What We Like
- Weight Watchers allows you to continue to eat the foods you enjoy while maintaining a healthy weight; there are no “off-limits” foods
- Partnerships with major food brands and restaurant chains that feature Points values on product packaging and menus make it easy to stay on plan
- Exercise and food points are inter-connected; this emphasizes their relationship and encourages physical activity
What We Don’t Like
- Learning the PointsPlus system takes some effort to master
- Support that’s vital for success isn’t free; costs range from $65 for Weight Watchers Online (3 months) to a monthly cost of $39.95 for Monthly Pass
- Weight Watchers has no plan specifically designed for diabetics
How Weight Watchers Works
Weight Watchers is a relatively economical diet plan with a proven track record. The program is based on a balanced diet that provides accepted nutrient ranges of protein, carbs, fat, and other essential dietary requirements. Dieters on Weight Watchers follow a points plan. Every food has a PointsPlus value that takes into account a food’s protein, calories, fat, and fiber. The PointsPlus program encourages smarter and more satisfying food choices, not necessarily eating less food.
After completing an online personalized assessment, dieters are assigned a daily PointsPlus target—a number based on gender, weight, height, and age. The Weight Watchers PointsPlus program allows you to eat the foods you like without restriction. Point values for more than 40,000 foods can be found on the company’s website, or accessed through new phone apps.
Dieters can expect to lose up to 2 pounds a week and a significant amount of weight within the first year. The program has been consistently found to deliver quick results. And, high compliance rates support long-term success because dieters consistently get enough to eat, don’t have to eliminate favorite foods, and benefit from the program’s strong emphasis on emotional support.
What The Experts Say About Weight Watchers
- Number one diet for weight-loss—Weight-loss experts who rated diets for U.S. News ranked Weight Watchers the best diet to lose weight and the #2 best diet overall in terms of easy to follow, nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease. U.S. News & World Report 2011.
- Structured weight loss programs are beneficial—Referrals by primary care providers to commercial weight loss programs like Weight Watchers that include regular weighing, advice about diet and physical activity, motivation, and group support gives overweight individuals a good head start for weight management. Lancet 2011, 378:9801.
- Long-term effectiveness—Nearly 60 percent of individuals following the Weight Watchers plan stayed within 5 pounds of their goal weight one year after completing the program which suggests that Weight Watchers is not only an effective way to lose weight, but also reasonably effective at keeping it off. British Journal of Nutrition 2008, 99.
- Support is key— According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, individuals on the Weight Watchers plan who attended the most weekly group sessions over a two-year period kept the most weight off. Ann Intern Med 2005, 142:1.
- The success of Weight Watchers—In 2002, Wired magazine conducted an in-depth review of what makes the Weight Watchers so successful. It reveals that the core of the program is based not only on the relationship between fat and carbs and protein, but on understanding the links between nutrition, weight gain, and psychology. Wired January 2002.
Tips for Success
- Keeping track of what you eat every day is essential to make sure you don’t exceed your daily and weekly point targets.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Because they carry zero points, you can eat as many as you like. They’re high in fiber and will keep you feeling fuller longer.
- Weight Watchers suggests taking a daily multivitamin to ensure you’re getting enough calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamin B-12, and other important nutrients.
- Consume alcohol only in moderation as these high point value beverages will drain your point allowance.
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