Weight Watchers Simple Start Review

UPDATE: Are you considering joining Weight Watchers to check out the new Simple Start program? After you’ve read my review, be sure to check out this more recent post for information on how to receive to free one-year subscription to Weight Watchers magazine when you join!

Weight Watchers Simple StartIn case you haven’t heard, the new Weight Watchers Simple Start plan was unveiled to members this week at Weight Watchers centers and to online subscribers.  If, like me, you have been following the Weight Watchers program for a while and are worried about a new program, you can relax and take a breath.  For us, the plan isn’t changing.

The Simple Start plan is designed to get new members started on the program without having to learn too much all at once.  It’s two weeks of meals that can be mixed and matched without having to do any weighing, measuring, or PointsPlus counting.  The Simple Start plan is basically a variation on the Simply Filling plan that is already part of the program with a few tweaks here and there.  At the end of the two weeks, the new member will then be introduced to the full Weight Watchers program.  They can elect to either move on to the full Simply Filling plan on which Simple Start is based, or they can switch to the more traditional PointsPlus tracking method that has been the cornerstone of the Weight Watchers program for many years.

To make it even easier for new members, Weight Watchers also introduced a new Simple Start smartphone app that is available to U.S. members for both iOS and Android phones.  The app includes the same information and recipes found in the Simple Start booklet members receive at the meetings.  The app also has some fun badges that members can earn and share on Facebook.  Note: the app does require a valid Weight Watchers member login just like the Weight Watchers Mobile app.

Of course, the Simple Start plan isn’t exclusively for new members.  It’s also something that existing members can follow if they choose.  It’s a great tool that members can use if they find their motivation slipping and/or want to take a little break from weighing, measuring, and counting PointsPlus values.

Of course, there are also updated products available for sell in meetings rooms, too.  There were definitely several things that interested me, but I couldn’t buy everything at once. lol   Here are some of the new/updated items that I can remember off the top of my head:

  • “Under 20″ cookbook which includes 200 recipes that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, 70 of which can also be used on the Simple Start plan.
  • Updated Shop and Eat Out food list books.
  • Collapsible measuring cup set – these are the same measuring cups that were available last year exclusively in the 2013 Success Kit.  They are now offering them as an individual purchase for $4.95 which I think is brilliant.  I keep a set in my desk at my office and love them!
  • Updated gourmet measure serving spoon set – these have been available at my local center since early Fall, but I’ve heard from members in other parts of the country that they’re just now starting to see them.  I’m so happy to see they replaced the old 1-cup spoon with a 1/2 cup slotted spoon in this updated set!
  • Updated electronic food scale – this was really more of a cosmetic change than anything since the basic functionality of the scale is the same.  There is a built-in database of over 500 commonly eaten foods to make calculating the PointsPlus value quicker & easier and you can store up to 10 additional items as favorites.  I’m planning a video review of this scale soon, so stay tuned for that!

Let’s move on now to one item that I did take advantage of on Sunday when I attended my meeting.  I picked up the new 2014 Success Kit.  Here’s a pic of all the goodies that came with it followed by a detailed listing of everything includes:

Weight Watchers 2014 Success Kit

  • Multipurpose expandable tote – can be used as a lunch bag, tote for your materials, or even as a tote for your netbook or tablet.  Available in three different prints — the pink funky print I got, a cowhide print, and a blue plaid that would work well for men or those wanting something a bit more conservative.
  • Find Your Fingerprint book – personalized strategies, hints, and workseets to help tap into your strengths, manage temptations, and stay motivated and on track.
  • Portable collapsible microwave steamer bowl – used for steaming, storing, or taking food on the go.
  • Master Your Meals and Snacks cookbook – contains 150 recipes, 50 of which can be used for Simple Start.
  • Plan & Track – 12-week planning and tracking companion.
  • PointsPlus value and Power Food stickers
  • Mix & Flip exercise cards – portable deck of exercise cards to help you incorporate activity whenever, wherever.  Sounds perfect for the #wycwyc (what you can, when you can) hashtag started by Roni!
  • Coupon sheet – $45 in savings including a free PointsPlus Calculator and skin or box of mini snack bars.

The Success Kit will regularly sell for $39.95, but it’s currently available for $34.95 through the end of January.  I thought it was a pretty good value for the money given all the tools included in it.  I’ve used the steamer a couple of times already this week.  I love having an option to steam in my microwave rather than using the stove top!

Even though I primarily track using either my iPhone or eTools on my computer, I have to say that I’m really impressed with the layout design of the new Plan & Track journal.  It’s basically laid out exactly how I would have done it had I been designing it.

Each week starts with the “My Week at a Glance” section. Since it’s a two-page spread, it’s perfect for pre-planning your menu and workouts. There’s even a section at the top of each day to write down any events/occasions that might be going on so you can plan for those.  Here’s a pic of half of the week at a glance spread:

Plan & Track Week at a Glance

 Next up is the “My Weekly To Do List” and shopping list spread.  This is a place designed for jotting down the names of recipes you plan to make and where to find it (cookbook name, website, etc.).  As you’re jotting them all down, the opposite side of the spread has the grocery list sheet which makes it very handy to write down any ingredients you might need to purchase to prepare the recipes.

Weight Watchers Plan & Track To Do List Weight Watchers Plan & Track Grocery List

After this, it moves into the daily tracking pages.  There are 17 lines per page, so there’s plenty of room for eating all the foods you might consume throughout the day.  Naturally, there are areas for also tracking your daily Activity PointsPlus and the check boxes for the daily Good Health Guidelines.

Weight Watchers Plan & Track Daily Page

Lastly, at the end of the seven daily tracking pages, there is a Weekly Wrap-up page.  You can track your weight change for the week, any notes from the meeting you might want to remember, any lessons learned for the week, as well as a place to track your weekly PointsPlus allowance and total Activity PointsPlus values for the week.

Weight Watchers Plan & Track Weekly Wrap-up

At the end of the 12 weeks of tracking pages, there are a few additional pages for Notes available in the back of the book.  Isn’t that such a nice design?!  Honestly, the only thing I think I would have included that isn’t there already is a place to track monthly body measurements over the course of the 12 weeks.  Of course, that could easily be done in the Notes section at the back of the journal, but it would’ve been nice to have a printed page for it, in my opinion.

Ok, that brings me to the end of this review, although it’s really more of just a recap, I suppose.  As I mentioned at the beginning, there really aren’t any changes for those of us who have already been on the program.  Since I was already doing Simply Filling, I did decide to give the Simple Start program a try after spotting the app available in the App Store on my iPhone last week.  I’m at the halfway point thus far and it’s been fine.  It has been a bit of an adjustment breaking my typical 49 Weekly PointsPlus Allowance (WPA) out as 7 PointsPlus value per day, but that’s how it works in Simple Start now.  It doesn’t impact the regular Simply Filling Technique plan though once a member moves on to it.  On Simply Filling, members can spread their 49 WPAs out any way they like.

What are your thoughts on the small tweaks at Weight Watchers for 2014?  Will you be giving the Simple Start two-week plan a try or will you just stick with either the Tracking method or Simply Filling Technique that you’ve already been doing.  If you aren’t currently a Weight Watchers member, what are your thoughts on Simple Start?  Do you like the idea of having two weeks of meals pretty much planned out for you so that you don’t have to do a lot of planning, weighing, or measuring when you’re just getting started?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Until next time …


UPDATE: After reading my review, are you considering joining Weight Watchers to check out the new Simple Start program? Be sure to check out this more recent post for information on how to receive to free one-year subscription to Weight Watchers magazine when you join!


    • TheDailyMel says:

      I really like they are emphasizing the Power Foods and Simply Filling more now as well, Jessie! By having new members do two weeks of Simple Start, I think it’s more likely some will continue with Simply Filling. I also think it will help steer new members away from spending their daily PointsPlus target on more “indulgent” types of foods vs. Power Foods even if they decide to switch to the traditional Tracking method.

  1. Thehungryma says:

    Thanks Melissa! So, how is it different than simply filling? From the lead up I can’t see how it’s different. Also I’m guessing that you can add activity points to your daily or weekly allotment, right?

    • TheDailyMel says:

      The only real difference I’ve spotted is that you are supposed to spread the Weekly Points Allowance out and use no more than 7 WPA per day on Simple Start vs. spending them however one wishes on Simply Filling. There wasn’t any mention of activity or Activity PointsPlus during the Simple Start presentation, so that might not be introduced until after new members complete the two-week Simple Start program.

  2. sparky says:

    I just read review and I am going back to weight watchers that is the one and truly system where I lost my weight tks for the inspiration I am a northernj Canadian girl

  3. Melanie says:

    WoWW! Fabulous review!! I am a WW leader & would love to share this on my FB page an also re-print as a hand-out for my current & joining members. Can you help with that?? I an looking for maybe a hyperlink and/or teaser to post, and a simplified doc for the handout. Ideas? ) )

  4. Stacy says:

    I Joined a few years ago It was really Satisfied with this program but now you have a new Jumpstart program
    What do I have to do to get the new book

  5. mamaof4 says:

    I am interested in joining WW and have visited the website but couldn’t find where to get the $39.95 2014 starter kit. Where can it be purchased at?

  6. Carol says:

    Great review! Joined & dropped after 6 months in 2012. Considering returning, wish me luck!! I have all the information from 2012 has it changed much?

    • TheDailyMel says:

      Carol – No, the basic program hasn’t really changed. They have introduced the Simple Start program that new members will follow for two weeks. After that, everything is the same as it was in 2012. I wish you every success on your journey!

  7. cyndy says:

    The new Plan and Track is much improved and I’m loving the microwave steamer! Gonna’ try Simple Start after New Years – seems simple and do-able…

  8. Missy says:

    I was trolling the internet for Simple Start results and came upon your review. I just wanted to add that I’ve been a WW member for a couple of years now and made lifetime last year. Unfortunately, or predictably lol, I have been over goal for the last 4 months. This program seems to be a fabulous way to re-set myself and get back on track even after attaining goal. Thank you for the review!

  9. Tanja says:

    I’m thinking about joining WW, thank you for the awesome review! I’ve noticed that on their website they have a separate program for men? so if I join WW, would my husband have to join as well to get the info about how the program works for men?

    • TheDailyMel says:

      Tanja – The food program itself is the same for men as it is for women, other than the fact that they get more daily PointsPlus value than women. The men’s online program is just geared more toward men vs. the traditional online program which is geared more toward women. For example, all of the exercise information on the men’s site would show men demonstrating the exercises and such. Articles about how to deal with challenging situations would be more for the challenges men might face such as situations like tailgating, poker night, etc. Hope that helps!

  10. mommyof2monsters says:

    I was also looking up reviews for the WW Simple Start and stumbled across your review. Such a helpful and thorough review so thank you. I don’t have a ton of weight to lose but I give in to cravings all the time. My problem is laziness and not doing anything. With a hereditary issue of high cholesterol I’m really wanting to keep this from getting worse. I am considering joining so thank you so much!

  11. Alicia says:

    I’ve been doing the simple start program for the past week and am honestly not that impressed by it. I just feel there is TOO little information, you can’t add your own snacks to the app and adding your own meals is pretty time consuming so basically what I’m tracking every day is “made my own breakfast, made my own snack, etc.” I know there used to be a rule about sticking to one plan for 7 days before switching . . . do you know if I can start the points plus program tomorrow or do I need to wait for a full 14 days before switching? Simple Start is just not working for me.

    • TheDailyMel says:

      HI Alicia! There is no longer the requirement to remain on one plan vs. the other for a full week. You can swap between the two plans on a day-by-day basis now which is great! If you’d prefer to switch to the traditional method of tracking PointsPlus values, you can absolutely make the switch beginning tomorrow. Hope that helps!!
      TheDailyMel recently posted..Attached to the Goal, Not the JourneyMy Profile

  12. Chris says:

    Hi there,

    Please can you supply a link where I can buy the 2014 success kit and have it shipped to South Africa.

    I would really appreciate your help.


    • TheDailyMel says:

      Hi Christopher. I don’t know if the Success Kit is sold outside of the U.S. or not. It’s only available in Weight Watchers meeting rooms/centers or via the Weight Watchers online Marketplace store for online members. You might be able to find it for private sale via eBay or an Amazon seller, but they are usually very expensive to purchase that way and I have no idea if they would ship to South Africa. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!
      TheDailyMel recently posted..Weekly Weigh In – Change is a ProcessMy Profile

  13. Martha says:

    I’ve also been very excited about Simple Start! I wish, however, that the Simple Start App also included the list of Power Foods. So far, I haven’t found it on the App, and since Simple Start is based on Power Foods, being able to access a Power Food to substitute for an equivalent one in the listed meals would be a great help.

    • TheDailyMel says:

      Martha – The Simple Start food list is available in the Simple Start app. Click on the “How It Works” menu and then select the “Simple Start Food List” option. So, as an example, if you are having the Chicken Teriyaki & Veggies meal for lunch and don’t like brown rice, you could access the Simple Start Food List for the Whole Grains section and see that alternatives would be items such as whole wheat pasta, quinoa, barley, etc. Please bear in mind that I’m not Weight Watchers staff, but I hope that helps from one member to another. )
      TheDailyMel recently posted..Weekly Weigh In: Birthday EditionMy Profile

  14. Maree Fields says:

    The 2014 Starter Kit you have pictures above for $34.95, regular price $39.95. I’m unable to find this kit for $39.95. All I can find are priced $69 & ^. Can you leave or provide a link to this kit for $39.95?

    • TheDailyMel says:

      Maree – The $39.95 price is what they are sold for to members in Weight Watchers meeting rooms or via the Weight Watchers Marketplace for online members. If you are looking online at places like eBay or Amazon, the prices will vary because those would be people who have bought them at the regular price and are reselling them. The only way to get the $39.95 price is to be a member and purchase it from Weight Watchers.

  15. Ad says:

    Hello! I’m looking to go back on WW after dropping it 6/13. The Simple Start program sounds interesting. I understand its a list of grocery items but is it a full plan of 2 weeks of meals? I’d love to have it all planned out for me to kickstart the weight loss.

    • TheDailyMel says:

      Hi Ad,

      Yes, there are meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks included in the Simple Start booklet and/or smartphone app. You can mix and match them however you like. If you get tired of those, there is also a “Build Your Own” section for each meal with lots of other ideas you can use to create Simple Start meals.
      TheDailyMel recently posted..Weekly Weigh In & Good EatsMy Profile

  16. Latithia Reeves says:

    Mellissa hi, I live in South
    Africa and about 20 years ago I joined WW no I me living in the country away from a big city and I can not get to any classes of WW and I would not know if there are any such classes in Nelspruit-Mpumalanga. I wanted to know if it is possible to join online in SA. Can you please assist me. Thanks Latithia

    • TheDailyMel says:

      Hi Latithia – I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t work for Weight Watchers, so I’m not sure about their policies. I would recommend contacting them directly to make your inquiry. Thanks for the comment!

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