Popular Diets and WLS Weight Watchers® “Beyond the Scale”

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

July 4, 2017

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Weight Loss Surgery and Weight Watchers

Weight Loss Surgery and Weight Watchers | Popular Diets After WLS | FoodCoach.Me


I’ve been posting a blog series called “Popular Diets and WLS” because it’s SO COMMON that after the honeymoon phase of bariatric surgery is over, the scale stops moving so fast. Or even…the wrong way. And when this happens patients ask me if other diets will help after their Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass. Be sure to check out the Back on Track Video Course here on FoodCoach.Me! Some videos are free while others are reserved for paying members.

Check out the other diets we’ve covered in this series:

Edition One: The Ketogenic Diet

Edition Two: The Vegan Diet

Edition Three: The Whole 30

In this Edition Four we’re going to discuss Weight Watchers® and in particular their latest program called “Beyond the Scale” which was released in December 2015.

My best guess is that 99% of us (myself included) have been a Weight Watchers® member…more than once.

We’ve all probably joined at different times when they did things differently. I went during the height of “points” and was in high school when I walked around the grocery store with my “slider” to see how many points different food items would cost me.

And you know what? I’ve always been thankful for Weight Watchers®. It’s not a program that worked well for me in the long term (more on that later) but it certainly gave me tools to help me make healthier decisions. I still dip my fork in my salad dressing and leave myself more time than I think I need at the grocery store so I don’t rush my choices. Some things I learned from WW I later had to unlearn but many of the “basics” have been a gift!

Let’s get into the nitty gritty details of their latest “Beyond the Scale” Program which the company describes as this:

a holistic approach to a healthier, happier life that encompasses the evolving needs, mindsets and science around weight management.

Below are the features of the program as listed on WeightWatchers.com

The new program includes:

New SmartPoints® plan to make healthy eating simple: The new system delivers weight loss while using the latest nutritional science to go beyond both calories and the previous Weight Watchers PointsPlus system. SmartPoints is the plan Oprah Winfrey has been using to lose weight and eat healthier since she became a member in August.

New fitness approach that fits a busy life: Members receive personalized activity goals and have access to the new FitBreak by Weight Watchers™app, which helps turn moments of downtime into up time.

A personalized program that serves each member’s lifestyle, goals and challenges: Based on an assessment, members get daily and weekly SmartPoints targets, personalized activity goals and relevant content designed to help find and fuel inner strength.

The plan also states they say a 15% increase in weight loss for its members in their first 2 weeks compared to programs in their past.


Steph’s Thoughts:

I have mixed thoughts so let’s start with my concerns and end with what I like!

Concerns – perhaps I shouldn’t call them concerns at all but what I can’t understand is exactly how the points are calculated. Perhaps if I joined as a member and read the literature really closely I could understand more but my thought is this calculation and algorithm of determining points is done with the team of dietitians that works for WeightWatchers®. While I have full faith these dietitians are focused on nutrition quality, I think they may look at things differently compared to myself as a bariatric surgery dietitian.

I do love that they give higher protein foods less points. I mentioned earlier the points approach didn’t work for my personal weight loss journey. I’ve found I’m not the biggest fan of counting in general so a plan that focuses on counting everything is not typically my favorite. I prefer focusing on high quality foods, listening to hunger and fullness cues and “keeping it simple” instead of counting everything and feeling more slave to the numbers. BUT we all have different minds that thrive in different ways so this may be a much better fit for you than for most of my patients. Here is an older post I wrote “I stopped counting calories and finally lost weight

What I love – Accountability. Support. Group meetings. The fresh ideas you can get from others. If you signed up for WeightWatchers® and weighed in weekly and connected with others working towards health goals…it’s a very powerful tool! I firmly believe WW has been so successful because of the accountability and support. What I WOULD recommend if you are a bariatric patient going to a WW program is that you still put on your bariatric surgery goggles. Things ARE different for you. Don’t focus so much on fiber to fill you up…focus on PROTEIN to fill you up. Make 70% of your points from protein sources! Still stick with the post-op guidelines but marry the two programs together to fit your lifestyle.

I don’t know much about the online support but my thought is the in person meetings hold the most value. Your schedule may not allow for that and it may still be worth trying the online program to see if it gives you the accountability you need!

FYI the cost breakdown can be a little tough to decipher but is tiered based on how many months you sign up for. As an example, a 6 month plan for both in person meetings and online support will cost roughly $34 each month but does commit you to 6 months. They also offer one month or three month options for more per month. Find out more on their site.

For another avenue of online support consider joining the FoodCoach.Me Membership and you’ll gain access to our closed FB group! Read more about membership and all it can offer you here


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