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Weight Watchers says it’s going “Beyond the Scale” with a new wellness focus

Weight Watchers newsThis morning, Weight Watchers is revealing a huge revamp to a program that for more than 50 years has brought women together to weigh in, count points, and share the trials of dieting.

“Beyond the Scale,” said chief scientific offer Gary Foster, is the result of 18 months of consumer research into what today’s modern, wellness-minded woman wants from a diet program. (And maybe it’s that she doesn’t want a diet at all?)

“This is our biggest innovation in our history and it touches every part of our experience,” Foster said during a media briefing last week. “We’re going to talk about….taking care of yourself in ways that don’t involve food.” The new program will involve three components: Eating Healthier, Moving More, and Finding and Fueling Inner Strength.

Eating Healthier includes another update to the points program called Smartpoints, which takes the last Weight Watchers change that ditched pure calorie counting (called Points Plus) even further, putting more emphasis on components like sugar, saturated fat, and protein.

Moving More will encourage members to fit fitness into their day in a bigger way (and for reasons like self-esteem and mood-boosting). To do this, Weight Watchers has made adjustments to the Fitpoints system (which tracks your physical activity) and introduced an app called Fitbreak that recommends mini workouts based on where you are, how much you want to sweat, and how much time you have.

And Finding and Fueling Inner Strength will be about “bringing this balance and joy to life,” Foster says, by sharing inner-life practices and focusing more on how people are coping throughout the program, not just how much weight they’re losing.

Some of the changes involved in Beyond the Scale are subtle, like calling the book you record your progress in “My Success Story” instead of a “Weight Record” and having people set monthly weight-loss goals instead of weekly.

But the scale also isn’t technically going anywhere. “It’s not like we’re going to stop weighing people in meetings,” Foster said. The women they talked to, he said, were saying “I’m looking for outcomes that are beyond weight loss, but I still want weight loss.” It feels a little like walking a narrow balance beam, and it’ll be interesting to see if the company can keep from falling off. —Lisa Elaine Held

This is so why Oprah got involved. Find out more about her new role at Weight Watchers…

(Photo: Weight Watchers)