The Pros and Cons of the New MyWW Program, According to a Dietitian

Weight Watchers is reinventing itself — again. In 2018, the company rebranded as WW in a shift toward wellness and away from dieting. Now, it has unveiled a new program: myWW.

The new myWW program from Weight Watchers categorizes dieters into one of three groups, each of which are assigned different ZeroPoint foods. (Image: Hero Images/Hero Images/GettyImages)

Emphasis on the my: The program will be customized for everyone who joins via a personal assessment that looks at eating habits, food preferences, activity level and lifestyle habits.

How the myWW Plan Works

Based on your responses to the assessment, the myWW plan categorizes you into one of three colors: green, blue or purple. On all three plans, you'll be assigned a set number of SmartPoints, a daily allotment of points you "spend" on foods based on their calorie, sugar, saturated fat and protein content.

ZeroPoint foods are, as the name implies, zero points! Each color corresponds with different ZeroPoint food choices and overall calorie goals, according to the Weight Watchers website.

All three plans provide access to the Weight Watchers app, which includes food and activity trackers, groups to connect with other members, mini-meditations from Headspace, audio workouts and more.

If You're a Green

The Green category provides the smallest list of foods to help form your healthy eating habits. You'll have 100 ZeroPoint fruits and veggies to choose from to make up the mainstay of your diet and a larger SmartPoints budget for other eats.

If You're a Blue

This middle option gives you 200 ZeroPoint fruits, vegetables and proteins to focus on, while additional picks will count toward a moderate SmartPoint budget.

If You're a Purple

You'll get the largest list of ZeroPoint foods to work with: 300 fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains form the bulk of your plan, and others are tracked with a small amount of SmartPoints.

The Benefits of the myWW Plan

It's customized. The myWW program can work with various food preferences and lifestyles. If you enjoy more nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits, you may find yourself matching the Purple plan, which has the most ZeroPoint food items. If fast food and sweets are more your style, you may find that myWW suggests the Green plan to allow for more room in your SmartPoint budget.

You'll learn about nutrition. ZeroPoint foods are nutrient-dense, meaning they pack the most health benefits for the least amount of calories. They are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and low in sugar. Focusing on these foods brings down your daily calorie count while keeping you full longer. And learning to identify nutrient-dense foods can help you make smart choices long after you decide to adopt a different diet plan.

Support is at your fingertips. The WW app makes logging your food and tracking your progress a piece of cake. The barcode scanner allows you to scan a food quickly to understand how it fits into your daily SmartPoints budget. The app also syncs to activity trackers to help monitor calories burned during workouts.

Try Our MyPlate App!

Keeping a food diary is one of the most effective ways to manage your weight. Download the MyPlate app to easily track calories, stay focused and achieve your goals.

The Downsides of the myWW Plan

There are still external rules to grapple with. As a dietitian, I know the only way to truly have a good relationship with food and avoid disordered eating behaviors is to let your own body be your guide. Hunger and fullness cues vary each day and are dependent on activity, hormones and dieting history.

While the new myWW program claims to be the most customized version yet, the plan still places relatively rigid guidelines on what and how much you should eat rather than teaching you how to navigate your own hunger and fullness cues. This can leave you feeling full one day and starving the next.

ZeroPoint foods foster a "good" versus "bad" food mentality. The ZeroPoint foods are lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and foods that are generally higher in protein and lower in sugar. These picks objectively contain more nutrients than foods that aren't "free." But you're only given so many SmartPoints for additional eats each day. If you really love something that isn't on your ZeroPoint list, restricting yourself regularly could lead to binge eating.

Diets often fail. Dieting is actually a strong predictor of future weight gain, according to an article published in September 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. While myWW is a new and customizable plan, it is still a diet — and there simply may be more effective ways to keep the weight off and improve your health long-term.

Dieting Doesn't Work for Everyone

The Bottom Line

Consider the new myWW plan a way to deepen your understanding of nutritious foods. The plan offers in-app suggestions for recipes and meal combinations that are high in protein and low in calories that can help you explore your likes and dislikes if you're an inexperienced cook or nutrition novice.

As a weight-loss program, the plan doesn't provide the tools needed to understand daily fluctuations in hunger and fullness, which could lead to regaining any lost weight over time. The program also has the potential to create food fear and binge eating due to restricting foods that are highly palatable for most people.

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