A Complete Review Of The Weight Watchers Vegan Weight-Loss Program!

vegan-weight-watchers

How many weight loss trends have you seen come and go in the past years? Well you can count this one out! Weight Watchers has been around for over 55 years now and it still remains popular! 

What’s their secret? And more importantly, does it really work?

And if were not aware, Weight Watchers now includes vegan recipes in their popular recipe library online. 

Not sure if you should give it a shot? Here’s my in-depth and complete review of the Weight Watchers’ vegan recipes, weight loss programs, and everything you need to know to help you decide!

Weight Watchers Who?

I probably won’t need to introduce this household name, right? But for the less familiar ones, WW was founded in 1963, thanks to Jean Nidetch’s determination to lose more weight. 

Conducting weekly meetings with her friends, their combination of ideas continuously evolved and expanded until it became widely popular.

This was waaay before diet trends even became a thing. You can probably say WW was the pioneer in weight loss programs. 

But the amazing thing is how WW was able to last this long even with A LOT of competition today. 

A-Complete-Review-Of-The-Weight-Watchers-Vegan-Weight-Loss-Program

Today, Weight Watchers is a multi-million company with an extensive range of products and services that you won’t just find anywhere. 

Find out here!

WW was founded in 1963, thanks to Jean Nidetch’s determination to lose more weight. Conducting weekly meetings with her friends, their combination of ideas continuously evolved and expanded until it became widely popular.

vegan-weight-watchers-recipe

The Weight Watchers’ Freestyle Program

When you look at WW’s website, you might find the amount of products and services overwhelming and confusing. So let me break these programs down for you first.

WW is known for their Freestyle Program that uses a “point-based system” called SmartPoints (previously PointsPlus) on food items. The healthier the food is, the lower the points it’s given. When you enroll in WW, you will be given a daily point limit or budget. WW will base this on your gender, age, height, and target weight.

A food item is given points according to its nutritive value. Foods that are high in protein, low in sugar and saturated fats have lower points. This encourages dieters to eat more of the healthier food items. On the average, dieters on WW are given a budget of 23 food points per day.

Their previous system, PointsPlus considers carbs, fiber, protein, and fat. Now, SmartPoints measures calories, protein, sugar, and saturated fats. I personally think this is better for targeting weight loss.

Another good thing about this system is there are no food restrictions, hence the name “freestyle”. As long as you follow your daily point limit, you can have any food you want. If you can’t consume all your points in one day, you can just “rollover” the remaining food points to the next day. Enticing, right?

To make the point system even more feasible, WW also provides useful recipes complete with points. What makes this look even more attractive is the inclusion of at least 200 food that are zero points. Wow!

Now early in 2016, WW (finally!) introduced some vegan recipes! Yes, I know it’s long overdue, but hey, it’s better late than never!

That said, I better not keep you waiting! I’ll start the scrutiny now and give you the details you need!

WW is known for their Freestyle Program that uses a “point-based system” called SmartPoints (previously PointsPlus) on food items. The healthier the food is, the lower the points it’s given. When you enroll in WW, you will be given a daily point limit or budget. WW will base this on your gender, age, height, and target weight.

vegan-weight-watchers-recipe-5

The Weight Watchers’ Recipes And Vegan Food Products

WW’s vegan recipes can be found under their freestyle program too. To help dieters discipline themselves, WW requires membership subscriptions. While the cost can be a downside for some, the subscription allows WW to personalize a program for you.

Most weight loss programs recommend recipes and activities but that’s about it. WW offers so much more than that. Through your subscription account, you can monitor your progress and even keep track of what you eat.

However, their membership subscriptions doesn’t include clear vegan stuff yet, aside from the recipes.

But using the SmartPoints system, you can still choose from their vegan recipes and plan daily meals according to your given limit. Their food tracking system, via app, can also help you to be mindful of what you eat every single day.

Computing calories and nutritive values can get tedious from day to day. Not everyone can have the time for it, so WW’s food point system is a huge help.

Here are some of WW’s vegan recipes and their food points:

Most weight loss programs recommend recipes and activities but that’s about it. WW offers so much more than that. Through your subscription account, you can monitor your progress and even keep track of what you eat.

SmartPoints – 0

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 1

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 2

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 3

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 4

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 5

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 6

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 7

Food Items and Recipes:

SmartPoints – 8

Food Items and Recipes:

WW recipes are known to be far from boring, and their vegan offerings are not an exemption. Savory recipes mostly call for soy sauce instead of salt, with natural spices making a frequent appearance. Short preparation times seem to be the standard too.

I also love that the ingredients are easy to find. It even tells you how many sprays of cooking oil you need to control calories.

Vegan WW Food Products

From their online shop in US, here are the only vegan products available:

SmartPoints
Food Product
3 SP per cup
Apple cinnamon oatmeal
2 SP per bag
Sea salt popcorn
2 SP per pouch
Sea salt hummus crisps
2 SP per pouch
Salt and vinegar potato crisps
3 SP per cup
Maple brown sugar oatmeal
3 SP per cup
Cranberry orange oatmeal
2 SP per pouch
Chili lime quinoa strips
vegan-weight-watchers-recipe-4

The Weight Watchers’ Weight Loss Products And Services: How Do They Work?

Now let’s look at WW’s popular weight loss program and what it consists of:

1. Food Library

WW is also known as an extensive source of recipes both through their website and the app. Their recipes are mostly simple, easy to make, and quite tasty. It’s also noticeable how the recipes commonly use natural spices in place of salt, which is great.

2. The Weight Watchers’ App

What better way to stay on top of your weight loss journey than having everything in a phone app? From finding daily meal ideas, tracking your food points and activities to monitoring your progress, the WW app got you. It also enables access to WW’s 24/7 coach support.

3. Weight Watchers’ Food Tracking

The best way to track your SmartPoints is through the WW app. Once you’ve set up your profile, the app will help you track your daily to weekly food and activity. The app’s food tracker will also show you how much points you have left, including rollovers. However, it can only rollover a maximum of 4 daily unused points.

WW also suggests to use their barcode scanner. By scanning the barcode of (almost any) food packages, the app can calculate that food’s SmartPoints.

Are you living a busy life and often eat on the go? Just take a photo of your food and remember to track it at a later time.

4. Activity Tracking Through FitPoints

Another point system, this time for activities, FitPoints aim to provide a custom fitness activity for dieters. The activities will vary per goal, but it is dependent on your age, height, sex, weight and intensity of activity. WW also provides a library for fitness videos and daily workout routine ideas.

Since FitPoints is also managed through the WW app, you can also sync it with your fitness device. The assignment of points here, however, is the opposite of SmartPoints. The more physical activities you have, the higher points you’ll get.

WW made this even better by giving the option of converting extra FitPoints for SmartPoints. This means if you workout more than you should, you can eat more, as long as your extra points allow it. However, most dieters choose not to use this, especially when they really want to lose more weight. It can be a nice treat though!

5. The Recipe Builder

Via the WW app, you can also build your own recipes with your choice of ingredients. WW’s recipe builder can be found under the plan manager.

  • Start with a name for your recipe.
  • Type your choice of ingredients or drag and drop from the cupboard.
  • Adjust your measurements, add details if that ingredient should be chopped or minced.
  • Add optional cooking
  • Indicate the number of servings. This is important for the app to determine the smartpoints of your recipe.
  • Save it and you’re done!

6. WW’s Vegan Recipe Books and Magazines

For foodies, the Weight Watchers is also popular for their cookbooks and magazines. Dieters can find these quite handy for whipping up foods with low SmartPoints on the go. The magazines offer more than just ideas, as its content also aim to motivate and inspire dieters.

However, we are yet to see a vegan WW cookbook. So for now, vegans can only use the Weight Watchers’ website for vegan recipes.

7. Food And Drink Products

WW sells frozen meals in supermarkets, although taste-wise, there are more complaints than compliments from buyers. But if you love convenient snack food and need them healthier, you may want to check out  WW’s online food shop!

8. Weight Watchers’ Weight Loss Workshops

To complete your weight loss program, WW also got activities to offer and recommend. Wellness Wins is WW’s 30-minute workshop done at WW studios around the world. This is a great addition for dieters who could use a support group throughout their weight loss journey.

In these workshops, you’ll be met by a Wellness coach and other members of the program or dieters like you. Here you can exchange tips and ideas that can improve your chances at weight loss.  Sessions are typically available 3 times a day, everyday, and can be paid weekly.

9. WW Personal Coaching

For members who prefer getting one-on-one tips to personalize their program better, this is the way to go. WW’s wellness coaches are not only certified, they are also successful WW dieters in the past. After choosing the coach you want, you get access to unlimited phone calls and messages.

This is quite similar to having a personal trainer in a fitness gym. Your wellness coach can create a plan that suits your lifestyle best. More importantly, they can help you achieve your weight loss goals faster and safer than you can on your own.

10. The WW’s Rewards System

Don’t we all deserve a treat every time we reach our goals? Can’t say no to a good treat! Besides, admit it or not, knowing that there’s a reward waiting at the end of your hard work can motivate you even more.

I think for WW to include a reward system just shows how long they’ve been in the business. It just means they understand the value of rewards when it comes to working hard. And yes, losing weight is a lot of hard work!

A lot of these rewards are given when you attend the Wellness Wins workshops. Once you accumulate enough rewards points, here are some of the many brand-specific prizes you can get:

a. Tier 1 (requires 1,500 points)

  • Cookbook
  • Tumbler
  • Shoe bag
  • Fitness membership
  • Makeup
  • Hat
  • Journal
  • Zip pouch

b. Tier 2 (requires 3,000 points)

  • Cooler bag
  • A book by Oprah
  • Sleep set
  • Water bottle
  • Tote bag
  • Workout socks
  • Foot cream
  • Soothing oil bottle
  • Beauty gift card
  • Marathon entry
  • Fitness membership

c. Tier 3 (requires 4,000 points)

  • Custom-made men’s shirt
  • Duffel bag
  • Wine tumbler set
  • Yoga mat
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • LED compact

Taking a closer look, WW’s weight loss program works by encouraging healthier eating habits and reducing food portions. The best part is you can still have treats within your limits, which can keep you from deprivation. And we know how feelings deprivation can lead to bad food choices.

WW’s weekly meetings, which is the core of the program from the beginning, also plays a big role. Having a coach and a support group while trying to lose weight can give you more motivation and inspiration. More importantly, you also learn new things to help you reach your goal.

WW’s weekly meetings, which is the core of the program from the beginning, also plays a big role. Having a coach and a support group while trying to lose weight can give you more motivation and inspiration. More importantly, you also learn new things to help you reach your goal.

vegan-weight-watchers-recipe-2

The Weight Watchers’ Membership Subscription Plans

When you go to WW’s website, you’ll be given 3 subscription options:

Subscription Type
What You Get
Price
Digital
website and app access
starts at $3.07 a week
Studio + digital
website, app, and weekly workshops
price varies per area (studio)
Personal coaching + digital
website, app, and unlimited one-on-one coaching
starts at $12.69 per week

These membership plans are available on a 1, 3, and 6-month subscriptions with early termination fees. It also includes 24/7 chat support. All subscriptions are subject to auto renewal, so keep an eye on that for when you want to cancel your membership.

Weight Watchers Reviews And Success Stories

It’s imperative to read actual consumer reviews before you choose any product and services out in the market. For WW, their decades of evolution in the weight loss market, has given them thousands of reviews, both good and bad.

Celebrities Oprah, Jessica Simpson, and Jennifer Hudson have nothing but praises for WW. Being brand ambassadors themselves in the past years, their success in the program is no secret.

Take a look at their success stories:

Jennifer Hudson

After joining in 2010 with her post-baby weight, she lost 80 lbs in 2 years, and was one of the brand’s spokesperson for 4 years.

Oprah Winfrey

Working with WW from 2015, Oprah initially lost 80 lbs in her first year with the brand. You can probably tell how happy she is with WW because she became a stockholder as well!

She said he loves that she can still eat everything she loves and doesn’t feel deprived. On her commercial for the brand, she also mentions how the diet helped with her hyperthyroidism.

Jessica Simpson

Another celebrity who successfully got her pre-baby weight back, Jessica became WW’s endorser back in 2014. How much weight did she lose? A good 50 lbs!

But then again, a brand as old as WW will certainly have their fair share of criticisms. Here is a quick summary of both the negative and positive ones:

Average Ratings from Online Reviews

Here’s a summary of the online reviews I found (I only included the repetitive ones):

Negative Reviews
Positive Reviews
• App is difficult to use • Refunds are always refused • Difficulty canceling subscription • Poor customer service, phone calls never returned, and prolonged hold • Overbilling in auto renewals • Prolonged plateaus • Zero points limit weight loss • Artificial sweeteners in recipes • Frozen foods are dry • Some find it too restrictive • You lose more money than weight • No weight loss after change in point system
• Great food selection • Flexibility • Lost weight with just walking and diet • Encourages portion control • Changes lifestyle • Meetings make you accountable • Educates about food choices • Allows you to still eat out • Corrects eating habits • Weight loss of at least 10 kgs even without exercise
vegan-weight-watchers-recipe-1

How Vegan-Friendly Is Weight Watchers?

Okay, now let’s get to the most important question for us vegans. Just how vegan-friendly is WW?

Well if you look up Weight Watchers’ vegan recipes, you’ll find dozens here and there. These vegan recipes also include the points that WW is famous for. But that’s about it. Honestly, i think they can do better.

First of all, they began adding these vegan recipes, what, 3 years ago now? And still, that’s all there is? With veganism getting more popular than ever, I believe there should be more vegan content now than what they started with 3 years ago. Here are some things I was expecting to see:

  • A section for vegan recipes, not just an article, both in the website and the app. Having a section that we can access from the menu sounds more welcoming right? The website doesn’t even have a handy search field to make it easier to look up vegan recipes.
  • Vegan labels on actual recipe pages and packaged food products.
  • Workshops for vegan groups
  • Vegan coaches
  • Vegan-friendly app feature
  • A vegan WW cookbook

Okay, the vegan workshop and coaches can be a bit too much to ask. But with all these points for improvement, I’d say WW is not yet as vegan-friendly as they look on the surface.

It’s still a long way to go, I know. But with the size and age of WW as a brand and company, I think it should have been done years ago. Especially with the growing number of vegans around the world today.

BONUS: To learn more about a weight wathcers’ meal prep, check out the video below!

The Verdict

When it comes to their weight loss program, WW covers the important aspects: diet, exercise, education (via coaching and meetings). This is what makes WW a successful weight loss program for decades now. You have to put in effort of course, but having these options at your disposal, all in one place, is also what makes WW unique.

However, while effective, this doesn’t mean that WW is a perfect solution that will suit everyone. Their zero point foods, as an example, can be deceiving for some.

Here are the cons:

1. In general, a lot of high protein foods are given a 0 score. This includes meat of course. Even if this is lean meat, if you keep consuming it because it’s a zero food, you’ll eventually gain weight.

Of course it should be common sense not to over indulge, but where does WW draw the line? Well I don’t see any limit given in clear print. Since weight loss is the goal, limits are important, and even with zero foods, I believe a clear limit should be in place.

2. Also, there are reviewers who have pointed out the use of artificial sweeteners in some of WW’s recipes. So far, I haven’t seen any in the few recipes I have gone over. However, if there’s some truth to it, WW should know better to avoid them.

If this is an attempt to lower calorie count, there is no need because there are many low calorie natural sweeteners to choose from. So if you see any, just substitute it with natural sweeteners or vegan sugar alternatives (click here to check out my blog post “Your Hunt For The Best Vegan Sugar Substitutes/Alternatives Ends Today!”).

3. Lastly, I must also warn you about WW’s issues in billing. The amount of people complaining about their bill is just staggering. Now, I’ve seen WW’s indication that subscriptions renew automatically and that early cancellation is subject to fees.

However, it’s surprising how sooo many members seem to have not known this prior to signing up.

There are also a lot of complaints about difficulties in cancelling subscriptions and getting refunds. To make it worse, majority of these reviews also mention poor customer service. This includes being put on hold for an unacceptable length of time, and speaking to less than knowledgeable staff. Yikes!

WW memberships include a 24/7 chat support, which should be handy for members. However, this seems to have only led to frustration.

And lastly, the pros:

  • Members find the weekly meetings very helpful in terms of learning and staying motivated.
  • A good chunk of their members also claim to have lost weight from the diet alone, even without exercises.
  • The variety of food choices is extensive enough
  • SmartPoints allow treats once in a while, which takes away feelings of deprivation, which is common in other weight loss diets.

As for vegans who want to try WW, you can surely use their recipes, but I can’t really suggest memberships. Not until there are enough vegan-friendly features especially in the app, at least.

When it comes to their weight loss program, WW covers the important aspects: diet, exercise, education (via coaching and meetings). This is what makes WW a successful weight loss program for decades now.

Conclusion

The Weight Watchers’ addition of a vegan line is a nod to the growing veganism around the world. While it is a good source of recipes for vegans, it still has a long way to go. Since its introduction 2 years ago, it has not really expanded at all, and vegans might find it too limited.

However, their weight loss program, in general, can be worth a try.

Are you a vegan on WW membership? How was your experience so far? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.

 

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