I have followed the WW/Weight Watchers program for years, from "exchanges" up to the most recent Wellness Wins program.
In the past, Weight Watchers (WW) always had one program that everyone followed. Sure, there were different rules for nursing mothers and other special circumstances. But it was basically the same plan.
This time, WW has introduced a program that is actually three plans in one. It takes each person’s particular needs into account and determines which option is the best fit. Even though each option is different, they all encourage you to eat better, move more, and shift your mindset to a more positive way of approaching weight loss.
When you start, you’re given a personal assessment that will analyze your eating habits, fitness and activity level, and other personal characteristics. The results of this assessment will match you with a color, which could be green, blue, or purple. If you were already in the program when they introduced the color system, you were allowed to select your own color.
Don’t worry too much about picking a color. You’re not stuck with it. If you find that your color choice isn’t working for you, you can absolutely change it. And change it back, too (within reason, of course).
But First, Some Terminology
If you’re not familiar with WW, or if it’s been a while, you’ll need to recall some basic terminology:
- SmartPoint value – a point value assigned to food choices based on complex nutritional data. They start with the number of calories in your food choice, and then factor in the amount of sugar, saturated fat, and protein.
- ZeroPoint food – food choices that can be eaten without measuring or tracking, while still losing weight. They are less likely to be overeaten than other foods. For example, cauliflower is a ZeroPoint food, but French fries are not. Be aware that just because you don’t track ZeroPoint foods doesn’t mean that you can eat them to an extreme (i.e., it’s not an all-you-can-eat buffet). You wouldn’t want to sit down and eat three heads of cauliflower in one sitting, would you? It’s all about balance and making good choices.
- FitPoints – are used to track activity. They help you track your progress, and can be used swap FitPoints for SmartPoint values after you’ve reached a basic level of activity for the day. All the math is calculated for you.
- WellnessWins Rewards – these are points that you earn by tracking your healthy habits (e.g., recording food portions, your weight, etc.). You accumulate these points to earn prizes.
The Three M’s: Menu, Movement, Mindset
Any good weight loss program takes into consideration the three M’s:
- Menu – you will have a lot of guidance selecting the type and quantity of food you should be eating every day. There are no restrictions on what types of food you can eat. The only "catch" is in portion control.
- Movement – you don’t have to start an exercise program, but it does help to move more. It will help with your weight loss efforts, and it will make you feel better too.
- Mindset – speaking of feeling better, WW spends a lot of time and effort helping you wrap your mind around the various aspects of the program. Every week they have a new topic, designed to help you mentally adjust to life on the program. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. But if you need help, there are several ways to reach out.
Green, Blue, and Purple: Three Ways to Live the "myWW" Program
There are three options for the new myWW program, and they are color-coded: Green, Blue, and Purple. They each combine ZeroPoint foods and SmartPoints
Green – fewer ZeroPoint foods, and a larger SmartPoints budget. I’ll call this the most “strict” version, with more tracking involved. You track more, but you’ll really learn the basis of healthy eating habits. Use this option if you don’t want to give yourself very much wiggle room.
Blue – similar to the previous program – a moderately sized list of ZeroPoint foods, and a middle-of-the-road budget of SmartPoints. You’ll be using your ZeroPoint foods to build your meals, and you’ll never feel deprived. In my opinion, this is most like the previous program on WW.
Purple – A long, long list of ZeroPoint foods (including some types of pasta!), but a small budget of SmartPoints for anything else. This option really emphasizes sticking to ZeroPoint foods, and only using SmartPoints for a comparatively small portion of your daily food choices. Use this plan if you don’t like tracking as much.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of which version you choose, you still must work the program. There’s a lot more to it than what I’ve outlined here, but now you have a general understanding of how the latest version stacks up with earlier one.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Carolyn Fields
Liz Westwood from UK on April 19, 2020:
I hadn't realised that ww had got so complex. You give a very useful explanation in this article.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 19, 2020:
I went to WW several years ago and lost the weight. This new program sounds very good and maybe it is a fit for more people.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on April 18, 2020:
The new program sounds interesting. I was on WW back in the 1970s when I really didn't need to be, but I was just going along as a cheerleader to my sister. Today I'm 25 lbs overweight, but now I must be gluten-free. I'd heard that WW had a gluten-free version, but I hadn't checked into it. I may be thinking of a different program. Thanks for the information.