Weight Watchers rolled out a new program this month called “Beyond the Scale.” Since hearing about the changes with the new program, I’d been considering restarting tracking with WW out of curiosity and to fit in my clothes a little easier (I’m precariously close to missing my goal for the year of fitting in my current jeans!). I’ve been running around the 180-ish range for a couple of months now and would really like to be back around the 168-170 range because my clothes fit much better back then. I have a closet full of clothes and if I’m honest, I can only comfortably wear a handful of them. I haven’t worn slacks to work in ages and even my beloved pencil skirts aren’t quite working.
After the cookie-apocalypse this weekend, I decided it was time to pull the trigger. With the new program, they’ve shifted the calculations a bit so that fat and sugar cost you more points and protein less. Fruits and most veggies are still free and they even updated the recipe calculator so that fruits and veggies in foods (unless they’re blended like a smoothie) are also free. That glitch always bugged me in the old system! In the three days I’ve been back on plan and eating essentially the same things I ate back when I was on WW before, I haven’t noticed much change in point values for the kinds of foods I eat but I suspect that is because I tend to eat a lot of fruits, veggies and lean proteins when I’m eating well. It’s been amazingly easy for me to get back to eating “the way I should.” So why did I stray so far? Ugh! I’ve noticed some things cost me a point or two more, especially when I eat out, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for me. I eat out in restaurants fairly often and really should pay attention to what I’m choosing a little more carefully.
They’re apparently also “discouraging” the use of activity points (now FitPoints) and weekly points with the new system. I’m doing online only for now and haven’t made it to a meeting, so I don’t know exactly how they’re pitching this. This would be a definite shift from how the program was presented to me before, as my check in ladies were always encouraging me to “Eat your weekly points and activity points!” any week I had a big loss. However, it’s not actually a difference from what I really did. I only used my weekly and activity points for REAL indulgences and treats on rare occasions – not every week and almost never all of them. Honestly, I just felt better knowing I had them so I wouldn’t be “cheating” if I had a big treat. They were a little security blanket.
All in all, this program is very similar to how I actually ate on Weight Watchers when I lost weight with the older Points Plus program. However, I can see where this is a big shift for people who didn’t make the same kinds of food choices I did. A lot of people like Weight Watchers because it really did allow you to keep eating the same stuff you always did – just a reasonable portion. The new program has definitely been set up to steer you more actively in the direction of less added sugar and fat. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s really not much question that added sugar should be a small amounts/sometimes thing and the same with saturated fat. A lot of people have complained that it is forcing you to be “low carb” but it seems more to be a “smart carb” push than anything else. Whole grains, reasonable sizes, as much fruit as you want – carbs are okay if they’re good ones. It is forcing you to make treats truly occasional things and I can see how that would be hard, especially at the beginning. I’m not sure how I would have done with this program from the beginning of my weight loss, because I really needed the “you can have anything” approach to make it seem doable. It does seem to suit where I am now, though.
We’ve checked a couple of things that Darrell & I remember the old Points Plus values for and found that some things, like pizza, have gone up quite a bit. Others, like skinny lattes, have gone up by only a point. Interestingly, even though sugar is supposed to be calculated as “bad” (for lack of a better word) in this plan, the Gu gels I use to run are still 3 points and we all know those are ALL sugar.
I like the addition of the FitBreak app, which has lots of little one minute workout breaks to incorporate into your day. Promoting more movement is a good thing. The apps overall are still slow, always a problem with WW.
The videos are a little cheesy – especially the “glute squeeze” one!
All in all, I think this will work for my particular issue, which has been letting those “sometime” treats trickle over too much into my every day eating. I am a fruit person, so the fact that I can have as much fruit as I want is keeping me (at least a few days in) from feeling like I’m being restricted and triggering a binge – a common concern people have expressed with this new “low sugar” program. Of course, launching a “low sugar” version of the program between Thanksgiving and Christmas was an interesting approach for WW to take. Judging by cookie-apocalypse, it was good timing for me, but a lot of people are particularly hating this timing.
I went shopping on Sunday when I re-enrolled and ended up with a much more WW friendly grocery cart than I’d had for a while, another sign I’d strayed too far from healthy eating.
Why did my grocery cart ever stop looking this produce-packed?
Who knows – I may need to continually come on and off WW or something like it to maintain my weight loss. I’ve come to accept weight maintenance is really more about not regaining too much before I relose it for someone like me anyway and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I may never reach that mythical place where I can just maintain intuitively and I’m not going to beat myself up because I can’t. I always learn things in the times “on” plan and in the times “off” plan, so it’s always a worthwhile journey. I’ll keep you posted as to how this goes and if I pick up anything new when/if I make it to a meeting instead of just doing it online. The “beyond the scale” part mentions focusing more on things about whole life health and being kind to yourself, but that must be more of a meeting thing because I don’t really see that reflected anywhere in the online program other than some articles which are similar to what they’ve had before.
Check out my awesome Secret Santa gift! Totally wearing this hat when I finally get to go see Star Wars!
Have you tried the new program? Love it? Hate it?