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Weight Watchers Simple Start Works!

Weight Watchers just released their two week, kick-start-your-metabolism program that is guaranteed to work! (If you follow it, of course.)

Why Weight Watchers Simple Start Works

This past Saturday I caught the last meeting of the week (WW runs Sunday through Saturday) where the new Simple Start program was the meeting topic. (Don’t worry, if you’re just joining—or returning—they’ll be happy to go over it with you after any meeting.) Happily, I already dropped three of the FIVE pounds that I gained in the last month—after following Simple Start for just one week. (See, I told you it works!)

I’d been struggling to get back on track, after giving in to emotional eating in the unsettled weeks following our incredible trip to South Africa.

I can only imagine how many points I inhaled night after night—while listening to my jet-lagged toddler yelling that she will NEVER EVER go to sleep! (Now my hubby understands why I gave him a hard time about bringing all those slabs of chocolate back with us.)

South African Chocolate

It didn’t help that we returned smack-dab in the middle of the holidays (after oddly missing Thanksgivukkah)—landing in Christmas pandemonium and a changed season. No wonder I was out of sorts! And this after being out of my exercise routine for a month—and then getting sick, blah blah blah. (But I don’t have to tell you… you know how it happens.)

Each pound that I watched the scale creep up made me feel a little worse and a little more out-of-control, but when I entered a whole new decade, I knew it had to stop!

Enter “Simple Start” program

I dragged myself to a Weight Watchers meeting, and got on the scale even though I knew it was an all-time hideous high. But like I used to tell my members way back when I was a Weight Watchers Leader: If you don’t like the number you see on the scale, that’s okay because you never have to see it again!

Once you’re in the habit of eating chocolate or other full-fat, high-sugar “trigger” foods, it’s hard to break the cycle. That’s why Simple Start is so brilliant: when you focus on wholesome, quality foods, your body miraculously stops craving all that other stuff.

Simple Start is basically Simply Filling (which is how I live my life and how I’ve managed to keep my weight down)—choosing from a list of Weight Watchers Power Foods, which are healthier and more satisfying.


Weight Watchers Power Foods


Now, even white potatoes and reduced-calorie breads are included.

Power Foods Plus More


The difference is that with Simple Start you get 7 PointsPlus a day for “indulgences”—but they don’t carry over if you don’t use them.

Note: “Indulgences” are not necessarily candy or pizza (especially since 7 points will not get you that far with really decadent foods!), but are for any foods that don’t fit into the Power Foods category. For example, if you’re not a fan of Fat Free Dairy Products, you can choose to count the points for low fat dairy instead. (I, personally, will not suffer tea or coffee with non-fat milk. I definitely didn’t get to Weight Watchers because of 1/2 cup of 1% milk a day!)


I think this is a brilliant way of encouraging members to focus on Weight Watchers Power Foods right from the start. I’m always surprised at how few people raise their hands when asked in a meeting who has tried Simply Filling. (And surprised at how little they focus on it in meetings. Up till now it’s been Weight Watchers’ best kept secret!)

Is it the fear of not tracking? Or no portion guidelines?

If you’ve been curious about Simply Filling, this is a great place to start.


Note: Simple Start was not intended to replace the Weight Watchers 360 Program (made up of PointsPlus, 16 Routines, etc.), but rather just to kickstart new members—and existing members who need a boost—and not overwhelm them with counting points right off the bat.

Weight Watchers 360


The Simple Start booklet includes meal ideas, Cooking 101 with recipe ideas, and even a Shopping List to get you started. They’re encouraging everyone to try it for two weeks and see if it’s a good fit.

Are you going to try it?


Warning: This is not an all-you-can-eat “diet”

The Weight Watchers Weekly booklet, Start Simple (December 29 – January 4) explains that Weight Watchers Power Foods are less likely to trigger “hedonic” or pleasure eating, which foods high in fat and sugar can cause. So because of which foods you’re eating, you don’t have to be as concerned with how much.

Start Simple Booklet

Make sure to get this booklet and READ it!


For me, the most important part of Simply Filling—and this Simple Start Program—is to listen to your body’s signals for when you’re hungry and when you’re “satisfied”. (Not “full”) The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.

If you feel like you’re overeating… you are!

Think if it as fueling your body with healthy foods, and tanking up each time you need it, but not pouring in more fuel than you need or your beautiful car will overflow.

One of the biggest dieting myths is that you should feel a bit hungry when you get up from the table. As a teenager battling with my weight, this—along with other dieting myths—kept me in a terrible diet/binge cycle, because I was constantly in a state of deprivation. You never need to feel hungry or deprived EVER AGAIN. But you should never feel overstuffed either. Becoming more conscious of stopping when I feel satisfied and trusting that any time I feel hungry I have a guilt-free license to eat, was the key to changing how I viewed food forever.

Simple Start is the perfect balance between FREEDOM (so you don’t feel deprived) but within LIMITS (so you have boundaries, which help to make better choices and feel in control).

Though it might be tempting, I urge you not to go the all-or-nothing route that some of us addictive personalities tend to do, because if you only eat Power Foods and don’t allow yourself the odd indulgence, it will feel like a “diet” and at some point that diet will come to an end.

The best thing about Weight Watchers is that it is NOT a diet! They give us tools so that we can learn how to make the best choices and change our habits (eating and self-destructive thought patterns) one by one.


Why Simple Start Works

  • No tracking frees you from thinking obsessively about food
  • You learn to trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry and what you feel like eating
  • Taking time to prepare and cook foods yourself is cathartic, slows you down, and makes you appreciate each bite much more
  • You can find Power Foods on any menu and wherever you travel
  • You stop craving fatty, sugary foods and your blood sugar levels stabilize—you’ll even feel less moody! (And more energetic)


My Tips for Success

  • Eat whenever you feel hungry and practice stopping as soon as you feel satisfied
  • Stock up on exciting fruits and veggies (persimmon slices, frozen grapes, edamame, steamed beets)
  • Stock your freezer and pantry with interesting veggies for snack attacks (hearts of palm, artichokes, asparagus)
  • Sign up for Weight Watchers E-Tools (There’s even a super-cool Simple Start Mobile App which is free with ETools)
  • The WW Scanner App is great for figuring out points on the go, and to check for Power Foods
  • I highly recommend purchasing the brand new Shop book at your WW location. ($11.95) It’s very empowering to see your favorite brands in print, and it’s even more exciting to see a little green triangle next to something!
  • Even better—purchase Your Success Kit, which includes the Shop and Eat Out books, PointsPlus Calculator, and much more. $34.95 until 2/1/14.
  • Go to a meeting! (There’s no substitute for attending meetings… even if you think you don’t need them.) If you’re not crazy about the leader, or not feeling inspired by the meeting, find another one. Even if you have to drive to a different area. Think about how far you’ve driven to get a food-fix!
  • If you live in a rural area, Google Plus has a fantastic Weight Watchers Community. (Make sure to add me to your circles!)


This week reconfirmed that my natural state of being is eating healthy, wholesome, non-processed foods (mostly) foods. Please give Simple Start a try! Let me know how you like it…

You’ll find many Weight Watchers Power Foods and meal ideas on my Trader Joe’s and Costco Shopping Lists. Please add your favorite Power Foods in the comments section.

Look out for my next post: My Simple Start—easy meal and snack ideas.

Follow my boards on Pinterest for my latest Power Food Finds.

OrnaBakes on Pinterest

And please SHARE this post on Facebook (click the “like” button at the top of this post) or mention at your next Weight Watchers Meeting!

Happy New Year and may 2014 be your healthiest and happiest year ever!




Orna Purkin is a former Weight Watchers Leader and Ambassador.

More on Weight Watchers Power Foods and Simple Start


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43 Responses

  1. Really well-written and interesting post with humorous reflections. I had forgotten about some of the tasty foods mentioned. I’m going out tomorrow to buy artichoke hearts, asparagus and hearts of palm. And, I’ll be cooking beets as well.

    1. Glad you enjoyed my post! If you don’t feel like cooking the beets yourself, you can find delicious, steamed beets at Trader Joe’s. (refrigerator)

  2. I started WW a week ago and lost 3lb. on the Simple Start.
    This is my first time on the program and am still very unfamiliar with it. I appreciate your recommendations on what to buy at the grocery stores. Thanks. I love this site.

    1. Congratulations Fran – I’m so happy for you that you joined WW, and that you’re finding success with Simple Start! And it’s good to know that I’m helping someone out there – thanks for letting me know. All my best wishes for continued success – please keep me posted!

  3. This stinks that you’re publishing this information that we, as Weight Watchers members, pay a monthly subscription for access to it. You should be ashamed of yourself–this is stealing.

    1. Hi Donna, I thought long and hard before responding because I was taken aback and saddened by your comment. As a person who struggles with my own weight issues, I have found inspiration, encouragement, and solace online by reading about others similar experiences. I’m a huge advocate for the Weight Watchers program and always encourage people to go to meetings. (As you can see listed under my Tips for Success) My intention is never to give away information for free instead of people paying the weekly WW fee. My intention is to support Weight Watchers members by sharing my successes (and slip-ups) and my tips and ideas. I work incredibly hard to gather information and facts to help people trying to lose weight on the Weight Watchers plan, for which I am not compensated at all, so when I get a comment like this, it makes me wonder why I even do it. I know there are some people out there who find my information useful and appreciate what I do. I wish you all the best in your journey.

      1. Dear I am new to reading the sight and I am on maitaince with weight watchers and this alarms me I know that you are a Highley Trained Professional and I know that you are very service oritated and I know that I ma a not well senior I have seisures and have had a stroke and my God Given instincts are tht you work hard to take care of your Family and Us yua re a Miraculous light RAy for I am knowing that your light is so birllantly shined and I know that you are Forgiven and know to let go of the illgotton remaks of the people that do notunderstand your generosity..Tahnk you Dear this is a very generous heart filled conception report of the Truth about why we need tolearn how to eat right I know that your children are learning in leaps and bounds to eat right and I Pray that people are more like you in understading to share ther god given talents of knowing how to cook and present foods in the manner that we are not killing ourselves.I am sorry that I cannot talk and say the truth because of having a stoke but I know you are good person Tahnk you Der…Tahnk you…I am one Reason that I know that you care that I do not eat bad it is so easy to go back to bad habits..Miracles and Blessings…I Love you..I Love I Love and I am Love I am Love and I know that I know to share my Love to a good Person..Love…Love…Love..and I know that I Know that you Know Love…..

        1. Thank you Denise for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear about your stroke and seizures. Thank you for taking the time to write me this beautiful note. Love, Orna

  4. Hi Orna,
    Love the blog! The one issue I have with the Simple Start program, and really WW in general is that I try to only eat organic, non-processed foods, and so my selection is greatly limited by the list of WW approved foods. For example, I can never find organic fat free cottage or mozzarella cheese and I don’t eat lowfat breads that are fool of chemicals and additives. Do you have any suggestions for how to do WW and still maintain my organic diet and still not have to miss out on such great foods and cheese or bread?

    1. Hi Annie, I absolutely do think that you can do WW Simple Start and keep eating your organic, wholesome foods. I, personally, don’t buy fat free milk or cottage cheese – because I find 1% so much more palatable and I know that I didn’t get to weight watchers because of cottage cheese or milk! I would rather eat a little less of something that keeps me satisfied than huge amounts of fat free dairy products. Bread – on the other hand – is a little more tricky, because it can easily be abused. I think if you can find a high fiber bread (like Ezekiel) that doesn’t trigger you, a sandwich here and there isn’t going to take you down! But you need to be aware of not overeating. I personally don’t really buy bread, because it’s a trigger for me, and I do better eating lots of protein and fresh veggies and fruit, with the occasionally whole grains here and there. Hope that helps. Please keep me posted and let me know if you have any other questions/issues!

  5. besides the extra 49 points a week i get, how do i determine how many points i get a day??? this simple start seems very confusing.

    1. Hi Denise, I recommend going to a Weight Watchers meeting and staying after so they can explain Simple Start to you. I’m not sure what book you purchased – because they usually give out the book for free when you join. The whole point with Simple Start is that you aren’t actually counting points all day, but are choosing from a list of Weight Watchers Power Foods – and then you get an additional 7 points a day to spend on items that aren’t on the Power Foods list. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi Orna, I am hoping that can answer some of my questions. First, I joined Simple Start online as I don’t have any free time to go to meetings. I was keeping track of my points on my iPhone with the app that they sent me to download. After about 2 weeks my point allowance went down from 30 points to 29 points a day and now its telling me I have -1 weekly remaining points at the start of a new week. I haven’t tracked by the week before, only daily. I’m so confused. I hope you can help me.

    1. Hi Cindy, That does sound a little confusing. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by Simple Start, because if you really are doing the “Simple Start” two-week program, you should only be tracking things that have points values – i.e. foods that are not power foods and therefore count as points. You get 7 of those to use per day and if not they fall away. I recommend calling Weight Watchers and someone will be able to help you. If you can make time to go to just ONE meeting and stay after for the leader to explain the program to you, that would be reealllly beneficial! Best of luck!

  7. This blog is helpful, motivating and just awesome! I hate that there are negative people out there who only want to walk through life looking for things to complain about and making negative comments. I have tried every diet out there with no success and have 20 lbs to lose as a runner recovering from shoulder surgery 9 mos ago. I am hopeful this will work and really am encouraged by your posts. Thank you for taking time out of your life to help and encourage others! I am starting simple start today and plan to visit your site often for encouragement!

    1. Renee, Thank You for taking the time to write this lovely, sweet note, and for reminding me that THIS is why I do what I do! Best of luck to you – I know that those 20 will be gone in NO time! Keep me posted.

  8. Hi Orna,

    Thanks so much for posting this! It’s super helpful and extremely informative and motivating. I actually just started this plan today and feel great so far! I’m looking to go from 135 to 120ish in the next few months, so fingers crossed. Your blog is awesome, so ignore the nasty comments and keep up the great work 🙂

    1. Thank YOU Annie – I so appreciate your taking the time to write me. I know you will love this plan and the weight will come off in no time! Best of luck to you. Keep me posted!

  9. Thank goodness I found your blog! I started ww and lost 6lbs in my first week, another 3 in my second and was devastated to have put 1lb oni yesterday’s weigh in. I hadn’t cheated once, and had done 2 five mile walks. It was only after reading your Blog I realised although I have been eating the right foods, just far too much of them! I have problems with portion control, and have have to learn to listen to my body. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Sammy

    1. Hi Sammy, firstly that is fantastic that you are down 8 pounds! I’m happy that I got you to be more aware of your portion sizes, because that is really the key to changing our eating habits for good. But don’t be too discouraged about going up. Sometimes it happens and it could even be because of sodium or other factors. Just be proud of yourself that you did two 5 mile walks and are eating healthy and be excited to work on your portion sizes this week. I bet you’ll be down next week! Please let me know!

  10. I too am not a fan of tea without milk. With simple start, can I enjoy my 2 cups of tea a day with 1/2 cup of 1%milk & 1teaspoon of sugar for each cup of tea? I figured I can because I’m having total 1 cup of 1%milk & less than 1tablespoon of allowed sugar indulgence…am I right?

    1. Sheena, you could have nonfat milk and not have to count it, but yes, as long as you count the points for the 1% milk and sugar, you can enjoy every cup just as you like it!

  11. I’m wanting to start weight watchers but i am confused on the simple start, do i stick to my points and have an extra 7 for indulging or do i not count points at all?

    1. Hi Tonya, with the Simple Start plan you choose mainly from a list of wholesome, natural foods “Power Foods” (like fresh fruit, veggies and lean proteins) and then you have an additional 7 points a day to use on items that are not on the power foods list. For example, light breads are considered a power food, but regular bread isn’t. So you would have to count the points for a slice of bread. I hope that helps. I recommend sitting in on a Weight Watchers meeting, and also, if you join (which I hope you will) the leader will go over the plan with new members following the meeting. You don’t have to make a commitment past the very first meeting, so I highly recommend at least going to one! Hope that helps. Please let me know how you do.

  12. Hi Orna! First. let me say that when my husband & I started the Weight Watchers Simple Start program on July 8, 2014, I went looking on the Web for interesting recipes and ideas to help us be successful in our efforts to lose 100 lbs each. Much to my delight, I found your site and have taken away many good ideas you have posted. One of our favorites is the Polenta with FF Cheese, FF sour cream, & refried beans. We decided to slice the polenta into discs and bake them for 20 minutes rather than fry them. We even added a slice of jalapeno atop for that extra zing! Well, with WW SS & your recipe & food ideas, my husband has lost 44 lbs and I have lost 38 lbs, to date (today is 11/5/2014). Thank you for your helpful hints and recipe ideas. We love them so please keep them coming! If we can do this, anyone can.

    I agree with you in saying, “Becoming more conscious of stopping when I feel satisfied and trusting that any time I feel hungry I have a guilt-free license to eat, was the key to changing how I viewed food forever…”

    “Simple Start is the perfect balance between FREEDOM (so you don’t feel deprived) but within LIMITS (so you have boundaries, which help to make better choices and feel in control).”

    Warm regards,

    1. Dear Joanne, I was so happy to read this lovely note. HUGE congratulations to you and your husband. How wonderful that you are getting healthy together. I’m so happy to have assisted you in your journey. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. It’s notes like this that make it all worth while. Just what I needed, so I thank you.

      1. Orna, please do. I would like to pay it forward. Also don’t let the rude comments ever discourage you. You are doing wonderful work. Thank you!!

  13. Wanted to let you know because of your article, I’m going to give WW a try again. Been years and the meetings were boring, so I didn’t go. I like what you say, but not the negative comments, and will keep reading your comments. Thank you for trying to give support and good information to the public.

    1. Hi Betty, Happy to hear it. Make sure to find a great leader that inspires you. Call the 800 number or ask around for who the best leader is if you’re not feeling it! Best of luck. Please keep me posted.

  14. Ear Orna, I would like to get back on the simple start plan asap where can I get the simple start booklet please I have been looking everywhere.

    1. Hi Toni, I recommend going to your local Weight Watchers center or calling the WW 800 number and they will have all the materials you need. Best wishes, Orna

  15. Hi Orna, if you still have the booklet maybe you could make a copy I will gladly pay you I did contact Ww and the said the no longer have or won’t give it out since they started their new program she if there’s anyway you can help I would be extremely grateful.

  16. I as want to purchase a copy of the 2014 Simple Start booklet featured in your post. I had a copy from 2014 but somehow list in a re ent move. Weight watchers won’t sell me another copy even though I am still a member. Can you help?

  17. Hi Orna,my name is Toni and in 2014 when the the simple start came out my husband and I went on it and of course he lost more then me and we loved the diet and since then I lost my book I realize I am asking a lot but if there is anyway of getting a copy from you I will gladly pay you maybe you can run off a copy whatever it cost I am only asking because we now have health issues due to being over weight and the diet would help emmensely if there is anyway possible I would be so greatful.

    Thank you

  18. Where can i get this booklet. I am a weight watchers member but i find it hard to stick to the program.. I find it very daunting. There is alot out there and I think this booklet might help to get me on the right track.
    thank you

    1. Hi Shannon, Toni, and Debra. I recommend visiting your closest Weight Watchers center. The wonderful thing about Weight Watchers is that they are constantly evolving and changing. They figure out what works and what doesn’t work and then they improve the program accordingly. This Simple Start booklet is out of date so you should tell them what you like about it and see what the best current book would be to support you in your journey. And I always recommend finding the best leader and going to the meetings. That constant support is immeasurable. Best of luck in your journeys! xo

  19. Hi Orna, is there any where I can get the entire book or recipes for the simple start ? We tried it when it first came out and it worked great for us ,now my husband retired vet and firefighter has health issues needs to lose weight but I can’t find it anywhere is there anything you might suggest I can get it
    Thank you Toni

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