Weight Watchers Flex or Freestyle for 2018: The New Program

November 15, 2017   158 Comments

The 2018 New Weight Watchers Flex debuted in the United Kingdom yesterday and will be coming to the USA (perhaps as WW Freestyle).

New Weight Watchers Flex 2018

UPDATE 12/03/2017 - CHECK OUT MY POST Weight Watchers New Program: Freestyle FOR THE LATEST ON THE NEW PROGRAM.

I wrote last week about the New Weight Watchers and I got a lot right except for the name – Weight Watchers Freestyle. Of course, it is possible that WW will call the US version Freestyle and the UK version Flex so maybe I got that right too.

What we really care about is not the name but what changes in 2018 will make the new program better or worse than the old one?

The really good news is that Weight Watchers is still using Smart Points so your calculators, scales and many of your recipes will remain the same.

What are the big changes?

  • There are now 200 ZeroPoints foods including eggs, fat-free yogurt, fish, turkey and chicken breast.
  • You are allocated less daily points.
  • You can roll over your points when you don’t use them – up to 4 points per day will get added into your weekly allowance.
  • You can earn FitPoints that can be transferred to SmartPoints.

New Zero Point foods

Just like the old program, all fruits and vegetables are zero points (except for the ones that weren’t last time such as avocados, potatoes, and sweet potatoes). The change is that they added in some lean protein that will now be zero.

You will have to adjust the recipes in which you use these foods to get the new SmartPoints value. That will be a pain (especially for me because I use a ton of beans).

Here is an abbreviated list of the zero points additions:

  • Eggs
  • Fat-Free yogurt included Greek
  • Salmon, tilapia, oysters, crab, shrimp
  • Canned tuna in spring water
  • Chicken and turkey breast, deli and cooked
  • Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils
  • Tofu

Less Daily Points

My friend Mark has 10 less daily points and I have 7 less daily points. I went from 30 to 23 and I still have 35 weekly points. I think the change is probably because they are giving you so many more FREE foods. If they left the daily points value the same you would be eating more and the program might not work (as you would not be reducing your calorie intake).

Rollover Points

Let’s say my daily allowance is 23 and I only eat 19. Those 4 points don’t just disappear like in the old days! Now, those 4 points get added to my weekly allowance to be used when I need them. You can do this multiple days in a row to save up for a big event but you can't roll over more than 4 points per day (so no starving yourself).

FitPoints into SmartPoints

This part was confusing to me so maybe others can illuminate the program. If you hit certain fitness goals, you earn Fit points, and then you can choose to turn those into SmartPoints. You can keep track of your FitPoints using a fitness tracking device or an Apple Watch but you can also do it manually.

Before you can earn a SmartPoint you must walk around 3,000 steps per day (or do the equivalent). The next 1,000 steps (or equivalent) will get you a SmartPoint which gets put into your weekly allowance.

My Conclusion

I still think Weight Watchers is hard to beat when it comes to a healthy long term weight loss program. Whether they call it Flex or Freestyle in 2018, I love the inclusion of protein in zero points because dietary science has shown that protein is important for satiety (feeling full). I think it may make the program easier to follow.

Mark said that he is finding the program more restrictive because of the drop in his daily points allowance (which could be a big problem).

I love the focus on exercise and that a couch to 5K program is included in the app. It is also cool to see them integrate fitness tracking devices into the WW program.

So far, I like that the changes aren't too drastic but I haven’t been on the program long enough to know if they are an improvement.

Have you tried Weight Watchers Flex plan? What do you think?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 158 )

i see weight watchers has a diet wine out now too. have you seen it?


Thank you for outlining the changes in WW.

Nice to see the Zero point foods.

Wow, this does sound interesting. Hated smartpoints when it came out but like these changes.

Been trialling it for a week now and am loving it. The members of the vlsss I help at get it tonight...

I love Weight Watchers! And I love that they are always working with nutritionists to bring us the latest and greatest! The program has evolved so much since I did it (successfully) 15 years ago. This time, I will NOT slide back into old habits, and I will maintain for longer than 10 years once I loose the rest of what I gained! The new free foods listed are fantastic! Can't wait for the entire program to roll out! Barbara

Signed up for this yesterday but app didn’t change to flex. Seems if you’re a returning member the new system won’t click in until weigh-in day. I did wonder if daily points would reduce (guess they would need to). Will see how I get on. Have linked app to Fitbit.

Another new program what a surprise. I lost a lot of weight on Points Plus and couldn't lose on smart points so I quit finally. Although I'm missing the meetings and the camaraderie between the members, I still follow Points Plus and I feel that that's the best program because it's easy.

I fail to understand why WeightWatchers doesn't address high sodium and high sugar foods.. in fact they sell them at the meeting as snacks. $$$ all about money.

I really do miss the meetings and the weigh in but it's going to take a lot more than a fancy new complicated program to get me back. Good luck to you all in your weight loss Journey.

I'm worried about having less daily pts and eating zero pt foods. Sounds like simple filling and l didn't do well when I tried it. Afraid I will overeat . Guess will have to wait and see.

Janet, the smart points program does address high sugar foods. Sugars are calcium in the smart points values. Anything that is high in sugar has a very high smart points value.

I’m concerned about the drastic point reduction. I don’t eat fish, eggs or tofu. I can’t eat chicken daily nor should I. Too much protein can be bad for your health. You should only have .8 to 1 grams for you weight in kilograms. I weigh 160 so I should only have 60-70 grams of protein a day. My daughter is a RD and that is the formula they use. I probably eat 4-5 points of the now free stuff so if they take away 10 points. Where am I going to make it up?

Luckily, I’m lifetime and I get 120+ fitpoints a week so I will just use those. I am anxious to see what it’s really about so even though I’m concerned, I want to get the specifics before I make any decisions.

I'm nervous about the changes. I usually feel good about the changes and do love SmartPoints. It might take a little more planning and prepping (which could be a good thing). But I don't eat meat, so I'm glad that beans will be free! And tofu! I do wonder if it's going to include tofu/soy products as well. Can I eat a veggie burger for 0 points? I might have to see about making my own. I only get 10 minutes to eat lunch, so it has to be something quick. Usually it's a sandwich with veggie deli slices. I get 30 sp (36 when I'm maintaining) and 6 goes to breakfast, 3 for a snack in the morning, 6 for lunch, 15 for supper or other snacks. Sometimes I use all 15 for supper, and just snack on fruit. Sometimes I have a lighter supper and snack on popcorn or frozen yogurt, etc. So I'm a little nervous how this plan will affect my eating. But if I can find quick meals for lunch, I should be okay. I will be adding more beans and tofu to my diet! I am excited about the changes too. Always gives me a kick in the butt!

Maybe I’m confused about what you are saying about the daily points. How are you at 28 for daily points, when the lowest you can be at is 30 sp’s?

Glad to see fat free Greek yogurt is free, as that's my breakfast with 1/2 of a banana and some other fruits. Also add 1 oz nuts. I have cut out meats and process foods during the week, so it seems I will be using most of my points on the weekend.

Does anyone know when this plan is scheduled to debut in the U.S.? I hated smart points and left weight watchers after a successful 50 pound loss on points plus, but I'm thinking the rollover points, free foods, and ability to use activity points again might be do-able for me.

I lost over 80 lbs. Kept it off for the past 6 years. Had hip replaced this summer ended up with infection and operated on again. Gained some weight back and started back to WW

My question would be how would the new program help me since it is all pretty much what I always eat now since I am a vegetarian.

@Shelly - I haven't been on WW for a while so I remembered 28 daily points but I bet you are right and it was 30. I will change the post. Thank you!

@Julie - I hear it is December 2nd. It could be worth a try! Thanks for your question.

Thanks for the info! I am in the U.S. and they tell us for weeks that it is going to be great. I am more of a 'just tell me what it is and I will tell you if it is great' kind of person! Ha! This will work for me, I already eat quite a few of those things! Thanks!

Thanks for posting this Lisa. If all this is true, it's awesome. My leader says it will roll out the first week of December.

What about the simply filling plan...any changes there? With the free protein choices it is steering more towards simply Filling!Which is great!

Sounds like a high protein, high fruit and vegetable plate which kind of combines Paleo with fruit. I love the idea. Protein keeps me full and the tendency to over-eat eggs and turkey etc is slim for me. I would definitely need a big drop in available points though. Otherwise too much food for me and I'm a volume eater... that can be dangerous. When does it roll out here?

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