I've been surprised this week how many people aren't familiar with Weight Watchers. This is not to say that I'm surprised by how many people haven't ever tried it, but that actually have no idea (I don't mean that to sound judgmental) what it's about. I decided that before I go any further....I simply MUST explain.
Let me start off by saying, there are a lot of methods out there for people to try and they are going to work differently based on the person trying it.
I work in a phone center as a trainer. In almost every customer service driven conversation I bring up the point that not all of our customers are going to call us with the same level of frustration - so the type of customer service technique we use will be different depending on the call.
I believe the same goes for weight loss. What's going to work for me might not work for you and vise versa.
That being said, in my own experience....even despite my falling off the wagon...I believe that for a large portion of the general public, Weight Watchers is the best choice.
So, here is how Weight Watchers works.
I am going to tell this slightly out of what I would consider order. I want to give you a full idea of the experience, but I also know that what you really want to know is, "What can you eat on Weight Watchers!!!!!????!!!!"
I get asked this question a lot, "Can you really eat that on Weight Watchers?"
And the answer is......YES!!!!
Now, you might be thinking right now, "But Jennifer....you haven't told us what "that" is," and you are exactly right. I haven't. Because it doesn't matter what is on the plate; if it's edible you CAN eat it while on Weight Watchers.
One of my favorite responses I've heard to this very annoying question of can you really eat that on Weight Watchers is this:
"I can eat whatever I want on Weight Watchers. I just chose to not do it with a shovel any longer."
Weight Watchers is not about telling you what you can and can't eat. And I believe that is why it works, at least for me. Weight Watchers is about learning moderation and making choices.
Every member, regardless of type of membership, is given a Daily Points Allowance. This allowance is based on gender, age, weight, and some other medical questions such as "are you pregnant".
All foods have a points value. Most fruits and vegetables are zero points. The points of all other foods are based on it's nutritional value. The factors that play in are fat, carbs, fiber, and protein.
There is no counting calories on Weight Watchers, because not all calories are the same. Let's look at two products and what their points values are going to be. I'm going to figure up Lays Honey BBQ Potato Chips first.
Points Value: 4 points per serving
Serving Size: @ 15 chips
Then lets take a look at a similar snack I had this evening.
Points Value: 4 points
Serving Size: 27 chips
I took these nutritional facts off the website. For the Special K Cracker Chips, the information on the box indicated once I figured them up that they were 3 points per serving. I am going to touch back on this again pretty soon.
Put you can see here...that they are fairly similar in both nutritional facts and points (for the most part). However, one of them lets you eat considerably more (almost double) and are more filling so would be the better choice.
You can use your Daily Points anyway that you would like. The only rule is:
If you bite it - write it!
The key is to track. As long as you stay within your points and track everything you eat, you can eat whatever you want. If you would like to eat cake for dinner, okay (is it recommended...not often, but the point is that you shouldn't feel restricted in your lifestyle).
Okay...back to my point above about the difference in the Special K Cracker Chips points from online versus the box. They key isn't to be perfect, the key is to make sure you track everything you eat. It's about being conscious of what you are putting in your mouth. As long as you are tracking, are honest, and stay within your points...you will lose weight, even if you are off a point or two here or there.
Every person, regardless of gender, age, weight, etc...also gets 49 Weekly Points to be used however they want. They don't have to be used at all, but because Weight Watchers recognizes that we have special occasions or just simply harder days than others, there are some extra points there to buffer. And you can still lose weight even if you eat them every week.
Then, on top of your Daily Points and your Weekly Points, there are Activity Points. These are earned based on how active you are in the day. I wear a device that monitors my activity level and then tells me how many points I earned.
Types of Membership
Nowadays, there are many different membership options. However, I am most familiar with these two:
- Monthly Pass (Unlimited Monthly Meetings)
Up until now, my experience has been with the online version and I was successful. It was the same as a meeting in regards to the plan. The only difference was that I weighed myself at home and put it into the computer and I didn't have an audience once a week that was there simply to give and receive praise based on pounds lost. ***There are other differences, but at the stage that I was in, these were the only ones that directly affected me at the time.***
My understanding is that there is sometimes a "start-up fee" at the beginning of your memberships that meetings are included, but I've honestly never seen this in place. Very often they have a "sign up free" incentive going on. I believe on the door this week I saw that you can sign up $1.00. Then you just pay a monthly fee.
When I go into weigh-in, it is almost as private as a polling booth. Not quite, but I assure you...nobody knows your business. You have a booklet that you give the person weighing you in and they put a little sticker in it that tells your new weight, how much you lost or gained, and what your daily points target is. The weight does not show up on the scale like yours at home. It is on a computer facing away from you and everyone else around except the Weight Watchers Leader. I do occasionally hear them say how much a person lost...but I haven't heard the gain...and I have never known how much someone weighs.
There are a lot of tools to assist you in your lifestyle change. There is the online tool where you can get tons of information. You can track, build recipes, and chat with people about your experiences. There is a calculator that you can take with you grocery shopping, or really have with you at all times, so that you can figure up the points value of foods. There is the Weight Watchers app. Of course, they also have cookbooks, a magazine, and exercise videos.
I hope that I've done a good job at describing what Weight Watchers is about. I know that I have left a lot out...it is just such a huge topic. However, it is the easiest method I have found to be successful. Not that this lifestyle change should be easy, but the more comfortable you are with a program, the more likely you are going to follow it. This approach is so incredibly comfortable, you will wonder why you didn't do it before.