal — a calorie represents one unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperatiure of one kilogram of water by one degree — but we all know that calories “spent” on empty calories like alcohol and simple sugars are not ones well spent as they provide no nutritive value. While Weight Watchers has made strides to encourage members to utilize their points appropriately, that has not deterred some individuals from the Cheeto and turkey hot dog meal plan. I would know, because that was me…10 years ago. One can quickly learn that you can eat what you want, as long as your points are within your target range, and lose weight. However, Weight Watchers is wisening up to see that while people are losing weight, they are not doing so appropriately.

The new program sounds more sound in that is will take into account ALL macronutrients — the components that make up calories in foods: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. I would venture to guess that the new program will also set goals for macronutrient composition in the diet (i.e. a balance between carbohydrate, fat, and protein). We shall see what Weight Watchers has up their sleeves, but I do see some changes in the program for the better. But, of course, a visit to your friendly neighborhood dietitian is always best!


And on to the eats! 😀

I saw this recipe on Erin’s blog and I knew I had to try it. Butternut squash and cannellini beans…what a perfect fall dish!

Butternut Squash Cassoulet with Bacon and Roasted Garlic adapted from Cooking Light and The Healthy Apron

1 whole garlic bulb (about 9 cloves), chopped
2 oz. (4 slices) turkey bacon, chopped
2 large onions, vertically sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine (I used red because it was open, worked great!)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 cans cannellini or great northern beans
1 bay leaf
2 slices Italian or sourdough bread
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley


Sauté bacon in large skillet or Dutch oven ~5 minutes or until crispy. Set aside.

While bacon cook, process bread pieces until course crumbs, add Parmesan, and 1/2 tsp olive oil. Set aside.

Drain fat from skillet and clean or use a separate skillet. Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil ~5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, sauté another 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons wine, cook ~15 more minutes or until onions are softened and brown. Keep stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.

Preheat oven to 375˚ F.

Mix your onion mixture, garlic pulp, bacon, squash, broth, spices, and beans, in a large bowl and stir well. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with homemade breadcrumbs.

Cover and bake at 375˚ F for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until squash is tender. (Remove cover the last 15 minutes of baking to brown the topping). Discard bay leaf and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 215 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 444 mg. sodium; 33 g. carbohydrate; 7.9 g. fiber; 9.9 g. protein

Result: I am BLOWN AWAY at how flavorful and delicious this cassoulet was. I knew it would be good, but it far surpassed my expectations. I ate this as a meal, but I think I would add goat cheese for a main course next time. I think that creamy richness would pair perfectly with the sweet, soft squash and the hearty beans. If you don’t have time to make homemade breadcrumbs, use Panko or just regular breadcrumbs…either would work just fine and be a time-saver! I am glad I halved the amount of beans…4 cans just seemed like a lot! I love beans, but I much prefer the squash to be the dish’s super star! The dish is a nice balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat and is loaded with fiber while being low in calories. A winner all around! Enjoy!

Trivia question answer: the #1 most requested pizza topping in the U.S. is PEPPERONI! Most of you guessed it, kudos! I honestly thought it was sausage and no one else guessed that, oops! 🙂

Thanks for your great Q&A questions! If there are any others, send them over to me [email protected]! I will post a Q&A next week, and keep a look out for Mr. Prevention’s cameo appearance post next week, too! 😉

Question: What do you think about the changes Weight Watchers is making to their program? Are there any other changes you would like to see?

I would love to see sodium and saturated/trans fat included in the Weight Watchers program.

I am off to an all-day meeting with renal dietitians from all over Ohio! Should be a great day packed with lots to learn!!

Happy day-before-Friday!

Share With Your Friends!


  1. November 4, 2010 / 7:11 am

    Sounds like a realllllly fun meeting ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually, in all reality, I typically enjoy the all day RD meetings, because I’m a nerd like that. I bet you do too…don’t you?!
    So I read about these new Weight Watchers guidelines, but I still think they need to do something about how people save up all of their points until the weekend, then binge. I hear people tell me that all the time. It’s a real problem. They should put a limit on how many points you can “spend” each day. I know they already do this, but they should say something like “you can’t save points and spend EXTRAS on other days…” unless it’s a reasonable amount. Some people literally do half of their points during the week so they can eat out all weekend. No bueno.

    • November 4, 2010 / 3:54 pm

      well..then these people aren’t doing the program right, because you have a set value to spend each day, you can’t go over and you shouldn’t go under, and then everyone gets 35 flex points to use or not during the coarse of a week, over the amount you get daily. But you can’t not use your daily points and then “save” them up…that’s not what they teach you, so these ppl are doing it wrong. There is a gray area in the “activity points” earned…but I, personally, gain them, but never ” cash them in.” So the program, as it is, does do what you are suggesting….it just sounds like you know some ppl who think they are following it right, but aren’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. November 4, 2010 / 7:39 am

    Score and a half for weight watchers spreading the message that a calorie is not just a calorie and a point is not just a point! That makes me smile.

    As does this cassoulet. I love white beans. I love butternut squash…and so I’m absolutely positive that I would love this.

  3. November 4, 2010 / 7:48 am

    Nicole, so pleased you enjoyed the cassoulet!! I also cut back on the beans because like you said…4 cans seemed like a lot! I ate this meal for about 4 days straight haha It really just screams FALL! Can’t wait to share with my site that you tried it and liked it!

  4. November 4, 2010 / 8:15 am

    Beautiful dish!! I love a good cassoulet in the cold months !

  5. November 4, 2010 / 8:17 am

    I think those sound like smart changes, though I’ve known people who have lost weight on a typical WW diet. I think it’s great, though, to hammer home the idea that it’s best not to squander your points on junk.

  6. November 4, 2010 / 8:28 am

    I think WW is starting to head in the right direction. Sure, the older program worked well for some people, but the adaptions might help others out- especially when it comes to learning to adapt OFF the program.

  7. Ammie
    November 4, 2010 / 8:29 am

    I can’t wait to try this. It looks yummy and I think I have all the ingredients on hand!

    I want to add that I am a current WWer, and the program now is a lot better than 10 years ago (was a WWer then too!). I did hear that they are going to be making another change by the new year.

    They really encourage the “Healthy Guidelines” which include getting in X water, X dairy, X F&V, X healthy oils, X proteins, X whole grains, exercise and vitamins. And, the points take calories, fat and fiber into account. I’ll be happy to see if the new plan will include proteins, etc to look at the whole composition of foods.

    But today if someone is doing the Cheetos and turkey hot dog plan, they are not following the WW plan.

  8. November 4, 2010 / 8:34 am

    It’s still pretty warm down here in the South! I love your fall photos ๐Ÿ™‚ And the dish looks awesome.

    I think WW is making some great changes. Quality (aka nutrient value) of calories if often overlooked in the current program.

  9. November 4, 2010 / 8:40 am

    I can just imagine how good that dish is. Anything with butternut squash, count me in! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. November 4, 2010 / 9:00 am

    yes, it has been really cold…esp yesterday morning! I finally lost my tomato plant to the frost yesterday ๐Ÿ™ lol

    I am a current WW member, and there has been no mention of changes….however, I have read about the buzz online in blogs. The new changes do make sense. Although, if you subscribe to the “cheeto turkey hot dog plan” YOU WILL be hungry, and must have tremendous will power to not overindulge! Sticking to the stuff that is a filling food ( ie…most whole foods) and currently ww does emphasis this, although many don’t listen, will help you lose without feeling hungry. I would guess they are just expanding on this.

    It amazes me the amount of ppl at my meetings that rely solely on processed foods. It is just absolutely mindboggling. I blame WW in part, because A LOT of their available processed foods just don’t follow the filling food philosophy…and furthermore, most taste not that great! lol Some of the things you can get at the meetings taste ok…but really, for the same amount of points, I would rather have the good, real stuff. I once flipped over a box of their smoothie mix they sell at the meetings, and was aghast at the list of artificial and chemical ingredients. If they are changing their program and philosophy, then their products need to change too. Just my opinion.

  11. November 4, 2010 / 9:17 am

    I think the Weight Watchers changes sound positive. It’s important to teach people the importance of quality, nutritious foods, rather than just numbers of calories. Also, people would just FEEL a lot better if they were losing weight by eating real, whole foods, rather than junk.

  12. November 4, 2010 / 9:41 am

    I love the picture of frosted wood! So pretty.

    I’m not a fan because of the “tricks” they give to their clients to replace real food with the fake, less-caloric stuff. Like, my mom’s coworker lost a lot of weight on Weight Watchers, but she eats things like nutritionally-void boxed brownie mix mixed with chemical-laden diet soda instead of eating the real stuff. I feel like they teach you that a little (REAL) butter will kill you (but trans fat won’t), and that you don’t need to learn moderation if you just keep reducing the calories so you can eat more. :S So, I dunno, I guess if they’re improving their system that can’t be anything but good, but I’d rather if they adopted a more clean and healthful way to teach people to lose weight. Oh, and cheaper! I’ve looked at a lot of their recipes and their affiliate, Hungry Girl, and they always call for specific, expensive products.

    The cassoulet looks so great! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Well, pepperoni IS a sausage, so technically you were right… right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have a great day, Nicole! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. November 4, 2010 / 11:25 am

    Sounds like weight watchers is headed in a good direction. You’ll have to keep us posted on it!

    I missed seeing that recipe from Erin but I’m glad you posted it. It look delish! I just got a huge scorn squash delivered yesterday… I wonder if that would be a good substitute for the butternut? I may be experimenting soon!

  14. November 4, 2010 / 12:32 pm

    I’m glad to see Weight Watchers is trying to improve their program. I’ve never understood the points system. I mean, you could easily waste all your points on ice cream cake and then be hungry for the rest of the day. Its never seemed sensible to me, but then again, I’ve always done things MY way. I dont like being told what to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. November 4, 2010 / 3:34 pm

    I recently read that article and I think that it is a step in the right direction. I do agree with Gina that I am not sure how I feel about people saving up their points and then doing a binge.
    That dish sounds amazing!

  16. November 4, 2010 / 9:25 pm

    Cool news about WW! Sadly it always seems like the WW addicts I know, know nothing about the importance of protein and what a difference it can make in one’s diet. Hope it comes to the US soon!

  17. November 4, 2010 / 9:30 pm

    Gorgeous pics of the frost! Im in the south and Im still tooooooo cold! Brrr

  18. November 4, 2010 / 11:00 pm

    Lovely photos. We have had some frost here as well; which means me sneaking out early in the morning to scrape the ice off of the Mrs.’s car windows before she leaves for work.

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