Newest Review: ... havent been able to attend the meetings for any reason I have never had a letter from Weight Watchers or from my leader saying 'we have mi... more
It works if you do!
Member Name: Larrabee
Advantages: It really does work, if you stick to it!
Disadvantages: Costs money, but then eating a load of junk costs money too!
Like many women these days, I've struggled with my weight on and off over the years. With all the tempting food around us, the social occasions that revolve around food and the time pressures we all face I think its a rare woman who hasn't gained at least a few extra pounds every now and then!
I first tried Weight Watchers 5 years ago and got to my goal weight, which I managed to maintain for several years. Then a change in circumstances led to me slipping up and falling into old habits, I put a lot of weight back on so now I'm back at Weight Watchers classes counting points and watching the scales go down, 16.5lbs so far this time and counting!
The basic principle of Weight Watchers is to count your food carefully so that you eat less energy than you burn. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Rather than a simple calorie counting diet though Weight Watchers has a few subtleties that differ a bit. You count 'ProPoints' with each food having a different value, and each member having a tailored amount of ProPoints that they can eat each day plus a weekly allowance of 49 that they can spread out however they choose. The vast majority of fruit and vegetables are 'free', to encourage people to start making healthier choices. Some foods are classed as 'filling and healthy' and you can have days where you just eat un-measured amounts of these good foods.
You can follow Weight Watchers either online through the website and mobile app or by attending weekly classes. Online membership is cheaper, and you have access to all the tools you need to follow the plan successfully, including a thriving online community with message boards and facebook style 'social network' element. With the meetings you can also access all the online elements but you have the added support of a face to face weigh-in with a leader each week and a class where a different topic is covered each time.
There are lots of Weight Watchers products available both in supermarkets and from the meetings/website and some people seem to be under the mistaken impression that you need to buy a lot of these products in order to follow the plan, this is not the case at all! The plan encourages you to eat healthy, fresh ingredients and to cook from scratch (there are hundreds of low ProPoint recipes available on the website as well as in the various cookbooks) but the products are there for those who want them, and some of them can be worth buying depending on your lifestyle and food preferences.
A monthly pass that allows you to attend any meeting and to access all the online content currently costs just over £20 a month. It sounds like a lot but you do get quite a lot for your money. The online tools alone are invaluable, and the mobile app is a huge help when out and about, or when life springs a surprise on you but you still want to stick to the plan. You can work out the ProPoints for pretty much any food anywhere in a few seconds if you have a smartphone. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's stood in the supermarket aisle using the ProPoint calculator before adding something to my trolley!
Meetings vary, this is to be expected because they are all run by different leaders who will all have different personalities and styles. The basic format is the same everywhere, the first half an hour is spent weighing everybody (this is done discreetly, nobody except you and your leader need to know your weight) and the second 20-30 minutes is spent in a group discussion led by the leader, loosely based around a theme decided by Weight Watchers for that week. The meetings also run a little 'shop' where you can buy products that are exclusively available there if you so wish.
Weight Watchers works for me in a way that no other weight loss plan ever has, its the only thing I've ever been able to stick to long term and the only thing I don't get fed up after a while and start craving massive pizzas and chocolate bars the size of a door! The beauty of Weight Watchers is that nothing is forbidden. While it is strict in the sense that you need to limit your portions and stick within your ProPoint limit, there are no rules on what you 'spend' those propoints on. It makes sense obviously to try and have healthy, balanced foods and lots of fruit and veg, but its wonderful to have the flexibility that if you really fancy something a bit naughty, or if you have a social occasion or are stuck somewhere without many options, then you don't need to cheat and feel disappointed about it.
Lots of people think its silly to pay for something that technically you can do yourself, but the fact is that lots of us can't do it ourselves, not for our whole lives anyway. There's nothing wrong with getting a bit of outside help when you need it! When you reach your goal weight you become a 'gold member' and can then attend meetings for free as long as you don't go more than 5lbs over your goal. The support is there for life if you need it.
Lots of people end up joining Weight Watchers every January and never losing very much, but that's the same with every weight loss plan, gym membership etc. This plan works if you are willing to stick to it and put the effort in.
Summary: The only weight loss plan I will ever use.