Possibly one of the most well known diets in America is the ever-popular Weight Watchers. Founded by Jean Nidetch in Brooklyn, New York, Weight Watchers has been around for fifty-one years and is now active in thirty countries around the world under names that are cultural variations of “Weight Watchers.” Weight Watchers was founded to be a diet based in science, but still approachable. Weight Watchers aides participants by creating an atmosphere that is welcoming, teaches “smart” eating, instills positive habits, all while providing support along the way.
The Weight Watchers Diet
In a world where people are increasingly more connected online than they are face-to- face Weight Watchers breaks that barrier by creating two options for their program; one based on weekly in-person meetings and another that is fully online. The flexibility here allows persons from all walks of life to participate and find success in the program.
Once someone signs on as a member the process starts by choosing a goal weight. This weight should result in a healthy body mass index for the participant. Weight Watchers also has guidelines in place regarding who may join, and in order to join one must be at least five pounds over his/her minimum healthy weight target based on height and weight.
The diet itself is structured around a points system called “PointsPlus” which allows each participant a “bank” of points per day which they are allowed to use to “buy” their daily intake of food. Participants may use a set amount of points per day and each food item has a set point value making it easy to calculate their total intake per day. A food item is given a point value based on its fat, calorie, and fiber content. In turn, each participant provides their age, weight, and activity level which calculate their allotted number of PointsPlus. The goal of the points system is to reduce each person’s calorie intake by approximately one thousand calories per day, therefore members are assigned a total “PointsPIus” allotment somewhere between 26 and 71 points.
Because in every diet one must cheat on occasion, Weight Watchers realizes this and creates a system where “cheating” is expected and even encouraged. This is where “weekly points” plays in. Weight Watchers participants are allotted a number of weekly PointsPlus to use throughout the week to spend however, and whenever, they wish. For those feeling active, points can be earned back for physical activity as well.
The Weight Watchers Food you CAN eat
A common reason that people quit on their diets just part way through is because of the strict guidelines on what foods need to be cut out of their diet completely. Things such as carbohydrates and sugar are often the first on the list to be cut. So, breads, baked goods, candy, soda pop, and virtually any “snack” on the shelf are off limits. One of the
most popular aspects of Weight Watchers is that participants don’t have to cut out any of their favorite foods to be successful. The diet is about choosing to use your points in a way that allows you to be healthy and still enjoy that chocolate treat. Therefore, members can enjoy their favorite snack on occasion and still find success and see a change in their health and weight.
What happens next?
Weight Watchers’ maintenance period allows members to stay on track after they have reached their goal weight. The maintenance period lasts for six weeks and the members work toward becoming a “Lifetime” member. For six weeks the member weighs in weekly and adjusts his food intake, however necessary, so that his weight stays constant. The ultimate goal here is to weigh in within two pounds of his original goal weight at the end of the six weeks. If he succeeds he becomes a Lifetime member.
After gaining Lifetime status the member is in for life, for free. So what are the perks to this? This member is allowed to attend meetings for free for the rest of his life as long as he weighs in once a month and stays no more than two pounds over his goal weight. Should a Lifetime member fall off track and gain a few too many pounds, they simply pay the fee due at that specific meeting and each meeting they attend until they are back and their goal weight. Thus, Weight Watchers makes it simple for members to stay on track and have accountability during their membership and once they reach Lifetime status.
Ultimately, the dreaded factors that hold you back from dieting; calorie counting, cutting out meals, dropping sugar and carbs, and exercising all of your free time away, don’t exist with Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers is a diet that will allow you to continue your current lifestyle and lose weight by learning better habits to incorporate into your meals and life. Who doesn’t want rewards for running that extra mile or “free points” that allow you to grab that ice cream you’re craving because you have been working so hard and staying diligent in your new healthy eating? You’ll have a plan that points you directly to success and partners all around that are ready to support you along your journey to becoming healthy.