Weight Watchers New Program First Impressions

(12/6 – Details on SmartPoints and Beyond the Scale from my meeting on 12/6 and from the program materials.)

I posted earlier about the new Weight Watchers program.  We have known for awhile that Weight Watchers trademarked SmartPoints.  And, with the new calculator online asking us for the amount of saturated fat and sugar in food, it wasn’t too big a leap to figure out that Weight Watchers was going to use those numbers to calculate points.  And, the assumption was that foods with high saturated fat or high sugar would be higher points.  Weight Watchers has billed its new program as the “biggest change in 50 years.”  I wasn’t sure if that was hype when I first saw that, but I am starting to be a believer.

Since posting about new program, I’ve had time to look a bit at the calculator and to see how big the changes will be in how points are calculated.  Based upon what I’ve seen the changes are major.  And, I like them.

I wanted to give some my first impressions but with two huge caveats.  First, I am sure that there are tons of things about the new program that I don’t yet know.  We know a little bit about the general overview of the program from the Australian Weight Watchers site.  And, more information can be obtained on the U.S. site by changing the date on your computer to a later date after the new program comes out.  From that, I was able to play with the new calculator to see the SmartPoints value of various foods and compare them to the current values.  The thing is that since the program has not yet been released, it is possible that what we are able to see through this method isn’t the final information.  For that reason, I’m not going to post a bunch of numbers for specific foods. Values could change when the program if fully implemented.

Second, there isn’t much information about FitPoints which is apparently the new name Weight Watchers has given to what is now called Activity Points.  It is unclear to me how FitPoints differ from Activity Points or even if they do.  I’m sure there are other changes that exist that don’t really show up in the limited information available.

What all of this means is to take my first impressions with a huge grain of salt.  The actual program when fully implemented and live may differ.   That is why I don’t want to give specific SmartPoints for particular foods.  I think, however, I can talk about the broader concepts.

Calculating SmartPoints

[Read more…]

Weight Watchers New Program Changes

(12/6 – Details on SmartPoints and Beyond the Scale from my meeting on 12/6 and from the program materials.)

(11/30 – More details about my impressions of the new program at Weight Watchers New Program First Impressions.)

Weight Watchers had said that the new program for 2016 was the “biggest change in 50 years.”  All right. Finally some information. The new Weight Watchers program coming out in December is called Beyond the Scale TM by Weight Watchers.  While I don’t know all the details there are 3 parts to it that I’ve seen.

First, we will be eating what Weight Watchers has trademarked as SmartPointsTM and activity will earn us what Weight Watchers is calling FitPointsTM .  SmartPoints are similar to PointsPlus except they also take into account sugar and saturated fat.  I played around with the calculator a little bit.  I put in a food that was 5 points under PointsPlus and which is 5 SmartPoints.  However, that food has low saturated fat and sugar.  If, for example, I said all of its fat was saturated fat and all of the carbs were sugar, then the food would be 9 SmartPoints!   So, while I haven’t figured out the formula yet it is clear that saturated fat and high sugar will really increase the SmartPoints value of the food.

For me, this probably doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.  I don’t eat beef and my saturated food intake is not all that high.  I also don’t eat a lot of added sugar any more.  But, I can imagine that for some people this will be a huge change.  I actually think it is a great change.  I’ve long felt that one of the downsides of PointsPlus was that it didn’t do enough to encourage healthy eating and that it disadvantaged even healthy fats.  I think SmartPoints is a real step in the right direction. And, it is significantly different from just counting calories since it is a real melding of the concepts of both eating fewer calories, but making sure what you are eating is a healthier food choice

The amount of SmartPoints you are given (both daily and weekly) is based upon a personalized lifestyle assessment. [Edit:  Based upon what is known now after the program is out, SmartPoints are based upon age, gender, height and weight. The lifestyle assessment does have an impact on your FitPoint goals.] It asked various questions about activity and the types of food I ate as well as wanting to know how much weight I wanted to lose.  I am on maintenance, but for this I said I wanted to lose 15 pounds. [Read more…]

After Thanksgiving

Well, Thanksgiving is gone and only the leftovers remain.  I did have some leftovers yesterday, but I weighed my turkey and measured my roasted potatoes.  After 2 weeks and 5 days of awful eating, I got a grip on Thursday and finished the week eating normally.

This morning I went to my Weight Watchers meeting.  I don’t have to weigh in until December, so I didn’t have to face that particular music yet.  This week’s  Weekly handout at the meeting was kinda cool, since my leader Dana was in it:


I loved her thought here.  I think it fits right in with the holiday eating tips that I posted here the other day.  I suggested not eating something if you don’t love it. I think Dana’s tip is looking at that from a different angle.  And, that is an angle that takes into consideration not just whether the taste is worth it, but whether the food itself is worthy of you.  When I think of some of the junk I’ve eaten, the answer is definitely no. [Read more…]

Thanksgiving Food and Weight Watchers App Update

After yesterday’s post, I was super careful in what I ate today.

Thanksgiving food 2015

I’ve eaten 30 Points Plus and plan to eat a Weight Watchers jalapeno cheese stick (1 Points Plus) in a little while.  So, I’m where I wanted to be for today.

I did weigh and measure my food to make sure I stayed within my portions that I had planned.  I didn’t feel deprived and I enjoyed everything I ate.  And, I’m glad to be back into normal eating.

I got a bit of surprise when I went to Weight Watchers to try to record my food.  Online, I saw that I was at -114 Points Plus for the week.  Now, this hasn’t been a good week, but it hasn’t been that bad.  So, I went to my iPhone app.  While the online tracker has been wonky, the phone app has usually been more accurate.  I found that it also said I was in the red by 114 Points Plus.  I looked at it carefully and found that on some days it was double counting my points.  So, the day I really ate 53 Points Plus (awful, I know), the app said that I had eaten 106 Points Plus.

I then went over to the Weight Watchers message boards and found out that the phone app apparently updated last night to the “new” tracker.  So, all the errors in the online tracker are now showing up in the phone app.  Sigh.  Some members were reporting not being able to log into the app at all and that they had various other problems, including lots of inaccuracy in tracking.  I was able to log in, but the app wasn’t very responsivee and was just as inaccurate as the online tracker.

I am sure that eventually Weight Watchers will fix these problem.  I’m sure they want everything working properly before the new program comes out in December.  I doubt that they want users to think that the touted “biggest change in 50 years” is broken apps and a non-functional website.

I always have trouble talking about this kind of thing with Weight Watchers.  I have no doubt that they want to have a good product.  And, certainly, I want them to have a successful launch of the new program.  I am really pulling for them.  On the other hand, Weight Watchers’ technological backwardness is just baffling to me.  I don’t understand how they can get this so wrong so often.  I know they are trying, but that isn’t enough.  They need to deliver a product that brings value to their members.  A functional website and app should be a given.  Here’s hoping it all gets cleared up soon.

This Must Stop!

This must stop and it must stop now!  Actually, there are two things must stop.  First, the Weight Watchers online trackers have lost the ability to do math.  Second, my eating has been out of control.

Weight Watchers Trackers/Dashboard

This week Weight Watchers evidently decided the beta dashboard and beta trackers were good enough and deleted the old ones.  Sigh.  While they say they plan to add back in some functionality later (including the weight loss graph), the move has apparently resulted in more problems.  For example, if you look at the tracker for where I was at the end of Day 7 of last week, it looks like this:

11-20-2015 diary

Now, you might think I did really great last week.  I ate all my weekly points, but I had 94 Activity Points left!  Well, yes, that would be great.  Alas, I earned a paltry 4 Activity Points last week.  I actually ended up 31 points in the red!

This week, the new tracker says I’ve earned 19 Activity Points.  I haven’t.  I’ve actually (per the phone app) earned 3. [Read more…]