Morgan is a doctoral candidate in the field of clinical nutrition and nutritional neuroscience, having received her bachelors degree from Central Washington University.
Weight Watchers utilizes a “points” system, wherein every food is assigned a point value. Foods that are low in Calories are also low in points, and therefore can be consumed in larger quantities than items with high point values. Dieters are assigned an appropriate number of daily points that corresponds with the number of points needed to achieve their goal weight. Dieters are also provided coaching and support through in-person group meetings and weigh-ins, or online for those who don’t have time for (or aren’t interested in) in-person meetings. However, the personal accountability and social support of Weight Watchers meetings is a crucial tools for dieters who have little support through friends and family, or who have struggled to maintain motivation in past health and lifestyle initiatives.
Weight Watchers was founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, who lost 70 lbs through the support of friends after years of yo-yo dieting. Basing the Weight Watchers brand on support and understanding, Nidetch’s nutrition education and support meetings have now become the most effective and reputable Weight Loss system in the country.
Weight Watchers is extraordinarily easy to comply with. It is by far the most flexible diet that will still effectively promote weight loss, making it very likely that dieters will be able to abide by the diet and keep weight off long-term.
Although Weight Watchers dieters do incur slightly more costs than other dieters, the costs are well worth it for the education, support, and efficiency of the plan. In-person meeting costs vary depending on location, and online costs run around $20 per month. Overall, costs are very reasonable for the support, education, and service of the Weight Watchers program.
The amount of time required to follow a Weight Watchers plan depends on a number of factors; although in person meetings are an option, online options are also available. Some dieters may choose to use pre-packaged meals or restaurant fare for their daily point tallies, although Weight Watchers does encourage dieters to cook their own meals, which is always the healthiest option. Although the time involved in the Weight Watchers program may be slightly greater than other diets, the lifestyle promoted through Weight Watchers is well-worth minor time sacrifices.
Weight Watchers is a very safe diet , although those with special considerations (diabetes, heart disease, etc) should consult a doctor about specific recommendations on how to use Weight Watchers points.
Weight Watchers is not a controversial diet, as it safely and effectively reduces Caloric intake without eliminating food groups. However, certain individuals may benefit from specific macronutrient balances while sticking to their points value, particularly those with diabetes or other health condition, although any specific dietary considerations should always be discussed with a doctor or healthcare team.
Benefits: The Weight Watchers diet provides very effective caloric moderation through the points sytem. It also provides emotional support online or in-person.
Downsides: The Weight Watchers diet fails to provide specific, "optimum nutrition" due to its flexible approach, which may prove problematic for some dieters.
The Bottom Line: Weight Watchers enjoys its popularity for good reason: it’s effective, moderate, and promotes lasting success.