In the biggest change in 50 years, Weight Watchers has adopted a more holistic approach to weight loss called Beyond the Scale.

This approach, which intrigued Oprah Winfrey enough to test the program leading to her significant investment in the company, moves away from the strictly food-based formula of points to a more complete program of healthier eating, general fitness and self-fulfillment, all while achieving your personal goals, not someone else’s.

“People have told us that they want to eat better and make healthier living choices in addition to losing weight,” said WeightWatchers of Arizona General Manager Deborah Wright. “The SmartPoints formula for healthier eating uses calories as a starting point and focuses on the type of carbohydrates – specifically sugar – the type of fat – specifically saturated fat – as well as protein to be more specific in calculating the SmarptPoint values of foods. Our goal is to help members lose weight in the context of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a look-better, feel-better, more-confident you.”

Weight Watchers leader Terri Stansell, who was among the pilot test group in Arizona, said that Beyond the Scale “looks at the entire body as opposed to just a number on a scale.  On a personal level, I’m losing inches and I have discovered that I am eating healthier, feeling more energetic and my taste buds have sharpened now that I’m getting away from sugary things.  If you’re losing inches and feeling better, the numbers on the scale will catch up.”

The new approach, which includes a focus on protein as a key element in healthy eating and moves members away from sugars and saturated fats, is based on research showing that Americans exceed the recommended intake of sugar by 1.5 times and saturated fats by nearly twice the recommended level.