Weight Watchers is one of the most popular diet plans in the world and one that’s been rated the #1 diet plan in the United States for three years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. It was specifically rated “Best Commercial Diet Plan” and “Easiest Diet to Follow” by the magazine.
The hallmark of the Weight Watchers plan is its points system, which converts calories, fat and fiber into a “point”. Dieters get a specific number of points they can eat each day; daily points are based on current weight and as dieters lose weight, they get fewer points to eat each day, thus ensuring regular and consistent weight loss.
The hallmark of the Weight Watcher’s plan is its ease. The new 360 degree program is designed to help people lose weight in the real world and with the acknowledgement that people aren’t perfect and that a healthy lifestyle is about more than just the food you eat.
Weight Watchers’ success is built on the idea that people lose more weight and are generally more successful at adopting new habits if they have a great community around them. Therefore, Weight Watchers attend weekly meetings where they weigh in and hear a motivational message. Members can also do only an online version of the program. In keeping with current technology, members can use their smartphones and tablets to track their points, make good restaurant choices and get exercise and menu ideas.
While many people think that Weight Watchers is geared primarily toward women, there is a plan specifically for men as well.
There are no foods that are specifically recommended on the Weight Watchers plan (this one of the keys to the popularity of the Weight Watchers program). Members can eat whatever they want as long as they track the points and stay within their daily points. On the new 360 degree program, members are encouraged to eat a variety of “power foods” each day – these include most fruits and vegetables, non-fat dairy and dairy products, whole grains, lean proteins, and a variety of miscellaneous foods like pickles, poi and tempeh.
Pros and Cons
- There are no foods that are off limits; while Weight Watchers teaches a plan of moderation in all things, members can enjoy favorite foods as long as they account for them
- Members can receive good nutrition information at meetings and in plan materials
- Provides a system that allows for slow and steady weight loss
- The network of community support can help members more successfully lose weight
- The cost could be prohibitive to some; dieters who have a lot of weight to lose should prepare for a large investment of money over a year or more
- Not everyone likes the group atmosphere (though in this case the online version might be appropriate)
- Might allow too much freedom for some dieters
To attend weekly meetings costs either $42.95 a month (if paid each month in advance) or $14 a week if paid weekly. The fee includes meeting fees as well as online tools.
Dieters who don’t want to attend meetings can sign up for the online program, which currently costs $18.95 a month.
Dieters can also purchase a variety of books, special foods and tools (like the new pedometer that operates a bit like a Fitbit).
Jean Nidetch started Weight Watchers in the early 1960s when she invited friends to her home so they could all benefit from the community support when losing weight. The idea took off quickly and Nidetch began the company Weight Watchers.
Over the years, the diet program has moved from the “exchange” system of counting foods to the current points system. The program exists in a variety of forms in more than 30 countries and boasts of millions of members.
As there are no food restrictions on weight watchers, each dieter’s daily menu will look different. Much also depends on how many points the dieter can have. Here is a sample daily menu for 28 points.
Nonfat Greek yogurt with a handful of Kashi cereal on top
1 c. strawberries
Coffee with Splenda and nonfat milk
Wrapped sandwich with turkey, vegetables, low-fast Swiss cheese
10 baby carrots
1 c. vegetable soup
½ c. couscous cooked in broth
Vegetables roasted in a teaspoon of olive oil and seasoned with seasoned salt
1 pudding cup
Weight Watchers is the world’s leading diet plan because it’s ideal for everyone, easy to follow and relatively affordable. Best of all, dieters can adjust their eating plan easily while on vacation or eating in restaurants. The plan promotes moderation, regular exercise and a lifestyle change that leads to successful weight loss.
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