Today I want to talk about Weight Watchers. Before we begin, though, let’s address the obvious. At the beginning of each year people are all about their New Years Resolutions – and this year I’m no exception. Yeah sure, it’s easy to dismiss the whole notion of resolutions as a frivolous often fruitless pursuit. Not so long ago, I was a non-believer – rolling my eyes (on the inside) when I heard people talking about their resolutions. Thought I was too cool for that stuff (insert sarcastic tone). But I was a twat. Truth is, resolutions are no different than having goals in life – and I don’t think anyone would say that having goals is a bad thing.
One of my “goals” in the new year is to drop a few
many extra pounds I’ve been carrying around. I’m not going to go into the history of my journey to a healthier self in this post but maybe one day I’ll tell you all that story. Suffice to say, I’m no stranger to “diets”. At this point in my life, however, it’s about living the best life I can live and not what size jeans I wear. Quite frankly, aesthetics are an after thought. I could care less about fitting into some external, contrived notion of how I should look. I want to be fit for my daughter, future children and family. Another concept I’ve rolled my eyes at in the past is Weight Watchers. I had the air of superiority when it came to “dieting”. Oh, I didn’t need anyone to tell me about nutrition. I knew how calories work…what’s healthy and what’s not. I knew about exercise. Oh yea, I knew alright…I guess that’s why I was the picture of perfect health, right? Not. (Does that expression show my age?)
This brings me to the subject of this post. I needed something to make my fitness journey easier – tracking calories is just too time consuming. A few of my friends had recently joined the Weight Watchers program and they suggested I give it a try. So I’ve swallowed my pride, pushed my ego aside and decided to give it a go.
Weight Watchers (NEW) Freestyle Smart Point System
According to Weight Watchers, their new Freestyle system is designed to “focus on health, not on calories”. It certainly sounds like what I was looking for. But before signing up, I should confess that I had (mostly) negative preconceptions about Weight Watchers. It’s a program that has been around forever. Back in the 80’s, I remember “older” (to me when I was child) ladies “counting their points”, measuring their food and preparing for the dreaded “weigh-in” every week. It’s no secret that WW has gotten a bad wrap over the years. I remained hopeful, though. The fact that is has been around for so long, must mean that there’s something to it, right? I decided to find out.
Based on their re-vamped approach, Weight Watchers assigns you a point value taking into account your age, gender, height and current weight. It does not take your goal weight into consideration when making this calculation. Compared to the former version of the point system, those familiar with WW may notice that they have less points. For example, the new lowest daily point allowance is 23 points whereas under the old system, it used to be 26 (or thereabouts). These lower allowances are to account for the addition of (generally) healthy “zero point foods”, meant to encourage people to make better food choices. I’ll talk more about them in a minute.
Weight Watchers Going Digital
Upon joining, I was happy to discover that Weight Watchers has developed an App which, among other things, helps you to track your points and your weight. Once you sign up, you set your weigh in day (mine is Tuesday) and all of your points will update on that day. The App nicely displays your daily points as well as your weekly flex points. What are flex points? Everyone gets an extra 42 points a week to use as spillover – for that cheat meal, celebration or all food-related event. In addition, you now have “rollover” points – meaning, you can carry over up to 4 unused points each day. The App also keeps track of those.
I’ve been using it for two weeks now (since signing up for WW) and have found the inter-face to be user-friendly and convenient. In addition to being able to find most foods in their data-base (unless it’s something very specific) you can also add your own recipes. Yay!
Here’s an example:
Here’s another (more depressing) example:
Does Weights Watchers work?
After only two weeks on the program, I cannot offer a comprehensive assessment at this time (but will do at some point in the future). Based on my own personal experience so far, however, I do think that the WW freestyle approach encourages healthier food choices. Let’s say my allotment is 30 points a day. I’ve got to make each point count. So, when faced with the choice between an Apple which is 0 points and a pack of chips which is 5 points (1/6 of my daily allotment), I’m gonna go for the Apple. A simple illustration but you get the gist.
This intentional design also has an advantage over calorie counting. How? Well, someone who is just looking a calories (ignoring nutrition), may say to themselves: I can have a large chocolate chip cookie for the same amount of calories as a banana. But if you are on the WW point system, that banana, despite having the same caloric value as the cookie, is a zero point food whereas the cookie most definitely isn’t. Ya see how that works? For people who have a challenge making healthy choices (but who like the idea of working toward a target) then the program can really work. Making sure I stay within my point allowance for the day appeals to the perfectionist in me. And although tracking the points does take a little time (you’ve got to plug your meals in) – it’s quicker, and easier IMO, than calorie counting.
Will I continue the Weight Watchers Program?
Yep. I’ve signed up for (and paid for) the 3 month package where the starter fee is waived. Depending on how it goes, I’ll probably extend my membership. In the meantime, I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress with the program – probably via a monthly update. I’ll also be sharing some of my Weight Watchers smart points friendly recipes exclusively over on My Mommy Years. So if you’re reading this post on Beauty Isles, be sure to follow me there if you are interested! Talk soon, beauties.
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