Introducing: Freestyle! (The Scoop on the New Weight Watchers Plan & My Experience With It!)

Hey y’all! So, I’m not sure if we’ve talked about this before, but I am a Weight Watchers Ambassador! I was asked by Weight Watchers to be one when they first rolled out the program to have ambassadors in September 2016. It’s got some pretty neat perks! One of the coolest perks yet- I was asked along with the other ambassadors to try the new program out a little early! I’ve been sworn to complete secrecy so I couldn’t say a word and let me tell ya, it was TOUGH to keep it from you all. So, I’m sure you’re all here because you’re a bit wide-eyed seeing that there’s a new program and it’s the holidays and wait, what the what?! Well guys, it’s great. I wouldn’t be writing this post if I didn’t think so. I’m here to tell ya that I think you’ll all really like it. It’s got a lot of zero point food options, and I mean A LOT! Hello eggs! Hello beans! (P.S. I’m so glad I decided I liked beans back in August.) Hello seafood! Hello chicken breast! Hello non fat Greek yogurt! Hello turkey breast (And more)! Now that we’ve got a few things out of the way, let’s get down to what my experience with the whole deal is….

Points drop. (Let’s get this one outta the way FIRST!)

Yes, it’s so true. You’ll be losing some of your beloved daily points… and to me, honestly, that was the biggest challenge (Not that they were gone, but SEEING that they were gone). It messed me up a little at first because I would go into panic mode seeing my points lower before dinner time. I always spend the most points at dinner. I’m not a big dessert eater, so I rarely left room in my dailies for desserts in the first place. I’m also an avid believer in using my weekly Points. I use a few of those on the daily (if I feel that I’m hungry) and I use some extra the first couple days after I weigh in each week. Some will completely disagree with that and that’s totally cool. Weight Watchers is a plan that you can really tailor to your own needs. The thought behind it is basically you’ll lose a certain amount of points depending mostly where you are in your weightloss journey, but you’ll still be eating foods with calories like fruits, most veggies, beans, chicken, corn, turkey, eggs, seafood, and nonfat yogurt all still have calories, some higher than others, but you easily eat back the points you’ve lost with a couple of eggs and a chicken breast. Technically, you’re probably going to be eating more if you choose to eat more of the zero point foods.

What I did to help my panic of seeing points go a little quicker

I started eating eggs for breakfast. Yep, I sure did. Every day. My Make Ahead Freezer Friendly Breakfast Sandwiches and Spicy Sausage Egg Muffins are a PERFECT low point option too. I like to keep my breakfast around 3-5 points.  Now I know you’re thinking, “what about Biscuits N’ Gravy Bake?” I know, guys, I know. I still eat it on the weekends where I spend a lot of my weeklies. Also, Brinner!  Eat a yummy breakfast casserole for dinner. Obviously, you don’t have to be like me. You can spend Points at breakfast if you’re the opposite of me and like having a light dinner.

While testing out the new program, we were allowed access to a completely separate app that contained all the tools to track with the new program. The really cool part of this was that it synced with the normal Weight Watchers App, so you could see how many points you were spending on both plans. Let’s see if I can say this in a way that makes sense… When I would look at the regular Weight Watchers app at the end of each day (the one you all saw daily) I would almost always be 2-3 points over my daily allotment, and I was always right at my daily target with the newer program. And I lost weight every single week that I followed it faithfully!

To add to this, Smart Points isn’t going anywhere, technically, all items will remain the same point value aside from the new zero point items and foods that contain those items.. None of your food or go to recipes will go up in points. Some recipes, restaurant items, prepackaged/frozen food will go down in points. So, don’t worry about food items going up in points!

It’s all about balancing it out

Honestly, I have NOT changed the way I have been eating all that much aside from breakfast. Yes, I’ve added some zero point items into some meals, sometimes. But, it’s not like I’m over here eating Southwest spiced chicken, corn, and black beans or chicken n’ bean chili for every single meal. That’d get real old, real fast. However, I have had both of those meals and they are very good and I’ll put a recipe together for them very soon! I still eat and work ALL of my recipes into my daily eats. I will admit corn has made its way into my weekly meal plan a lot more, because I sure do love me some corn! (Recipe ideas: Mexican Style Street Corn, Skillet Creamy Corn & Carrot Casserole) Greek yogurt has made its way into a lot more recipes too. Chicken has been my number one source of protein, so I already eat a lot of chicken! I love me a good turkey sandwich, but I’ll definitely start playing with turkey breast more in recipes. All in all, you have to balance your days just a LITTLE bit better. If you’re a seasoned Weight Watcher like me, you’ll get the hang of it after a week or so. There’s plenty of zero point and low point foods to play with now.

What if I get tired of the zero point food items?

I guarantee that you already eat a lot of the zero point food items. You just need to emphasize them a bit more, and in different ways. There’s tons of ways to dress up food. There are tons of bloggers out there who feature these items already. Just do a few google searches and also, stick with me! We’ll get this all squared away soon. Being a food blogger, it’s exciting to have a little challenge thrown at me. I’ve been coming up with lots of new recipes that I’ll be rolling out the next couple months. I’ve been with Weight Watchers through Points Plus, Smart Points, and now we have Smart Points Freestyle.  I can honestly say each time I’ve only had to make small changes. I do believe Weight Watchers is trying to give us the tools to live a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.

What if I don’t like most of the zero point items?

Obviously, you’re going to have a little bit of a tough time getting into the groove. I don’t like ALL of the items, but I do like the majority, so I can’t say much about this. But to give you a little relief, the other morning I asked a fellow ambassador (and my friend) Michelle about how her experience has been with the new plan because she ONLY really liked to eat chicken and turkey. This is exactly what she said- “I was super worried because I don’t eat eggs, beans, corn, seafood, tofu, or yogurt. Pretty much only chicken and turkey. But I have definitely had success with the new plan. It really caused me to get creative and think outside the comfortable box I had put myself in, always making the same foods. It’s actually kind of fun. And I’ve surprised myself by having points roll over several times. I also started subbing nonfat greek yogurt instead of sour cream, so I’m finding small, different ways to add in the zero Smart Point food!” 

Also, give some foods a try again, you know? I didn’t like nonfat greek yogurt for the LONGEST time. I’d stick my nose up at it at any given chance, but since the new program I’ve been adding it into things like mashed potatoes, mashed loaded cauliflower, creamy dishes, soups, on tacos, and in dips! I’m not sure if I just got used to it, or if I just needed to play around with flavors more to make it taste better, but it does the job just fine. Eric apparently hates it too, but he’s been eating it and loving it without complaint/knowledge for about a month now.

I didn’t like beans for the first 28 years of my life. I actually just decided to give beans another chance in August of this past year while I was making chili for Eric. I had no idea there was even going to be a new program back then. I just really wanted to start trying to like them. As it turns out, I actually kinda liked beans! I just didn’t like kidney beans. (Why would anyone? Bleh! Ha! Kidding!) I actually love adding beans to a lot of things now. Sometimes, you just need to have’m the right way.

Now I won’t tell anyone to like tofu. Don’t worry. If you like it, great, but… it’s just not for me. I won’t push that one on ya, ever.

Dining Out

I find that it’s much easier to eat out now. Just the other day we went to a new restaurant and I looked over the menu and for the first time in awhile.. I saw A LOT of options. Before, I’ll be honest, it felt a little more restricted. I ordered the Southwest Chicken Salad. You know what was on it? grilled chicken, corn, black beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, tortilla chips, and some dressing (I got it on the side)! I had the ENTIRE thing for 8 Smart Points. It fit perfectly into my day, and I didn’t even need to rearrange too many things to make it work. Plus, I didn’t have to track 75% of it. A few weeks back, we went out for burgers and I got a big ol’ burger with cheese and bacon on it. Yeah, it’s about 18 Smart Points… but you know what I had for breakfast? Eggs. Lunch? A huge chicken chopped salad and soup. Snack? Deli Smoked Turkey, pretzels, and a hardboiled egg. I was totally satisfied and I only used one or two weeklies. On Smart Points, I truly didn’t feel a big ol’ juicy bacon cheese burger was at all possible without using a bunch of weeklies, so I just avoided them while out. We don’t eat out much because I do love to cook, and I know I can make most things lighter in points. (Duh! that might be why I have a food blog. Ha!) But it’s really nice feeling like I can dine out more often, with a wider variety of food options, and I can stay on plan while doing so.

 

What If I overeat the zero point foods?

I thought about it myself a lot because I asked myself the same question several times. I sincerely doubt anyone can eat several eggs a day and still lose weight along with eating your points and other zero point options. But with that said, I also asked myself, can I actually eat several eggs a day? or five chicken breasts? a few cups of corn and beans? Probably not. I’ve never even wanted to in the past several weeks. So far, the most eggs I’ve eaten in one day is four, and it’s only because I was being lazy and didn’t feel like cooking dinner, so I made Brinner! There was one night I was out of points, so I had a bowl of corn for a snack. I mean, there are going to be times you use these zero point items to your advantage, but I don’t think it could really be done consistently enough to hurt you in the long run.

 

Behold, The ZERO POINT FOOD LIST! 

It’s no secret anymore, but I thought I’d just leave this here just so ya know: 

Skinless Chicken Breast (Chicken nuggets are not included. Sorry. I asked!)

Skinless Turkey Breast (including ground 98% or higher fat free)

Fish

Shellfish

Eggs (including egg whites)

Beans

Tofu (No thanks)

Lentils

Fruit

Most Vegetables

Corn

Peas

Nonfat plain yogurt (including greek, traditional, soy, Icelandic)

Roll Over Points

You’re allowed to “roll over” up to four points daily into your weeklies. I’ll be truthful. I never “rolled over” any points and the whole idea kind of made me always think about a cell phone plan! Personally, If I see that I have some extra points to use, I’ll use some real cheese. (Seriously, thats my answer to everything though.) I think it could be a great idea if used properly, but I didn’t try it out. So I don’t really have much to say about it. However, I might at some point. I’ve only been doing this plan for a little over a month, so you never know!

What’s going to happen to Daily Dose of Pepper recipes?

I’ll have them all updated within the week!  But it’s important to know… my recipes will not revolve around the new zero point foods all of the time. I will throw more out there, but as I said, I truly have been eating my recipes on a daily basis without any problems. I still eat red meat! I still eat pasta. I still eat cheese! The way I cook dinner will not be changing too much, but I have been working on some recipes that will feature the zero point items in a delicious and low point way. You’ll see them very soon!

In conclusion

Whether we like it or not, things are always changing. I mean, I can hardly keep up to date with my phone these days. (Which is the most annoying thing ever, might I add!) I was a little skeptical about the program when I was first told about it. I worried about the blog… I worried about eating red meat sometimes… I worried that I wasn’t going to be able to eat cheese. Was pasta a thing of the past? I worried that I would only be able to eat beans and corn and chicken for the rest of my life. I actually went to the store and bought about 10 cans of black beans, 10 bags of frozen sweet corn, 2 dozen eggs, a big container of non fat greek yogurt, and about 5 lbs of raw chicken breast and I was just like, “Welp, This is my life now.” What I’m getting at is that you don’t have to eat these foods, ALL THE TIME, to be successful with the new program. After the initial thoughts of “Oh gosh, this is all I’m going to eat forever!” wears off, you’ll remember that you still have actual points to work with. You also have weeklies! Heck, you even have Fit Points! You’ll need to build meals a little differently sometimes, but it’ll be all right. Not just all right, it’ll be great! You’ll get creative. You can do this! (and you’ll have me throwing fun new recipes your way too!) I honestly believe that Freestyle was the program that I needed for a fresh start. I feel like I’ve been slacking in the “weight loss” world for a few months now. I was very burnt out on weighing and measuring every single little thing I put into my mouth.  When I realized I didn’t have to measure a good amount of foods anymore it was like my prayers had been answered. I needed the break without actually taking a break from Weight Watchers! I can honestly say I LOVE THE NEW PROGRAM. I am able to eat the same food I always have with just a little bit of a different approach. Portion control will always be the answer in my case. I’m able to fit more food that I love into this program than I ever was able to do with the original Smart Points program. I feel healthier and I have not felt deprived in the slightest. So I just know you’ll all really enjoy it once ya get the hang of it! When things change, there’s always an adjustment period. Just relax, breathe, and make some chicken. Ha! (No, seriously though. Check out my Shredded Chicken recipe and my Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe. They are both ZERO points now! and delicious as all get out!)

 

I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have about the new program. Leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can! 

Lots and lots of love,

Star

 

P.S. I feel it’s important that I say that Weight Watchers did not ask me to write this post. While I am an ambassador, I’m not in any way a paid employee. All opinions and thoughts are my own, I wrote this post only to help all my sweet readers out there who may be a little worried about the new program! 

 

 

 

 

 

55 Comments

  1. Thank you! I love your honest opinion. I think I’m going to adjust just fine! Your perspective is great.

  2. Thank you so much, Star! I love your positive perspective on it!

  3. I have tried weight watchers twice now and each time given up a month or so in. I am now a stay at home mama and my basic focus is my baby girl, my husband, and answering the routine question “whats for dinner”. I came across your blog a few months ago and have been following along. I LOVE every recipe I have made from your blog. I feel like I have more tools and resources to be successful if I give it a shot again. Truth is, I have to do SOMETHING…this baby weight is sticking like glue! 🙂 Not that you have to answer because I know you are beyond busy, but do you have any additional tips for success with the weight watchers program?

    • I’m a stay at home mama too. I started this blog when Pepper was about 9 months old, and I started Weight Watchers (for the second time) when she was just 3 months old. I’m so very glad to hear that you are enjoying the recipes! The best tip I can give is to just be gentle with yourself while trying to lose weight. Running a household smoothly and raisin’ a baby isn’t easy and it’s a job and a half in itself. Take small steps at first with changing foods, take walks with the babe, or try a work out at home dvd. (Make it a goal to work out TWICE a week at first!) Drink water. (The more you drink, the more you’ll want to drink!) Eat foods you enjoy. Don’t try to eat things that you think you should be eating if you just don’t like them. Pick things you and your family will like. Just keep it simple at first. Weight Watchers truly becomes second nature after awhile. I know the worst thing for me is forgetting about myself. I make sure EVERYONE else is taken care of before me half the time. Try as much as you can to put yourself first. Even though, I know it is very hard. Best of luck! You’ve got this.

  4. Thank you for all of the info on the new program. It sounds like it has some positive changes. I was a little worried but your post has calmed me down. I’m excited to hear all about it in my next meeting on Saturday. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Betsy Maness

    How has your weight loss been since starting on the new plan?

  6. Thank you! I’ve been wanting to start WW again and now seems like a good time! I’ve been successful in the past . Tracking is what helped me . Excited to check out this new program ! Thank you , thank you for your views ! Plus I love following you and your recipes!

    • Awe, So happy you’re enjoying the recipes! You’ll rock this new program. It’s still all about tracking and good food! (in my opinion!)

  7. Do you know if this means Smart Points are done and going away for good? I have to admit, it is super frustrating to have to learn a new plan every few years and then replace any and all of my stuff. Once the switch from Points Plus to Smart Points happened, at least half of my old go-to recipes were donezo. Couldn’t even find easy ways to modify. And grocery stores STILL have points plus foods in the aisles. *sigh*

    • Technically, Smart Points is still the exact same. Nothing will be going up in points. Some recipes will be going down in points, some food down in points, and then the “zero point” list of foods is all zero points now. Your daily points WILL be going down depending where you are in your weight loss journey. I don’t think you’ll need to replace any of your foods, honestly. One thing I did while “testing” the new program was eat the recipes I have on this blog that will NOT be going down in points to see if they would still balance in my day properly. (It’s what worried me the most!) They DID. My highest point recipe that will not be going down is my Slow Cooker Lasagna. (9 Smart Point for seriously such a big serving it really could be cut in half) I ate that (and a salad with Italian dressing) for two Sunday Dinners with no issue fitting it into my daily points. If you’re planning a large breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You’ll really just need to balance it a little better. There are days I have a “one point” breakfast now. 2 eggs + 2 oz smoked deli ham + apple/banana/orange when I know I’m going to have a larger dinner. It’ll take a little getting used to, I’m not going to sugar coat that. But, give it a chance, you’ve got this! (and don’t throw away any of your groceries!)

  8. “This is my life now.” Hahaha! I agree with you- I think the change will feel pretty natural!

    • It does! Honestly. Just a few tweaks. When Points Plus changed to Smart Points I had to give up certain things (mostly my favorite yogurts), but I didn’t give up anything changing over this time.

  9. Are the recipes we have on our app going to convert? Or will we need to add them on the new program?

    • Yes they should convert over just fine! I would double check JUST to be sure a few of mine did not, but the majority did. There’s bound to be glitches in the app in first week or two.

  10. I am curious how low my favorite Chicken pot pie soup will be now that three ingredients are free! Thanks for all you do, Star!

    • I believe that it is 3 Smart Points now. Just opening my up my computer right now to start updating recipes. You are so welcome!

  11. Thank you for this!!! Such a positive post regarding the new program!!! LOVE IT!!

  12. thanks for the update! I saw your post on insta and knew I had to come over to the blog and read your input. Super excited to try it out!

  13. Thanks for the info! Other than the items that changed from whatever they were to 0 points, did the points value of anything else change on the new plan?

    • Hi there! You’re welcome. All Smart Point items will be the same! The only things that will change are some restaurant foods, prepackaged/frozen meals, and recipes. But, they will all go DOWN in Smart Points IF they have the zero point items. Nothing will be going up.

  14. Hi there – what if you eat a lot of zero points foods and not use all the daily 23 points?
    Thanks!

    • You’re in serious luck! I’d personally add some full fat items like cheese…haha! No really though, I’d just keep doing what you’re doing. I’d use points on meat that isn’t zero sometimes. I’d also eat some pasta. I could really find a million ways to use 23 points a day. I would just round meals out as best you can and keep traditional serving sizes of the free items in mind. It may be a little trial and error the first couple weeks, but you’ll get the hang of it!

  15. Thank you for this! My family loves your recipes! I make them several times a week and I love how simple and good they are! Plus the smart points help so much with tracking!

  16. Kelly holdridge

    Do you have the new daily points calculator?
    My husband does this with me but there is no way for me to find out his new daily points.

    Thanks

    • No, I’m sorry I don’t have that type of info. He should get his new daily point target on his next weigh in day on the app!

  17. Hello! I saw that you mentioned ground turkey is included as a zero point food as long as it’s 98% fat free. What about ground chicken?

    also- is there anything you do to your Greek yogurt to adjust? (I do eat a lot of yogurt but I eat the flavored kind- the plain kinda has never been appealing). Anything you add to it to make it taste better?

    • Yep, I forgot to add that. 98% fat free ground chicken is zero too! I’ve honestly used greek yogurt more as an addition to savory type foods so far. I haven’t played around with it too much otherwise. I do have a few things in mind though, and I will share if they turn out!

  18. Thank you, thank you, Star! I’ve been a little skeptical since seeing everyone’s IG posts – it sounds great, but like you, I’ve been concerned with how it’d affect the way I currently eat. Looks like it won’t change too much, and I’m pleased to know I’m not going to have to do some serious math to have a burger. And hey, this means I can probably eat more tacos. I appreciate your thoughtful and honest post!!

  19. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I am really excited to start the Freestyle program and can’t wait until it shows up in my app 🙂

  20. Cheryl Anderson

    Hello,
    When they say corn and peas are 0 points. Does that mean can corn and peas too?

    Thank you.

  21. Yes, I freaked out this morning when I saw that I only had 23 points for the day opposed to 30, Your blog is helpful as my meeting is not till Thursday and I did need a little help understanding how to use the app. I was thinking that the points for foods that are not zero went up and that all my recipes need to go in the trash. Thanks for the help!

  22. Amy Pickering

    Thank you so much for this review!! I’m excited about the change! What about lunch meat? Low-fat turkey and chicken? Are they free? Thank you!

    • I think a bunch of brands are it needs to be 98% fat free turkey breast/chicken breast. I know some Sara Lee, Boards Head, Dietz & Watson are for sure. I’m sure there are some other brands! It should show up in the app

  23. Melanie Holloway

    What about canned chicken (in a can like tuna?), will it be free now?

    • If it’s 100% chicken breast and the only ingredients are like spices, water, chicken breast. It should be zero points!

  24. Paula Crichlow

    I love your recipes! I finally made the biscuits and gravy casserole today. OMG! You truly are an amazing cook and recipe maker and all the while being a wonderful mom to that little darling Miss Pepper. Ok enough gushing. Do you know if the points are changing on the turkey sausage?

    • Awe, how sweet are you!? You just put a big ol smile on my face! Unfortunately, the turkey sausage will not be going down in points because it’s only lean and not 98% fat free which means they use dark turkey meat mixed with turkey breast to make it a bit fattier so it still has that sausage taste. I know, what a bummer! However, Biscuits N’ Gravy Bake can still exist in the new Smart Points plan… I’ve made a big pan twice in the past few weeks!

      • Paula Crichlow

        Thanks for the quick response. I kinda thought the sausage would stay the same. Oh well. There’s still a lot of your yummy recipes that are going down in points so I think this “freestyle” change will be livable.
        Thanks again for answering and for your delicious recipes.

  25. Great info here thanks! But what if you love eating the zero point foods and eat them all day long and at the end of the day you have a ton of points left?!? Is it ok to use them? On say, wine and cheese and crackers for a fun evening snack? Or is that a bad idea?

    • I think doing it daily would probably be a bad idea, but also, I don’t know because I haven’t done that exactly. I used the new program this way a couple times for a splurge type of meal, but I didn’t do it consistently enough for it to do any harm. With that being said, I don’t think you can have THAT much wine, cheese, and crackers for 23 points. I would just try to be mindful about what you’re doing on a day to day basis because it’s what you do daily that matters more than what you do every once and awhile. =)

  26. Thank you for this great article. I made lifetime in 1988, back when we had Exchanges and a few hundred calories a week for “indulgences”, so Weight Watchers is always improving! I love the Rollover idea – they used to call it “Banked” points before – and it was great to have extra flexibility on some days because you kept it a little more restricted another day.

  27. rachel schroeder

    How do we find your recipes in the WW app? I’ve searched and searched and searched with no success. Ugh. I must be typing in the wrong thing.

    • I’m not affiliated with Weight Watchers so my recipes actually don’t show up in there unless you put them in there yourself. =)

  28. How do you calculate what your new daily points would be? My husband does smart points at home, with the smart points calculator. We don’t know how to see what his new daily allowance is.

    • Hi Tracy. I’m not 100% sure how Weight Watchers calculates daily Smart Points. I think it has to do with age, current weight, and height. Your best bet would be to attend a meeting so they could give him his new daily amount or to sign up online and enter that info. I hope that helps!

  29. can four points be rolled over each day so that would be 28 extra points a week ( 7 x 4) or is just four points can be rolled over only once for the week

    Also, if the points went down from 30 to 23 how many weekly points is a person given now?

    • Four points can be rolled over daily so yep you could bank 28 extra points for a splurge! I don’t think weeklies changed per person as far as I know. Mine didn’t change and I don’t think I’ve seen that happen to anyone else.

  30. Is there a place I can figure out daily points for my husband. I just signed up for myself and am just curious. I’m trying to explain to him why I’m skipping happy hour, want to put it into perspective as to what he shouldn’t be eating. I could only find calculators for the old plans

    • Sorry, not that I know of. He’d need to sign up for WW online or go to a meeting for his daily allotment. I’m not 100% sure how the daily points are calculated. I know it has to do with age, gender, current weight, and height.

  31. Beth Thorman

    Thank you! You seem to be approaching the plan the same way I am. I haven’t changed what I eat all that much, but I’m adding in several 0 SP foods that I’ve had to plan for in the past (corn, beans, eggs, seafood). I’m still eating beef, lamb and pork, cause I love them. I tend to eat low SP breakfasts and lunches so my dinners are more open and variable. I’ve even added in more starches for dinner!

  32. Thank you for such an honest yet positive review of the new program.My first meeting with the new program was snowed out so I just got the official information today. I look forwardto trying your new recipes!

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