Who hasn’t heard of Weight Watchers?
Started by Brooklyn housewife Jean Nidetch in 1963 (is it really that old???), Weight Watchers is a group-meeting and on-line weight loss/weight management program that promotes healthy eating, frequent exercise and group support.
Typically you meet with other members once a week for a weigh-in (awkward?) and group discussion.
Individuals are allotted a certain number of “points” that they can use during the day, with points assigned to food and drink based on cabohydrate, fat, protein and fiber content.
In most cases, people that are younger and more active (or breast-feeding) are allowed more points, while older, less active people are allowed fewer points.
You may have heard that recently fruits and vegetables now are “zero-point” foods, meaning they can be eaten without accruing points, essentially making them “free foods” that can be enjoyed at any time and in any amount.
When you boil it all down, it comes down to calorie counting. It works because when you follow the “Points Plus” program, you are essentially eating a low-calorie diet. It will continue to work as long as you follow the program (just like any diet), but if you ever “go off” the program, expect those lost pounds to start settling around your mid-section, butt and thighs.
I like the fact that Weight Watchers emphasizes exercise and support, as these are very important in any weight loss/weight management program.
Weight Watchers makes money by charging a monthly membership fee, as well as selling food under the Weight Watchers label. Just like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.
A big selling point the company spokespeople use is that you can eat any food you want, as long as you don’t go over the recommended point total.
But what happens when you max out your points by the end of lunch? I guess since fruits and vegetables are worth zero points, you could fill up on sliced apples, radishes and grapes. But how would you handle a craving for ice cream or a candy bar? Sheer will-power? We know that doesn’t work.
To me it seems being a lifetime member of Weight Watchers would be like being on parole. You’re free to do what you want, but you have to keep following dietary/exercise recommendations and meet with your parole officer (and other parolees) on a regular basis.
Do you have experience with Weight Watchers? I’d love to hear about it, please send me a comment!
Robert J. Stone