I’ve been getting some flack for my criticism of the new Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus plan and feel the need to clarify and explain a few things.
First of all, I am not completely unhappy with the direction Weight Watchers is taking. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I love that they are continuously nudging members to make healthier choices. I skirt that line between eating clean and finding replacements for my indulgences. I love the diet coke cake mix recipe (although I prefer to use a can of pumpkin,) I like to eat out, and I still consume lite yogurt cups that are full of artificial sweeteners. But I also make it a habit to eat a fruit and/or vegetable with every meal. I’ve reduced my consumption of meat. I buy more fresh vegetables than I ever have and love trying new whole foods regularly with my family.
Weight Watchers was the plan that helped me learn balance and lose 70lbs. It was the first plan that seemed intuitive to me. Within a week or two I was estimating points like a champ. I strolled through the grocery store finding treats that I could work into my diet without feeling deprived. I also learned real fast that gravitating towards fruit and veggies was the only way I could follow the plan and stay satisfied.
Of course I went in with the right mentality and attitude. At that time (and after 15 years of yo-yo dieting,) I was done looking for the quick fix. I had NO intention to cheat the plan. I was there to learn a better way to balance my diet and lose the extra weight that years of yo-yo dieting piled on.
When I walked through the doors of Weight Watchers I was given everything I needed to start. The simplicity of the plan combined with the accountability of the weekly meetings was a recipe for success for me. I never once felt overwhelmed.
I also never felt duped. The walls of the Weight Watchers center have always been littered with products, books and calculators but they were all optional. I needed nothing but the basic plan materials to dive right in. Week after week I came to my meeting, weighed in and left motivated and inspired to start a new week.
Monday was different. Now granted I’m pregnant and NOT in the weight loss mode but I still walked into Weight Watchers with an excitement about the new plan. I’m a lifetime member and proud of that fact. I made it goal and one I was ecstatic to reach. For more than 5 years I’ve been a fan. Each year I looked forward to the changes in the program and each year they didn’t disappoint. They talked more and more about the importance of whole foods, whether they called them Core, Filling or Power. They always emphasized the importance of moving more and the healthy guidelines were (and are) simple to the point rules to live by.
The basic fundamentals of the plan never changed. A point was a point. It was easy to calculate, easy to estimate and gave me the flexibility and structure I needed to succeed without feeling overwhelmed.
Monday, I felt duped and overwhelmed. When I got the meeting I was given the materials and immediately started leafing through. There was tons of great information but no specifics on HOW to follow the plan. What’s my target? How do I figure it out? How do I calculate the points for food?
As the meeting progressed things started to become clear. SInce I couldn’t weigh in I wasn’t given a target. The only way to get your target with the new plan is to weight in, use e-tools or the electronic calculator. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea but historically your target was easily calculated so it caught me off guard.
Next I found out there was no slider or easy way to calculate points for food without either looking it up in the pocket guide, using e-tools or purchasing the electronic calculator. Again, I was caught off guard. The Weight Watchers of the past always provided the minimum basics you needed to follow the plan. Now I needed to purchase an additional gadget. One that I’m not the biggest fan of.
Now, I realize all my criticisms are on the logistics of the plan and not the plan itself. And yes I realize I’m coming off as a whiny old fart who’s resistant to change. But as a member who found so much success on the old plan, these logistical changes scare me. Weight Watchers doesn’t appear to have the same ease of use property that I felt was a huge ingredient to my success. That’s not the say the new plan isn’t as effective if not more effective but I think Weight Watchers gave up the simplicity with the PointsPlus plan that really set them apart from other weight loss and diet programs.
I hope I’m wrong but I have to be honest. I don’t have all the same warm and fuzzy feelings that others do with the new plan. Maybe it’s because I can’t dive in head first as I am pregnant. Once the baby comes and I can officially start the new program my opinion may chance. Only time will tell.