Please Note: Weight Watchers has changed it’s program again. Click here to learn more about Weight Watchers latest program for 2018.
Some Successful Weight Watchers Struggle with Transitioning from Points Plus to Smart Points
I ran across this post over at Drizzle Me Skinny, where Kate, a successful Weight Watchers Lifetime Member, explains why she made the decision to switch back to PointsPlus after testing out the new SmartPoints Plan for three months.
She basically sums it up with this assessment:
After about a month of getting into the swing of the new point system I noticed my moods at the end of the day were different, and I was finding myself in the kitchen eating all sorts of snacks I normally never would have, a little of this, a little of that and next thing you know I am easily 10-20 points over my daily allowance of 30SP. This is because I wasn’t buying or making the things I was so accustomed to on my points plus journey… because most things were about 1/3 of my allotted daily allowance. This new habit I had picked up was something I never did on points plus and I can sum that up to “restriction.”
A lot of folks left comments expressing similar frustration that was tapping into feelings of deprivation leading to bingeing and weight gain. Not a good thing! And I’m sure not what Weight Watchers intended. Weight loss is such a mental game!
I know being told I can’t have something is a real problem for me. I have this really spoiled inner child that rebels when told, NO. So, I’ve learned to appease her by telling her that nothing is off limits provided she is willing to plan/budget for it. Most of the time it works. This is why Weight Watchers is the only plan that works for me longterm. I can’t live without bread, wine, chocolate, sweets, fat, sugar, pizza or potato chips forever. It’s unrealistic for me and the way I want to live.
Other Weight Watchers Are Seeing Greater Success with SmartPoints
Another commenter’s experience was just the opposite. SmartPoints is working for her:
For what it’s worth, PointsPlus is what knocked me off of my goal weight. I loved the old original points plan and I could NOT make PP work for me. I found myself doing a lot of what you were doing and eventually, I quit WW in frustration of not having any good tools. I happened to join WW again just as they were rolling out SP (I had avoided it because I resented the PP plan). SP is working really well for me. I think the experience of many of us is: we have made one lifestyle change to embrace a program (Weight Watchers or otherwise) that works for us. We have success, and we find goal. If we are summarily pushed to a new mindset, when we like the one we have — and it’s working for us — we probably won’t like it.
I think this is why I still have good feelings about the old WW exchange plan I followed to originally lose weight and achieve lifetime status. It was very restrictive, but the joy I felt getting slim and reaching goal is what I most remember.
Why Do Some Weight Watchers Programs Seem to Work Better Than Others?
As my leader explained during Friday’s meeting: Weight Watchers has been around for more than 50 years and has changed the program dozens of times to stay in alignment with current dietary understanding, which continues to evolve. Each and every program worked for the members that followed it. Many of us who have been with WW through the decades have witnessed this first hand. The key is to lasting success is adjusting the program to best meet our individual needs. Question any group of successful Weight Watchers members and you’ll discover that they’re all doing things differently.
We all know what we are supposed to do – eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid sweet treats. The difficulty begins with actually doing it, as Mindless Eating expert Brian Wansink explains in this interesting article about tricking yourself into eating better:
The thrust of his research directly contradicts the prevailing wisdom in nutrition circles—that the way to improve America’s diet is to teach people about the dangers of trans fats, refined sugar, and white flour. In Wansink’s view, that’s a losing battle—if we were rational eaters, the snack food industry would already be out of business. “There are a million nutritionists out there that tell you to eat an apple instead of a Snickers bar,” he says. “I want to meet people where they’re at.”
Here’s another great article that sums up why Weight Watchers is struggling as a business – because sensible eating and portion control can be boring and hard work. It’s not extreme or sexy. It’s not a silver bullet promising unrealistic results!
Can thinking differently help those struggling with SmartPoints?
I recently had this realization… with Weight Watchers SmartPoints, you can never hit your daily target and still lose weight!
Say What? The SmartPoints Target is a number designed to reflect OPTIMAL/NEAR PERFECT HEALTHY EATING FOR WEIGHT LOSS. So, it’s possible to go way over your target and still lose weight…
I Regularly Exceed My WW SmartPoints Target While Managing to Maintain My Weight
When I first tested out SmartPoints I began by just eating the way I regularly do to maintain my lifetime goal weight and was shocked to discover that I was consuming 50 to 60 SmartPoints per day! That’s way over my suggested SmartPoints target for maintenance! And I’m okay with that. I eat a relatively healthy diet of mostly home cooked foods with occasional sweet treats. I enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner most nights. I’ve been successfully maintaining for several years now the goal weight I set back when I was 28. Could I eat healthier and meet my SP target most days? Probably. Would I be happy? Probably not. And for me it’s all about me finding my happy/healthy balance. Click here to read how Katie from Runs for Cookies shares her experience tracking both calories and SmartPoints for a week.
Remember that your daily SmartPoints is Simply a Target you are shooting for. You don’t have to hit it to be successful! You just keep aiming for it! You can never hit it and still lose weight!! You know yourself best and you should do whatever you need to, modify the program however you need to, to take care yourself. This is your life and you know yourself best!
The Correct Mindset is Critical to Lasting Weight Loss
Weight loss is a MIND – BODY challenge. It’s as much psychological as it is physical. The correct mindset, thoughts and beliefs are just as important (or maybe more important) than what you eat.
Lasting weight loss happens with little incremental behavioral changes. It takes awareness. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes practice. It takes creating new habits and changing your environment. It has to be a priority. You have to really really want it. You have to be willing to do the work. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes and be kind to yourself.
There Are Lots of Ways Other Than Weight Watchers to Successfully Lose Weight
And the truth is that there are lots and lots of ways to lose weight. Heck, here’s an example of a college professor who lost weight and got healthier on the junk food diet! You know yourself best so do what’s best for you!!
Personally, I hate that you can no longer use a recipe’s nutritional information to accurately calculate SmartPoints. Recipes must be run through the WW Recipe Builder to accurately determine SmartPoints which is time consuming.
I’m still a huge fan of the overall Weight Watchers model, with the accountability and support it provides. I believe Weight Watchers success is in their structure as a support network.
For me WW meetings are 30 minutes of sanity in an out of control food world. And I love the new WW Connect feature.
What do you think? Has Weight Watchers gone too far with Smart Points? Is it too restrictive? Or sustainable once you get used to it? Is it easier for new members than for those transitioning from Points Plus to SmartPoints?
Please share your thoughts. I really want to know so I can help be part of the solution to our weight loss and healthy eating struggles! I’ll also continue to provide both SmartPoints and PointsPlus for all new recipes for those of you sticking with the old plan.
PS – If you are tired of calculating/tracking Points or calories, check out why I’ve shifted to Intermittent Fasting after reading Eat Stop Eat!
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