Just about every day, Weight Watchers sends me an email. Usually, I press delete without reading it, because it doesn't have any actual content, just links to stories on the Weight Watchers site about recipes, strategies, etc. I go to the website often enough that if there's anything interesting there, I'll find it. If it had some useful content in it that didn't require a clickthrough, I might open it now and then, especially since I'm usually reading my email on my iPod touch and the WW site is not optimized for a small screen. But today's said "New iPhone App plus... " and that was all I needed to see. I clicked right through to download the app.
Weight Watchers already had a lightweight mobile site that did the basics: Allowed you to track your points in sort of a slow, clunky way and calculate points from food labels. I generally put off tracking my points until I could get to a real computer, because the mobile interface was slow, the need to click through links to adjust portion sizes or change the mealtime was clunky, and I couldn't look back to a previous day to see my points or add a food I forgot. I had to click through to a whole separate screen to search for an activity, and then click through another link to enter the duration for that activity. Because I wasn't tracking my points as I went along, it was too easy to decide that going back and tracking for the day was too much trouble. I have tracked points for only about three of the last six days. When I'm not tracking consistently, my weight loss is never that great because it's too easy to have a little of this and a little of that.
The new app for the iPhone (or in my case, iPod Touch) answers a lot of the concerns. The first time I opened it, it asked me to sign in with my Weight Watchers eTools account information to access my data, but after that, it remembered who I was. For those who don't have an eTools account, the app provides only a meeting finder and the ten featured recipes with color photos and full instructions. These features are available to subscribers too, but subscribers have access to the new iPhone points tracker.
The tracker interface is closer to the LoseIt! app that I loved so much. Once I find a food with the search, it allows me to adjust portion size, and enter mealtime, and add to my tracker all from one screen. Entering activities is similarly easy -- in fact, the app is better than the website because you don't have to go to a separate screen to search for activities -- there is one "Add to Tracker" button to access foods, restaurants, recipes, and activities. The one thing I can't find is the weight tracker, but it may come up automatically tomorrow, which is my weigh-in day.
I turned off my wireless antenna just to see what happens when I'm not connected to the Internet. I can still search for points values for foods, recipes, restaurants, and activities. I just can't add them to my tracker without a connection. I can also still access the featured recipes, so that if I were at the grocery store, I could pick up the ingredients I needed to make them.
I really love this new tool and hope that it will contribute to better success for me and for other iPhone/iPod Touch-wielding members. It may be too late to salvage this week, but I'm still tracking and hoping for the best.