The New Weight Watchers SmartPoint System SUCKS

I normally try to be all edgy and controversial in this blog. But tonight, I’m going to be boring. I want to talk about something mundane in hopes someone else has a problem with it.

I’ve always liked Oprah Winfrey, never understanding why people hate her. No one’s dug up any real dirt on the women, despite her super-fame, and she built an enormous empire after being born with a rotten deck. How can you not respect that?

oprahww.pngBut now, I finally have a grievance against Oprah Winfrey too: she took over the Weight Watchers diet plan and completely jacked it up.

You see, I’ve been doing WW for years, off and on. Most people are surprised upon learning this, because I’m usually pretty thin.

That’s because I work at it. People don’t realize I come from a family racked with morbid obesity problems and all the diabetes, knee problems, and assorted health issues that it brings. I had a DNA test a couple years ago that determined I’m up against a nearly 80 % chance of obesity myself.

It wasn’t a huge shock for me, since I’ve been fighting that cat back into its bag since junior high school. When I slack, the scale starts exploding. I’ve been on every kind of diet and constantly exercise.

Atkins, South Beach, vegetarian, low calorie… You name it, I’ve done it. Twice.

And out of ALL THOSE DIETS, Weight Watchers worked the best. It’s my go-to whenever I’m really serious.

Why? Well, I’ve thought about this and believe it’s because WW is realistic. Never eating carbs is pretty tough in the long run. Never having birthday cake or being part of the office potluck, really?

WW accounted for this. You could eat the things you love, within reason, just as long as your points balanced out.

So, after using it to drop 70 pounds post-pregnancy, I became a lifetime member. I was doing great for a few years until the scales started tipping ten pounds above goal.

I realize ten pounds aren’t a crisis, but I either get them off now or face thirty down the line. So I re-upped.

And what do you know… they changed the program. Oprah is in charge and everything is SmartPoints now. They charge you double for anything with simple carbs or saturated fat in it. It’s meant to motivate us to eat healthier but frankly, I’m super-pissed.

You see, I don’t get a lot of points to begin with. I’m at the minimum of twenty-six. If I want to, say, start my morning with a morsel of biscotti, I now forfeit SIX points instead of two.

And it goes on. A cup of pasta KILLS me. A single tablespoon of butter costs SIX POINTS. A beer is five. Unless I eat ten pounds of fruit, I’m gonna be starving.

THIS IS MADNESS, PEOPLE!

This defies the whole concept of moderation, the elegant beauty of battling pounds with reasonable portion control. Nutritional science keeps evolving–some recent studies find that pasta doesn’t lead to greater weight gain, for example, and maybe saturated fats aren’t as bad as we thought.

120 calories shouldn’t lead to six points. I’ve done the math, and anyone unwilling to live with endless egg-white omelettes and broiled chicken breasts salads is screwed.

Forget even the thinnest smear of butter, you degenerate. If you’re not living on fat-free dressing, you don’t deserve to eat.

This is Puritanical madness gone unchecked. It’s actually unhealthy, because eating “normal” food can mean 800 calories a day or less.

This is eating disorder territory, folks. WW used to work because it was a system people could realistically follow. Now it’s punitive.

wewYou wanted a sandwich with TWO WHOPPING SLICES OF BREAD? What were you thinking, pig!? Go STARVE for the day while you THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID!

Ugh.

I remember when calorie-counting used to seem miserable. Now it’s looking practically indulgent, since at least I could eat food I actually like.

Thanks, Oprah. You brought your do-gooder ways into Weight Watchers, and sent us hurling into free calorie-counting apps.

And I’m not buying it. If I could lose 70 pounds eating biscotti and pasta a few years ago, I’m sure I can do it again.

Hello, FitnessPal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “The New Weight Watchers SmartPoint System SUCKS

  1. I’m sorry but if you actually did some research you would find that the new smart points are actually very easy to follow. Yes things now have higher points such as butter but maybe you should try the alternatives instead of sticking to the same old thing. I can’t believe it’s not butter spray is 0points for up to 18 sprays and your toast would be soggy if you even tried to use that much. Sara Lee Delightful bread is 2points for 2 slices, which isn’t that bad in the points department. I think the problem is that most people get a block in their brain and think “endless egg-white omelettes and broiled chicken breasts salads” as you said because they don’t actually explore the options that are really out here. I mean yesterday I had panko breaded cod seared in olive oil with a vegetable stir fry that was only 7points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad the new program is working out for you, but the changes definitely aren’t working for me.

      I find your statement about how if I “actually did some research” I’d find the new smart points are “actually easy to follow” pretty condescending.

      I’m very familiar with the program, having used PointsPlus twice to lose the baby weight from two pregnancies and become a lifetime member. I lost it so well, in fact, that enough people started accusing me of anorexia that I decided to put ten pounds back on.

      But that weight crept up a little and I did the new SmartPoints program for 3 months to wrestle that cat back into the bag.

      So, I have an informed opinion about the differences between the two programs. You may disagree with that opinion, as is your right, but I have just as much right to my own.

      And I believe the new program is terrible. The beauty of WW was our ability to eat realistically yet stay within a budget. You could have a small, reasonable serving of butter or wine or what-have-you and still eat like a normal human being without starving to death. You could eat at normal restaurants and weren’t forced to rely on a bunch of special fat-free products to get enough food.

      Now, you can’t have a small serving of pasta, 4 ounces of wine, or eat a sandwich with normal bread without blowing your entire day. It’s punitive, Puritanical, and your calorie counts will often end up WAY below what any doctor or nutritionist in their right mind would recommend.

      And they no longer want you swapping activity points for food, which leaves you even hungrier. I don’t know about you, but if I can’t earn a few more calories after burning 400 at the gym, I’m going to stop burning extra calories, especially when only have a baseline of 1000.

      Maybe I don’t want to use fake sprays and fat-free salad dressings just to keep from eating 600 calories a day. Maybe I’d rather eat a tiny portion of real butter and maybe I’m not the only one.

      Again, I’m glad the program is working out for you, but I personally believe they’ve ruined it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I realize this post is old, but I must say I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been trying to work Smart Points for a year now and I HATE it! WW healthy? Who are we kidding; the minute you take the fat out of something and offer it Fat Free that means it is nothing more than a chemical. I downloaded the itrackbites app and use Point Plus again….at least it’s liveable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, this post *is* a bit old, but my feelings haven’t changed.

      I’d used WW successfully before, but the new system lost me. Too brutal, IMO. Plus, new research is starting to question whether red meat and fat is really that unhealthy, so I wonder if the WW guidelines are outdated.

      That’s an interesting idea, still working with PointsPlus! I briefly considered that, but wasn’t sure how to deal with everything scanning into the app wrong and having to convert the database points. Seemed like too much hassle, but it seems like you found a workaround.

      Like

  3. I agree with you, I find it much more restrictive and the alternatives to what I used to eat are fake food or filled with chemicals. God forbid you want a piece of cake like a normal human being. I lost 75 with WW back in 2007 and have creeped up a bit so trying to get back. I tried calorie counting and couldn’t make it work and can’t figure out how to do the old points so I am starving my way through the new WW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to respond so late, but I haven’t been on my blog for a while. It kind of exploded while I was gone!

      But anyway… YES. It’s so reassuring to hear that someone else is feeling the same way. I dropped about 80 pounds 5 years ago, though it was right after pregnancy so not all of that “counts.” I gained about 60 pounds when pregnant then lost 80 altogether, so some of it was pregnancy weight and some was not. Then i was pregnant again and gained 50, then lost it again within 6 months.

      So… not entirely 80 “normal” pounds (and not as impressive as what you did–awesome job, btw) but clearly, I was able to be disciplined and follow the diet and end up even thinner than I was pre-pregnancy.

      I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back so much as make the point that my struggles with the new program aren’t about me being unable to follow a program. I’m a lifetime member who lost a lot of weight and kept it off. Part of why I was able to do it was because I could have small, reasonable indulgences and eat a realistic diet. Now, I’m just trying to guard against that 10-15 pound creep that all eventually turn into a bigger problem, but having a small indulgence now means taking a hit that leaves me 800 calories a day, which is ridiculous.

      It’s frustrating because there are a billion diets out there with strict guidelines, but what made Weight Watchers special was the ability to balance your calories while living in the real world. Now, it’s outrageously punitive. Apparently, they’re keeping their program for another year and it’s so frustrating.

      I mean, anyone can lose weight if they’re eating 900 calories a day. But are we really going to avoid every last carb until the end of time?

      Like

  4. I am so glad to hear I am not the only one struggling. On an old plan I lost nearly 50lbs easily. I was motivated to exercise by earning points I could EAT guilt free. I refuse to lose weight by spraying chemicals on my food so I am slowly adjusting eating heathy fats, animal proteins in moderation and eating my activity points. It is working but I feel much more restricted than with past programs (this is why I am off plan and on my 3rd glass of wine…tomorrow is a new day). I also feel it is almost necessary that I use a Fitbit to count my steps. I saw on another web site that there is a 3000 step baseline? I find the whole new activity points skewed. I tried my Fitness Pal but I don’t have it in me to start something from scratch. I will persevere but am utterly disappointed. OH and the people who you can chat with on their web site….well lets just say I am not hungry because I didn’t drink enough water and they never told me about the 3000 steps per day baseline either on multiple occasions! Sorry about the rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, no… I completely understand! Sorry to respond so late (I hadn’t been keeping up with this blog when it suddenly exploded), but i totally get it.

      It’s REALLY hard to starve yourself all the time. I come from a family with lots of weight issues and have probably been all the major diets for some period of my life. I lost about about 80 pounds with Weight Watchers after having my daughter, becoming a lifetime member, and while some of that was pregnancy weight and doesn’t fully “count,” it still shows that I’m capable of being disciplined and starving myself to some degree.

      What made Weight Watchers work so well was it’s realism… you could deal with real-life situations (a potluck at work, a birthday party, a night where no one cooks and you go to Taco Bell). I could work small indulgences that kept me happy into my overall budget.

      Now, they ream you for anything going outside the program. Carbs kill you, as do saturated fats, which makes it harder than Atkins or South Beach, in a way. Eat something with sugar and you’ll end up with less than 1000 calories for the day, which isn’t healthy by anyone’s standards.

      It’s really frustrating because i found that getting a weekly weight-in and talking to a social group was super helpful, but the program is now too hard for me to follow. Even though I’m a successful lifetime member. I just heard that they’re keeping it for another year, which is a real disappointment.

      Like

  5. I loved the Points program and then I really loved Points Plus (since I never counted points for fruit or most veggies anyway). I lost 75 lbs and kept it off 1.5 years until I stopped tracking, and then let my eating disorder rear it’s ugly head. Decided to check out Smart Points, and it felt like utter deprivation. I already have an eating disorder (binge-eating, no purging) and this new plan wasn’t helping. Thankfully, I dug up an old points plus calculator and am not doing their old plan on my own and back to slowly losing weight again. Glad I’m not the only one who hates Smart Points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, I wrote this article a while ago with little response, then suddenly i’ve gotten a glut of responses about how frustrated people are with Smart points.

      I absolutely feel ya. I have a strong tendency to gain weight (obesity runs in the family and genetic testing gave me a 76% chance of obesity) and I deal with it by putting on 20-30 pounds then starving myself until people start getting worried.

      Weight Watchers always worked the best. I could eat realistically. I became a lifetime member, then tried to deal with a 10 pound gain using Smart Points, which made me crazy. Even a small indulgence was taxed so hard that I’d end up getting 900 or fewer calories per day, which is unhealthy and would make me want to start binging.

      I really think Smart Points ruin Weight Watchers. You can’t deal with realistic events like birthday parties, work potlucks, or occasional fast food runs anymore. There are a billion other restrictive food plans already out there… why ruin the one plan that lets you participate with the rest of society?

      Argh, I’m really hoping WW changes their mind and makes the program more reasonable again. Until then, I’m out… converting everything to the old system seems like too much work.

      Like

  6. I have been on every WW program since 1993 and this is by far the best one. I lost 92lbs on Original points and kept it off for 14 years. After being laid off, I fell into a depression and gained 103lbs back. I’ve been on Smart Points for 6.5 months and have lost 73lbs of the 103.

    I have no issue with the plan not working for you, but to say it sucks is false. My success and the success of countless others proves it. Smart Points does not fix mental outlook, victim of circumstance way of being, and plain old stubbornness. It’s those things that makes the plan unsuccessful for people, not the plan itself.

    Dieting is calories in vs. calories out. We both know that. WW used to repackage that as points. However, WW has evolved because calories in vs out, is not a comprehensive solution. The RIGHT TYPE of calories are important. Smart Points has incorporated that where Points Plus did not. You could eat shit all day long on PP, but as long as you stayed within your allowance you would lose weight. SP’s force you to eat healthily while staying within your point allowance. That is important. Why? Because if you have a 30 point allowance, whether you eat 30 points of ice-cream or 30 points of chicken, you will lose weight (calories in vs. out). However, you will not be left with the same type of body once you reach goal. For those of us interested in more than mere surface appearance, that is important. I commend Smart Point for fixing the PP problem. The problem where people ate like shit but though it ok as long as they remained within points.

    Three other points.
    -Cutting fat doesn’t mean replacing fat with chemical substitutes. One can just eat less fat, Same with sugar. If you eat these things sparingly, one shouldn’t have a problem. That’s what weekly points are for. It’s not a treat if it’s every day. That’s a routine.
    -Awesome that you cannot trade activity for points. One should not work out JUST so they can eat more. That’s what most members do. That may not be your reasoning, but when people abuse the system…
    -The change to Smart Points and Oprah have no relationship. Oprah didn’t change a thing. That’s both petulance and scape goating. Smart Points was a done deal before she came on board. She bought stock in October. Smart Points went live in December. It had already been market-tested 6-months prior to that. Oprah is just someone who bought stock in company- a shareholder. So yes, whoever said you should do more research was correct.

    Like

    1. Wow. After reading my critique of a diet plan, you didn’t waste any time before jumping into personal attacks, did you?

      In your comment, you accused me of having a victim mentality, ignorance, petulance, stubbornness, eating “shit,” and only caring about surface appearances. You seem to believe you know absolutely everything about weight loss and that anyone who disagrees with you must be mentally crippled.

      Let me remind you that I’m a Lifetime member who has remained within a healthy BMI range for most of her adult life (despite a genetically-tested 73% chance of obesity), hardly a morbidly obese woman throwing a fit because she can’t eat ice cream all day.

      Let me further remind you that given the weight you’ve lost (and still need to lose), you have been allotted a MUCH more generous points allowance than I was given. So maybe consider that before calling people eating half your calorie budget self-indulgent and lazy, okay?

      It’s statements like “one should not work out just so they can eat more” that reveal your evangelical puritanism. Eating, in and of itself, is NOT a sin. As you mentioned previously, weight loss is a calories in/out situation.

      So when you are given 1000 calories a day and exercise off 400 of them, you’re potentially dropping below healthy intake if it isn’t accounted for. it’s not a case of wrongly halting the self-flagellation when you “should” be suffering, but a matter of potentially overextending yourself to the point of dizziness and starvation, which could discourage many people from exercising at all.

      Look, I’m happy if the new WW program is working for you, but I think it’s mighty hypocritical for you to shame other people who struggle with it by calling them superficial, lazy, and ignorant. I’m not the only person who doesn’t care for the changes and I think you could easily debate my points without calling me names.

      And OF COURSE I don’t think Oprah sat down with a notebook and personally designed the program. That’s a joke, even though she did make herself the face of WW and is therefore endorsing it.

      Like

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