When it comes to losing weight, there are fad diets, downright crazy diets and then there’s Weight Watchers.
One of the most successful and effective programs out there, Weight Watchers has recently made a few changes (ok, 200 changes!) to their SmartPoints system, something that they really haven't done since 2015.
Weight Watchers Freestyle: Our most liveable program in over 50 years
For those of you who might not be familiar with Weight Watchers SmartPoints system, in a nutshell, each food is given a specific number of "points". The more fattening (think unhealthy) a food is, the more points is receives. Each participant, depending on their weight, age, and activity level, is assigned a certain number of points to use each day in order to lose weight.
For example, you might be allowed 30 points per day. One slice of chocolate cake might have 15 points. Of course, you can eat that if you like, but we bet you are going to be darn hungry at some point. More natural foods, such as bananas or chicken breasts, have far fewer points, meaning you can eat more.
Now Weight Watchers is introducing Freestyle to their lineup. Weight Watchers Freestyle is a new list of 200 foods that are now considered to be zero points. Imagine that for just a minute. Zero Points! It used to be that only some fruits and vegetables were considered to be zero points, but the list now includes tons of protein such as, skinless chicken breast, eggs, fish, corn, even beans!
Zero Points Foods - including skinless chicken breast, eggs, fish and seafood, corn, beans, peas, and so much more
Oprah Winfrey, who purchased a 10% interest in the company, stated that she was surprised at this big change and questioned how this could possibly work.
Freestyle is backed up by some pretty solid science. A six month study used two groups of subjects, one who ate using the old Smart Points system and the other group who ate using the Freestyle, zero points system. Surprisingly, the group who used the Freestyle point system lost an average of 8 % more weight than the original group. To top it off, an astounding 93 percent of participants stated that the new points program made them feel healthier than before!
Those who participated in this study stated that they also saw reductions in food cravings and hunger, as well as feeling almost as if they weren’t dieting at all.
This means that participants can enjoy 200 types of foods and not worry about counting points, tracking, or measuring anything!
Weight Watchers representatives call this "our most liveable program in over 50 years!"
We hear your skepticism! While some of the zero points foods aren't going to change your world dramatically (parsley, celery) others are a real game changer. Let’s take a look at just a few of the zero points foods you are going to enjoy:
Of course, there are plenty more items on the list, you can see the entire list on Weight Watchers.
Well, in a way, yes, but not as much as you might think. If you choose to use the Freestyle plan, you will have your points recalculated. The average female gets about 30 Smart Points per day. On the Freestyle plan, you might go down to 25 or 23 points. However, when you consider that you can eat as much as you like of the Zero Points foods on the list- well; this is a small price to pay!
Researchers have found that, even when allowed to eat as much as they liked, participants in the study didn’t eat enough calories or fat to make much of a difference.
This really rings true with us. Ever notice how you couldn’t possibly eat another bite of Christmas ham or Thanksgiving turkey, but there’s always room for pie or cake?
This is an exciting new idea for Weight Watchers. With the Free Style plan, you can "save" as much as 4 SmartPoints to enjoy later on. For example, if you are allowed 24 daily SmartPoints, but you only eat 20 points worth of food, that means that tomorrow, you can eat 28 SmartPoints. Or you can simply save your unused points to enjoy later on (Hello slice of birthday cake!) It’s almost like money in the bank, except this is more of a food bank!
The whole idea here is to encourage healthy eating, rather than reduced or restricted eating. This is a major step forward that everyone can agree on!
The Freestyle program is going to pay off in a big way for those who need to nosh all day long or for those who find that they are hungry, but can’t stomach another carrot stick!
Do what works best for you. If you worry that eating all you want of some foods might lead t eating more of ALL foods, you can stay with your original Smart Points plan.
Be patient, do what you know works best for you, and, perhaps most importantly, stick with it!