The Weight Watchers Weight Loss Program
Founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, Weight Watchers Weight-Loss Program: the basis around this program helps promote the members to engage in regular meetings, and sessions promoting group support, alongside of a point system based off of the foods you eat.
Weight Watchers isn’t so much a diet, but it’s a lifestyle-change program. It can help you learn how to eat healthier and get more physical activity, so you can lose the weight for good. A backbone of the weight watchers weight loss program is multi-model access (via in-person meetings, online chat or phone) to support you from people who lost weight using Weight Watchers, kept it off and have been trained in behavioral weight management techniques.
In the review conducted by U.S. News & World Report with the help of a panel of 22 experts to make their choices to find the nation’s best overall diets for 2013 1). U.S. News evaluated and ranked the 38 diets, to be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease. The US government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet took the number 1 spot, while the Mediterranean diet came in second and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MND) Diet came in 3rd. The Weight Watchers Diet came in 4th tie with Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC), Mayo Clinic Diet and The Flexitarian Diet (casual vegetarian) 2).
In general, Weight Watchers Weight-Loss Program consists of tracking daily points (each point is about 50 kcal) based on your current weight and weight loss goals. Though a recommended macronutrient intake was not clearly specified, this program is generally consistent with the National Academy of Sciences acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges for adults, which are 45-65% carbohydrates, 10-35% protein and 20-35% fats 3). Thirty minutes of exercise on most days of the week was encouraged. You can earn FitPoints for walking, cleaning, gardening.
Participants were typically provided with access to weekly group meetings and support, behavioral counseling, individual contact with the dietitian
and educational resources such as recipes and meal ideas, as well as community discussion boards.
In December 2015, Weight Watchers introduced a new plan called SmartPoints 4). It tries to help people make smarter food choices and build a better relationship with food. Similar to their other points-based plans, every food and drink is assigned a points value. SmartPoints is calculated using calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. No food is off-limits, but the plan assigns higher points values to foods higher in sugar or saturated fat, and lower points values to lean proteins. Most fruits and vegetables are zero points, similar to the old PointsPlus plan. Some condiments are no longer free, such as ketchup, due to the sugar content.
In short, the foods you choose to eat are converted into points. Each day, you’re allotted a certain number of points, with exercise giving you the option to earn more points. The number of points you’re allowed depends on your current weight, your weight loss goals, and so on. You get to eat a certain amount of points per day with a bank of extra points each week for days when you want to eat or drink more.
You also get activity points, which you can dip into if you’re out of weekly points and daily points. The idea is for this to happen very rarely. There are going to be days or weeks where you just consume more than allotted. The idea is to just keep track of it all.
As you lose weight, you are given fewer daily points, which aids your weight loss. Once you get to your goal weight, your daily points allotment goes up.
In addition, most Weight Watchers weight loss programs include a day or so a week in which you can eat whatever you want. This is rooted in an understanding of how the metabolism works – if you’re consistently making healthy choices, your body can easily recover from a splurge every now and then. It’s a good program because it’s not about denying yourself the foods you love. Rather, it’s about making sure that you’re eating well enough to indulge every now and then.
Additionally, Weight Watchers is well integrated with technology such as smart-phones. WeightWatchers.com is a great resource. While the in-person groups work for many, other people want a more private experience.The Online Plus plan allows this. If you opt for the Online Plus plan, you’ll get the chance to work to lose weight at your own pace. It features an 8-week crash course in making better choices, including a 24/7 chat line.
Both the online plan and the in-person group plan feature great integration with iPhone and Android, as well as your regular internet browser. Track your points, read about exercise routines or recipes, and more.
You can follow the plan online on your own. You’ll track your food choices and exercise, chart progress, and find recipes and workouts. There’s a coaching option if you prefer one-on-one consultations by phone, email, and text. Or you can go to in-person group meetings, where you’ll weigh in.
- Although the Weight Watchers program is heavily supported with meetings, it can also be expensive. The start of the meetings is around $13.00 per meeting depending on the area that you live.
- Group meetings are not for everyone. This is another reason why the online version works for many people, but you are not going to get the full experience.
- Weekly weigh ins are required, and this may not be for everyone. Some people will be intimidated, and discouraged by weekly weigh ins.
- Not as structured as most programs, which causes problems for some people.
- If you don’t know your way around the kitchen, the premade meals and snacks make it easy. They’re a quick and easy way to control portion sizes and calories.
- Unhealthy foods are allowed within this program, which do not promote health and long-term success.
Here are the key principles of Weight Watchers weight loss program
1) Talk and Plan
- Establish goals
- Start a basic document/spreadsheet
> Record goals
> Record BMI
- Discuss weight loss methods : Start a discussion on what each of you would like to achieve and document this. You may want to drop down to a specific weight, target fat percentage or fit into certain size clothing. Throw around some ideal but realistic dates based on the idea that healthy weight loss is no more than 2 pounds (0.9kg) per week.
- Document your starting weight and we strongly recommend you measure your body fat percentage. We think this is the best measure of performance as your overall weight is determined by muscle and fat weight amongst other things. We are concerned with fat lost above all things, losing muscle is not the ideal way to lose weight.
- Motivate and get excited. It sounds silly to suggest you get motivated and excited. But just remember, you are going to be working as a team to achieve your goals to be healthier, better looking and happier people, it’s not hard to be motivated and excited by this prospect.
- Discuss dietary habits
- Establish foods to avoid or eliminate
- With your team you can have discussions about your diet. The types of foods you like to eat and eat regularly and consequently what foods you need to be more conscience about cutting down or avoiding altogether. Run past each other what meals you are eating throughout the day and during conversations you will naturally start to share ideas and tips.
- Know Your Calories
- Have a points system like SmartPoints used by Weight Watchers where every food gets a value as a way of evaluating food based on kilojoules, saturated fat, sugar and protein. Stick to your personalised budget and start seeing results. In order to keep this points system simple and easy to use, choose low carbohydrates and low ‘bad’ fat healthy foods. Calorie charts and understanding the calorie content of the foods you are ingesting became crucial to your diets also. This calorie calculator is an excellent tool that will help you understand how many calories you need to consume in order to keep losing weight for the duration of your goal.
- Enjoy your food. If you do not enjoy your food then your efforts to eat better will fail. There are many foods to choose from and you will need to find the foods that you enjoy.
- Don’t starve yourself. Not eating is one of the worst things you can do. You will feel physically and emotionally unbalanced. You will crave bad food, your metabolism will slow down and your body will go into starvation mode holding onto fat stores.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Listed the foods we would eliminate or enjoy only occasionally
> Soft drink
> Milk tea
> Roast duck
> Oily or fatty foods at restaurants
> Buttered popcorn
> Baked pastries
> Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
> Fried chips
> Potato crisps
> Sugar as an ingredient
> White rice and bread
- Listed the foods that we would eat more of and incorporate into our diets
> Brown rice
> Rice Cakes
> Drink more water
> Salmon and Sashimi
> Whole grain bread with seeds
> Oats for breakfast
> Clear soups
> Tuna – from a can, in a pasta dish (click here for recipe), in a salad, or with brown rice and vegetables just to name a few examples
> Honey as a sweetener
> Tea – even better without sugar, herbal such as green
2) Meeting (Support)
- One Meeting
- Same Time
- Every Week
Decide on a day each week to put aside to meet, discuss your weight loss efforts and for the all important weigh in. The day of the week should be chosen carefully to ensure the meetings will occur every single week of the competition. Make the meeting a high priority, just as losing weight and being at your healthiest weight is a high priority itself. It’s also a fantastic excuse to get together.
Try to mimic the exact same conditions for the weigh in each week. Preferably the same time of the day and before you have a main meal to ensure that results from the weigh in are more accurate.
Fundamental to the Weight Watchers meeting experience is a weekly weigh-in to track progress. Many people find the accountability of being weighed by another person helpful to their weight-loss efforts.
One of the main appeals to the Weight Watchers system is that it involves regular group meetings. Now, maybe you’re thinking that the last thing you’d want to do is meet up and talk about losing weight. Weight loss is intensely personal and a lot of your self-esteem and sense of yourself is wound up in how attractive you think you are.
However, it’s for exactly this reason that the group meetings are so important. Meeting regularly with other people working hard to get – and stay – healthy is one of the reasons why the program boasts such success. Not only do you have a group of peers (even friends) to stay accountable to, you also can see what works and doesn’t work for others, and learn that you’re not in it alone.
3) Psychological (Behavior)
Despite knowing the logic behind weight loss and the nature of fluctuations, it is still all too easy to become discouraged. Having your friends there to support and reaffirm the nature of weight loss is extremely important.
- Penalty: Discouragement is one of the key setbacks for weight loss which is a main reason why having the support of friends who are sharing the weight loss experience is so beneficial. Having people to motivate and encourage you to do your best and to pick you up during moments when you feel discouraged will help keep you on track.
- Reward and penalty. Friendly competition is a common motivator for many people (not so much for others) and for many participants the thought of beating each other was sweet while the thought of being left behind, not so much. A competition can be set up with rewards and even penalties if you wish. Of course there are other ways of rewarding yourself for healthy consistent weight loss. Indulging in fatty or sugary foods should not be one of them.
- Tracking. Tracking your progress is very important. It will show your team if you are moving in the right direction and whether you need to change your approach.
- Weekly Weigh In. The main event of your meeting will be your weigh-in which can be an intimidating experience, even amongst friends. Losing weight will make you feel ecstatic, but not losing weight or putting it on is a completely different story.
Once you start to exercise it will raise your metabolism and losing weight will be easier. You will also feel much better. Burn more then you eat. In order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you are putting in, so the need to exercise to lose weight is very important. Not only that, it is of enormous benefit to your overall physical and mental health. Have Fun!
The more active you are, the more calories you can consume. Remember, you don’t want your body going into starvation mode. (you can specify your level of physical activity on this calorie counter). It is the same as using exercise to increase your Weight Watchers point allowance.
Some form of exercise every day.
Intense exercise a few times a week.
Being active with your team mates or on your own are both fantastic. Exercising by yourself is a nice way to relieve stress and to clear your thoughts while exercising with your team is a lot of fun and motivating.
Cardio and Strength training
Both Cardio and strength training contribute to weight loss with muscle helping you to burn more calories throughout the day and just doing wonders for your overall health.
The same rule applies to exercise as it does with diet. If you hate it, don’t bother. There are many ways of being active and exercising; you just have to find the one you enjoy. It might seem unlikely for some people that they will find a physical activity they will enjoy, but once you get started, give it ago and start to feel healthier and more capable, you will be very surprised.
Give cycling, jogging or cycling a try on routes that you find interesting or scenic, preferably close to your home. Many people find walking or jogging with music very enjoyable. Give group activities like mountain climbing, tennis, kayaking etc ago. It could become a very enjoyable weekly event.
Here are some exercises you can tryout:
- Walked or cycled to and from work.
- Intensive boxing lessons in the park with your own trainer.
- Changed the intensity of our workouts often relating it to your diet.
- Try different sports such as squash and mountain climbing.
- Do both Cardio AND Strength training for females also !
- Established a list of the exercises that you enjoyed, ensuring they covered the different parts of your bodies.
- Changed the exercises you did regularly so that we would be pushed and tested in different ways. This maximizes the efficiency of exercise.
- Made an effort to do 2 cardio and 2 strength training sessions per week.
- If you do not like the gym, do all your cardio at the park and your strength training at home with free weights and other exercises that don’t require equipment.
Average Weight Loss on Weight Watchers Per Week
The average weight loss on the Weight Watchers Weight Loss Programs vary between individuals, some people are more successful and others are less successful and may even regain the weight they have lost and then some extra pounds.
Members who dutifully track their points can lose quite a few pounds the first week. Generally, people lose about 1-2 pounds a week.
Participants lose weight by creating a calorie deficit. Weight Watchers is generally compatible with other diet approaches and/or food intake restrictions, provided participants use the Weight Watchers framework to measure and limit the quantity of food consumed while using the other diet plan to dictate the range of acceptable food choices.
If you plateau, the app gives you tips or changes your daily point count in order to help you keep losing. The company also has blog posts and message boards where you can seek out tips.
If you are wondering what is the best weight loss programs there are out there, you want to read the most comprehensive review (meta-analysis) conducted to date, a team of researchers 5), analyse all available articles and randomised trials on all popular branded diets including macronutrient composition diets (low carbohydrate, low fat, high protein, high fat).
- Weight loss differences between individual brand named diets were small with likely little importance to those seeking weight loss. For example, the Atkins diet resulted in a 1.71 kg greater weight loss than the Zone diet at 6-month follow-up.
- The largest and most significant weight loss was associated with low-carbohydrate diets (8.73 kg at 6-month follow-up and 7.25 kg at 12-month follow-up) and low-fat diets (7.99 kg at 6-month follow-up and 7.27 kg at 12-month follow-up) than no dietary intervention over a 12-month period.
- Behavioral support and exercise enhanced weight loss.
This study supports the practice of recommending any diet that a person will adhere to in order to lose weight 6).
In addition to Weight Watchers membership plans, other products (such as packaged foods, exercise equipment and DVDs, food preparation and storage tools, cookbooks, etc.) are available for purchase. Be prepared to spend some cash to get the full benefits of the robust program. It can be a bit costly, but it’s well worth it to reap the health perks of losing weight and keeping it off.
The key to successful weight loss is developing healthy diet and exercise habits. Diet just means eating healthy, lower calorie meals. Exercise means being more physically active.
Although people appropriately focus on diet when they’re trying to lose weight, being active also is an essential component of a weight-loss program. When you’re active, your body uses energy (calories) to move, helping to burn the calories you take in with food you eat.
References [ + ]
|1, 2.||↵||U.S. News & World Report L.P. Best Diets Overall. http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall|
|4.||↵||Weight Watchers. Our Approach. https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/our-approach|
|5.||↵||Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA, Ball GDC, Busse JW, Thorlund K, Guyatt G, Jansen JP, Mills EJ. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults. A Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014;312(9):923-933. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10397. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1900510|
|6.||↵||Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA, Ball GDC, Busse JW, Thorlund K, Guyatt G, Jansen JP, Mills EJ. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese AdultsA Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014;312(9):923-933. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10397. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1900510|