Weight watchers are a weight loss system that has been around for more than 40 years. The weight watchers program is well known throughout the world and has a large number of members. This contributes to a strong component in favour of the program, its community and support system. Weekly meetings are apart of the weight watchers program which help keep members educated and motivated as they create a network of weight losing friends. It is without this that other diets result in failure in reaching goals and weight management.
The weight watchers approach is based on the four pillars approach which is made up of food, exercise, behaviour and as mentioned, support.
Behaviour and Food
The behaviour and Food aspect of this model is focused on monitoring what you eat and periodically weighing yourself. The ultimate goal of this is to, in a sense; hardwire your brain into a mode of thought that encourages a change of lifestyle that is conducive to weight loss and ongoing healthy eating. There are two ways dieters monitor how they eat according to which of the two plans they are suited to.
The Flexi plan
The Flexi plan is based around the counting of points which is a system Weight Watchers is commonly associated with. The points system attaches a given number of points to particular foods and the dieter is given a specific number of points they can eat each day tailored to their age, sex, height, goals etc. The dieter keeps a log book of foods eaten and associated points. This popular approach allows the dieter to eat a huge range of foods free from restrictions, provided the daily point intake is not exceeded.
This approach allows dieters to eat foods they enjoy in limited amounts. For example, you can have that chocolate chip muffin for breakfast, but your point total will be greatly reduced and the amount and types of foods you eat for the remainder of the day will be limited. The point system is a very easy way to monitor how much you can eat, allows for easy planning and a good way for dieters to become accustomed to the portions of foods they can eat each day.
How many weight watchers points am I allowed?
[Update 2014: Use the Weight Watchers Points Plus Calculator]
According to the weight watchers points program patent, how many points you are allowed each day depends on your weight. Here is what is listed in the patents:
Less than 150 pounds = 18-25 Points
150 to 174 pounds = 20-27 Points
175 to 199 pounds = 22-29 Points
200 to 224 pounds = 24-31 Points
225 to 250 pounds = 26-33 Points
Over 250 pounds = 28-35 Points
Your team leader however will help you determine your points alloment with you. You can earn additional points if your exercise activity increases.
The Core Plan
The Core Plan is not a point based system. Instead it has a limited list of healthy foods to choose from of which you can eat as much of as you like, until you are satisfied. Establishing when you are satisfied and whether you are hungry to begin with is an important part of this plan and there are tools in place to help you with this.
Both plans attempt to teach dieters how to allow themselves to indulge in the occasional sweet but otherwise practise restraint.
The other aspect of behaviour change involves weighing yourself. This should be done at a consistent weekly time, preferably by another person and at the monthly meetings (confidential). Doing so motivates dieters from an accountability point of view.
Many dieters fail to reach their goal simply because they lose motivation. The support network on Weight watchers therefore is a definite plus. Weekly meetings are conducted by weight watchers leaders who have been through the entire process already so are able to relate to other members and their journey. The meetings are also information sessions that cover topics encompassing a healthy lifestyle that integrates successful weight management.
Based on research, Weight watchers believes that though exercise is important, the food and behavioural changes should be integrated into the lifestyle first, followed weeks later by the introduction of an exercise plan. They strongly encourage integrating exercise into daily lives by choosing to walk to work as an example.
The exercise plan involves using points very much like the flexible food plan. Points are assigned to different types and levels of activity and a dieter will have daily exercise point goals to achieve. The amount of points required each day change as the dieter loses weight. Also a flexible aspect of this system that helps teach dieters to manage their regime is the ability to swap points between their diet and exercise plans.