Here it is - Weight Watchers New Program! It is called Freestyle and it is launching today.
Many of you have been anticipating a change in the Weight Watchers program for a while since you noticed that all the WW books and calculators went on sale for 50% off. In the UK, they started the new program last month and called it Weight Watchers Flex.
I guess in the USA we like to be FREE.
The really good news is that Weight Watchers new program (Flex or Freestyle) is still using Smart Points so your calculators, scales and many of your recipes will remain the same.
Roll Out of New Plan
If you are on the online version or the meeting, you will not start the program until you weigh in and start your new week. All the recipes on the website will have the new Smart Point numbers when you start using Freestyle. If you go to the meetings, this week will be the roll-out week when you get to start.
The recipes that have the new zero point foods (see below) will have to be recalculated. I will do that here on Snack Girl and let you know when all I have completed the work.
What Are the Big Changes?
- There are now 200 ZeroPoints foods including eggs, fat-free yogurt, fish, skinless 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:
- Fat-Free yogurt included Greek
- Salmon, tilapia, oysters, crab, shrimp
- Canned tuna in spring water
- Skinless chicken and turkey breast, deli and cooked
- Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils
This program is very vegetarian friendly. Before, you would get really dinged for eating beans and now they are FREE! This will make it easier for people who use beans as their main source of protein to follow the program and I think that it is a great change.
Emphasis on Sugar and Saturated Fat
When you calculate SmartPoints for a recipe or packaged food, you will still have to plug in number of calories, and grams of saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Whenever you have a high sugar or saturated fat number, the SmartPoints number will also be high. Cutting out the sugar is a healthy choice that many of us need to make so I can say that I am happy that Freestyle continues this focus.
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).
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).
You cannot roll over points from the previous week. Once you weigh in, you start again with the same number of weekly points. You can also choose not to rollover points if you don't want to use this option.
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.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Weight Watchers new program continues to help people who are prediabetic lose weight and improve their overall blood sugar numbers after 6 months on the program. The improvements have been shown to be sustained after 12 months.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized Weight Watchers new program (Freestyle and Flex) as a National Diabetes Prevention Program. Weight Watchers incorporates the curriculum from the CDC to help people turn their eating around and gain control of their weight.
This can be a great program if you have been told that you are prediabetic and need support in making the changes to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
I still think Weight Watchers is hard to beat when it comes to a healthy long term weight loss program. 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 (especially for vegetarians).
The best part is the inclusion of beans as zero points. They are filling, inexpensive, versatile, and low in saturated fat. I always wondered why a recipe with beans ended up to be so high in SmartPoints. I love this change.
My friend, 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).
It is cool to see them integrate fitness tracking devices into the WW program. I think that will make it easier for people to track their activity without much work.
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.
What do you think of the new plan? Are you game to try out the changes or ready to quit?