Weight Watchers Diet

Posted on May 2, 2014

Weight watchers dietEven if you’re a diet virgin, you’ve probably heard of Weight Watchers, the reigning queen of diets. Created by a Brooklyn housewife in 1963, it’s now an international company operating in over 30 countries. At its core, Weight Watchers is a calorie deficit (low calorie) diet that encourages you to lose weight by forming good habits, eating smarter, participating in support networks and exercise. Foods, and their portions, are assigned a number of points (based on calories, fiber, and fat). Members are given a point range that they can consume per day based on their height, weight, age, and activity level. Foods high in fiber and low in fat have less points so you can eat more of them. No foods are forbidden.  Physical activity will also earn you more points.

There are two ways to join Weight Watchers: in person or online. In person requires that you go to weekly meetings for weigh-ins where you learn about nutrition and exercise and get positive peer reinforcement. The online version provides all the same materials, with the support group on a chat board. (But if you sign up in person, you are not eligible to use the tools on their website.) Anyone that is at least 5 pounds overweight may join. And while the points system is the most popular, they also offer other plans, as well as maintenance programs once you reach your goal weight.

Experts agree that a peer support system helps weight loss by maintaining motivation. And the diet promotes changing eating habits in order to lose weight slowly and steadily. This is not a crash diet to drop ten pounds fast. And with no restricted foods, it is easier to maintain than highly restrictive diets. The meetings also encourage members to learn about nutrition and portion control. In one study, people on the Weight Watchers program lost twice the amount of weight as those on other diets over the course of a year. Another study found that in addition to weight loss, insulin levels were also greatly reduced, decreasing the risk of diabetes.

As for the cons, the price can be prohibitive. It can feel like there is a fee for everything. So, some opt for the online version, but research shows that the in person members lose more weight than online members. The weekly group weigh-ins, while confidential, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some experts say a monthly weigh-in may be a more effective approach because weekly can be discouraging. You will also need to dedicate a bit of time to learning the point systems and getting used to measuring portions. You may also find the portions a little disappointing, but it is a low calorie diet after all!

What can I eat? Well… anything you want since you can make room for any food within your points each day. So, are you ready to start counting?