The aim: Losing weight while living healthier.
The claim: You’ll drop up to 2 pounds weekly.
The theory: There’s more to weight loss than counting calories – if you make healthier choices and behavior changes, you’ll feel better while losing weight. The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program, launched in late 2015, is designed to help people eat better, move more and shift their mindset. The program assigns every food and beverage a Smart Points value, based on its nutrition (higher amounts of saturated fat and sugar increase the point value; higher amounts of protein bring the point value down).
Choices that fill you up the longest “cost” the least, and nutritionally dense foods cost less than empty calories. So if you’re wavering between a cup of lobster bisque soup or a chicken salad sandwich – both 380 calories – the sandwich is the smarter choice. A backbone of the plan is multi-model access (via in-person meetings, online chat or phone) to support from people who lost weight using Weight Watchers, kept it off and have been trained in behavioral weight management techniques.
With Beyond the Scale, Weight Watchers members lost 15 percent more weight in their first two months following the new program, the company says, compared with those who followed the previous program.
How does Weight Watchers Diet work?
DOS & DON’TS
Do: Load up on fruits and veggies.
In late 2015, Weight Watchers introduced its new Beyond the Scale program, which emphasizes three components: eating healthier; fitness that fits your life; and learning skills and techniques that help you shift your mindset.
The new Smart Points food plan guides members toward an overall eating pattern that is lower in calories, saturated fat and sugar, and higher in protein. However, you can eat whatever you want – provided you stick to your daily Smart Points target, a number based on your gender, weight, height and age. You can find the points values of more than 290,000 foods on the mobile app or desktop food database.
Processed choices like bologna usually have higher point values due to calories and saturated fat. Fresh fruits and most vegetables carry zero points, so you can eat as many as you need to feel full. That’s because they tend to be low-calorie and nutrient-dense, so they’re more filling than, say, a candy bar. (Fruit juice, dried fruit and starchy vegetables don’t count as freebies, since they’re more calorie-dense for the same serving size.)
The company offers thousands of recipes, each with a SmartPoints value, to show how it fits into your eating plan. If you’re preparing a dish that’s not listed in the database, you can calculate the points value ingredient by ingredient, using your mobile app or through the company’s website. Vegetarians, gluten-free eaters and people with other dietary preferences can also easily find items and recipes tagged for them.
Fit Points, a new metric to help you track activity, was introduced in late 2015. Every member has a personalized Fit Points goal based on an initial assessment, and FitPoints can be earned anytime, anywhere – from cleaning the house to walking the dog. Whether you want to get active and don’t know where to start or are ready to take it to the next level and run a 5K, the program helps members uncover fun and easy ways to move more. Plus, Weight Watchers syncs with popular activity apps and monitors, including FitBit, Apple Health, Jawbone, Withings and Misfit.
The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program also aims to help those attempting to lose weight while living healthier get in the right frame of mind. The program offers skills and techniques in areas such as mindfulness and self-compassion to help individuals gain greater self-awareness to make different choices and stay motivated to achieve their goals.
Weight Watchers isn’t only about what you eat and making lifestyle changes; support is also a big component. Though you can choose to follow the plan online only, company-funded research found that those who attended Weight Watchers meetings and used the mobile app/online tools lost nearly eight times more than those who tried to lose weight on their own.
What happens during those 30-minute get-togethers? In a group format facilitated by a Weight Watchers leader who has lost weight on the program and kept it off, members discuss both their scale and non scale victories and problem-solve with others in similar situations. If in-person meetings don’t appeal to you, you can do the program totally online. All who follow Weight Watchers have access to an online feature that allows them to chat with an expert familiar with the program at any time, 24/7. Customized support and action plans are also available through a phone-based personal coaching program.