Last Sunday based upon the information from the UK version of the new Weight Watchers 2018 program (called Weight Watchers Flex there), I started following the program as best as I could. I read the UK FAQs and followed some UK groups and felt I had enough information to do this. I believe based upon trademark applications that the program will be called Weight Watchers Freestyle in the U.S.
This was an interesting week to start, of course, since it was Thanksgiving in the U.S. Because of the holiday and my mom visiting I had most of my higher point days loaded toward the end of the week which isn’t typical for me.
I didn’t weigh in at Weight Watchers during this period since I’ve already weighed in for November. However, I did weigh at home on a daily basis. For the week, I am down .8 pounds this morning from where I was last Sunday. Given the holiday and the fact I feel like I am retaining water (lots of high sodium foods the past few days), I was very happy with this.
So here are how the days compared in terms of point totals with old program first and new program second. Note, that I don’t have access to Weight Watchers online telling me how many points foods are under the new program. I am estimating “mixed” foods (those with zero point ingredients and with pointed ingredients) based upon the criteria set forth on the UK Weight Watchers pages and the reports I’ve gotten from UK members. So, it could be slightly off, but I think has the basics correct.
Sunday – 37 – 25
Monday – 22 – 20
Tuesday – 29 – 27
Wednesday – 26 – 23
Thursday – 48 – 48
Friday – 27 – 23
Saturday – 43 – 27
As you can see, some days I had huge differences in points between the two programs and some days I had none. On last Sunday and on yesterday, I went out to eat. I actually had the same thing both times which including salmon and corn which are now zero point foods. So, that is why there is the huge difference in the points under the old and new program. Note, that on Thanksgiving there was no difference. Instead of turkey this year, we had duck and ham which are pointed. The only zero point foods I had on Thanksgiving were veggies that are zero point under both programs. For “regular” days that I didn’t eat out, the difference in points was usually 2 to 4 points difference.
My highest calorie day was yesterday – 1441 calories – which was 43 points on the current program and 27 on the new program. Note that on Friday I ate 23 points on the new program and that was only 830 calories. So, not much difference in points although a big difference in calories. The difference was that Friday I didn’t have salmon and corn. The main difference on Friday between the current program (27 points) and new program was that I had a bean and corn salad that was 6 points under the current program, but only 2 on the new program.
The result of everything was that on the “old” program I ate a total of 232 points for the week. My daily points in losing mode + weekly points equals a total of 238 available points during the week. So, I was just under that. However, because you can’t rollover unused daily points on the current program, I ended the week having overdrawn my weekly points by 5 points. That was OK, though, as I had FitPoints available to swap.
On the new program, I ended up eating all of my weekly points which was fine.
Overall, I liked the program. I do think it encouraged healthier eating for me. It certainly made a difference when I went out to eat. Yesterday, for example, was my last day of the week. I knew I had 4 Weekly SmartPoints left. Of course, I had some FitPoints left so I could eat those as well, but I wanted to stay within my Weekly SmartPoints if possible. So, when I was discussing with my husband where to go eat, I definitely wanted to go somewhere that I could eat something that would clearly include some zero point foods. Before, that wouldn’t have been an issue.
Also, I had a bean salad for dinner 2 nights this week. Again, I wanted something mostly zero point. The only points in it were in the oil for the dressing. So, again, that was encouraging healthier eating for me. I had had a similar bean salad in the past but tended not to have it often because of the points even though it wasn’t that high in calories. I like beans, but I had tended not to like the points from them. Now, I have room for them.
At the same time, I didn’t feel this was so restrictive that I had to have the new zero point foods every day. On Thanksgiving itself, I didn’t have of them. Other days there were only minor differences — usually due to one serving of chicken or fish. I felt that the balance was fine. Of course, I don’t eat beef anyway so maybe it would have been more difficult if I had been eating beef on a daily basis.
So, is 23 daily points enough? I was worried that it wouldn’t be. I know that most days I haven’t been eating 7 SPs of foods that are now 0 point. But, I think two things made a difference. First, the days I ate out I really tried to make zero point foods the centerpiece of the meal. I won’t always do that, of course, but it worked out well this week. Second, I started adjusting my eating to include zero point foods that I didn’t used to eat that often, such as the bean salad. I will continue doing this next week.
I also tracked calories. The average for the week was OK. I averaged 1115 calories per day. Yes, I know that for many people that is way too low. But, I am short, older and I live a sedentary lifestyle. And, this week I was more careful than usual on eating since I didn’t go to the Y to workout because of having my mom as a house guest and because of the holiday. So, even though I did some walking I didn’t burn the calories I usually burn on weight lifting.
That said, my calories each day varied wildly for the same or nearly the same points. I had 2 days that I ended up under 1000 calories. I didn’t set out to do it. I wasn’t hungry. It just worked out that way. one day I ate 825 calories which was 22 points under the current program and 20 under the new program. Then, later in the week I ate 830 calories which was 27 points under the current program and 23 under the new program. I would have gotten a blue dot for 6 of the days on the new program, but for only 3 days on the current program.
I ate over 1200 calories on 3 of the 7 days. Mostly, that was OK. The one caution was the day that I ate 1441 calories and 27 points on the new program which compares to another day that 830 calories was 23 points. That is a big difference. And, the main difference was the amount of 0 point foods I ate on those days. Yesterday, those 1441 calories were 43 points on the current program.
As I saw, the averages for the week in terms of calories were fine. But, if I ate every day like I ate yesterday that would be a problem for me as I don’t lose weight if I eat 1441 calories every day. On paper, I should lose weight eating that but I don’t. I think it is an example of how calorie counts are often not that precise.
But, the reality is that I knew yesterday was an eating out day and was higher calorie so I don’t eat like that every day. It is a good reminder though that zero point is not zero calorie. I dual track calories all the time anyway so this won’t be a problem for me. But, I do think people will need to pay attention to how much they eat of zero point foods. Be reasonable, don’t think you can just eat with abandon.
But my first week’s verdict: I like the changes. I had concerns about whether 23 daily points would be enough and it will be. I can see that I will probably be eating most of my weekly points each week. On non-holiday weeks on the current program, I often didn’t eat all my weekly points. I didn’t set out not to eat them, but I tended to eat about half of them, on average. I know some people feel they shouldn’t eat weekly points. I’ve never agreed with that. Back when I first joined Weight Watchers, it was an exchange program. You got so many exchanges and a handful of optional calories each week. I always ate them all. I still got to goal. Weight Watchers has always been designed for us to lose weight eating weekly points. So, I think I am likely to end up eating most of my weekly points. Not everyone will do that, of course. I do like a lot of the new zero point foods. But, I like a lot of foods that do have points. But, this week has shown me that I can lose weight eating most (or even all) of my weekly points.
I will continue with the new program this week. I usually go to a Saturday meeting. But, I will go to a meeting next Sunday so I can get all the materials on the new program in the United States. Check back next Sunday for my post on the new program after it is unveiled in the U.S.