There are 3 major improvements to Weight Watchers with the introduction of the new "Momentum Program." The changes are based in some good fundamentals. Here are three of the most important ones:
1) There is a greater focus on healthy food choices, which is shown to be the best path to long term weight loss. There is a lot of focus on their "Filling Foods" list, which are foods that keep you from being hungry. There is a reason they have that little furry hungry monster on their ads!
2) Weight Watchers is getting solid reviews of their new recipes. There are a lot of them and they are very good from what we are hearing. When you join you get to choose from a wide array of choices, tailored to your tastes, and we think you get a Momentum Recipe book.
3) The third area of focus and improvement is on the psychology of weight loss. Most of us know what to do, but have a hard time following through. PEERtrainer has put together this quiz to help you find out your odds of success on something like the Momentum program. As good as it is, you will only be successful on it if you are ready and motivated to do so. Some find it helpful to take the quiz and then keep reading this page.
Can I Do Weight Watchers Momentum Program On My Own?
The company now sells a series of comprehensive kits on Amazon that give you books on the new recipes, a calculator for the new points system, instructional dvd's, a basic training guide and more. There are two kits available--the deluxe has more books and guides, along with a Momentum cookbook.
Tip Of The Day subscribers and participants in our Point Of No Return Coaching Program know that we make sure people understand how to count Weight Watcher points, because it is such a great tool when you are outside your comfort zone. But one of the key criticisms we've seen of Weight Watchers overall was this idea that you could do the diet in an unhealthy way.
But now Weight Watchers has made a real turnaround in this area and this Momentum program seems to tackle this weakness head on. Specifically, they are focusing on the idea of "Filling Foods" that are high in fiber and high in water content. Which means a diet high in plant-based foods which are excellent for long term health. This is really a change of focus.
In the words of Gail Gedan Spencer of Examiner.com, "Thirty points of nacho cheese rice cakes is not the same as 30 points of healthy, filling, nutritious foods." We say in our coaching calls and newsletters, "learn the points system" and it may be that the Momentum program joins that.
Will Men Like The New Momentum Program?
It may be that men particular think will want to strongly consider the program. If you are a man you might want to read this post of ours. It is feedback from a man who lost 80 pounds in the last year from the old program. Weight Watchers for Men has been a relatively new area of focus and seems to be improving with time.
The Points System- What Is It, Has Anything Changed With Momentum?
The Weight Watchers Points System assigns point values to foods, and with Momentum there is now more focus on healthy foods when you do count points.
Even if Weight Watchers is not a long term fit for you, you will find great value learning their approach to portion control, group support and focus on healthy filling foods. If your diet is not giving you the results you want, you need to address those three areas. This article of ours takes you through how the Points system works and how you can learn to gauge points easily. Points are still a very core part of their new diet approach. The only thing that appears to have changed is the new focus on healthy, filling foods.
What About The Flex And Core Programs?
From what we are hearing, the Flex and Core Systems or Programs have been rolled into the new Momentum Program. So when you show up at your local Weight Watchers meeting place, expect to now have one choice. According to one PEERtrainer member:
"From what I've heard, it's making core and flex one plan. The core foods are now filling foods. Basically, it's teaching you more of the basics of what foods are good for you but if you slip, you still have your points as a backup. I guess it's also to make things easier, you now only have one choice. Unless I'm wrong, it's not like there are three choices now, when you sign up for weight watchers, you're signing up for the one program, the momentum program."
But Doesn't It Make Sense To Reward Exercise Like They Did With Flex?
This is something I need to find out, because it makes sense to be rewarded for exercising with a few points here and there. But it was always pretty hard to earn points with exercise and I think pointed to the fact that diet is really the dominant component of weight loss.
"Filling Foods" Replaces Core Foods List
The Weight Watchers Momentum Program now features a "Filling Foods List" which takes into account the actual space that the food takes up in your stomach. People who have read Eat to Live or Eat For Health by Joel Fuhrman understand that volume is one of the four dimensions of hunger. Nutrients, calories and addictions are the other three. Weight Watchers has adopted this focus on the importance of volume. And they really ought to give credit to the pioneers in this space, but at the end of the day they are good marketers and will be rewarded for that.
Weight Watchers Momentum does not seem to totally embrace the idea of nutrient density yet, but the fact is they are throwing a lot at people with this new program, and it appears to be vastly more comprehensive than their previous programs where you could choose to do Flex or Core or whatever.
Examples From The Filling Foods List- (From Their Public Website)
3 Point Sauteed Shrimp Recipe- This is an example of how you can cook large peeled shrimp quickly with some nice flavorings. Note the following very healthy recommendation for what to serve the shrimp over:
"Fresh lemon juice and dried seasonings provide simple yet wonderful flavor for this easy sauté. Serve the shrimp over brown rice with a side of roasted vegetables for a complete, nutritious meal."
0 Point Roasted Vegetable Recipe- This gives you a nice example of the new approach to dieting in the Momentum Program. They do not seem to be penalizing vegetables at all, even with the small amount of olive oil. Dr Fuhrman has written extensively about the high nutrient values in vegetables and the very important role they play in helping you feel full. Weight Watchers seems to have adopted this philosophy, which we see work.
4 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray, divided
2 medium sweet red pepper(s), cut into 8 thick strips
1 medium green pepper(s), cut into 8 thick strips
1 medium summer squash, cut thickly on the diagonal
1 medium zucchini, cut thickly on the diagonal
1 medium red onion(s), cut into large wedges
12 oz canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained and halved
1 tbsp thyme, fresh, minced
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
Examples of snack ideas on the filling foods list include cherries and guacamole. That is particularly interesting because people commonly assume avocado is not a diet food because of the fat. In my experience it really takes the edge off and is yet another great example of their new approach to dieting with Momentum.
I Want To Try Before I Buy....
It might be that you are apprehensive about going to an in-person meeting, so they offer an online version of the Weight Watchers Momentum Program. If cost is an issue but you still want some level of help, PEERtrainer offers a daily weight loss coaching newsletter that guides you through some key fundamentals. We also offer a series of free weight loss coaching calls that will also give you some practical tools and rules. They are both free and you can get started right away.
Weight Watchers Helpful Habits
This is another new aspect of Weight Watchers Momentum that appears to take a page out of the work done by Judith Beck of The Beck Diet Solution. This replaces their old "Tools For Living" but starts them on the path to a small level of ideas promoted by prominent psychotherapists.
These rapid adjustments appear to be pretty smart, and we need to see how people actually respond. Since many people are members of PEERtrainer and Weight Watchers simultaneously, we will be able to provide a great feedback loop.
Weight Watchers Seems To Be More Accommodating To Vegetarians
One thing that always struck me in supermarkets were nutrient-poor yet low point foods that were marketed aggressively. When PEERtrainer won the 2007 Web 2.0 awards in the Health category, one thing that Habib pointed to was a concern that the dominant diets were not making people healthy.
In fact, he made a very pointed comment about the diet industry overall:
"With Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig etc. shoving processed, low calorie, junk food down peoples' throats, there is a lot to do to get the industry focused on new approaches. These kinds of foods are not improving peoples’ health. In fact, the opposite may well be true. The medical and health care community agrees and is now working with us to help reset the agenda."
That might not have been a totally fair assertion, but in retrospect was not too far off the mark. It is really great to see WW take this new focus, where they really cannot be accused of that any more. There will be a business benefit for them- hopefully. But there also may well be a societal benefit, which is why it is so important to really explore this program.
This new program places much more focused on real foods vs processed foods. As a result, people who are into healthy diets will find a more welcome home. And if you think about this for a second, Weight Watchers is a great marketing tool for the food industry. So you may well see many of the companies who had in the past been teaming up with WW to deliver low point processed food, now change focus.
How great would it be to see Weight Watchers and Whole Foods team up??
Food Tracking And Journaling
Weight Watchers is also placing a heavy emphasis on tracking your foods, noting that it is highly effective. We realized this 4 years ago when we built PEERtrainer, and have a very easy to use, free form food journal that is built into every support group and team on the site.
Journaling your foods each day works, plain and simple. Just do it. Does not matter where.
Should I Sign Up For The Weight Watchers Momentum Program?
From our perspective, weight loss is incredibly hard to accomplish and maintain. So you really need all the help you can get. It is that important. PEERtrainer is focused heavily on the online, email and phone based approaches to losing weight. If you need an in-person, face to face thing, there is really no alternative. Even if you only join for a month and don't want to go to the meetings, you will find real value and what appears to be a growing set of very practical and proven tools.
I Am Thinking About Doing Nutrisystem Instead of Weight Watchers Momentum...
You need to find what works for you and what stage you are in the weight loss process. The two offerings are very different. One thing we have seen is that some men have had success with NutriSystem because they simply were not able to get started any other way. Other men have done great going to the Weight Watchers meetings. And it may be that you start WW after a couple months on NutriSystem. You have to find what works for you.
Does PEERtrainer Have An Opinion On The New Weight Watchers Program?
Their focus on identifying healthier foods may well boost their overall success rate. We base any views on what we see among our members, so our view will evolve. But we have a strong gut about what they are now doing. Again, weight loss is so hard for so many that you want to get all the help that you can.
We now have an affiliate relationship with them, and we feel good about pointing people to this new program. Many of you know that we highly recommend you own a copy of Eat For Health no matter what weight you are. If you are overweight and not making progress you probably would do very well to do Momentum. And if you join the program via this orange banner below, you help support PEERtrainer and the work we are doing with our free Tip Of The Day coaching program.
We tend to cover Weight Watchers quite a bit and if you want to read more of what we have written, please click on the link. One of the things we are interested in particularly is helping make sure you integrate all these proven tools into a way that really works for you.
We have also started a new thread over in the community on the new Weight Watchers Momentum Program. Please chime in there, here in the comments section or send me an email.
1/1/09 Update- We are now getting some great feedback on the new Momentum Plan and it seems like this system is really helping people have success. One user helped to explain that this new program is really different in the area of recipes, and that the new recipes are really really good.
It is funny because the new comments we are getting is helping to bolster my initial gut about the changes. They are very real and for the first time you really have to go to a meeting or join to get the best information.
1/5/09 Update- We just posted a note about a doctor having recommended doing Weight Watchers and The South Beach diet together. Her point was that Weight Watchers was great for portion control but that you needed to also do South Beach to add quality foods. Based on the reviews of the diet and recipes, it seems that WW has added the quality food aspect. Interesting.
We also got a great note from one of our weight loss coaching newsletter subscribers who said they just signed up for Momentum Online. She is 50 and weighs 250 pounds. We will be monitoring her progress with WW online over time.
7/14/2010 Update: PEERtrainer has just created a series of videos that will give you some immediate support, right now.
Momentum, not momemtum!