The Truth About WW's Purple Plan

Weight Watchers is one of the best-known weight loss programs in America. In fact the company pitches itself as the "#1 Doctor-Recommended Weight Loss Program". And to be fair, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Weight Watchers the best weight loss diet every year since 2011 (via Weight Watchers).

Part of what makes them so popular — and so effective — is their SmartPoint system. The Weight Watchers website says that SmartPoints make it easier to eat healthy and they're not wrong. With their new tracking app, monitoring your SmartPoint is as easy as weighing your food and then searching for it on the app. The program takes care of the rest.

It's an effective system and one the company has been using for almost 50 years. In 2017 the company debuted a system called Freestyle, as explained by the website Simple Nourished Living. It was replaced at the end of 2019 with a three-plan approach. These plans — Purple, Blue, and Green — followed the same general approach as Freestyle but varied on how many zero point foods and SmartPoints a person got, making them more personal. 

These plans allow people to work with their strengths while Weight Watchers helps them with areas where they struggle. The purple plan, for instance, is ideal for people who excel at portion control. And when you look at the details of the plan, it's easy to see why.

Purple plan details

If you just look at the SmartPoints for the Purple Plan, it seems almost impossible to follow. The specific number varies from person to person but overall, this is the plan with the fewest SmartPoints, according to Weight Watchers. An average minimum is about 16 points a day. And though every user on all plans gets additional weekly points to use as they see fit, 16 hardly seems like enough to live on. Especially when you consider that three ounces of lean steak is three points. That's almost a quarter pound of meat, but any sides would eat away the rest of your daily points.

And that is where this plan really opens up. While users might get fewer daily points, they have over 300 zero point food to choose from. Some of these — such as potatoes and brown rice — are not included on the zero point list for other plans. That steak might be three points. But a serving of potatoes, a serving of broccoli, and a serving of fresh fruit for dessert all round out the meal without taking up any points (via Weight Watchers). 

Of course the zero point food list can also be a weakness for some people. It is unfortunately easy to eat more calories than you mean to. And just because a food doesn't cost points doesn't make it calorie-free. But people who are already good with portion control will find themselves loving the freedom to customize their meals without sacrificing points or progress.