Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just When I Thought I Had All The Answers...

...They changed the questions.

I really don't know what to think of the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. It was launched in Canada after I had become a Lifetime member and I now go to meetings once a month to weigh in. Yesterday was the first meeting I'd been to since it was introduced. I've heard the basics from friends and know most of the key differences, but I haven't switched over yet.

Truth be told, I'm not actively tracking my points now, I'm just eating mindfully. I spent a year learning what my average day looks like, what points values are in my regular foods and snacks, and I can get through a day easily staying within my points allowance.

So WHY should I change? The whole POINT of starting WW while on maternity leave and doing it for almost a year before going back to work was to get so ingrained in my new lifestyle that I would never have to think about it once back at work full time. I know my points, I know my body, I know how to manage both.

I now feel like I can't really attend a full meeting because I won't be speaking the same language as everyone else. All the snacking tips and tricks have changed, so anything I would have suggested as a great 2-point snack is probably something like four points on the new system and I'd be laughed out of the room! I truly believe that meetings help you be successful on the Weight Watchers program, and even though I only go once a month now, I feel like I'll be missing out.

Sure, there are some great things with the new Points Plus program. The free fruit is fantastic, and it does encourage people to choose healthier options for snacks, etc. A free banana would obviously be more attractive than that 4-point (I'm guessing) 100 calorie pack of Cheetos...most of the time. Some days the Cheetos are necessary.

But that's another thing (the whole "I'm guessing" comment). The previous WW points formula was fairly simple. You could use any variety of slider gizmo or online calculator to figure out the points value. It got to the point (no pun intended) that I could look at a nutritional label and (almost always) accurately predict the points value per serving. That's a handy ability when you're grocery shopping and your husband suggests a new item you've never tried before. You could know in seconds if it would be a reasonable choice or not. Now that's impossible, thanks to the completely convoluted formula that is so far beyond my math-hating brain's capabilities. Now you have to dig around in your purse for the WW points calculator, which you've HAD to purchase for $9.00CDN. Well, that's not entirely true. You don't have to purchase it if you're an online member and already paying for eTools. You can then access the Weight Watchers app on a smartphone and access the info that way. But still, you're paying.

Before I reached Lifetime I was on their Monthly Pass program, and it included eTools. eTools is not cheap at the best of times, so this was a screaming deal. What they don't tell you at the time is that once you reach Lifetime, you cancel your Monthly Pass and eTools disappears right along with it unless you start to pay. Shouldn't Lifetime members be REWARDED for their hard work with something like free online access, something more than a key chain? (Okay, I guess the new body, new lifestyle, etc are their own rewards. Rub my face in it, why don't you.)

The whole thing seems like a lot of work, EXACTLY the thinking I didn't want to have to do. I don't want to have to re-learn the program, the points, the way of life.

This was not meant to be a Weight Watchers-bashing post. I still believe in the program. It works and it's a healthy way to lose weight, probably even more so with the new system. If I was starting WW today I would be totally excited by all the new books, calculators, snack ideas, etc. But I do feel a little hung out to dry as a Lifetime member. Even the PointsPlus Pocket Guide for Lifetime Members I was handed yesterday doesn't address how the new program will affect those on maintenance that have already succeeded. Even a one-pager on the transition targeted at Lifetime members might have been helpful.

So far I'm holding fast and steady at around 2.5lbs BELOW my goal weight, so for now, I'm good. Even at this post-Christmas weigh-in I was down 0.2lbs, so my system is working for me. I'm going to stick with the program I learned and know inside and out. If I run into challenges and start to see the scale creeping skyward, then I will look at learning PointsPlus.

I do feel a bit like I've been kicked out of a club and the only way to get back in is to go through a massive initiation ritual, but I can deal with those insecurities. I won't bow down to peer pressure! I have to do what's right for me.


  1. I feel exactly the same way! Except since I don't go to meetings and do EVERYTHING online I don't have the option to stick to the old way as the point values for everything online changed over. The whole point on doing everything online was that it was so easy! I'm still paying my monthly fee and entering my weight each week, and I start each week vowing to track my points, but it's just way too hard. What I hate the most is that there was no swich over period and no warning other than a notice for about a month saying "something big is coming to WW, stay tuned" (which in itself was not helpful, just annnoying). Oh, and they made the switch here a few weeks before Christmas - not helpful!

    Sorry for the rant, but until now I haven't come across anyone who would understand my frustration!!! I think I'm ready to go it alone anyway, but it would have been nice if they kept everything the way I was used to. :P

    Good luck & keep doing what you're doing - it obviously works for you!

  2. I quit ww over a year ago, and thankfully I have found a plan that works for me. With that said, NO plan is perfect IN ALL WAYS.. You are in maintenance and you are still successful. You found what works for you. you can still attend the meetings and perhaps just listen and still inspire by being a lifetimer in a new wave of change...Old habits with new labels are still old habits and as far as the online tools...I don't follow the sparkpeople eating plan but I use it to track..and some of the community activities...basically I take bits and pieces from the TONS of places (that also can be free) and use it as a tool not an answer.

  3. *hug*

    First off, congrats on your success! Secondly, change is so hard, and feeling as if you've been left out is so not enjoyable or inspiring in any way.

    I'd continue to go to the meetings, stick with what you know, and allow the process to take it's time - learn from others, and don't feel the need to overwhelm yourself with new info just yet.


  4. You've been successful. And you're right - do what works for you.

    But feeling like you're on the outside really is something that you'll have to work on if you're not wanting to go along with the changes made to the program.

    Calculating Points for food now does take a bit longer, but after you've figured out the Points for something, that can be stuck in your head, too. And it really does not take long to use the calculator to figure it out. I was miffed at first, too, for having to pay for a new calculator, but seriously - I've paid more money for less useful things before so it's hard to keep singing that tune.

    Whatever choice you make, how you work your WW Program, is your decision, of course. Change is bound to happen sooner or later and we either have to adapt or struggle through it. But so far, I don't see a huge deal with what they've done. Yes, some things take getting used to, but learning, growing, changing - it's all part of life in other arenas as well and we figure out how to coexist with it just fine.

    Best of luck to you! Although you've already succeeded quite well, so congrats on that! :)

  5. Follow your instincts is my advice. You know yourself best and it seems like what you are doing is working well for you. I am a lifetime WW member and was using their etools for a long time. It just wasn't working for me anymore. Too much work! I am still struggling to lose the "baby weight" but I am a full time working mom and just don't have the time for the planning and counting etc. I got some money for xmas and used it to give Jenny Craig a try. So far, so good! I like it!

  6. Stopping by via Blogging Mommys Directory -
    Wow, you are awesome and from my experience with WW [my mum was on it when I was a kid and I'm 38 now] they often change up their program with new products etc.

    I think you should just allow yourself to stick to what works for you and if that is the way you learned it-fine.