Sunday, January 23, 2011

Annie: iWatchr has caught up

Just a quick post to let you know that the iWatchr app ($0.99 in the iTunes app store), which was our fave before the Weight Watchers app was available in Canada, issued an update this past week to make it work easily with the new PointsPlus program.

Before now, as Mae discovered using her sleuthing skills, you could enter new formulae into the "custom" tab to calculate points on the new program, but now you don't even have to do that: clicking on the "US" tab now gives you the choice of old program (cals/fat/fibre) or new program (fat/carbs/fibre/protein).

While the Weight Watchers app is excellent for anyone using the online tools (i.e. paying the monthly fee for eTools), iWatchr is a great alternative for those who aren't (that is, as long as you don't mind using a non-Weight Watchers sanctioned product).

I first started using the iWatchr app before there was a WW app in Canada - I was paying full freight for the eTools, but they didn't include an app at the time. Now that I have the WW app, which incorporates both the calculator and real-time journaling, I don't often use the iWatchr anymore -- but I'm still glad to have it because I know someday the WW app will be down, or I'll give up my eTools, and I'll still have an option.

New program requires calculator; new program doesn't (always) provide calculator

As far as I know, every iteration of the Points-based program until now has included a cardboard "Points slider" that allowed the member to calculate the exact Points value of every food she consumed. Now, though, since the calculation involves four variables, that format can't work -- so WW has gone to a "you-must-buy-our-Points-calculator-if-you-want-to-calculate-PointsPlus" model. Which is fine, I guess -- as long as they have the calculators available for sale.

At the meetings I've been attending for the last few weeks, there's been a shortage of the calculators, which means some new members who've joined up have had to pay for the meeting fees and been given all the materials except the PointsPlus calculator -- which means they can only follow the program to a certain point, then they're in the dark.

The materials WW gives you when you join provide average PointsPlus values for a number of foods -- but as the organization has always pointed out, you can never be sure you've got an accurate Points value unless you calculate it yourself using the nutritional information on the label of your food.

So new members who haven't been lucky enough to get one of the new calculators are without that advantage - and are limited to eating the foods listed in the handbook if they want to be able to count.

That's pretty rotten, I think. So I say to new members: if you have smartphones (or an iPod touch), get the iWatchr! At less than a buck, it might make the $16/week you're spending on meetings a whole lot more valuable to you.

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