Weight Watchers, now often referred to as WW, has helped millions of dieters lose weight over the course of the past five decades. We wanted to know more so we can pass along the details to you. First, we gathered the essential ingredients, potential side effects, and scientific research. It’s helped millions, so we took into account their positive and negative experiences. Then, we put the facts together, giving you everything you need – minus the hype.
Weight Watchers is a diet program that has the mission of inspiring and guiding people to make healthier choices to live life to the fullest. Supported by Oprah Winfrey and many others’ likes, the program has a system by which complex nutrition information is broken into simple whole numbers called points.
The Weight Watchers menu has all food on its list, but with these points allocated to each food. The aim is to gradually guide you towards a healthier eating pattern that consists of bigger portions of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables but lesser amounts of sugar and fat.
This is achieved with digital tools like FitPoints, coaches, and a community of like-minded individuals sharing the ultimate goal of losing weight.
This is how much it costs to start on the respective program. We always recommend trying a product before making a large investment.
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How Did Weight Watchers Start?
Weight Watchers started over 50 years ago, in Queens, NY. It all started with a conversation in a living room about ways to lose excess weight through sensible eating habits and physical activity that would complement their lifestyles. The program also believes in developing techniques and skills that will help people change their overall mindset. It uses various e-tools to reinforce weight-loss ideas and track your progress.
Weight Watchers has a 1.1 million strong member base. Active members participate in meetings held by Weight Watchers from around the world who have benefitted from this program.
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Weight Watchers Claims
You can eat whatever you love to eat and still lose weight! This is the essence of Weight Watchers claims, essentially. While this is quite a popular diet plan and has been revamped many times, the fundamental idea of eating what you love remains intact.
Weight Watchers eTools and meetings help you achieve your goal of losing weight by keeping track of your progress and inspiring you to eat healthier and become more active.
Weight Watchers claims that it is more of a lifestyle-change program than it is a diet. It teaches you how to get physically active and make healthier meal decisions by attending meetings held by successful Weight Watchers members and monitoring your plan’s effectiveness, all online.
Reports further claim that dieters lost more weight when they attended meetings than when they only used their tools.
According to a former finance executive of the brand, most Weight Watchers members are repeat customers who lose the weight, regain it, and return to lose it again.
How Points Work
How Do Weight Watchers Points Work
Different foods are given certain SmartPoints value, very similar to the ProPoints program that was used earlier. If the food you eat is high in fat and sugar, then the SmartPoints value will be higher. Essentially, SmartPoints encourage you to eat nutritious food that will help you gain more proteins in your diet, give you more energy, and decrease your intake of sugars and saturated fat.
Research in the Annals of Internal Medicine that made a systematic review of proprietary and commercial weight loss plans’ effectiveness concluded that Weight Watchers was one of the diet plans with proven efficacy.
Does It Work
Does Weight Watchers Work?
According to a study, it was found that commercial weight loss diet plans such as the Weight Watchers online plan can help people lose as much weight (if not more) as weight loss plans that are planned and led by professional healthcare officials.
Weight Watchers dieters lost at least 10% of their initial weight compared to the group led by a health professional, Obesity reports.
Benefits & Results
Weight Watchers Benefits And Results
To study the weight change in adult participants, Tennessee Medicaid offered the volunteers membership to Weight Watchers online program for a nominal fee. Weight change was recorded as the median difference between the first and last days.
The results demonstrated that the median weight loss for all the dieters was 1.8% of their initial weight. The more meetings the participants attended, the more weight was lost. People who attended an average of 13 meetings managed to lose about 6.4% of their starting weight.
Details On Weight Watchers And Weight Loss
A recent study in Obesity carried out to evaluate the efficacy of Weight Watchers online without and with a tracking device to record activity compared to control.
279 volunteers randomly took the Weight Watchers plan for 12 months. Some took the Weight Watcher online (WWO) plan only. Others took the online program with an active link tracking device (WWO+AL) to record activity. Then there was a group that only read an online newsletter on the plan.
It was found that WWO resulted in a significant increase in weight loss compared to control, but it was only in the first three months. It was noted that there was almost more than a 5% loss of weight in WWO at both the 3-month and the 12-month cycle, but after 12 months, there was no significant loss of weight.
Weight Watchers Guidelines
Weight Watchers is one of two proven diet plans effective for long-term weight loss. However, our research team dug deeper into the Weight Watchers guidelines to get additional details.
While some Weight Watcher plans focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, there are other plans where their branded foods are used. The concern we see is that some of the foods are processed, reduced calorie, high in sodium, and contain lengthy ingredient lists, often with added white flour and sugars. This is similar to conventional processed foods, says the National Public Radio.
Also, some of the products contain and Weight Watchers coaches advocate the use of artificial sweeteners. There’s research in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine connecting artificial sweeteners to increased sugar cravings.
Some of the plans encourage the use of “healthy oils.” We know that not all oils are made the same. Also, instead of oil, why not consider adding whole foods rich in oils such as nuts and seeds, according to MyPlate.
Throughout our research teams deep dive into WW, one thing was evident about Weight Watchers guidelines. While there’s an increased focus on eating healthy, there are still some milling components. The diet plan still puts a focus on calories in vs. calories out. Additionally, some Weight Watchers plans to promote the use of processed foods.
According to Public Health Nutrition, “the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with an increased risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases.”
What is Points List?
What Is a Weight Watchers Points List?
Weight Watchers’ points list has a list of food and the points assigned to them. There are foods with 0 points that can be eaten without worry. Such food will not add to the SmartPoints system that helps dieters keep track of their foods throughout the day.
The zero-point foods list has 200 items on it. It includes fresh beans, salmon, peas, eggs, and other fruits/veggies.
Some Weight Watchers Recipes
Weight Watchers Breakfast
A customary Weight Watchers recipe for the 7-points-breakfast would consist of a cup of oatmeal (plain) cooked with water. It could be sweetened with jam. You can have a cup of nonfat cottage cheese. On this diet program, all fresh fruits and vegetables contribute zero points.
Another option would be a 5-point breakfast of cooked Quinoa with a spoon of honey and a small cup of milk (low-fat). An optional French toast slice would count as 6 points.
Weight Watchers Lunch
There is complete nutrition information about different commercial products that are provided by Weight Watchers recipes. This is to help you choose the healthiest of them all with the least points. For a light lunch, try a 6-point turkey and cheese wrap or a 4-point chicken salad.
If you want a heavier lunch, try a cup of cooked pasta with half a cup of beans (cooked), feta cheese (crumbled), and diced tomatoes. Add a cup of black bean soup for a healthy lunch of 13 points.
Weight Watchers Snacks
You must eat snacks frequently to eat hunger at bay. You may eat snacks in between meals. Though there are no restrictions on what you can snack on, it is better to eat healthier options because it will use up fewer points.
Weight Watchers Dinner
For a 7-point dinner, you can have chopped vegetables, 3 ounces of pork tenderloin (grilled, nonfat cheese) wrapped in a wheat tortilla. You could choose chicken chili, turkey burger, or baked salmon, each of which supplies 5-6 points. Vegetables that are fresh, steamed, or roasted have no points, but they can be included in dinner to increase nutrition.
Weight Watchers Online Free
The popular program offers the benefits of Weight Watchers plan to all aspiring dieters for free for one week. After a week, you will be subscribed automatically to the program. You will be offered 50% off for the first month of the subscription.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Diabetes and Kidney Diseases, you need to consider a couple of factors before choosing an online program, like behavioral treatment, lots of useful information, and feedback. Although Weight Watchers Online does have a cheaper option, it may not have all the features needed for a comprehensive program.
Weight Watchers For Women
Women tend to gain weight during the middle years of their lives due to changes affected by menopause. Studies and biological evidence show that women don’t have to gain weight with age. Contrary to the pervasive mindset. Small changes in lifestyle and food habits can help women battle the confounding middle-age bulge. Weight Watchers offers healthy options and counseling choices.
However, one study published in Obesity Reviewsfound that “There is little evidence from this review to indicate that men and women should adopt different weight loss strategies.”
If you’re looking for more customizable options when it comes to points, diet plans, and more, Weight Watchers has another program available – myWW+.
myWW+, or My Weight Watchers Plus, focuses more on overall wellness and health to improve diet plans. Your custom plan is determined through a personal assessment that questions your sleeping patterns, lifestyle behaviors, food preferences, and exercise levels. This way, myWW+ can help you focus on the areas that need work and improve your health.
Brand new members to the Weight Watchers program are paired with one of three meal plans – Green, Blue, or Purple. Other program features for both new and existing Weight Watcher members include:
Customized ZeroPoint list
“What’s In Your Fridge” meal planner
5-Minute coaching sessions
Science-backed sleeping tools
In-depth progress reports
The program also offers personalized recipes based on your preferences and how many points you have left. Each color meal plan comes with a different balance of SmartPoints and ZeroPoints.
Weight Watchers claims all plans offered through myWW+ can aid in weight-loss, and users can always switch color meal plans.
Weight Watchers Locations
When you sign up with Weight Watchers and log in to the site, you can connect easily with your fellow members and seek their advice to help you achieve your goal. You can experience the joy and motivation of togetherness as you get inspired by peers as you follow their secrets to success in the Weight Watchers point system.
You need to go to www.weightwatchers.com login and search, “Weight Watchers location.” This will help you reach out to hundreds of members in your proximity and connect with them. You can share inspiring ideas, pictures, or videos.
In addition to personalized support and instructional guidance from your coach, like-minded members from Weight Watchers location can give you the support you need to stay focused on your Weight Watchers plan. Furthermore, you can attend Weight Watchers meetings in a selected location that will further help the user achieve their weight loss goal.
Weight Watchers Membership
Becoming a member of Weight Watchers gives you many advantages. You can receive expert advice, have guides and tools that can help you with your diet plan, and use the following features offered by the online Weight Watchers website:
Use the Weight Watchers app
Browse through the 1000+ lip-smacking recipes
Access Weight Watchers Zero Points foods list
Use the fitness, food, and weight tracker
Use recipe builders, meal plans, and guides for eating out
Access to Weight Watchers members-only community
24-hour support of Weight Watchers online coaches
Learn Techniques to develop a positive mindset
Access Activity plans that are suitable for all Weight Watchers levels
Weight Watchers Diet Ingredients
This diet does not forbid any food, nor does it encourage the purchase of prepackaged, processed food. The diet emphasizes vegetables and fruits, so the diet is high in fiber. Consumption of whole grains and low-fat dairy products is encouraged.
Interestingly, Weight Watchers does market a whole range of ready-to-eat frozen foods, called ‘Smart Ones,’ for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner (with dessert options). Nutrition and calorie values must be taken into consideration.
But eating only these meals will not provide you the complete recommended nutrition, especially the fruit and vegetable servings. Per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss.”
Potential Weight Watchers Side Effects
No one has closely studied the long-term side effects of this diet, so they are unknown. However, short-term negative side effects do exist, and they range from deficiency of vital vitamins and minerals to nausea and dizziness.
Weight Watchers online incorporates diet change with behavioral treatment, in addition to encouraging physical exercise. These lifestyle changes help motivate people who are overweight to participate in meetings and seek the support group’s help and advice.
While strict dieting has often been associated with adverse psychological consequences, moderate diet plans like Weight Watchers online free are shown to improve the dieters’ quality of life, self-confidence, and mood.
Weight Watchers Product Warnings
Since the diet plan is based on a system of points being assigned to each food item, and the points assigned depend on the amount of protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrate that the food contains, minerals and vitamins are a neglected lot.
Though the Weight Watchers points website claims that fruits and vegetables can contribute to the necessary store of vitamins and minerals, the suggestion is unrealistic. It would require you to have almost nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, which is far from feasible.
Diabetic users should adjust their medicine based on the weight loss they experience while using Weight Watchers.
Weight Watchers recipes are available as frozen meals for convenience. They contribute to 250-300 calories each. Even if you eat one such meal four times a day, your calorie intake for the day would be less than 2000 calories, which is almost half the average intake recommended. Over a long period, this is sure to cause undernourishment.
The daily sodium requirement is not over 2,300 milligrams, and the limit is 1,500 milligrams for people with certain health conditions.
The amount of sodium in Weight Watchers frozen foods is much higher than these prescribed limits.
Beyond The Scale
What is Beyond the Scale?
Beyond the Scale is Weight Watchers’ latest program that debuted in 2016. It is the company’s new points program that provides meal plans and diet advice.
Are There Any Weight Watchers Lawsuits?
There have been several lawsuits against Weight Watchers time and again. One of the prominent ones was the criticism of Weight Watchers online free by prominent author and psychotherapist Susie Orbach, The Guardian reports. She complained that such slimming clubs misled dieters by giving them false and unrealistic hopes.
Directed at an advertisement that purportedly had professional models recommending Weight Watchers, the author warned the younger generation to be wary of those companies that make dieting sound like the latest trend.
Weight Watchers Alternatives
There are weight loss programs galore all over the internet. A diet plan must be chosen to keep the age, body constitution, and health history in mind. It is necessary to consult your healthcare provider or physician before starting on any weight loss plan. The following are a few alternatives to the Weight Watchers program.
Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Ultimate Weight Solution
This diet is designed by the author of the best-selling diet book, The Ultimate Weight Solution, Dr. Phil McGraw. He opines that weight loss is not about willpower but is all about why you eat, when you eat, how you eat, and where you eat.
Dr. Ornish Diet Plan
This diet is designed by Dr. Dean Ornish, author of The Spectrum. There are no all-or-nothing approaches to diets. He groups food into five groups, with Group 1 being the healthiest and Group 5, the most indulgent.
Weight Watchers and the Law
As of November of 2020, Weight Watchers is facing a class-action lawsuit. People claim that there were hidden fees for a subscription that was difficult to cancel. California law is strict about auto-renewals for apps with a subscription and it is claimed that Weight Watchers is violating those laws. This case is ongoing.
That is not all, unfortunately. The company is also being sued in another class-action lawsuit that was filed in May of 2020. This time over the continued subscription requirement for the workshops that were shut down due to the pandemic. Even worse, plaintiffs claim that Weight Watchers refused to reimburse those funds despite the inability to attend workshops. This case is also ongoing.
Sadly, that is not where it ends. In 2019 Weight Watchers was alleged to violate federal securities laws under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Shareholders are now engaged in a class-action lawsuit to recover damages made by the violations in question. It appears that the legal team is still reaching out to shareholders before moving forward with the lawsuit.
Pros and Cons
Weight Watchers Pros and Cons
Weekly meetings and in-person support
Convenience foods available
The program isn’t successful for everyone
Some convenience foods have been recalled
What Users Are Saying
What Users Are Saying
“After 100 failed diets WW helped me to lose 85 pounds! It’s not a diet it’s a healthy way or living & eating!! Very easy plan to follow.”
“I am very unhappy with the service as I believed that I would get a meal plan, as provided while reading the marketing info. Instead I still have to decide on meals. As my Fitbit provides all the other functionality for reporting food, sleep, etc. this is a complete waste of money. Also, zero refunds and I am locked in for 6 months instead of the 3 that was advertised. My recommendation is DON’T buy this.”
“I’ve tried it all…Keto, MyFitnessPal, Paleo, 21 Day Fix, etc. I am 44 years old, so staying in shape is tougher than it used to be for sure! Weight Watchers has been amazing for me and it works! I am not deprived of anything, I can eat what I want, including treats, just smaller portions and not as often. This is a lifestyle and a program that can be followed without feeling like you’re on a diet. I also exercise 4 days a week, to help myself be healthy. I’ve lost 9 pounds in 2 months. More importantly, I feel great and have a ton of energy! I want to be a healthy Mom for my family.”
The Bottom Line on Weight Watchers Diet
Can decades of helping millions lose weight be a good thing? Absolutely. There’s research backing the benefits of Weight Watchers. There’s also solid science showing weight loss when dieters replace meals. There are concerns. Some did not follow the program, so they didn’t lose weight as fast as expected.
If you’d like to continue to lose weight, there’s a program that has the backing of positive user reviews and amazing real-life results.
Among the best programs we’ve seen this year is one called Noom. “Noom isn’t a fad diet; it’s a habit-changing solution.” You get all the tools you need to learn how to lose weight and keep it off.
Because of the user success, the makers of Noom offer customers a free trial offer, which is a good sign.
At this point we can say Weight Watchers works. If you follow it how you’re supposed to, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.
What is the price of Weight Watchers?
Digital Starting at $2.97 /week, NEW! Digital 360 Starting at $3.80/week, and NEW! Unlimited Workshops + Digital you need to enter your zip code for pricing.
How should I take Weight Watchers?
Weight Watchers is a diet program known nationwide. Its products and services include online and in-person weight loss support with and the necessary tools needed to help you track you success and stay on track.
How do I contact Weight Watchers customer service?
Customer service number: (800) 651-6000
Can I return Weight Watchers?
An Email is available for cancellations at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can visit www.weightwatchers.com/cancel or write to Weight Watchers North America, PO Box 307, Jericho, NY 11753 – Attention: Monthly Pass or Total Access Refunds