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Weight Watchers-Is It the Plan for You?

By Edited Feb 15, 2016 0 0
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Credit: morguefile

I successfully used weight watchers to lose weight after having my children. I decided to use weight watchers because my mom lost weight on the program and it seemed easy to follow. I have been surprised how many people have an opinion on the plan. Some of the people with the strongest opinions against weight watchers have never actually used the program. I am going to address some of the arguments I have heard against weight watchers and present a clear explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

You Can Eat Unhealthy Foods

This is an argument that can go both ways. People who are against weight watchers consider this a flaw of the plan. However, weight watchers advertise this aspect of the plan as a strength. It is possible to eat junk food and stay within your daily allotment. My mom went to meetings with a member who would barely eat all day and have an extra-large candy bar for dinner. She stayed within her points allotment while eating an unhealthy diet. This type of behavior is not encouraged by the meeting leaders in weight watchers and it will ultimately sabotage the weight loss goals of the member.

The creators of the weight watchers plan consider this a strength of the program because members can satisfy cravings without the guilt of ‘breaking’ their diet. It is psychological. The idea is that you are less likely to purge when you allow yourself cheat foods on occasion. This is both a strength and weakness of the program. It is possible to work the system and eat a diet full of junk food. I try to eat a balanced and healthy diet within my points allotment but I work treats into my diet so I do not feel deprived.

You Have to Buy Weight Watchers Brand Food

Weight watchers has a whole line of grocery products that are labeled with points values. This leads many people to believe that buying the weight watchers brand of food is a necessary part of the program. The foods that are available through weight watchers are convenient and helpful because there is no guessing about points values, but eating weight watchers brand foods is not a requirement of the program. There is an online database and reference books that provide points values for thousands of foods. There is also a calculator and a phone application that can calculate points values for any food with nutrition facts available.

You Have to Weigh In Front of People

Each week at the meeting you get weighed in by a staff member and he or she records the weight. The other members of the weight watchers meeting do not see the results of your weigh-in; it is only the staff member. Some people are uncomfortable with anyone seeing their weight. Looking forward to the official weigh-in each week can be a motivating and accountability factor. It is also a way to keep accurate records of your progress because the staff member writes it down on your log each week.

You Must Go to Meetings Each Week

It can be difficult to make it to a meeting at the same time and place each week. The thought of the time and location requirement of meetings may keep some people from joining weight watchers. In many areas, there are multiple meeting times and locations to choose from. The other option is to skip the meetings altogether and do weight watchers online. Weight watchers online is a membership based program that can be used on a computer or through and application made for tablets and computers. Members weigh-in each week at home and record their own weight. The meetings are helpful for motivation and accountability, but weight watchers online is a great option for anyone who is unable or unwilling to attend meetings.

You Pay High Membership Fees

Weight watchers is a membership based program with a sign-up fee and weekly or monthly dues. The amount depends on what schedule you choose, weekly or monthly payments, and whether you use the online tools. The cost of attendance to the meetings and use of the online tools could be prohibitive. There are promotions throughout the year where the sign-up fee is waived and people can try the program for a reduced price. As an incentive to reach your goal, weight watchers offers free meetings membership to members who have attended meetings for a given time and get within two pounds of their goal weight. The lifetime members must maintain their weight within a certain range to continue attending meeting for free.

Weight watchers online is another option for price conscience people because it is less expensive than the meetings and online tools option. At the time of this article, weight watchers online is less than $20.00 per month. As you become familiar with the program it may be possible to count points without subscribing to the online tools. It is difficult to learn and be successful on the program without using some of the tools available as you learn. I lost weight after my first child with weight watchers, but I did not pay for a subscription. I learned about the program through the free information I could find online and through my mother’s advice. It is possible to follow the weight watchers plan without spending money, but in my experience, you will see more results in a shorter amount of time by going to meetings and/or using the online tools. 

Plan Basics

For your information, here is some basic information on how the plan works. Each food is assigned a points value that is calculated using a formula based on fat, carbs, fiber, and protein. Some foods, such as most fruits and vegetables, are zero points. Each person gets a daily point allotment based on gender, age, activity level and other factors. There is a weekly point allotment for special occasions and days that you are unable to stay within the daily allotment. Finally, you can earn activity points through physical activity and you can choose to eat the extra points you earn through exercise.

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