Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Q&A

This to answer questions about the Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program as well as regarding SmartPoints and FitPoints.

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Are fruits and vegetables still 0 points? 

Basically, if it was 0 before it is still 0.  There may be some exceptions, as I haven’t compared every food, but that is the general rule.  Obviously, there are foods that fit in these categories that were never 0 points, such as avocado or potatoes, etc.  Those still aren’t 0 points.

However, fruits and vegetables added to recipes via the recipe builder are now counted as 0 if they would be 0 when eaten alone.  In the past, when you added them to recipe builder, these 0 point foods would be counted and contributed to the point count.  Now, they don’t.

But, there is an exception to that as well.  If they are blended or processed then they are still counted.  So, if you use your blender to make a smoothie there will be points.  But, if you make a salad in the recipe builder, then your fruits and veggies will still be 0 point.

What about alcohol?

I don’t actually drink alcohol so I don’t really know.  But others have reported that it hasn’t changed.  Again, maybe some of them have changed, but the feedback I get is that at least most of them have not.

What food products did they have at the meeting?

There were a number of gluten-free type chips.  There were potato crisps and hummus chips.  Also some garlic sticks.  There were some cheddar twists which I was disappointed to see had refined wheat in them.  All of these were 2 SmartPoints.  There was a toffee snack bar that was 5 SmartPoints (130 calories).  It had refined wheat flour in it and 6g of sugar.  I thought it was kind of high in points for what I want to spend on a snack.  There may be other things, but that was what I noticed at the center I went to.  Oh, someone pointed out they are new coffee creamers that are 0 points. I think all of these are on the shop page at the Weight Watchers website. (Obviously, these products are those in the U.S. market).

What is in the starter kit?

It had a collapsible bowl, a cutting board with built in measuring cups, a cookbook, a nice looking journal and some coupons worth I think $30 (but I don’t know what each coupon is for).  It costs $39.95.  I didn’t need most of the things that were in it, so didn’t buy it.  The cutting board is really small, but I really liked the built in measuring cups.

What new materials came with the plan?

Plan Materials

There was a Plan Guide that had an overview about the plan. A lot of it is recipes and meal planning stuff.  There is a dining out section and a brief description of the No-Count Option which is essentially Simply Filling.  There is a list of the SmartPoints values of the 100 foods most tracked online.  Also there is information about fitness and FitPoints.

The pocket guide has the SmartPoints for a lot of foods, explains Simply Filling, and has the chart for determining how many FitPoints you’ve earned.

The Weekly Handout was what I actually found really valuable, as it had a number of Q&As in it.

How can I figure out my SmartPoints allowance if I (1) don’t have eTools or (2) want to know it before my weigh in date?

You can get this information from the handheld calculator. It was $9.95 at the meeting.

Calculator

You can also use it to calculate SmartPoints.  I have eTools but it is nice sometimes to have a calculator when I don’t have my phone or computer right there.  Also, since my official weigh in date isn’t until Saturday, this has allowed me to easily calculate my SmartPoints daily and weekly allowance.  Your allowance is based upon your weight, gender, age, and height.  The minimum allowance is 30 daily SmartPoints and 14 Weekly Points.

Are FitPoints harder to earn than Activity Points and is it true that we can’t eat them?

FitPoints are easier to earn than Activity Points.  This is shown in the Weekly.  For example, a 20 minute low intensity walk that would earn 1 Activity Point earns 2 FitPoints.  A 45 minute high intensity Zumba class that earned 9 Activity Points earns 14 FitPoints.  The old standard used to be that an Activity Point took twice the value of a PointsPlus to earn.  So, roughly, 80 calories of exercise would earn an Activity Point.  While I don’t know how many calories a FitPoint will equate to, it will obviously take less calories of exercise to earn a FitPoint.

Yes, you can still eat them.  The default setting is that you don’t swap them.  But, you can change the default to allow you to swap them for food.  If you do this, remember that it takes fewer calories of exercise to earn a FitPoint than it took to earn an Activity Point.  So, if you eat all of them it may make it harder to lose.  This can be a real problem if you think something was high intensity and give yourself FitPoints for that, but it was really closer to moderate or even low intensity.  Back before I got my activity monitor I always counted my activity at low intensity just to be safe.

While you can still eat FitPoints, Weight Watchers really prefers that you not do it.  If you need to do it so you don’t go over on SmartPoints, you can do it.  However, the preference is that it helps your weight loss and health more to do exercise for its own sake rather than eating all the calories you burned through exercise.

Isn’t this more like a diet?  This seems a lot more restrictive and it is going to be hard for me to stick within my SmartPoints and still eat all the same foods I was eating before.

I’m not going to lie.  It is a bit more restrictive.  You absolutely can eat any food.  But, you can’t eat a lot of junky, unhealthy food and still stay within your SmartPoints. I had chocolate last week 3 times and still had weekly SmartPoints left. I just ate small portions. I ate out twice this weekend and did great.  I even had potato chips.  But, there are some foods that you may have to cut down on how often you eat them or how much you eat them.

When I first got to goal with Weight Watchers in the early 1990s, it was far more restrictive on the exchange plan.  Things like cake, candy, and cookies couldn’t be eaten as part of your exchanges (equivalent to daily points, calculated differently but what you had to eat each day).  For those kinds of things, as well as food beyond your exchanges, you had to use weekly optional calories.  But, the optional calories were something like 750 calories for a week.  That was about the equivalent of 20 PointsPlus.  So, if I had a piece of chocolate layer cake, I wasn’t going to be eating very many other optional calories for that week.  And, forget having a full-size candy bar and a piece of cake in the same week.  Before WW, I used to eat a full-size Snickers bar every afternoon.  Using optional calories, I had a fun size bar occasionally.  The thing is that I had to pick and choose how and when I ate those indulgences.  I had to make choices.

By PointsPlus standards that probably sounds really restrictive.  After all, on PointsPlus, I could use my daily points for candy if I wanted to.  I could have a piece of candy on Day 1, cookies on Day 2, cake on Day 3 and then repeat it all again that week.  Yes, that greater freedom was nice in terms of enjoying what I ate.  But, I’m not really sure that the plan was doing us any favors by not putting some more limits on it.

And that is what you have with SmartPoints.  There are limits to how much of the high sugar/high saturated fat foods that you can eat. A piece of double chocolate cake, restaurant style, is shown as 27 SmartPoints.  No, you can’t eat one of those every day on SmartPoints.  But, that piece of cake is 565 calories and weighs almost 5 1/2 ounces.  That cake was  14 PointsPlus.  The reality is that none of us need to eat a lot of that kind of cake (not even those on maintenance).  And, if you do eat a portion that size, it probably should be the major indulgence for the week.  I might have it, but I would eat probably 2 ounces of it and would save a lot of SmartPoints that way.  With SmartPoints, it is vital that I think of those things and try to save some SmartPoints somehow.  With PointsPlus, it was still high points but pretty easy to fit it in the week, maybe even more than once.  It was probably too easy to eat it on PointsPlus.

So, yes, some foods have such a high SmartPoints value that you will think twice before eating them.  And, you may decide to not eat them or you may decide to eat half a serving instead.  That does limit your freedom to eat just anything.  However, Beyond the Scale is better than PointsPlus because it encourages better nutrition and tries to lead us away from eating too much of the less healthy foods.  That is good for us and it is good for our weight loss.

OK…off that soapbox.

What have you found the hardest with SmartPoints?

There are a number of things that have been an adjustment.  Last week, my food equaled 14 more SmartPoints than the foods equaled PointsPlus.  I get an extra 7 SmartPoints a week so that took care of part of it.  But, honestly, overall a week of SmartPoints costs more than a week of PointsPlus.  I went back and figured the SmartPoints for some past weeks.  There were weeks where I had PointsPlus left, but I would have been way in the red of SmartPoints.

But, that hasn’t been the hardest thing.  I am starting to see what foods have more SmartPoints and I’m quickly adjusting to eating those foods a little less or adjusting the portion sizes.  I think it will be fine overall.

My problem is the opposite one.  I used to get 26 PointsPlus and now I get 30 daily SmartPoints (with 28 Weekly SmartPoints).  Most days, especially the days I don’t eat out, my SmartPoints total is within 2 points of my PointsPlus total.  What this means is that for some days I am struggling to meet that 30 SmartPoints minimum.  On those days, I would have been fine on PointsPlus and would have met that minimum.  But, I don’t get to the 30 SmartPoints.  And, I’m not consciously trying not to get there.  I just am mostly eating foods that don’t have high SmartPoints values.  It is now almost the end of the night and I need to go eat something so I meet my minimum.

I know I can totally eat the minimum if I go out to eat a lot or eat a lot of sugary foods.  I don’t eat beef so I don’t eat a lot of saturated fat.  I did have an ounce of full fat cheese today, but I’m still not at my minimum.  I don’t want to just go eat to make the minimum.  I’m going to have to work on this throughout the day so I’m better on track to eat the minimum.  For me, it really does mean eating a little more than I used to eat on non-eating out days.

If you have other questions (or answers!) post them in the comments and I’ll answer if I can.

Comments

  1. Beth S says

    What about foods like salmon, almonds and avocado – high in fat but still very good for you. Previously they were high in points – did they stay they same or even get lower?

    • says

      My experience is that most of them stayed roughly the same. 3 ounces of farmed Atlantic Salmon was 4 PointsPlus and is still 4 SmartPoints. But, 3 ounces of wild salmon is now 3 SmartPoints instead of being 4 PointsPlus. Most nuts I’ve looked up have stayed about the same. I eat an ounce of pistachios almost everyday and it is still 5 point. But, for 2 servings it is 10 SmartPoints while it was 9 PointsPlus. 1/4 of an avocado is 3 SmartPoints.

    • says

      The same amount you would get on SmartPoints. It is based upon weight, height, age and gender. For example, I get 28 weekly SmartPoints while my husband gets 42.

  2. Becky says

    What really hit home with me, was your remarks about Points Plus and that is exactly why it didn’t work well for me. I lost great with Momentum, but I could not lose with PP+. Sure, no one was hungry on it, but there were alot of complaints about results too. I’m really excited for this new plan. After all, its about results…and thank you so much for explaining it as you see it. I’m headed for a meeting and new materials tonight.

    • says

      I have heard from others who had the same problem. So far this is doing really well for me. Weighing at home (so not official) I hit a new low weight on my home scale this morning. So far, so good.

    • says

      Completely agree! Did great with Momentum and seriously felt like I was in this cycle from he**, loosing and gained the same 5 pounds over 10 months with PP. Actually really pleased to see the direction the plan is taking and I personally find it interesting to see the grouping of points for each of my meals. Thank you for all you do, Kitty!

      • says

        Thanks. I am liking it so far. It is interesting to me that a lot of meals end up being the same points or maybe one more points, but several items have changed. That is, maybe the chicken is less points but the cheese is more so it ends up being the same point count.

  3. Cindy says

    I’m curious how the SmartPoints are compared to the traditional Points Plan. I lost 121 pounds using the points plan but gained weight the points plus plan and eventually stopped using the system. I tried to continue the points plan but it’s hard to continue when it’s not supported with product. I’m fortunate that I’ve maintained almost all of my weight loss for the last 8 years but would certainly wouldn’t mind to lose a little more.

    • says

      I’ve seen a number of people who really liked Points and Momentum, who like this plan. I think part of it is that it is easier for many to lose weight on SmartPoints.

  4. Sarah says

    All so interesting! I haven’t been able to make WW work for me since they got rid of CORE! I know it didn’t work for everyone but I lost 35 pounds on it, felt great and never had crazy cravings. When they got rid of it I gained weight and had cravings all the time.

  5. Tammie says

    I signed up online and haven’t been able to find much guidance on the web site for getting started. I would love to get that program guide and pocket guide. Are those only available at meetings? I couldn’t find them in the online store.

    • says

      I believe they are available only at meetings. You might try posting in the Message boards at Weight Watchers for general questions. Other members can be a great resource.

  6. Stephanie says

    I am a female, age 67 and weigh 208 lbs. How many SmartPoints would I get per day and as weekly SmartPoints. Thanks for your help !!!

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