How does Weight Watchers work? I get this question a lot since so many people find me through Google.
When I first heard of Weight Watchers, there were only meetings to attend without an online presence. You went to a meeting, got weighed at the beginning, and then were given a plan to follow until the next week. People talked about their experiences, choices, and struggles and it was a strong community.
The idea was simple. Write everything down and keep your food under a certain points number (that was assigned to you based on your weight and goals) to keep your calorie intake in check.
Now, you can join online, talk to a coach, and skip meetings. The plan is called Weight Watchers Flex or Freestyle depending on whether you live in the UK or USA, respectively. It is pretty different than the old plans.
The biggest change is now you have over 200 zero points foods that you don’t have to count. If the food isn’t on this list, then you must count it and you are given a number of daily and weekly points based on your weight and goals.
What happens is that you end up counting foods that have added sugar, a lot of saturated fat, or a high level of carbohydrates. These are the foods that tend to have the most to do with weight gain and maintenance.
I happen to hate weighing, counting, and tracking my food so I thought that Freestyle would be a huge hit! But, some people absolutely hate it. They find that the list is too restrictive (they are getting sick of the food on the list) and want to be able to have more discretionary points.
My post New Weight Watchers Freestyle Review: Hate or Love? has over 200 comments and about 70% love the new program and 30% hate it.
Here is a comment from Sarah:
Love freestyle. No longer feel punished by eating healthy foods - instead, I feel rewarded! Freestyle pushes you to eat healthy foods but leaves room for indulgences. I ate a 6 course dinner at a French restaurant, including 2 glasses of wine, for New Years and didn’t gain— because I planned for it and have been adjusting my other meals/activity for the week accordingly.
I never feel hungry. If I’m out of points for the day and hungry, I can eat fruit and yogurt, white bean chicken chili, chicken salad, or tofu veggie stir fry for zero points. What?! it’s crazy awesome. I love it.
She is indicative of the fans of the program. Here is Jeanette’s perspective:
I don't like Freestyle. I am already sick of chicken, chicken, chicken, eggs, eggs, eggs. I never did like chicken that much...and anything you DO to the chicken will make it NOT zero points...as in season it, put barbeque sauce on it, etc. I can't afford fish or sea food more than once a week, tops. I have not lost any weight on this plan. Inspite of careful measuring and tracking. It is super boring. There is no "fun" in it. I feel like this narrow way of eating is being forced on me.
The perception that Freestyle is flexible comes from Weight Watchers which states: “you’ll lose weight and have total freedom with your food choices”.
That statement is literally true but in practice – it isn’t the heart of the program. The process ensures that you limit your treats – foods that cost you points – and eat the zero point list which is very healthy but narrow.
For example, you could decide to drink a 12 ounce can of Coca Cola and it would cost you 9 Freestyle SmartPts. I only got 23 points for a day so that can was almost half!
Being on this plan would definitely stop me from drinking Coke and that is probably a good thing for my health.
I do think the plan is very healthy and I would hope it would help its members to lose weight (and have a little fun doing it).
How does Weight Watchers work for you?
Other posts you might like:
The 2018 New Weight Watchers Flex debuted in the United Kingdom yesterday and will be coming to the USA (perhaps as WW Freestyle)....
The new Weight Watchers Freestyle program has about a month to simmer and now it is time for a review.....