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Weight Watchers has been around since the 60s, making it a diet program that has truly stood the test of time. While I don’t like the idea of dieting, WW’s new Freestyle program is far more of a lifestyle-changer than it is a strict diet plan. You won’t be meticulously counting calories and cutting out entire food groups, which is why is gets my nod of approval.

In fact, myWW doesn’t consider any foods off-limits, including alcohol, candy bars and birthday cake. And yet, it has proven to help people lose weight safely (and keep it off). So how does it work?

(Just want to sign up? Head over here to get your first month free!)

NOTE: The original version of this post discussed WWFreestyle, but WW recently released their myWW program to replace that one. Their “Blue” plan is the same Freestyle plan you knew and loved, but this post has been updated to discuss the myWW. 

The Point System

WW attributes a certain number of points to each food you each, and you have a point balance to use throughout your day and/or week. Healthier foods naturally have fewer points than unhealthy ones. They divide their points into two categories: SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods. Honestly, no one likes the points. but I love the discipline they give me and I don’t feel like I am counting anything.  Counting calories is hard because not all calories are created equal. Think 100 calories for a small bag of potato chips and two cups of fresh strawberries.  Points, well they just are.

SmartPoints: These are points you can spend on not-so-healthy choices like alcohol and dessert. You get a certain number per day (and some extras per week) to spend on anything you like.

ZeroPoint foods: These are foods you can eat as much of as you want. You don’t have to track them or feel guilty consuming them!

When you download the myWW app, you’ll fill out a questionnaire which discusses everything from your weight and gender to your food preferences and lifestyle. It then makes a recommendation based on your answers for one of their three color plans: Green, Blue or Purple. Each plan has a different number of SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods to allow you the maximum flexibility that fits your lifestyle and mindset. This image helps break it down visually:

As noted above, the Blue plan is the old Freestyle plan. You’ll get about 200 “ZeroPoint” foods which include fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, yogurt, and eggs.

The Green plan limits your ZeroPoint foods to just fruits and non-starchy vegetables, but you have more SmartPoints to spend on anything you’d like.

The Purple plan gives you 300+ ZeroPoint foods, including everything in the Blue plan and whole grains. To offset that, you won’t have many SmartPoints, but you have a lot of freedom in your ZeroPoint category.

Additionally, you get “weekly points” that you can use anytime you want within the week.  Maybe you have a party or a meeting and you know you will need more “points” that day. WW makes it easy to include those events in your “diet” without feeling like you’re cheating and getting down on yourself.

How myWW Works

Each day you’ll track the foods you’ve eaten and see how many points you’ve used. If you budget your points well and stay within the limits, you should begin to see a drop in your weight week after week.

The app calendar highlights how many days you have been in the “healthy eating zone” which is not necessarily your budget number but it is close.

You’ll only lose a pound or two at a time, but that’s what is considered safe (and you’re more likely to keep it off than a sudden drop from a crash diet). You will get additional points to use if you record exercise, but that will slow your overall weight loss.

myWW Support Options

When you hear “Weight Watchers” you probably imagine getting on a scale in front of a bunch of peers. While that’s still an option with the new Freestyle app, it’s not required anymore.

Instead you can join a group board that you can chat with others about their journey and encourage one another, or get a coach to talk with digitally or over the phone.

So, How Much Does myWW Cost?

Right now, there are three plan types:

  1. Digital which includes the app and website and an expert to chat with online 24 hours per day. ($3.23 per week)
  2. Studio which is Digital plus wellness coaching and in-person group coaching (the face to face groups they started with). The studio price is dependent upon where you live because of the in person meetings.  Near me in Plymouth, MA it is $6.69 per week.
  3. Coaching is the third level and it includes the digital plan, a coach to work with on phone or by message, and a coach-created action plan. It costs $10.39 per week.

You can sign up here.

Why I Like myWW

Overall, what I appreciate most about myWW is that the program encourages all food groups, and doesn’t support crash dieting.

Some other perks include the new “Wellness Wins.” You earn wins by tracking your meals, weight and activity, and when you earn enough “wins” you can trade those points for rewards. You can get things like WW cookbooks, credit towards WW food, journals, cups, mugs, or you can donate the wins.  It is another way to reinforce healthy habits, and it makes it fun.

And since I love healthy eating that’s easy, the fact that Blue Apron has a WW-approved menu plan makes me sing! You can just buy the Blue Apron food and know you’re staying within your limits for those meals.

As a general rule, I find it easier to count points than calories, and it makes it easier to choose healthy foods. Finally, it’s not overly expensive and I like the accountability it gives me.

What I Don’t Like About myWW

Honestly my only complaint is that I have to track points at all. Obviously it requires time and effort to keep track of what you’re eating and a bit of math to make sure you’re staying under-budget.

That said, points are probably the easiest way to keep track of your healthy food choices, and if you need that accountability and direction, myWW has it.

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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about general breast cancer information and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not a substitute for professional, medical advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to ConsultColleen.com