Weighing in on New Weight Watchers 360 Program

By Karen

Weight Watchers® recently augmented their PointsPlus® system with yet another layer called 360°. President Dave Kirchhoff ecstatically proclaimed it the “most innovative change in Weight Watchers’ 50-year history.”

360’s explanatory tag line on the website is…

A program built for human nature so you can expect amazing.

I think they should have named it Weight Watchers for Dummies.

Two new components are called Managing Spaces and Routines.

Managing Spaces is a collection of tips on how to control your eating at home, at work, eating out, traveling, and on special occasions, and how to shop for groceries. The tips include such astounding insights as…

Shopping: Have a list, don’t shop hungry, and skip the bite-size samples.

At Work: Bring safe lunches and snacks from home.

Traveling: Bring bottled water and snacks.

Eating out: Study the menu in advance online, and then order whatever fits your points.

Online members can indicate if they find these gems of wisdom helpful, and thousands have.

Routines are things you should be doing every day, such as getting enough sleep, eating vegetables or fruit with every meal, drinking more water with meals, and eating breakfast every day. There are 16 in all.

You’re supposed to track your chosen routines by clicking “Yes” daily if you follow them, as if the never-ending chore of calculating and recording points on every blessed bite (which I do) and tracking the numbers of servings of liquids, milk products, fruits, veggies, vitamins, and healthy oils you consume (which I abandoned within the first month) aren’t enough.

Don’t get me wrong. Weight Watchers DOES work. I’m living proof of it, having just lost 41 pounds in 6 months — and still going. But I think 360 jumps the shark by selling it as “normal” behavior to spend every waking minute dwelling on your relationship with food.

If you need the obvious pounded incessantly in to your head to control your food intake, you either aren’t motivated enough to do it or you’ve got psychological eating issues so deep-rooted, you need more help than any mere eating plan can provide.

Meanwhile, in spite of the 360 makeover, the WW website continues to be a poorly functioning, maddeningly laid out, and inexplicably organized train-wreck — and I find the mobile app for iPad useless. They must figure we online-only members get what we pay for, since it’s far cheaper than attending meetings.

Thank God they figured out what works for losing weight!

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8 Responses to Weighing in on New Weight Watchers 360 Program

  1. leannenalani says:

    Good review. It’s funny the way they made it sound like it was a big leap in the program based on science. Yeah, the new stuff they added is very helpful for people, but it’s all the same stuff you can read in many books and magazines so it’s not surprising or new information. I guess the positive things is that they’ve added that into the program.

  2. catsworking says:

    leannenalani, you’re right. It’s like they went through back issues of every general interest women’s magazine out there and clipped factoids from all the weight-loss articles. I didn’t find anything I haven’t seen elsewhere 100 times.

    I find the WW website so totally annoying, I use it as little as possible (the only reason I stay is that I’m determined to become a lifetime member this time). I track points on paper, then transfer sketchy little descriptions to the site once or twice a week, rather than scroll endlessly in that TINY little area allow for pasting past foods. Life’s too short. Quicker to just retype the stuff every freaking time. And I’ve NEVER been able to get it to save “meals” so they can be pasted all at once.

    And I think there’s a bug in the Activity Points calculator. Recently I spent an entire afternoon crocheting. Out of curiosity I entered the time as an activity, and it gave me 8 points. REALLY? For CROCHETING? I changed the activity to READING and it gave me 8 points. I’m sure breathing would be the same.

    I searched high and low and could find NOWHERE a list of activities, times, and point values. Now why wouldn’t they provide that, just like they provide lists of foods?

    So it makes me wonder if the hordes of women who complain on the message boards about endlessly plateauing aren’t being misled about how many points they earn on activities and are overeating as a result.

    The only activities I count are walking/stepping in place and riding my stationary bike, my only “exercises.” I try to hit 10,000 steps a day.

  3. leannenalani says:

    Wow, 8 points for chrocheting, eh? No way, that’s impossible. lol Their website sounds like a big mess! Back when I was using it in 2006 or so it worked pretty flawlessly, back in the Flex/Core days. Sounds like WW has a lot of work to do. But hey, I think the fact that you’re going to stick to it so you can get to Lifetime is great. I’m sure they’ll fix things up eventually, with enough complaints from users.

  4. Zappa's Mom says:

    How many points for drinking coffee and watching one hour of “My Name is Earl” reruns? That is how I begin every morning,followed by 30 min of more traditional exercise(on the treadmill watching “Jerry Springer”)

  5. catsworking says:

    ZM, an hour of coffee-drinking and Earl-watching would probably net you 4 points. ;-)

    Leanneenalani, WW wanted to download the new version of mobile app on my iPad recently, but I read the comments first and they were TERRIBLE. The vast majority gave it one star and cited numerous problems, so I took a pass. Also, I’ve been unable to find/download the much-vaunted new mobile barcode app that’s supposed to let you scan any barcode on a food item and find out instantly how many points it’s worth. Given their utter cluelessness in setting up the whole tracking section of the site (like MAKING THE FREAKING WINDOW SIZABLE SO THE LIST OF ALL FOODS YOU’VE ENTERED CAN BE BIGGER THAN A POSTAGE STAMP!), I can’t imagine how the barcode app can possibly work, since I doubt nutritional values are in the barcode. Instead, it would require WW to have compiled a massive database with calculations on every item in every grocery store. I can’t find ordinary foods on their existing lists now, and they’ve been around for years. So I am dubious.

    If anybody out there is using the barcode app, I wish you’d check in and let us know how it works.

  6. Karen J says:

    Sounds like they’ve bought into the Go Big or Go Home! mythos, big time.
    “More complex” does not automatically mean “easier to use”, and sometimes “more information” is Just.Too.Much!

    Not going to WW any time soon, fersure.

    Bright Blessings and Happy New Year!

  7. Velta says:

    I’ve been a lifetime member since 1989, back when the plan was simply eat X# of portions of each food group daily. They gave you booklets explaining how to weigh your food, and how to eye-ball it. Then they gave you booklets with different menu ideas using all the food groups, and all the mealtimes throughout the day. When the points plan first came out I was pregnant, so didn’t bother with it. Two years ago, after having 3 kids, and gaining way more than I care to admit, I went back and relinquished my hold on the old plan. I have tried really hard to embrace the points plan, but I find that I might as well just count calories like everyone who doesn’t go to WW. I tried the online version, but I find that I spend way more time online than I should anyway. Besides if you are going to spend that much time online tracking all that stuff why pay for it when there are some really good free sites that track the same stuff, they just don’t tell you you have points to use – they call it calories. I did manage to lose about 30lbs, but then I hit that point where nothing I do works. So, now, I’m seriously considering pulling out the old 1989 stuff and give it a-go again. Wish me luck!

  8. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Velta!

    Boy, can I identify. Been there, done that. This is my 3rd time on WW, and this time I had way more weight to lose than ever. If you go back and read my initial posts when I started in June 2013, you’ll find my complaints about the whole points thing. But I swear to God PointsPlus is better than all their previous plans, bar none. You can have almost unlimited fruits and veggies, so that steers you toward foods that are good for you and doesn’t penalize you — and you LOSE WEIGHT. When you simply count calories or portions, EVERYTHING you eat counts. Personally, I love having the free pass on certain foods.

    Here’s a real-life example for you: A friend of mine started on WW a week before I did, but she was used to the older points plan and didn’t like PointsPlus because it penalizes bread more. So she stopped doing PointsPlus and continued her former plan. I stuck with PointsPlus.

    For months she was running 3-5 lbs. ahead of me on losing, but as I stuck with it, I slowly crept up on her. When she hit 30 lbs. lost, she seemed to plateau and kept gaining/losing the same few pounds.

    I just kept losing. In 33 weeks, I think there have only been 2 weeks when I plateaued.

    I haven’t talked to her in a few weeks, but I think today I am probably 8-10 lbs. ahead of her because I’ve had a few really good weeks.

    Granted, she’s doing it with diet alone and no exercise, whereas I do at least 10,000 steps virtually every day. But she was losing at a fast clip in the beginning. I think my success is due to eating less bread and potatoes and more plant-based foods overall.

    I totally agree with you that tracking online is a pain. I keep mine in a notebook (and so does my friend). I’m just sticking with the online program because it’s cheaper than meetings and I’m determined to become a lifetime member this time.

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