The Skinny Thing- Flex Off!


*sweary rant warning*

So, after banging on about how I had the hang of smartpoints finally and Weight Watchers was no longer making me want to periodically hang myself, the buggers went and changed it all.

All legit plan followers- so those using the official app or attending group sessions- will have been introduced to Flex by now, the allegedly upgraded, easier plan with more wiggle room and a general steer towards ‘healthier’ choices. Allegedly.

I’m not a fan.

In the broadest of terms, the plan has made more food free but dropped how many points you can have a day. New freebies mostly make sense as they are low/no fat and either high protein or highish-fibrey-protein. Some potentially sugary veg like peas and sweetcorn are also now free to eat as much as you like but parsnips are still pointed (geddit?). From the various forums and buddies I have gained in Weight Watchers World, the most well received changes seem to be that eggs and chicken breast are now free. The re-grading of most legumes to no-points has also sparked a huge chickpea curiosity movement which can only be a good thing.

As before, I’m not a fan, for a number of reasons and I’ve found that I’m not alone in this from anecdotal social media rants to an organised petition to reinstate smartpoints immediately. A lot of bread and butter plan members are really pissed off, because they were getting on quite well before and now those bastards have taken all their points away, and I’m with them.  I’m used to having 30 points a day. Now, when my app goes on in the morning, I have 23. Just twenty three. Yes, yes I do have more weeklies to spread out but in psychological terms weekly points are damage control. My goal is 23 points a day, and I was hungry before on 30. Boo.
Many affiliated WW types and enthusiastic rich people scoff at this dip in points and suggest that we all just chow down on a couple of dozen chicken stirfrys a day and get over it. Well they can fuck off, because I’m not budgeted to put away fresh meat for two meals a day and if you say ‘eat more eggs’ I am going to punch you in your stupid face, as may many other IBS sufferers. Oooh plain white fish that’s free, and obviously handy to pack in a lunchbox to take to an office devoid of both safe fridges and Rick Stein. Do you know where this leaves me, friends? Beans. Bean salads to be precise. Bean salads devoid of dressing because I don’t have the points to spare on a splash of ranch any more. Five days a week. Guess how long it takes for that to get boring, not to mention gaseous? Yup, you’re there.

So I think surely they thought I could lose weight on the old smartpoints plan, so I can stick to that and it will work out, right? Meeeeeeeeh, not quite right. You see where some foods have also dropped in points to fit with the new total (utterly pointless marketing scam anyone?!?!?!), nothing really good has. So where I’m still eating roughly as before, I have totally lost my treat budget which actually went on life essentials like a dribble of cooking oil to fry with or a gin and slimline after a particularly stressful Wednesday at the day job. Oh, and the new handy rule that lets you pay forward up to 4 unused points per day into your weeklies is great, isn’t it?  Just in time for Christmas, so we can purposefully starve ourselves every day to stock up enough points for an extra sausage roll at the work’s party.  That always ends well.

Dieting is so much about psychology and thinking yourself into the options that will make you thinner, and when it is dark and cold and there is pumpkin-spiced everything around you it is hard to make good choices 100% of the time. OK so the weekly stash of extra points becomes a buffer bank for when you accidentally get smashed on Peroni watching the match on Saturday or grossly underestimate how much coconut oil goes into that curry take out, which is good. But what it doesn’t do is help on a hungry day when you are down to 3 points left for dinner and inevitably say to hell with it all and just eat what you want without pointing it because it’s just all too bloody depressing to see how far over goal you have gone.

So what’s good about Flex? There must be some stuff, right? Well ok all the free making of lentils and tofu and whatnot has made the plan much more friendly towards vegetarians and it is unarguably sensible that there should not be any kind of limit on how much lean chicken breast one tries to incorporate into a weight loss plan. But the change, people, THE CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!! Change is horrible, especially when you only use the WW app and not the old books and now have absolutely no access to what was working for you before and have no choice but to go on with this new egg-heavy lentil regime of doom. Then why have they done it?

Ask Madonna.

Reinvention is the key to remaining current, and this over complicated shake up has everyone talking about Weight Watchers and pulling their noses out of the Slimming World pages to check out all the new free omelette recipes. It is psychology again, focusing on the abundance of ‘free’ foods rather than the reduction in points allowance to make you think you can fulfill every fatty’s dream of eating loads and getting thinner. You can’t.

Maybe I like to moan, maybe I am too focused on the pitfalls of Flex and the frankly cynical marketing ploy of a Christmas party frock season release but in the short term I am calling BS on this particular WW rebirth. I’ve never believed that anyone at WW HQ gives more of a shit about my health than they do about my money, this is a multi million dollar business after all, but I really feel like this is a big set up for people to fail just in time to pile on some festive pounds then run screaming back to the program in January only to sing it’s praises again once they drop the five festive pounds that would have come off when the Quality Street ran out anyway.

I think this might be it for me and the double dubleyas. Myfitnesspal is still free and the faff of logging everything on there is not going to wind me up as much as being told to eat a sodding chicken breast for breakfast every day.



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