As of last week, Weight Watchers transitioned from “PointsPlus” to a new program called “Beyond the Scale”. The hype on it I saw was mainly “It’s holistic!” and “Oprah loves it so much she bought part of the company!” neither of which makes me do cartwheels. (I remember Oprah’s takeover of the SciFi Network… sorry, SyFy now… and the appearance of wrestling. Because as we all know, the WWF and Stargate Command are pretty much the same.)
We were getting our first whiffs of this new program back in August or September at the meetings. WW was wanting the Leaders (who I think are now called Coaches, but that always makes me think of a 55 year old man in tight polyester shorts with a big tummy straining the button) anyway telling the Leaders to do things like dim the lights in the meeting room, play soft music, and have the members meditate. One week, we were apparently supposed to get in a circle. Lots and lots of “touchy-feely” stuff, that thankfully some Leaders knew better than to try and force onto their members. Believe me – in my group, it’d never fly.
The fonts and designs of the weekly handouts and weight records changed, going from a nice, clean font to Hipster Handwriting fonts. (Which I don’t mind, but it looks a bit out of place for WW.) They went from having people of all ages and builds in their photos to having models who might or might not be old enough to drink who obviously have never had anything more challenging with their weight than an extra five pounds they might have picked up when on vacation. That brought a hilarious conversation up in our meeting one evening.
Then they began messing around with the website. This I know can be placed right at Oprah’s feet, since when she bought a chunk of the company, she brought in her own tech people. (Information straight from WW with that.) They changed it so it looked…. pretty. It looks like it was designed for an iPad, not a desktop computer. It has pretty pictures with links that to this day take you nowhere. On Thanksgiving Day, of all times, they rolled out the brand new mobile app – which didn’t work. Like, at all. They concentrated their efforts to fix the iOS version, and finally got around to fixing the Android version (because Android is always treated as the red-headed stepchild), at least mostly fixing it. I don’t quite know, since my phone will no longer run it. Oh, and if you have an iPhone 4, you won’t be able to run the app, either. My Samsung tablet, which is just at a year old, is apparently incompatible with the Android app, even though it’s running the latest version for tablets. For me, I can either use the very clunky and slow website, or wait for Hims to get home every evening and use his brand new Android phone.
Oh, and the tracker on the website. Good lord. It’s finally working slightly better than it was before. It’s slow. You have to click through a few things to get to what you want. You can’t add more than one food item at a time – it makes you add it, then click through a few things to search for the next item, and so on. I finally gave up trying to sync my Garmin with the site, since all my steps from Wednesday would show up on Tuesday, and Tuesday would show up on Monday, and sometimes things wouldn’t show up at all, only to be all found on Sunday posted four times. As much as I would love to believe I walked 27,120 steps on a slow day, I know I only walked 6780. Apparently they can’t even get the FitBit to sync properly – and they sell the darn things at meeting places and on their website.
It’s a big, fat, hairy mess.
I know they’ll get things worked out. I mean, they have to, unless they just want to close up shop. But in the meantime, they have a lot of irritated (to put it lightly) members who feel as though they are beta testing all this for free and not being paid attention to when they try to give feedback – so it’s just turned into one big complaint-fest.
NOW! About the new diet. Because that’s really what it is now. The new SmartPoints system heavily penalizes added sugar and saturated fat. Personally, I’m neither cheering nor booing this. I don’t have a problem trying it out. Hells, I usually use Stevia or Splenda or something, anyway. I can munch my way through a box of Pocky for sure, but I can also hold back on that if I need to. My first weigh in is tonight, so we’ll see how it has worked for me so far.
The only thing I don’t really understand is the new points totals for daily and weekly. My daily Points Plus had been at 30 points per day, just lowered from 31. Everyone’s weekly points total (the extra points you could use judiciously throughout the week if needed or wanted – or not used, if you didn’t want to) had been 49. With SmartPoints, my daily total is still 30, and my weekly total is 42. Okay… even though about 60% of the foods have gone up between 1 and 10 points. (Yes, some have actually doubled in cost.) Right there, that means I can eat less, unless I eat zero-point foods like broccoli and carrots and green beans. All with no butter, which has risen in points dramatically. So yes, I have been a bit hungry this past week.
What I don’t understand, though, is that I am seeing women commenting on blogs who have been at their goal weight and in maintenance (where you aren’t trying to lose any more weight) saying that they went from 26 Points Plus a day – the lowest – to 30 Smart Points a day. I wanted to know why people on maintenance have the same amount of daily points as I do, when I still have 75-80 pounds left to lose? I even asked one of their “helpful real time chat experts”, and the only reply I could get was “Weight Watchers calculates everyone’s daily Smart Points goal by using a person’s age, height, current weight, and gender”. I’m still trying to understand how I have the same amount of points each day as someone in maintenance. I’ll ask my Leader tonight, but I have a feeling she won’t know, either. Nothing against her – it’s just no one seems to be able to explain it.
Again, I’ll stick this one out at least a couple months, seeing how it works for me. Even through the tech nightmares and the fact I’m hungrier than I have been. Because please: there’s only so many apples you can eat in one day. I just wish they would have thought all this through a bit better.