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WW (formerly Weight Watchers) has introduced a brand new plan for 2022, known to users as PersonalPoints.
Point-tracking diet plans are personalized for each WW user based on their goals and favorite foods.
For the first time, WW users are rewarded for good dietary choices, physical exercise and optimal hydration with extra personal points to use on a weekly basis.
Plans start at $13 monthly but can range up to $40 if you require one-on-one coaching with a WW advocate.
Whether you're new to it entirely or have tried Weight Watchers before, the point-based diet program — which officially rebranded as WW a few years back — has new plans to help users get started on healthier routines.
WW has been recognized by analysts at U.S. News and World Report as the fourth-best diet for rapid weight loss. And at Good Housekeeping, nutritionists within the Good Housekeeping Institute have acknowledged that Weight Watchers has historically allowed dieters to ease into moderation and learn better portion control habits without eliminating entire food groups — key for those who like to dine out.
WW has leaned into making it easier for its users to enjoy things in moderation by unveiling a completely overhauled program in late 2021. Previously, those interested in Weight Watchers chose from three different existing plans to meet personal needs; and to provide digital support during the pandemic, WW introduced Digital360, a service add-on that allows you to get community support without heading to a WW office or in-person meetups.
Its newest plan, however, harnesses a proprietary algorithm that customizes diet plans for you — so users aren't forced to choose between three plans moving forward. Standard access to this point system, officially known as WW PersonalPoints, and WW's recipe offerings begin at around $13 per month, but additional coaching services can bump plans up to over $40 monthly.
We're exploring WW's newest diet plan below, as well as taking a look at the common additions that users can subscribe to for an additional cost. Here's what you need to know to get started and how each feature stacks up in 2022.
Editor's note: Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on a diet, we invite you to gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.
What is the new Weight Watchers (WW) program for 2022?
The newest program replaces three previous options to choose from, but is more customizable than you'd think. Aptly named PersonalPoints, its point-based system is different for each user — it starts with a new questionnaire known as the "PersonalPoints Engine," which targets a user's beloved foods. And for the first time, activity level is being factored into WW's point allowances, which are reportedly different for each user based on their target goals.
New in 2022, WW is now also accounting for users who are diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. PersonalPoints adhere to nutritional benchmarks set forth by the American Diabetes Association, among others, to prioritize foods that won't negatively impact blood sugar levels throughout a user's day.
Zero-point food lists are still a mainstay in WW's PersonalPoints program, where users are encouraged to enjoy certain foods without tracking to stay fully satisfied throughout the day. More often than not, zero-point foods consist of fiber-filled vegetables, lean proteins, and naturally sweet fruits.
For those who feel as if they couldn't move off their zero point list in previous Weight Watchers' plans, you'll be interested to hear that new WW plans allow users to earn extra points. These extra PersonalPoints can be used on a weekly basis as they're added to your daily budget in real-time; you'll be allocated them if you double down on non-starchy vegetables, log exercise frequently and drink more water throughout your diet.
Which Weight Watchers plan is the most effective?
While there is only one diet plan you'll subscribe to in 2022, WW has kept around additional services available for purchase that can customize how and when you interact with its app. Every WW member is granted basic in-app chat features with WW personnel to field questions and seek support, but if you know that you'll need accountability features that previous Weight Watchers' plans were famous for, you can customize your PersonalPoints subscription.
Available at different costs, here are three additional services that WW users can explore:
Digital360: You'll have digital access to live-streaming and pre-recorded messages, events, and coaching from a pool of WW coaches publishing content on the brand's app and website. You'll also be able to connect with other dieters in a digital social setting who are also embarking on a weight loss journey. This plan is best for those who are motivated to stay engaged, as you won't be accessing group-based workshops and check-ins. This subscription starts at around $18 per month.
Unlimited Workshops: Whether in-person or virtually, you'll select a WW coach and join a group of dieters for weekly workshops. You can sign up for as many workshops as you'd like, and you'll also be able to connect with members in your group to share tips and tricks. Per WW's website, the price difference between this offering and Digital360 differs anywhere from $2-$3 a week, depending on your locale — plans start at $27 per month.
1-on-1 Coaching: The most expensive subscription, this enables you to get 1-on-1 coaching via a scheduled weekly call with your WW coach, who will also help you troubleshoot any meal plans, fitness routines, or other questions you may have about the program. You won't have access to most of the features on Digital360, however. Plans for this top-tier program start at just over $40 per month.
Having access to weekly workshops and actually attending them may help you better adapt WW diet principles sooner rather than later, which is why many add the Unlimited Workshop option to their basic subscription. If you know that you won't need external support and can keep yourself accountable, sticking with Digital360 should be effective enough for short-term weight loss goals.
Are Weight Watchers' new plans healthy?
Unlike other diet programs, Weight Watchers doesn't harp on restricting your choices when it comes to food staples, and it emphasizes the importance of portion control and leaning on wholesome ingredients. Plus, it advocates for a sustainable weight loss goal over a longer period of time, rather than "crash" dieting. The WW website maintains that members should expect to lose anywhere from one-half to two pounds each week on the plan, as it doesn't require anyone to give up whole food groups entirely. That feature is key to building better nutrition blocks, says Amy Fischer, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian within the Good Housekeeping Institute.
"The goal is to be able to eat any food you want within moderation — most lean proteins, fruits and non-starchy vegetables are zero points, which encourages you to develop a habit to choose those foods over-processed foods that contain saturated fats and added sugar," Fischer says. "There is also a strong WW community that members can tap into for support."
Numerous clinical studies have shown that WW's diet programs support healthy weight loss that dieters can maintain. The results from a 2017 clinical trial published in The Lancet show that obese adults who followed a WW program for one full year lost more weight than those who used self-help materials; plus, these adults were better able to maintain their weight loss over two years. A separate review of 39 different studies published in 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that those who followed a WW program lost nearly 3% more weight compared to those who received other forms of counseling.
The only caveat that users should take note of is that WW plans may be flawed in allowing dieters to cash in all of their point allowances on over-processed foods, explains Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD, a Los Angeles-based performance nutritionist. A zero-point food may also still be overeaten in some qualities, too. "I've seen people 'save' up their points for big splurges, which throws off balance in the long run... It's important to examine what feels like a good fit for you, and find a strategy you can continue to follow long term, as a lifestyle, not a short-term 'diet.'"
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