The season for resolutions and intention setting is upon us, and for many, that means increasing our weight loss and wellness efforts. If maintaining a healthy weight and feeling more vibrantly healthy are your 2024 goals, Weight Watchers can help!
From closing hundreds of centers to launching a weight loss medication program, Weight Watchers is gearing up for big changes in 2024. Whether you’re a long-time member or are considering joining, here are 10 important updates you should know.
For more Weight Watchers resources, check out our favorite WW-friendly Costco snacks, low-point snacks to have on hand for the holidays, and the best Weight Watchers fast food options for holiday travel.
WW CEO apologizes for company’s past stance on weight loss
Weight Watchers CEO Sima Sistani issued an apology to Weight Watchers members in a recent CNN interview, addressing the company’s evolving stance on weight loss. Sistani, who joined WW in March of 2022, said the company was wrong to assert that weight loss is a matter of willpower alone and that the company is now recognizing obesity as a chronic health issue for many.
"We know better now, we will do better now. For many who are living with obesity, it's a chronic condition, and therefore, it is not a choice," she told CNN, adding, "We needed to be the first to be proud and loud about the fact that we got it wrong in the past."
Optional weight loss medication program
What does this change in stance mean for Weight Watchers? Perhaps the biggest implication is that the company will now offer an optional weight loss medication program, for a higher monthly fee. Through this program, participants will have access to doctors who can prescribe diabetes-turned-weight loss medications like Wegovy and Ozempi, which have gained notoriety as Hollywood icons have turned to them as weight loss tools.
Even Oprah Winfrey, a long-time partner and board member, has changed her stance on weight loss drugs having successfully lost weight with their help. Winfrey and Sistani have both stated Weight Watchers will embrace the use of these drugs in an effort to erase the shame perpetuated by the story that weight loss is a matter of willpower.
In-person meeting centers to close in “digital forward” approach
The CEO has also stated that the company is moving to a “digital forward” approach. In addition to embracing weight loss medications, Weight Watchers is closing hundreds of stores and in-person meeting locations this year and moving more toward virtual meetings and support.
Some Weight Watchers programs will continue holding meetings in community locations like churches, hotels, and VA halls. Other locations will close down and transition to virtual meetings. Members can check the status of their in-person workshops through the Weight Watchers app.
The end of WW e-commerce and consumer products
As of December 2023, Weight Watchers has closed down its online store and has ceased selling any Weight Watchers products at its in-person workshops. The company’s official announcement states, “In the coming months, we intend to focus 100% on a simplified member experience in the app and workshops, thereby strengthening our core strength as a technology company and the world's leading weight management program.”
“With this decision, we are even more focused on what best supports our members on their weight loss journey: a true-to-life and uncomplicated program that focuses on community, connection, and sustainable results.”
Products that Weight Watchers offers in conjunction with licensing partners, such as WW x Fiber One bars and brownies, will still be available in stores.
Changes to Lifetime membership?
The current WW program offers Lifetime membership and free use of the app for those who maintain their goal weight at monthly in-person weigh-ins. The company has not announced at the time of publication whether this Lifetime membership will still be in effect after the closing of hundreds of meeting locations.
Some Lifetime members without access to an in-person meeting within a 50-mile radius have reported receiving an email stating their account has been extended for another year without charge. So it would appear that the Lifetime membership will continue for the time being, even in the absence of in-person weigh-ins.
Weight Watchers eyes financial growth with new changes
While there has been some backlash about the move toward medications and a digital-forward approach from longtime members—with some members stating the company is abandoning its message of self-restraint for an easy drug fix—Business Insider reports that the move could be good for business.
In fact, in her recent interview with CNN, CEO Sima Sistani said the company had reported that the Q2 ended higher than Q1 for the first time in the company’s history, thanks in part to a focus on digital platforms and the clinical weight loss program.
In a separate article, Business Insider reported that the company could generate $455 million in new revenue through an extra half million subscribers by 2025, according to estimates by Goldman Sachs. With competitors like Jenny Craig going out of business, this is noteworthy for WW members worried about the company’s longevity.
No changes to the Weight Watchers program itself in 2024
Despite these significant changes in ideology, members shouldn’t see any changes to the WW plan itself (in terms of points and procedures). The program got an overhaul in 2022 and is typically updated every two years. Weight Watchers is expected to announce a new plan in November 2024.
Updates to the Weight Watchers app in 2024
Most members will have seen four changes to the Weight Watchers app, which began rolling out in October 2023. (If you haven’t seen these changes yet, you will soon.)
- Calendar Button: Click this to access your daily food log, weight, activity, and sleep trackers.
- Progress bar: Serves as a snapshot of your overall progress, including the days you have tracked, weekly weigh-ins, activity this week compared to last week, daily points budget, and overall weight trends.
- Cooking Section: Find recipes to make at home, your zero-point food guide, and WW-friendly restaurant suggestions.
- Community Section: Access the WW Connect community for support.
Zero-Point Foods in 2024
There appear to be no major changes to the WW zero-point food list in 2024. Zero-point foods are nutrient- and vitamin-dense foods that form the foundation of healthy eating. These healthy and delicious foods can be enjoyed in meals or as snacks without having to count any points.
Top 5 tips for success from current WW members
Whether you’re just getting started or have been using Weight Watchers for years, these top tips from real-life users can help you find success in the program.
- Incorporate as many ZeroPoint foods as possible. While not calorie-free, these foods were chosen by Weight Watchers because the World Health Organization deems them foundational for healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.
- Get support. Turn to the Weight Watchers community for tips, recipes, and inspiration. Find an in-person meeting or attend a virtual meeting. There are many social media Weight Watchers groups as well.
- Track your food daily. Members who have the most success are diligent about tracking their food every day. If you start skipping this critical step, it’s easy to fall off the wagon, and fast.
- Drink lots of water. There are many health benefits to staying hydrated! Plus, water is worth zero points in the Weight Watchers program making it a great alternative to juices and sodas.
5. Plan your meals. This can feel daunting at first, but planning your meals for the week, cooking at home more, and researching options before you eat out at a restaurant will make staying within your point budget SO much easier.