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Weight Watchers

Weight Loss Made Simple             

Weight Watchers is one of the most successful weight loss programs of all time. With group support and a lenient eating program, it continues to prove very popular with participants of all ages and varied weight goals. The program's eat-what-you-want approach teaches members an all-things-in-moderation approach rather than a "diet mentality". Here is some basic information about the Weight Watchers program:

Background of Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers has gone through several different incarnations in the nearly 50 years since its inception. The most recent and well-known version of the plan centers around tracking the nutritional content of food and beverages using a formula referred to as Points and staying with a set Points target each day.

The Points-based versions of Weight Watchers have proved very popular and the concept remains at the heart of the program today. The current version of the plan, called Momentum, helps members understand how the consuming certain filling foods helps them to eat less and prevent overeating in addition to tracking the Points value of all foods and beverages consumed.

How Does Weight Watchers Work?
If you decide to attend a Weight Watchers meeting, you will find out how many Points you are allotted each day. Each food and beverage has a particular Points value, which you can compute with a slide tool that comes in your welcome kid. Any food with a nutrition label can be checked for Points value, or, you can consult your welcome book's alphabetical list for certain foods. You can also purchase small books that list the Points for supermarket foods and restaurant items.

During the week, you will record the number of Points you eat at each meal on the pre-printed food journal you receive at each meeting. You will track what you consume as the day progresses and plan your remaining meals and snacks accordingly. In time you will learn how to plan your Points allowance ahead of time and work in controlled portions of your favorite foods.

Weight Watchers also offers a completely online plan at their Web site if you do not wish to attend group meetings or if one is not available near you.

What's the Food Like on Weight Watchers?
You can eat anything you want on Weight Watchers. The key is working what you want into your allotted Points. There are no forbidden foods on Weight Watchers. You will be encouraged by your leader to strive for a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and water. Your leader can also help calculate the Points values of your favorite recipes and to make substitutions that decrease their Points value.

Some frozen food brands, such as Smart Ones (a Weight Watchers line) and Lean Cuisine, provide Points values on the package. You may also eat at fast food restaurants as long as you calculate the Points value for your food and beverages. (If you do not purchase the restaurant guide book offered by Weight Watchers, you can find out nutritional data for most restaurants at a Web site like About.com's Calorie Count and use your slide tool to calculate the Points value of the food or beverage.

Pros

  1. No foods are forbidden. Weight Watchers teaches an all-things-in-moderation approach where you can continue to enjoy your favorite foods in controlled portions. There is no list of foods to be eliminated or avoided on Weight Watchers.
  2. Some education on nutrition is provided. Your leader will share good nutritional advice with the group, such as the importance of eating plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and drinking enough water.
  3. You may be able to bring your kids. Some Weight Watchers locations offer special meetings to which parents can bring their children.
  4. Slow and steady weight loss is achieved. You can expect to lose one to two pounds a week after the first week on the program. This is a very healthy rate at which to lose weight. Weight lost at this steady rate is more likely to be maintained (diets that lead to quicker loss make re-gain likely).
  5. Encourages portion control. To accurately track and record your Points values, you will need to measure your portions and serving sizes. This skill is valuable and will serve you well even if you go off the plan.

Cons

  1. The cost may be prohibitive. Meetings are approximately $13 per week (varies by location). There may be a registration fee, which is due upon sign-up, of around $30. If you have a lot of weight to lose and you plan to stay in the program until you meet your goal weight, you may want to do the math: For example, assuming it takes an average of at least one year to lose 100 pounds, your minimum total cost would be $676. (Note: You can cancel your membership at any time).
  2. The group atmosphere isn't for everyone. If you don't enjoy group meetings, you may prefer to do Weight Watchers online.
  3. Weekly weigh-ins are required. You will probably receive a "free pass" card upon joining, which allows that you to not weigh in at one meeting. Other than that one instance, you must be weighed once a week in order to attend a meeting. Keep in mind that the only person who sees your weight is the person weighing you (she or he records the weight).
  4. Weekly progress may discourage you. Some people prefer to measure weight-loss success on a monthly basis rather than weekly, but you will receive your weight weekly. Be prepared: Some weeks you will lose little or no weight, even if you're doing everything right. It's only natural, so don't let this cause you to give up.
  5. There is no set diet on Weight Watchers. If you are looking for a structured diet that tells you exactly what types of foods to eat, how much, and when, Weight Watchers might not work for you. The ability to choose anything you want to eat may prove too tempting for some. It is completely possible to use all your Points on less-than-nutritious foods unless you consciously commit to making healthier decisions. Weight Watchers can help you learn how to do so, but in the end, it's all up to you.

Please consult a physician before starting any diet program.

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