Weight Watchers Flex vs Slimming World

Weight Watchers Flex vs Slimming World

After spending a little bit of time on both weight loss/healthy eating plans I thought it would be nice to compare them both in one easy place for all to see. I am currently doing the new Weight Watchers Flex plan (you can see my full post on how it works here) and tried Slimming World before it (you can see my post explaining that in full here). I’m not going to go into depth with the nitty gritty as that is all within the other two posts, but more of a simple overview of what is similar with both and what is completely different. 

Which is better, Weight Watchers Flex or Slimming World? Here's a comparison. Weight Watchers Flex vs Slimming World, Weight Watchers vs Slimming World,

Meat and two veg

So with both plans, you can eat almost all fruit and vegetables, with the exception of avocados and similar high-calorie veggies for “free”. You can also eat all legumes and meat-free substitutes like Quorn, with only Quorn’s meat-free sausages costing 1 syn with Slimming World (SW). Eggs are free on both as well.

Meat is a little bit different. With SW you can eat any unprocessed meat with the fat cut off, with Weight Watchers (WW) that’s limited to just skinless chicken or turkey and all fish. Potatoes aren’t the same either, on SW potatoes that aren’t fried or roasted are “free” but with WW you have to count them in your points, the same goes for pasta and rice.

With both plans stock, Frylite, herbs, spices, flavour pots, vinegar and sugar substitutes like Splenda are free. Fat-free dressings are free on SW but not WW.

Points or Syns?


With WW you get your daily allowance of points which is calculated based on the information you give to your representative or online and may change week to week depending on your weight loss. With SW you are allowed a maximum of 15 Syns a day (for a woman) and 25 (for a man). And you are encouraged to limit them at your own discretion to help with your weight loss. Basically, everything that you eat that isn’t free needs to be accounted for with your points or Syns. Both apps will tell you the value of the items your eating, but as it currently stands, WW is the only app which will allow you to log your points and food on the app itself; meaning you can tally up your foods and work out your allowances without filling in a form or keeping an alternative diary.


With both plans, sugar-free carbonated drinks are free, as is black coffee. If you want milk you would need to work out the points with WW and you can count that as your Healthy Extra A with SW (see below).

So what’s the difference?

With SW you have the additional benefit of Healthy Extras; A is dairy produce and B is wheat and bread items. You have to have some of both items every day to stay on plan and maintain a healthy diet. With WW there isn’t any strict guidance on dairy or wheat and bread intake, you have to use your points every day to account for any you decide to eat/drink. There is also a whole section on “speed foods” which are food items that, when eaten can speed up your weight loss. You are advised to fill 1/3 of your plate with speed foods, they aid digestion or are usually quite filling, meaning you’re full quicker, eating less food.

With WW you get to have extra “weekly points” which are especially dedicated points for you to use throughout the week, they can be blown on a takeaway, or be rationed out to let you have a few extra points each day. This is fab if you know you have a special meal planned or a night out. It also means if you succumb to temptation and fall off the wagon one day, you haven’t scuppered your entire week and the weekly points will soak up the extra you’ve used – if you have any left, of course!

Both SW and WW allow you to carry points/Syns over if you don’t spend them all each day – although this is not necessarily on plan with SW. Many women I met at the groups said that they tallied up their weekly allowance of points and ticked them off from that total rather than the daily 15, meaning they could have a naughty day. They all reported that their weight loss was the same as if they stuck to the stricter 15 a day.

Keep on moving

So with both plans exercise is encouraged. Although with WW your exercise translates to “fit points” on the app which means you can eat more if you work out more. With SW there wasn’t really any translation between your daily Syns and your exercise either on the app or on paper. With the WW app it can sync up to Fitbit, your iPhone and many other apps and fitness trackers (not sure about Android, as I don’t have a device… if you know, let me know!) to allow the accurate calculation of your fit points bonus.

What’s the verdict?

Well firstly I think both plans are really effective, they both have healthy eating at their core and promote a healthy lifestyle that spans a lifetime rather than just a few weeks, like some diets. But I think the essence of each plan and whether it will work for you is really down to what you think you’ll eat. If you like lots of potatoes, pasta and rice then SW is your plan, if you like to eat fish and white meat or if you are veggie or vegan, then maybe WW is better.

It also depends on how much you would want the benefit of digital devices. Without a doubt, WW is a better app and makes exercise and food logging as easy as pie, whereas SW is still more geared towards the handwritten food diary and book. The app is ok, but just nowhere near as easy as WW. Both plans are competitively priced for meetings. Online there is the option to pay monthly with WW online, whereas SW online has a compulsory sign up for 3 months upfront.

Have you tried them both? Tell me which you prefer in the comments below.

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    January 9, 2018 / 9:02 pm

    This is exactly what I was looking for – as a potatohead, it’s SW for me.

    • Clare
      January 11, 2018 / 11:08 am

      I’m a bit of a potato fan too, good luck with SW.

      Clare x

  2. Eden
    January 13, 2018 / 3:35 pm

    Thanks so much exactly what I was looking for definitely going WW it’s perfect for me xx

  3. S
    January 21, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    I too have tried both and as a super sweet tooth person found WW it too easy to use points on just sweet stuff every day where as SW it made me really think what was best value for syns… think it might be back to SW for me….. thanks for doing this comparison.

    • Clare
      January 25, 2018 / 10:37 am

      Good luck with your weight loss journey. It really is one of those things where SW suits one whereas WW suits another.

      Clare x

  4. Debbie
    January 22, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    Thanks for this I have been looking everywhere to find out a bit more about WW Flex plan as I have always done SW, but lately I cannot fell otivated and feel I need to change. I would also like to reduce my carbs so WW may be the Answer. However, WW is expensive at £6.25 a week so if I decide to join WW on-line it says “meetings plus online” does this mean you can attend meetings as well as using the online support? I didn’t think it was very clear


    • Ramona
      February 2, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      I am currently using WW “meetings plus online”, and it does not allow you to attend meetings. It is only for use of the app (for meal tracking, creating recipes to calculate points, weight tracking, activity tracking and a few of their own recipes they share), as well as access to their online support group, “Connect”.

        • Susimum
          February 9, 2018 / 5:28 pm

          I joined online to meetings + online and it does indeed let you go to weekly meetings and weigh-in

          • Nicky
            February 18, 2018 / 1:17 am

            Hi have you been in to a meeting as well as I was unsure of this too but would rather just go in to a meeting and get weighed. Does it have to always be the same meeting if your keeping your details in your phone as well?

          • Lucy
            March 18, 2018 / 8:33 pm

            You can go in to meetings as well on the meeting plus online plan. You can pop into any meeting but is always a good idea to go the same one.

  5. Debbie
    January 22, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    Thanks for this I have been looking everywhere to find out a bit more about WW Flex plan as I have always done SW, but lately I cannot fell otivated and feel I need to change. I would also like to reduce my carbs so WW may be the Answer. However, WW is expensive at £6.25 a week so if I decide to join WW on-line it says “meetings plus online” does this mean you can attend meetings as well as using the online support? I didn’t think it was very clear


    • Clare
      January 25, 2018 / 10:36 am

      As far as I know, yes it means you can do both.

      Clare x

  6. Tracey
    January 29, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Thank you very helpful, I have done both in the past but it has been a few years. I think SW is the way forward for me.

  7. Rebecca
    January 30, 2018 / 9:52 am

    Slimming world doesn’t have a compulsory 3 month sign up. I’ve rejoined a few time and can always do week by week.

      • Jenny
        February 28, 2018 / 9:55 am

        Hi Clare

        There is an important difference between SW and WW in terms of online support. When you join a SW group, you get access to SW’s LifelineOnline support and app access for free — it’s all part of the standard £4.95 weekly fee. The website gives access to planning tools, logging your weight loss, loads of recipes and motivational features and stories. And an app update is coming soon too. I should declare an interest here. I work for SW.

        • Lucy
          March 18, 2018 / 8:37 pm

          With weight watchers u get online support groups, chat with coaches and tons of motivational stories , tons and tons of recipes. And the App is amazing with the barcode scanner and point tracker. I love not having to do it on paper.

  8. Kirsty
    March 7, 2018 / 10:19 am

    WW for me! I love pasta and rice etc and can eat a boatload of it. That means with SW I can overeat on free foods and therefore either lose weight really slowly or not at all. They say you shouldn’t weigh anything. That’s unrealistic in today’s world where everything is supersized…we need to weigh things to make sure we have sensible portion sizes! WW flex is a great improvement for WW and I think really effective for the majority of people.

  9. Em
    March 8, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    I was on weight watchers but my weight loss got to a stuck point,I changed to slimming world for a kick start …..which I did get but am not losing as much on sw at all. I wasnt particularly in love with the ww new flex program,ww offers a no count program as well which is very similar to sw but with free crumpets ! Sw is years behind ww with their app,ww make it so easy with the online diary,instant points and calculator ,they also have a chat support service and the scanner code recognition. I was completely shocked when I got to sw and they were still on pen and paper….hello it’s 2018! Sw meetings are also very out dated. It’s a shame really. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with sw or ww

  10. March 10, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    This is perfect, I am considering joining online with one of these, I think WW sounds right for me, I am actually surprised how low cost it is too!

  11. Shona Patrick
    March 12, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    i don`t know if this has just confused me even more lol i am doing SW the now and had lost 2 stone although i started back in April 2017 but the last few weeks i have just lost motivation and have gradually put on a few pounds so thinking i need a change 1 of the things thats making me think about WW is i think the app is better it as the bar-code scanner which i think would make it a lot easier to keep a track of points/syns as the SW app can be a nightmare to find out how many syns are in something also think getting more points allocated if you workout more sounds great as i am really looking into my fitness more. i also have a bit of a sweet tooth and WW have more of a selection of foods it desert which you can easily see the points for where SW only have main meals,soups and sauces and tbh i don’t like a lot of there meals they lack flavor where WW have more selection of ready meals if i`m in a hurry and i have tried a few of the WW meals and would say they are nicer than the SW meals.
    i do like being able to eat as much pasta rice and noodle as i like although not sure how good this is for me and i have got feed up with pasta and i sometimes find it hard to eat my healthy extra A all the time i don’t drink a lot of milk only in coffee or a wee bit in cereal if i have that and i don’t eat much cheese well not every day anyway
    i am currently living with my mum and my sister who are also on SW so food shopping is SW friendly so not sure if it will make it harder for me to try WW

    i really want to kick start my weight loss again i want to loss another 2 or 3 stone by October when i go to Florida

  12. Claire
    April 12, 2018 / 5:49 pm

    This is great to have the comparison between both eating plans. I am on day two of Weight Watchers and will not continue. I am starving. Yes the app is better, but having to measure every single point and limit potatoe/sweet potatoe is not for me. By dinner time I had some SW burgers and no option of baked potatoe or mash or roll as my points would be way over.

    I do wish Slimming World would offer a month to month sign up online. But the recipes are great, the ready meals are much better than weight watchers meals and I don’t want to count everything. Obviously if it’s not on the free food list then I will use the online tool to measure the syns. I like my milk so will use the dairy allowance plus 5 syns so that I can still enjoy plenty of cuppas. For me I d rather be full than hungry and likely to eat something I shouldn’t. I ve got a lot of weight to lose so SW is for me. Oh and SW chips are so yummy!

  13. Catharine
    April 16, 2018 / 8:41 am

    Ive been doing ww for years and have lost 4 stone in the past. But this flex plan is awful. The points are too low. Why they had to change it is beyond me. So I’m going to try sw next week.

    • Betty
      September 3, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      Oh I couldn’t agree more! Hate the Flex! Can’t stick to my daily limit for the life in me! Too restricting and I’m not the only one to say this!

      • Andrea
        October 5, 2018 / 9:57 pm

        I lost 3 stones with WW ProPoints, but as soon as they switched to Smart Points I wasn’t able to stick to it as it was so restrictive. Flex was even worse and I was often so hungry I felt weak. They say there are over 200 free foods but these are mainly fish and beans.

        • Jen
          November 14, 2018 / 12:27 am

          Agreed! I lost 6.5 stones with WW Smartpoints years ago, but can’t get on with Flex, and couldn’t with Propoints either. It’s very demoralising. I am only two stones off my heaviest weight again now.. hmph! That gradual weight gain…

          I am considering trying SW.. maybe. I really need to lose the weight again for health reasons. Thank you for laying the two side by side.. very helpful 😊

  14. Lynne
    April 22, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    I cannot eat dairy or eggs. I’ve looked at some online receipes and breakfasts seem to include a lot of eggs. Any suggestions on which plan would be best?

    • Clare
      April 29, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      Not sure, I’m afraid. I would probably say Weight Watchers as Slimming World adds dairy as part of a daily healthy extra and you can get away without any on Weight Watchers.

  15. Gill
    May 1, 2018 / 8:01 am

    Thanks for a really helpful post. I lost weight with SW a couple of years ago, but last year I really slid back with a few big holidays. The weight piled back on. I can’t really find the time to go to group and have been trying to decide which online membership to go for. I like the free food approach of SW – it worked for me before, but if I’m going to do it online I really want a good online tool. I didn’t know about the integration with the fitness trackers offered with WW. I would love to be able to earn through exercise and I agree with some of the comments here, the SW app does seem very old fashioned and lacking in functionality (unless it is much improved since I last used it). I think I’ll give WW a go.

    • Clare
      May 5, 2018 / 11:34 am

      Good luck! I’m sure you’ll be fine, you’ve done it before, so you can do it again 🙂

      Clare x

  16. Meg
    July 19, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    I lost 7 and a half stone with WW a few years ago. Over the last 6 months I have put on a fair bit of weight. My partner had previously done SW and so I’ve started following it a bit, but I loved, LOVED the WW app, I swear that was 50% the reason I lost weight. I think I’m going to go back on WW, although I’ve not done this flex plan before, I used to be on the pro plus points. Hope the flex plan is just as good!

  17. Katherine
    September 3, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to review them. I’ve found this post really helpful!

  18. Rachel Taylor
    September 7, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    I have been doing WE for over 2 years and am 2 stone lighter but I can’t get on with the flex and am thinking of SW. I have done that before but ate loads so am struggling to either kelp going up and down with WW or change.

  19. Kit Needs
    September 18, 2018 / 11:26 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on SW v WE. I have done both, online and in group. I have found that being an online member is much more difficult, as you dont het the same sort of support that attending a group can give – no one cheers or claps when you’ve lost a pound or a stone! So when possible I would always opt for group me worship now.
    As for which is better, I don’t think it’s a question of “better”. They are different. For people who have big appetites then SW wins, and is possibly a more realistic living plan. On the other hand, for those who like their chocolate or alcohol etc, WW wins as meals can all be free, leaving the syns/points for the treats.
    Good luck with your weight loss everyone!

  20. Victoria
    October 22, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    Hi all
    I’ve lost all motivation for WW since it changed to Flex & they removed No Count. I lost 31lbs on No count & got to 10st 13lb in July 2017, No Count was so easy for me, I work full time & as a family of 5 (Daughter 14, Son 20, Sons girlfriend (lives with us) & my Fiancé) it meant cooking one meal for all with no weighing & measuring, perfect!! My Sons GF is also on WW so it meant I could do her food & lunches for work etc. She also lost 28lbs but she too has lost all motivation.
    I gained 5lb back between July & Oct 2017 & now can’t seem to get below 11st 3lb. I just go up & down the same 5 lbs (11st 3lb to 11st 8lb) so that’s no actual real weight loss in a whole year!! I am seriously considering re joining SW this Saturday to see if it will give me a kick start.
    I think my body has gotten so used to what I’m eating that it just maintains now, if I was at goal I’d be WINNING!!! Hahaha

    Anyone else been the same & started losing again after swapping sides?


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