The Weight Watchers Flex Plan (WW Flex) is the newest program from Weight Watchers International and was just released in the UK. The new plan builds on the success of the SmartPoints plan with an increased focus on lean proteins and healthy, whole foods. Check out all the details below to learn about the new Flex plan.
On November 12, 2018, Weight Watchers introduced their newest plan in the UK – WW Flex! The idea behind the Flex program is similar to the SmartPoints program with a focus on eating lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits and avoiding foods with high levels of sugars and saturated fats. However the new Weight Watchers Flex program aims to be even more flexible than SmartPoints by expanding the zero points food list to include over 200 different foods so that members can enjoy even more healthy foods without having to count the points. Some of the new zero points foods include boneless and skinless chicken, turkey, seafood, nonfat plain yogurt, beans, lentils, tofu, peas, sweetcorn, and more. This is in addition to non starchy vegetables, fruit, and many condiments and spices.
The Basics: Weight Watchers Flex Plan
Just like the previous WW plans, Flex will work using a daily points system where you count points for the foods you eat throughout the day and work to stay under your daily points allowance. The daily points allowance is based on your age, height, weight, and activity level and generally ranges from 23 daily points to about 50 daily points depending on your current weight and weight loss goal. Just like the previous plans, no foods or drinks are off limits on Weight Watchers. Members just need to account for them in their daily points.
Under the new Flex plan, most members will see a decrease in the number of daily Smartpoints they are alotted, usually anywhere from 4-8 points daily. The reasoning for this is based on the newly expanded zero points food list. Since there are more zero points foods on the Flex plan, the idea is that you won’t need as many total points each day. Again, the focus of the new Flex plan is lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit. Therefore by eliminating some daily points, it is more likely that members will get more of their daily nutrition from those food groups.
Additionally, members can save up to four rollover points daily to use for a special occassion or more indulgent meal. Many members are really excited about this change since it will make it easier to plan for holidays and special events.
Lastly, just like all the previous Weight Watchers plans, Flex is focused on teaching people how to eat healthier and change thier lifestyle for the long term. By focusing on healthier foods like lean proteins and veggies, the hope is that people will learn to change thier eating habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle long term.
The Science Behind WW Flex Plan
Before introducing the new Flex plan to members, Weight Watchers conducted extensive research using a 6 month clinical trial to see how the plan worked and how successful it was. Here are some of the results from their research:
Weight Watchers Flex Plan Zero Points Foods
The biggest change in the new Flex pan is the addition of new zero Points foods, meaning members can eat a much wider variety of foods without having to count them against their daily points allowance. The new foods that will have zero SmartPoints include:
- Boneless skinless chicken
- Boneless skinless turkey
- Lean ground chicken
- Lean ground turkey
- Most fish that hasn’t been dried or smoked
- Beans including chickpeas, pinto beans, white beans, and more
- Nonfat Greek and regular plain yogurt
This is in addition to the zero points foods on the previous plan which included most vegetables and fruit. A few exceptions to this are potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and avocado which all do have points.
Strategies and Ideas for WW Flex
Although many people are a bit scared when they hear about the new plan or the fact that they will have fewer daily points, many people are finding that they have more freedom with the new plan and can easily create meals and snacks with zero points or very low points. Since zero points foods now include things like lean proteins, beans, lentils, eggs, and nonfat yogurt – it’s actually relatively easy to stay within your daily points targets. Here are some ideas for zero and low point breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert ideas!
Zero Point Breakfast Ideas
- Two eggs scrambled with 1/2 cup black beans and salsa with a side of fruit
- Banana pancakes made with one mashed banana, 2 whisked eggs, and a dash of cinnamon
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and cinnamon
- Two poached eggs with leftover roasted veggies and 1/2 cup lentils
- Pumpkin pancakes made with 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 2 whisked eggs, and a dash of cinnamon
Zero Point Lunch Ideas
- Green salad with cooked chicken or turkey breast
- Lettuce tacos with cooked ground turkey with taco seasoning, 1/2 cup pinto beans, veggies, and salsa
- Canned tuna mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt, mustard, and diced celery in lettuce wraps or a hollowed out tomato
- Egg salad made with nonfat Greek yogurt, mustard, and diced celery in lettuce wraps or salad
- Leftover cooked fish with lentils and veggies
Zero Point Dinner Ideas
- Stir-fry with lean chicken or turkey (or tofu), lots of veggies, and soy sauce served with cauliflower rice
- Crustless quiche made with eggs and veggies served with green salad
- Ground chicken or turkey burgers served in lettuce wraps with bake carrot fries
- Roasted chicken with lentils and roasted vegetables
- Baked salmon with chickpeas and vegetables
Zero Point Snack and Dessert Ideas
- Nonfat Greek yogurt with fruit
- Microwave egg mugs
- Banana pancakes made with one mashed banana, 2 whisked eggs, and a dash of cinnamon for dessert
- Banana n’ice cream
Weight Watchers Flex and Activity Points
To encourage an active lifestyle, the Flex plan includes activity points just like the previous SmartPoints plan. Activity points are earned based on the duration of exercise and its intensity. There are weekly goals for activity points to promote an active life.
Thoughts on the New Weight Watchers Flex Program
Overall I am really excited about the new plan and its focus on healthier eating habits. I think the focus on lean protein, beans and legumes, vegetables, and fruit makes sense based on the current weight loss science and really will promote a change in eating habits that lasts. However since there are lower points allowed daily, I do think it may be hard for some members since it will feel more restrictive if the zero points foods are not ones they eat regularly. I am also a but nervous that eating too many of the new zero points foods could lead to weight gain since they are higher in calories than fruits and veggies.