Three Weeks On SmartPoints: What I’ve Learned (Part 1 of 5)

Three Weeks On SmartPoints: What I’ve Learned (Part 1 of 5)

About six weeks ago, I received an email from Weight Watchers, asking me if I would like to help roll out “Beyond the Scale!”

You know me, I get excited about everything, so I considered this a great honor and privilege. And then I was promptly sworn to secrecy. For someone like me, the chronic over-sharer, this was torture!

*I was not paid for compensated in any way for participating in this beta test, so I’m not a paid spokesperson. Which is good because you’ll get to see the good, the less good and my truest impressions.

In order to make this more manageable for you to take in and for me to write, I’ve developed the following schedule for releasing information via this blog this week:

Monday: First impressions 

Tuesday: Food Impressions

Wednesday: Fitness Impressions

Thursday: How Did You Do It?

Friday: A week’s world meal plans to help you get ready for next week! 

And, because I think having good resources at your fingertips is half the battle, I have teamed up with Gina from SkinnyTaste and Emily from Emily’s bites, Emily’s Bites to bring you a delicious recipe every afternoon for the month of December, complete with its SmartPoints total!

Every night I’m also going back over all of my own meals for the past couple of weeks, to show you why I chose the meals I did and what eating on the new plan looked like in my home!

So because you’re awesome and I adore you, and because we’re all in this together you’re getting:

1. A blog post about SmartPoints each morning.

2. A recipe with SmartPoints each afternoon (via Facebook).

3. Sample meal ideas each evening (via Facebook).

If you have not liked Trading Cardio for Cosmos on Facebook, I strongly encourage you to do it and to share it with friends and family who are on their own weight loss journey.

Now, let’s get into it!



Beyond the Scale

Beyond the Scale, or BTS, is Weight Watchers moving away from a more diet mentality, and moving towards acknowledging that it’s not just what you put in your mouth that effect your weight loss. It’s your emotional wellness, it’s your mood, it’s your activity level.

What I really loved about it is that the plan is tailored specifically to you and what your life is like, versus some one-size-fits-all model that was really one-size-fits-some.

For example, to assume that an 80-year-old woman who weighs 110 pounds should receive the same number of weekly points as a 30-year-old, 200 pound man is crazy.

The goal is that the customized programs will help members lose more, but I can tell you that some of my beta-test peers who do not exercise really found their new plans to be restrictive, because they had WAY less weekly points to draw from.



SmartPoints

SmartPoints is Weight Watchers moving to more natural and healthy food choices, versus many of the packaged or processed foods that we’ve seen before.

By including sugars in the calculation, and differentiating total fat versus saturated fat, the plan really targets the things that would have impeded or slowed weight loss.

For those who do Simply Filling or those who eat clean or eat mostly power foods, this plan is not going to feel like much of a change at all.

But for those who include foods like yogurt, granola bars, crackers, chips, or other snack foods like that, the plan is going to require some retooling. I saw several yogurts double in points, and a lot of the sweeter desert foods or snacks also went up significantly.

I was delighted to see proteins like egg whites, chicken breast, all fish and seafood, all went down in SmartPoints. Meaning you can eat more protein or a bigger portion, for less or the same number of points as before!

One thing I found incredibly interesting is now when you input fruits and vegetables into a recipe on the recipe builder, the recipe builder automatically knows that those are 0SP foods. BUT, there is a button you check if you are making a smoothie called “blended,” and if you input fruits and veggies into a blended recipe, then the fruits and vegetables have SmartPoints. The jury is still out on whether not smoothie lovers are going to buy into that particular feature!

The minimum number of SmartPoints an individual can get each day is 30, which is where I landed. Weekly points can fluctuate from as low as 21, to the highest I’ve seen so far, which is 42. I landed at 35 weekly points.



FitPoints

I have yet to see a really good explanation of FitPoints in their new format.

I love the idea that every day you have a goal for exercise, and that your goal again is customized to who you are and how active you are. I was given a goal of nine FitPoints per day, which is achievable by walking 9000 steps.

And when I first started to sync my fit bit to my app, I was amazed! Look at all those points! You see, FitPoints are not equal to activity points and you get more FitPoints for the same activity.

And then, they explained that we are not necessarily supposed to swap those points like we used to. The plan is designed around eating your daily points, eating your weekly points, and that’s it.

I will say, as someone who regularly enjoys trading cardio for cosmos, I’m not 100% sure or sold on not exchanging my FitPoints for those things I like to splurge on.

There is a provision for those who exercise intensely (which I believe I would fall into the category of), because our bodies require more protein and more food, to keep up with the intensity level and frequency of our workouts.

I’m told that a more detailed explanation of FitPoints is coming in Week Four, and that WW wants to encourage everyone to focus on learning the new point system, planning out great menus and getting the food aspect of the program down, before worrying about the exercise.



Overall impressions

I really, really like the ideology behind BTS. I feel like the new program looks at not just what you *can* do, but what you *should* do for prolonged and sustainable weight loss.

It is a subtle way of nudging us into making food choices that are more healthy for our bodies.

Yes, you can eat a bag of gummy bears because you have the points for it, but you would be better off with a hard-boiled egg, some veggies and hummus and a cheese stick for the same points.

As part of my weight loss journey, I really started to look at my food choices. Yes, I could eat 100 cal pack of Cheez-its, but then I had to ask myself, are Cheez-its a good snack to have every day? And how long before the 100 cal pack just becomes a regular Cheez-its again? I knew I couldn’t do what I had always done, and expect great results… So I swapped starchy or processed snacks for an apple a day, bananas on days I hit the gym, and usually grapes or watermelon. BTS is subtly encouraging users to do the same.

I will say, I do not like the removal of the Good Healthy Guidelines. I am the first to admit that I was terrible at getting my dairy servings in, but I think shifting away from good hydration, and particularly away from ensuring a person gets a tablespoon of healthy oil each day, is not necessarily a good thing. The water is great for your skin, great for digestion and the number of other bodily functions, and so is the oil. The oil is good for your joint health, good for your digestive health and, let’s face it, good for using the bathroom.

I think the IT issues, the app glitches and the other connectivity issues that WW has been going through have definitely amped up everyone’s emotions. Not the best timing, particularly given the holidays coming and the associated stress there, but I fundamentally trust the program and I am really excited about where it is going, and where it’s encouraging me to go!

What about you? What are your first impressions?

 

Check out Part 2 of 5 “Let’s Talk Food!

Check out Part 3 of 5 “Working on My FitPoints!”

Check out Part 4 of 5 “How Did You Do It?

47 thoughts on “Three Weeks On SmartPoints: What I’ve Learned (Part 1 of 5)

  1. I’m really looking forward to the change honestly….Might not be easy with the holidays right now but I can give it my best shot and then come January its gonna be ON!! LOL Thanks for the blog post and I look forward to more from you 🙂

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  2. I am so excited for the changes! I am not one to go hard on snacks, but still have the mentality it’s only 2 points…. Well that is changing because it is often doubled 😳. My journey has been about health, weight loss is part of that, and a great perk, but not all of it. I love the mental well being that is being included in this journey, which was always kinda there, but now it’s official!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My meetings are on Saturday mornings so I won’t get the new material till Dec. 12 so I am very happy to be getting a head start on the new program. I joined Weight Watchers 12 years ago and even tho I am not at goal yet, I feel very strongly about the program and how it has changed my life. I am 72 years old and I have shed 80 pounds. I have 31 pounds to go to get to goal. Maybe this new program is just what I need to kick start this old body into action. I did just find out last week from my doctor that the medicine she put me on 2 years ago inhibits weight loss so I have that to deal with but it won’t deter me. I can now bend over and tie my shoes and my jeans now have a zipper, not an elastic waist. Those were 2 things I wanted to be able to do when I first joined. I take 2 back to back exercise classes at the Y 3 days a week in the pool for a total of 90 minutes for the 2 classes. Because of several health issues I do exercise in the pool because there is minimal stress on my joints. It sounds like I am going to have to find more exercises I can do with the new program. I’m excited to get started and to read your blog for more news. Thank you for doing this for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I went to a meeting Sunday morning to learn about the new program, but because my weigh in day is Saturday, I won’t see any changes on my online account until then. I appreciate reading your thoughts on the changes and the recipes you will share. I still have 5 days to familiarize myself with my new material. ….I am excited about the changes.

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  5. Tomorrow (Tuesday Dec 8) is my meeting day. Am excited about hearing my wonderful leader Carolyn give us the new plan. But really appreciate that you’re giving us heads-up and details now. Congrats on being asked by WW to be a test subject. Alexis!! Looks like they could be thonkkng of you as a prospective leader and know you would be fantastic!! Have so much enjoyed and been encouraged by all of your posts and your unstoppable progress! You”ve been such an inspiration and so look forward to reading more blogs!!! ♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I gave no intention to give up the limited amount of sweets . I work in sales I walk and recover when I work at times I need Mt little w vars and protein bars, lifetime here, weight watcher has become restrictive something they said they would not do

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you can absolutely continue to have treats from time to time, and that you should!
      But we’ve gotten so accustomed to sweets after every meal, every night, etc and then I think they become routine, not treats!
      Try the new program and maybe try menu planning out a week so you can fit your treats in ahead of time?

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      1. I’m not switching to this new program I like points plus it works so well for me and frankly I like my yogurt and my baked potato. I’ve lost 36 pounds and i steadily lose 1.5 to 2.5 pounds each week amd I’ve never had a week where I gained including thanksgiving. Why fix something that’s not broken and why not give people the choice on whether to change or not? If there is no way to track points plus anymore I won’t continue to pay for ww

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      2. But I think focusing on healthy, fresh foods and making those higher SP-value items part of your weekly menu, but not your daily experience, is a good change long term.

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  7. Reblogged this on writingindevizes and commented:
    My first impression of the new smartpoints is it will definetely support me to live healthier. It encourages more lean protein which I was not eating enough of and it targets added sugar in our food. Great plan!

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  8. I have been doing the program for about a week and a half and really, really like it. I was able to adjust to it with no real problem and ended the first week with a few SmartPoints left over. Basically the same food was 14 more SmartPoints in a week than it would have been as PointsPlus. I get 7 more points a week (30 daily/28 weekly) so the net was that I used up 7 more points so that was OK.

    It does guide you away from eating high sugar. I did have small pieces of dark chocolate 3 times during the week and they were a little more in points, but it worked out fine. And, I think that is part of WW wants. They want you to be able to use some points for that kind of thing, but it shouldn’t be eaten in place of healthy foods.

    I like the program a lot and think it is better grounded in the science. I’m lifetime at goal, but want to lose a few pounds. Just today I reached my lowest weight since getting to goal (after being on a plateau for months) so I’ve really found it successful for me so far.

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  9. I really like Beyond The Scale and Smart Points. I haven’t really changed the way I eat at all. I eat a lot of chicken and fish, fresh fruit and vegetables. I was so ready for this change and look forward to next weeks weight in.

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    1. Aaron, all of our previously tracked foods should come over into the new app, but recipes or foods that you have manually entered may need to be adjusted to include the saturated fat and sugar. Those items will appear gray on your tracker.

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  10. I’m curious, did you use PointsPlus before? Doesn’t sound like it. Your point about being making healthier decisions (hummus over gummy bears) was just as true, perhaps even more so, on PP. Now it feels like strict diet and less like a lifestyle suggestion. If you stick within you PP totals and weren’t losing as quickly, the idea was to examine your choices and make positive changes, i.e. last week I chose gummy bears for my snacks and didn’t lose weight, so this week I’ll try swapping in fruit. I lost weight pretty easily on PP and never felt deprived. On this system (whenever the app or website is working) I feel penalized for what used to be good choices. Even the WW foods have gone up! A small lemon cake used to be 2 points and is now 4 or 5! I think eating that small portion is a better choice than getting a real lemon bar from the bakery, but apparently WW doesn’t agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just discovered this blog via WW’s Facebook Page and am glad to see some positivity here. I’m starting Smart Points on Friday, my weigh-in day, and I can’t wait. When I eat badly, I eat very very badly, but when I’m on WW and being smart about my body and my food intake, I tend to eat “real” food, i.e., not processed food. So I don’t think I’m going to be too impacted by the point increases everyone is complaining about. I think WW is courageous to do the right thing and “nudge” its customers toward clean eating. I read up on what scientists are finding about how our bodies process food, and WW always seems to be ready to do the right thing, nutrition-wise. Thanks for listening… I just wanted someplace I can say something good about the new system and not get flamed for it! Thanks also for your blog!

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  12. I’m trying to get excited but I’m nervous to! Especially with the heavy protein emphasis! Living in the Midwest makes itvhard to eat a lot of seafood since it’s expensive and hard to get. I hate fish of any kind even tuna!! Makes me physically ill and sounds like chicken and eggs and I’m not much of an egg fan. Okay with no yolk!! Not sure what other protein is going to work and I can’t eat chicken every day. My other concern is restaurant eating! Wondering how that will fit in.

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  13. Hi! I have a question about the new program. I switched on Monday, and even though I was told that everyone’s daily points would go up, mine went down. I’m currently at 31 points. I also work out 6 days a week, high intensity for about 30-45 minutes, but my fitness goal is only 3 points. It seems weird, no? Was just curious to know if you’ve heard of anyone else’s points going down instead of up!

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    1. Definitely weird! I would retake the assessment, and enter that you are up and down at work. That seems to set your goal higher!

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      1. Ah ok! Apparently you aren’t allowed to retake the assessment 😦 but I will just aim for higher points on that. I’ll see if I can contact them about the daily points. Thank you!!

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  14. Thank you very much for your blog post, I am feeling much less stressed about the change. I only do online and it’s been broken since Thanksgiving. I hadn’t heard anything about any changes!!

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  15. This will probably make me leave weight watchers. Just like the other Anne, I hate meal planning and with a 3yo life doesn’t always go as planned. The changes not only feels restrictive, I really don’t think it fits my lifestyle. And I used my Activity Points for treats not extra points. That way I knew they were earned. I guess I just saved a bunch of money a month. Extremely disappointed.

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    1. I hear you, and hear your frustration. Trust me, I’m far from perfect and it’s a tough learning curve around the holidays!
      But if I am honest with myself, continuing to sub diet foods for snacks/desserts probably isn’t sustainable forever, so I need to be willing to retool so I can stay fit and healthy long-term!

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  16. I am not a fan of this at all! I don’t mind change if it makes sense to me but not allowing people to choose their program is short sighted. I love pp it works for me I have lost 36 pounds with a healthy loss of an average of two pounds per week. I eat fruits and veggies I like my baked potaro and my 1 point yogurt and my ice cream treats from skinny cow that make me feel like I’m getting a treat. I guess I’ll be quitting and that makes me sad.

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    1. I think you might want to give the new program a try before you quit so you can really make an informed decision.
      Those things are all still available to you- the program is customized to you, and you have the ability to tweak it to suit your needs. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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    2. A lot of people feel this way. It is courageous of you to openly voice your opinion, I know it is shared by many. This program is about so much more than the food that goes in. It’s about figuring out what you want. If you stick with it, honestly ask yourself why. Owning the reason for doing WW is powerful and will guide you.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I disagree and would say BTS is not subtly nudging you along. Even at the meeting they called the new elevated points values a “sin tax”. So if it is a “sin tax” should I feel guilty if I eat it? Need I repent?? I think WW is vilifying foods instead of emphasizing portion control and moderation. I have been living 1/2 my week on SFT since June–and I just changed over to SFT all 7 days. I have decided, if I want that “sinful” item I will have it–and not feel the least bit guilty.

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    1. I think it was a terrible, terrible choice of words for your leader to use.
      Your points are not a tax. They are your life, based on your weight loss goals, and how you choose to appropriate them for your day.
      I’m so sorry that was the experience you had because I think phrases like that can really change our perception of the situation!

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  18. I love that I found your blog! I, too, was in a pilot meeting. We started SP on September 18. It was rocky and tumultuous at times. I’ve done WW for 27 years. Our Week 2 meeting was crazy and a lot of angst was shared. I sat in my car and said “Why am I doing this?” I searched my soul and threw out the canned reasons – lose weight – be healthy – run a marathon – be skinny. I finally answered myself. “I am doing this because I am determined, and I will not give up on life and a weight loss goal”. Yes, I found my why Week 2. I encourage everyone to find their why in a place of truth and honest. I lost 13 pounds during the pilot, but this program was about more than a number. I fell in love with ME!

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  19. Great posts. I am on week 2 of BTS and I think it’s great. What you said about Cheez-Its—WW should put that on a poster in every meeting room. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I love that WW is finally embracing that philosophy. It’s a brave move for WW, and I wish everyone would give it a chance.

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  20. I totally agree with you – I think the new program makes sense. My eating is pretty clean and I was pleased that many things I eat stayed the same or went down in points. I really miss WW kitchen app since I used it heavily for planning meals and I don’t like having to browse recipes through the tracker. I’m really irritated that the tracking tools are so buggy and flaky and wish they had had them working before rollout- it makes sense to have existing functionality functioning before adding new features- especially for a mission critical app like tracking and especially during the hardest time of year for maintaining healthy food habits.

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