New Weight Watchers SmartPoints Program
Hello friends! If you’re a current Weight Watchers member, you’ve probably heard by now that this week WW is rolling out an all new program called Beyond The Scale. If you’re not a Weight Watchers member or interested in the program this post may not be for you, but since my recipes all offer points calculations and many of my readers follow the program, I wanted to be sure to address it here. Full disclosure: I was part of a group put together by Weight Watchers who received early access to this new program. I was not paid in any way for my effort or time, but for the past few weeks I’ve had a beta version of the new program app so I have a little bit of knowledge about the new program to share with you all.
If you already had your WW weigh-in this week then you’ve already started the new Weight Watchers SmartPoints program, but for those of you yet to weigh in, you’ll be switched to the new program on your weigh-in day. Upon the change you’ll notice that you’re no longer tracking PointsPlus, but SmartPoints. Weight Watchers SmartPoints are calculated using calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein, and you’ll see that saturated fat and sugar make the SPs go up, while protein can make them go down. The result is that many lean proteins went down in points while you will likely notice that foods high in sugar or saturated fat will be higher in SmartPoints than you were used to on PointsPlus. The purpose of these changes is to steer WW members toward making healthier choices with their daily and weekly points.
Speaking of daily and weekly points, your allowance may be different on SmartPoints. The lowest daily points allowance anyone receives is now 30 SPs, so if you were at less than that on PP, your daily points will go up. If your daily points allowance was higher than 30 then it may have changed or stayed the same. The other difference is that your weekly points allowance is now customized based on several factors such as age, gender, height, weight and goal. Rather than everyone receiving 49 weekly points like on PointsPlus, on SmartPoints you could receive 42, 35, 28 or other multiples of 7 (so that you can easily divide them across the days of the week if you choose).
As for the recipe builder, I am hoping they will continue to update the functionality and add back some of the features from the previous version (please show me the points values of individual ingredients!), but there is one thing I’m really excited about: zero point fruit and vegetables are now free in the recipe builder! There is one exception, if you’re making a smoothie (or something similar) there is a box to check at the bottom of the recipe builder showing your ingredients have been blended/food processed. If they have, then the nutrition information of the fruit is calculated as points. So, for example, 0 SP fruit in baked oatmeal or a fruit crisp will be free in the recipe builder, as will 0 SP veggies in a soup or casserole. A pile of fruit and/or veggies that have been blended into a smoothie or juiced will have points. I’m super excited to have the fruits and veggies in recipes be free, but it does mean that if you use a recipe’s nutrition information to calculate the SmartPoints versus using the Weight Watchers recipe builder then you may get different results (because the nutrition info for a recipe will be counting the values of the produce).
I’m sure one of the big questions you all have for me is…“will you be updating all of your recipes to include the SmartPoints??” The answer is YES, but not overnight. I wish! I will get started and try to get it done as quickly as I can, but I am only one person and this site has hundreds of recipes, so please be patient with me :). In the meantime, I did update the nutrition information on my recipes to now include the saturated fats and sugars that are tracked on the new program. As I mentioned in the last paragraph, if the recipe includes fruits and/or vegetables then the SmartPoints value you get using the nutrition facts may not equal the SmartPoints using the recipe builder, but it’ll give you all something to use while I work on calculating the SmartPoints. I’m working on it!
Update: All of my 2015-2012 recipes are updated with SmartPoints! I am continuing to work my way backward and will update here as I finish 2011 and 2010. Thanks again for your patience!
Moving forward any new recipes will include the SmartPoints values as well as the standard nutrition information I offer (calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, sugar, fiber and protein). As the PointsPlus program will no longer be supported by Weight Watchers I will not have a method of calculating PointsPlus, so those will not be listed on future recipes.
There are some other changes on the new program including FitPoints replacing Activity Points (I really like that I now get a weekly activity goal), a focus on overall happiness/wellness and a new “Connect” social component, but for more info on those you may want to attend your weekly Weight Watchers meeting or click on “Find out about our NEW program” on the WW site. Since this is a food blog, I’m just focusing on the changes to the eating plan – I know this is already a long post!
I can’t claim to be an expert on the new program yet but I did get to try it out for a few weeks, so if you have further questions about how this will affect things on my blog let me know. Change can be scary and I remember freaking out when Weight Watchers changed from Points to PointsPlus. Of course I got used to it and embraced PointsPlus, so I’m assuming this new program will require a similar adjustment period while we all become more familiar with SmartPoints. I like the idea of trying to make healthier choices with my points as long as I can still work in some treats and eat my beloved comfort food. SmartPoints forces me to get used to a few less treats, especially of the sweet variety, which is ultimately a good thing for my health. I will admit to freaking out again about the new program (it’s my nature to fear change, especially when I didn’t ask for it), but after calculating some foods and recipes and getting a little more comfortable with what went up/down/stayed the same in points, I felt better. I have a snacking problem and I think a change like this just further encourages me to go for healthy snacks like fruits and veggies and steers me away from low-PP sweets (not that I am giving those up completely). We didn’t have access to the recipe builder for most of the “early access” period and I was a bit lost without it! I’ve had access to the recipe builder for less than a week now, but from what I can tell many of my favorite recipes stayed roughly the same or only went up a point per serving and some even went down in points (which you’ll see once I’m able to get things calculated and put some points up here). Phew!
I also really like the new FitPoints (which I know I didn’t get into much here) because it motivates me to be given a weekly FitPoints goal to meet and exceed! I love that it links to my Fitbit and I earn FPs all day. I feel accomplished earning them by taking a walk, cleaning the house, shopping or doing other activities I may not have thought of as traditional “exercise.” I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time with the new program to give it a full review at this point, but if you follow me on Instagram I’ll likely continue to chat about it with my Instagram Weight Watchers family from here on out. Join me there and let’s chat!
Thank you so much for being here and for following my blog and cooking my recipes. You all are so important to me and I sincerely appreciate your comments, support and readership. Thank you also for your patience during this transition, please know I will be working on updating things as quickly as I can during the holiday season (while we’re also planning to move in January – AHHH, everything always happens at once!). I love you guys!