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.

The result is that it says my Daily Points are 30 (they are currently 26), and my weekly points are now 28 (down from 49)!  I think part of that is based upon the fact that I said I mostly sit during the day.  This reminds me a bit of the old days when your points range was based in part on your level of activity.  (I don’t know if level of activity is a factor on how many SmartPoints you are alloted, though).  [Edit:  Nope.  Now that the program is out we know that activity has no effect on SmartPoints, but does affect the FitPoints goal]. As to how the daily points equate to calories per point, I can’t tell that yet.  Like I say, for a number of foods I eat there is no difference.  But, for foods that have high sugar and high saturated fats, I think they will be higher SmartPoints. [Edit:  Yep.  Sometimes as much as double.  Protein will reduce the SmartPoints value.]

The next part is that activity will earn FitPoints.  I’m not sure yet whether this is simply Activity Points with a new name.  [Edit:  Yep.  Except they are way easier to earn.] It was indicated that we would receive a FitPoints goal but I don’t seem to have one yet.  If I do, I haven’t found it.

The third part of the program is apparently based upon being, well, happy.  That is, if you take care of yourself and are happy, then you do better in taking care of yourself.  What is being done to help with that is unclear to me.

So, there you have it.

How do I know this?

First, Australian Weight Watchers site has a page talking a little about the new program, entitled “Are you ready for great change?”  Basically, it said that there are 3 pillars to the program which are food, fit, and feel.  SmartPoints nudge “you toward nutritious foods that are lower in sugar and saturated fat and higher in protein.”

Then, activity earns FitPoints.  The site says you get a weekly FitPoints goal.

The third part is Feel and states that “happier people make healthier choices.”  It says the program will start next week and that an email will be sent how telling people how to do their personal assessment. (Note that this is in Australia so the procedure may be different in other countries).

I also lurked for info on the Weight Watchers UK board where a member said that their leader had said that fruit was still zero point, but if placed in a smoothie would be counted.

Now, how did I do the assessment and how am I using the calculator?  I set my computer’s date for December 12th.

Date

To do this, I right clicked on the clock and selected adjust date/time and then set it for Saturday the 12th.  I first tried setting it for 12/6 and that didn’t work.  It just called up the calculator we use now.  My Weight Watchers week, though, starts on a Saturday.  So the first Saturday after 12/6 is 12/12 so I set the clock for that.  When I did that and logged in, I got the screen giving me the information about the program and then it asked me to go through the assessment.  I did that and then got the screen showing my daily and weekly Smart Points. I then to the calculator and started calculating points.

Lots to be said about the program and my thoughts even at this point.  But, I want to get this information out since I know people are interested in it.  In brief, I love the idea of SmartPoints and how they are calculated.  I love the personalized setting of Weekly Points.  I am not sure yet how FitPoints differ from Activity Points.  I think having a goal for them is a good idea, but not a huge game changer.  The Feel part of the program is something that I agree with (happier …> healthier choices), but not sure how specific this will be in terms of what we will do differently.

Is it the biggest change in 50 years?  I’m not sure.  On the fitness part, it doesn’t seem like it but there may be stuff I don’t know yet.  On the SmartPoints and how they treat sugar and saturated fat?  Maybe.  For some people it will be a huge change.  For me, probably not so much since I already didn’t eat a huge amount of those foods.  But, for someone who does…this will be big.  I like it so far.

[Edited on 1/14/2016 to point out some things from the vantage of now knowing the program.]

Comments

  1. Emma says

    Ha! I love that you changed the time on your PC, very clever! I’m really looking forward to seeing what the changes are and how they work for me, because I’ve been stuck in a rut for a while (although that’s not Weight Watchers’ fault). Thanks for doing this post, it was really interesting and it’s probably the most information I’ve found about the new program.

    • says

      Ever since I got back to goal, I’ve just sort of been sticking around there, but I really want to lose a little more. So I’m looking forward to the new program. I think it will definitely shake things up.

      • Lana says

        I agree…very clever of you to think of the pc clock! Thanks for the info…can’t wait to get started with this next week!

    • Anna says

      No need to reset a PC date – if you track on a smartphone, simply move forward to the date of your WW group’s kick-off – the new setup with new points for daily and weekly, plus the new calculator, are all there. Eezy peezy! Please remember to rely on your leader’s info. Hit or miss info prior to hearing it from the ones in the know, can lead to confusion and having to unlearn what may or may not be actually part of the program. Patience is a virtue!

      • says

        Except right now I can’t even log into the app. Sigh. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

        Edit: I’m now able to log in and can scroll to next Saturday on my phone. It does show my new SmartPoints, but the calculator is still the PointsPlus calculator.

  2. Sue says

    One problem I find with the current system is the “free” fruits and veggies. If you eat one orange it is zero points but lets say you ate 3 oranges – the calculator would still say zero points. It doesn’t take into account the accumulation of more than a serving of fruits.

  3. says

    Sounds interesting and I really need a change. I always felt that “free” fruit should be limited to 2 servings per day; any over that and you need to count the points.

  4. Barbara says

    I just called the WW toll free number which I found while looking for the meeting times at the WW center closest to me. I want to go to a meeting this month when the new Program is introduced and needed to know what date the new information would be shared with members so I could get to that meeting. I reached a guy who I could barely understand even though he said he was in the US. I asked about the new Program and he told me that there was NO NEW PROGRAM being introduced this year (?). So I hung up & called back and was told by another employee who answered that she did not no anything about a “new” program and that they were not told in advance when a change in or a new program would be introduced. When I told her I had read this site and thought it would be out early in December, she said she had never heard of it. Is all of WW this screwed up? I think I’m going to contact Oprah.

    • says

      I know that some people prefer surprise, but others like to know. For me, I like to know and recognize that the leaders can only hit the high points in a 30 minute meeting. I am sure, though, that I will find out plenty of surprises when I go to my meeting on Sunday.

      • Elaine says

        Sorry there are confidentiality agreements and WW employees can only divulge what the company allows. Sorry if people don’t like that. It is really a bummer that people who are working so hard to deliver something spectacular get the rug pulled out from under them. That said– LITERALLY LIFE CHANGING– GET READY!

        • says

          Oh, I totally understand that WW employees have to keep their lips zipped. I commend them for it.

          For me, I know that finding out something about what is coming has just made me more excited to hear about it. Even with all the research I’ve done on it, I am so looking forward to going to the meeting on Sunday. And, reading that “LITERALLY LIFE CHANGING” just makes me smile. I can’t wait!

          • Elaine says

            You are clearly a beautiful person! Can’t wait to hear what you think after your leader reveals…

            It’s BEYOND my greatest expectations!

            Enjoy… And try and be patient with the technology… Its AMAZING!

        • Dianne Gerstel says

          I am a life member & have been successful on points plus. I was on 26 pts. To lose & also 26 to maintain. Is that right? Also, is the new smart points calculator on line?

          • says

            Usually on maintenance you start out by adding 6 daily points. Of course, you can move that up or down depending on how well you maintain.

            If you are a WW subscriber or have free etools at lifetime, there is a calculator add the WW website and on the mobile app.

  5. Alberta says

    You are one smart cookie to change the date. I will need to try it and see how it works. But as far as WW staying secret, they did that when they changed the point system some years back. And some people liked it, some did not. Thank you for the info. I will wait and see what changes and the final outcome. And go from there. And like any change, some will like it some will not. But I have an open mind and that is the best way to look at it.

    • says

      Agree. I always like checking out a new program. I’ve liked some more than others, of course. I really am excited about this one though.

  6. says

    I commend you on your sleuthing. I always find a little advance info comforting, myself. For those of us who don’t use e-tools, do you know if a new points calculator be required?

    • says

      I feel the same way about having some advance notice. It is hard for me to imagine how they could make a current calculator work since the way SmartPoints is being calculated is so different.

  7. Victoria says

    I worry about the term FitPoints. I find they already really try to sell the FitBits and I hope it isn’t basically required. I have an 18 month old some and a farm. I don’t need an activity tracker to tell me that I move a lot.

    • says

      I think the term “Fit” is just meant to refer more to fitness and not specifically to the Fitbit. From what I can see you can still track activities without using an activity monitor.

  8. Nan says

    I am not a fan of all the hype and teasers leading up to this rollout, although I understand the marketing reasons behind it. I’m trying to stay positive about what’s coming but it is getting increasingly difficult with all the trouble my group is having with the app. It has done nothing towards building confidence in their tech support. Perhaps a better idea would have been to leave the app alone until all bugs were tested and worked out. I know they wanted that period of input though so that might not have worked. I’m just cranky because my most-used feature has gone away…calculator right up front on the home page and also the ability to do a search from within my Favorites. I have to scroll through the whole darn list to get to the bottom of the alpha list.

    • says

      The app and website problems have really just cast a pall over the whole thing. It is a real shame because I think the new program will be good. But, I’m actually tracking my points on paper now (and on MyFitnessPal). Here’s hoping it gets fixed fast. I also agree the search issue is a big one.

  9. Stacy says

    With changing the date on my computer and completing the questionnaire, it gave me 30 daily points and 42 weekly. Under PP I have 31 daily and 49 weekly. So if this holds true at launch, I would be losing points, but it looks like many foods I regularly eat would be going up in points (even if just by 1 or 2). I don’t know how I feel about that. Yes, they are moving in a healthier direction by trying to have us limit sugar and saturated fat, but one of the things I have liked about WW is being able to still enjoy what I am eating. This new system sounds more like a “diet” in the traditional sense to me and I’d have to give up a lot more to stick with the plan. I will wait and see how it goes though.

    • says

      What I have found following it this week is that I use a lot more of my weekly points. I am currently just starting the last day of my WW week and I have 8 Weekly Points left using SmartPoints while I would have 21 left if using PointsPlus. I have had some of the more indulgent food this week (I had 88 calories – 4 SmartPoints – worth of dark chocolate last night), had Thanksgiving leftovers, ate out twice. In short, I think I’ll be eating more of my weekly points with this. Now, I do think that how often I can do something like have a really high sugar food will be fewer or will need to be a smaller portion size.

    • says

      I don’t know. I know that Power Foods aren’t marked the same way in the listing of foods. A member from the UK in another comment said that Filling & Healthy (the UK version of Simply Filling) is staying, but that the F&H foods won’t show as F&H on the tracker unless doing F&H for the whole day. But, until it goes live, not really sure.

      • Elaine says

        I did your date trick with my computer and the website started me out on the assessment. But I couldn’t find much more than that. Thank you for posting all this. I am one who needs time to process things/changes mentally. The last time they changed from Points and CORE to…whatever it was, really threw me and I never could find my footing again. I only rejoined WW 6 weeks ago and just changed to SF today, so I was very nervous today at meeting when they announced the “big reveal” for next week. We’ll see.

        • says

          Once you change your date, if you go to the food calculator for the future date (I’m pretending it is 2 weeks from now), if you put in values for a food (like one you would use weekly points on for Simply Filling), it will calculate according to new SmartPoints formula not the PointsPlus one. Some foods won’t change but others will.

  10. T.O. says

    I’m not sure if you found out where your fit goal is located. If so, disregard this post.

    You can check out your fit goal by going into your settings…where you would change your weight information. That’s where I found mine. Your main page or “My Day” page also gives you your daily goal. Based on my responses to the assessment, my daily goal is 7 fit points per day or 49 for the week.

    • says

      That will depend on the individual person. At my meeting this morning, though, a WW staff member showed how she had lost weight (even though she was at lifetime) since she started on SmartPoints in August. I think someone really living by the new program will likely show a better loss.

  11. Anne says

    I’m somewhat bummed about the new program. While, I get more daily Smart Points, it is negated by the fact that several of the daily staples (100 calorie, stevia sweetened, Greek yogurt, light salad dressing, a microscopic amount of fat free half and half, etc) of my diet are a point more. In addition my small indulgences (primarily WW ice cream products) 3 or so times a week are pretty much going to cause me to blow through my 28 bonus points over the course of a week. Eating out (which the 49 bonus points allowed for) a couple of times a month will be done knowing full well I have NO points to cover for it,

    The program calculates points based on calories, sugar, saturated fat, and protein. What the heck happened to fiber????? In addition, it appears that fit points cannot be accrued and exchanged for food points.

    I have been extremely successful on the Points Plus, consistently losing about 1-1.5 lbs per week since I restarted in August. I’m not saying I can’t be successful on this program, however, I’m pretty sure I will end up feeling deprived and demoralized if I choose to go out for a normal date night meal at a restaurant, which really sucks. My husband thinks I should continue on Points Plus using an old calculator I have, but I’m going to give it a month and see how I feel. Really wish they had waited until after the holidays to unveil this little zinger. Guess no holiday treats for me unless I want to eat naked salads and fruit for two days. Sigh. 😔

    • says

      You can still swap FitPoints for food. And, if you were doing well on PointsPlus doing that, then I think it would make sense to keep doing it. The default is to not swap, but you can change the default and swap. You do that in settings. It is an adjustment, though. WW says that 40% of foods don’t change in points. Some go down, but more of them go up. I followed it all last week and had 8 SmartPoints left and ate out twice. I had dark chocolate (small portion) 3 times during the week. I had to eat much more carefully though. I agree that giving a month is a good idea.

  12. jenifer fontes says

    hi, i’m from Brazil.
    thanks for the post.
    Waiting for the change,always good when healthy food is the priority
    weight watchers has changed my life!

  13. Anne says

    Every Sunday I go to a church meeting where they always serve donuts. I usually take a donut and eat half of it which would be 3 or 4 points plus. NOW this little splurge of half a donut is 8 smart points, 16 for the entire donut. Oh, and you wouldn’t believe what happens if you put some of the powered creamer in your coffee! I hate this new program. Now I feel like I am on a DIET. I lost 43 pounds on points plus, kept it off and had fun doing it. In fact nobody knew I was on WW because I could eat what ever I wanted. Now I feel so restricted. How is anybody going to start the New Year off and not eat sugar……..ever…….

    • says

      I think part of the key is to eat smaller portions and try to make substitutions. The WW food list says a basic donut is 8 SP, glazed. One with creme filling is 12. There are some that area higher. Is it possible to substitute a lower point donut for the one you usually eat? Maybe have half a cake donut?

      On the creamer, one of the people commenting said that WW has a new creamer that is 0 points, you might look it up on the shop page. Maybe take a few packets of that with you?

  14. Cheryl Trabucchi says

    I have been on the new system only for one week. I HATE IT! I am finding a go to bed hungry and feel like I’m being defeated. Grrr

    • says

      Hi, Cheryl. I know the program is a big adjustment. And you may find in a few weeks that you still hate it and it isn’t for you. In the meantime, I’ve found that focusing on lean protein (like chicken breast, turkey breast, lean fish, etc.) really helps a lot. It is a real SmartPoints bargain. I did a post on snack foods that aren’t too high in points that might give some ideas. Also on the WW official message boards some people have been posting what they are eating so that might give some ideas.

  15. Bonnie says

    Is there a site to figure out my daily smart points? I’ve always just done ww on my own without joining and it’s worked out. Can’t find it anywhere.

  16. says

    The change makes it almost impossible for me to be on weight watchers. I loved the old system, if I stayed under my points I was losing weight and did not feel like I was starving myself. The new way I am hungry all the time. Let me give you an example for the old system: Breakfast is a slim Fast shake (4 points), Lunch a slim Fast bar (4 points), and I could eat dinner and be full. Now: Slim Fast shake (8 points), and Slim Fast Bar (7 points). Those two things together are only 390 calories but take up half of my points for the day. I get 31 point, and that leaves me eating only veggies and chicken breast every night and going to bed hungry. If I eat anything else for breakfast/lunch I would have to eat a Slim Fast for dinner. A small thing of cottage cheese with pineapple is 9 points. Just feel like they are starving me to death!

    Jeff

    • says

      I was interested by this and went and looked up Slimfast and calculated them from the nutritional info on the website. The high protein meal replacement shake I calculated was 5 SmartPoints and 180 calories. On PointsPlus it calculated as 4. The Slimfast smoothie was 9 SmartPoints made with fat free milk. But, it was 300 calories so I bought this you are talking about that since you said your shake and bar together were 390 calories. The bars on their website are 190 calories so combined with the shake would be 370 calories. The meal replacement bar calculated as 9 SmartPoints and 5 PointsPlus. So a shake (not smoothie) and bar would be 370 calories and 12 SmartPoints which for breakfast and lunch seems about right.

      On cottage cheese I am not sure why it is 9 points. Weight Watchers says regular cottage cheese is 6 SmartPoints a cup while 2% is 5 SmartPoints and 1% or fat free is 3 SmartPoints. Pineapple is 0 point unless you are blending it. If you are blending it, you could just cut the pineapple up instead and it wouldn’t be counted.

      Even if breakfast and lunch were 15 SmartPoints combined, that still leaves another 15 SmartPoint for the rest of the day, plus eating some of your weekly points.

  17. says

    Ma’am thank you for your response, I am just taking the nutrition info off the labels and plugging it in. Hood cottage cheese 5.5 oz with pineapple came out to 9. Slim fast advanced nutrition dark chocolate cherry cashew has: 200 cal, 10 fat, 2.5 sat fat, 20 carbs, 5 fiber, 9 sugar, and 10 protein. Is 7 points.

    Slim fast balanced nutrition meal replacement shake; Rich chocolate Royale has: 190 cal, 6 fat, 2 Sat Fat, 24 carbs,5, fiber, 18 Sugar, and 10 protein. Is 8 points. For a total of 15 points only ingesting 390 calories.

    After a very small dinner it leaves nothing extra and I am only getting about 1,200 calories and using more than my daily point total. . The old system had a lot more latitude. I lost weight and still could enjoy my meals. Now I eat to not die. The whole point is to have a diet normal people can live with for the long run. I cant live on slim Fast and chicken every day
    Jeff Baldwin recently posted…Great Weigh In (And a Few Thoughts on Added Sugar)My Profile

    • says

      OK, I found this shake the Chocolate Royale. Note that it has 18g of sugar. On the ingredient label the first ingredient is fat free milk, the second is water and the third is sugar. Later on is fructose. There is natural sugar in the milk and then there is added sugar. WW penalizes the added sugar. What WW is telling you on that shake is that the points are high because the sugar is high. WW wants us to foods with less sugar and saturated fat. There are other Slimfast choices that don’t have that much sugar. And, where the protein is high. Protein lowers the SmartPoints. The Slimfast Creamy Chocolate High Protein Shake is 180 calories and has 20g of protein and 1g of sugar. It is 5 SmartPoints. If you want to continue with Slimfast shakes the high protein shake is less SmartPoints than the Chocolate Royale. It has less sugar because it uses calcium caseinate and milk protein concentrate and doesn’t use fat free milk. Also it doesn’t have the added sugar in the Chocolate Royale. Note that both of the shakes use artificial sweeteners and are highly processed.

  18. Christina Ventura-DiPersia says

    I’ve been using the weight watchers app on and off since 2010 (I was pregnant for a bit of that time :), hence the off), and I have to say that i’ll be cancelling my account before the end of my next billing.
    In terms of a weight watching plan, calories are calories, and energy really is energy. Your body prefers simple carbs (glucose) for energy and has little other use for it, and will use fats and proteins for other essential functions in the body (and energy if necessary). I think it’s ridiculous that a chobani flip yogurt would be either 5 or 10 points based on a teaspoon filled with a couple chocolate crumbles and crumbs.
    Enough research has come out in the last couple of years that has showed there really isn’t a dire need to penalize saturated fat intake more so than other fats. Yes, there are benefits to healthy fats, but fat is fat (i.e., 9 calories/gram). The verdict is still out but I’m not convinced that saturated fat is something that needs to be given substantial higher point values; maybe I’m just jaded from the change in recommendations on cholesterol over the years.
    I also think that added sugar is definitely a concern, but sugar in general isn’t something that should be avoided. This new plan definitely discourages sugar intake, which I think is a mistake in a way. The sugar in an organic yogurt, albeit added, is not equal to the sugar in an 8 oz. coca-cola (and lots of reputable evidence on that too). I think this big push is to make people feel like they’re doing a lot more for themselves when in reality, there’s a direct correlation with your body fat/how much you way and your morbidity and mortality risk.
    I’d rather stick to a diet plan that’s respective of the AMDR and understands there is a balance of calorie intake.

  19. Vicky says

    Hi Kitty,
    I am wondering if you have been able to determine a calorie total for 30 Smart Points and what your thoughts are since it has been live for a while. I tried the Smart Points in Jan. for a month but it didnt work for me. I didnt like the tracking and it didnt provide enough nutrition info
    ( have 30 – 45 carbs per meal – carbs need to be spaced out). I liked the exchange plan and the first Points Plan. Any ideas. Thanks, Vicky

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