Weight Watchers Tweaks PointsPlus Program, Lets Users Figure It Out On Their Own

Written by Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey. Posted in Featured, Lifestyle

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Published on May 27, 2011 with 2 Comments

I’m on Weight Watchers. (Nothing like starting a blog post off by announcing that you struggle with your weight, eh, fatty?) And I should state, for the record that I love Weight Watchers. Not that dieting is ever fun, but I’m losing weight steadily (albeit slowly, though I know that’s partly my own fault) and I get to eat real food, not some tasteless boxed meal or a metallic-tasting “shake.” And whereas other diets (including Weight Watchers’ last incarnation) sometimes left me faint by the end of the day, the new PointsPlus Plan that WW rolled out a few months ago has not once made me feel like I’d pass out at my desk. And hey, if it worked for Jennifer Hudson (who’s looking awesome), it can work for me, right?

But last week, I noticed something. A Weight Watchers cookie recipe that I L-O-V-E loved, partly because I could have two cookies for a single point, suddenly started showing up as two cookies for two points. That’s not a lot, mind you, but when you’re already at the PointsPlus minimum (I’m short, and the reasoning goes that short people need to eat less, apparently), and you’re having one of those days where you need to eat your feelings but you’re already down to your last point and you’d really rather not blow the diet just because you’re mad at your boss or your boyfriend or your bus driver, one dollar coin-sized cookie is not going to cut it. Two might have, but guess what? Now you’re dipping into those extra points that you were saving up for the weekend. And those precious extra points, and the ability to splurge occasionally with them, are why you joined Weight Watchers in the first place!

But I’m internalizing.

The cookies were not the only PointsPlus change I noticed in the WW database, but they were the first. And because I’d initially noticed the change in the (actually really handy and useful) Weight Watchers iPhone app (pictured), I thought that maybe there was an error in the system and took it upon myself to email their customer support people right away. But alas, the rep who replied told me that there was no error, but instead: “The USDA has recently released a revised list of nutritional figures, prompting us to update our calculations.”

That’s all well and good. The USDA made some changes. It’s out of your hands. But why didn’t Weight Watchers let its users know that they were making those changes? Why did we have to find out, only after having that second cookie, that things had changed?

I asked their PR department. Corporate Affairs Director Vicki Taylor responded that the food database is updated quarterly, in accordance with any new supplier information or USDA updates. But, “we do not have a broad window in which to alert our subscribers of the changes that will be uploaded.”

Hey Weight Watchers? If you make quarterly updates, you do, in fact, have a window. It’s open for three full months, and your users would probably like to know about it. I know I would.

About Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey


Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey is one person with four names. There's a story behind that, but she won't bore you with it. Just call her Jill. Jill is one of KeyPulp's five founding editors. She works in marketing and communications by day and attends graduate school by night. She fully intends to make this bio more interesting after KeyPulp's beta phase is over. | 

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  • http://keypulp.com joeross

    It sounds like they’re too lazy to assign an intern to write a MailChimp newsletter every quarter summarizing the more common types of food affected by the updates, and linking to a more comprehensive listing. 

  • Maggie

    I’m also noticing some differences with their iPhone app, but apparently WW “high”-tech department can’t figure out just what I’m talking about.  Has anyone else noticed that when you go searching thru the app for  ’Prepared Foods,’ that category is no longer available?  It was once home to frozen dinners such as WW or Smart Ones and others, but twice I’ve requested clarification or a reasonable response from tech support, and get nothing.  Well….I get some patronizing message that completely ignores my request/situation.  I’ve been happy with WW and have even lost 30 lbs., but they seem to lack even the basic talents at customer service and PR.

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