Weight watchers refer to those people who are extremely concerned about their weight, diet, and lifestyle. In medical terms, it is a popular diet plan that motivates weight loss by helping people to make healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
What Are Weight Watchers?
People who are overly concerned about maintaining a proper healthy weight as well as following a strict healthy diet and lifestyle are called weight watchers. However, the term ‘Weight Watchers’ is derived from a renowned weight loss program that was first developed in the 1960s by Jean Nidetch. It is a more than 55-year old weight loss program company that rebranded itself from ‘Weight Watchers’ to ‘WW’ in 2018 with the new tagline ‘Wellness that works.’ The new weight management program focuses more on the lifestyle rather than the only diet as the concept of wellness and self-care has become extremely significant in recent years. A 2016 research paper 1 suggests that this program shows promising weight loss results particularly for patients with overweight and obesity. “Weight Watchers was the only program with demonstrated efficacy in achieving modest weight loss”, the study further added.
This program doesn’t prohibit any specific food or ask people to consume a certain particular food; it helps them to make healthier eating choices and increase their physical activity. It offers two main kinds of diet programs depending on their types.
- The Points Plan includes the Purple, Blue, and Green Plan.
- The No-counting Plan or The Core Plan
It inspires healthy living and improves overall well-being. Influencing people to maintain a healthy weight is one of the significant parts of the program while the primary idea is about the importance of people’s overall mental and physical health and well-being. It has gradually become one of the most popular diet programs in the world with 4.5 million subscribers estimated in 2018, supervised by the scientific advisory board with several renowned international doctors, researchers, and other experts. They organize sponsored meetings in different locations throughout the world to provide a space for people to know and support each other and offer encouragement.
Understanding Weight Watchers
Gaining weight is quite easy for people as it is a slow process and people often don’t even realize it’s happening. A combination of regular overeating and living a sedentary lifestyle hugely contributes to gaining undesired weight. Thus, the diet programs of WW highlights the lifestyle choices of people. It also offers the beneficial facilities of an expert-led WW application as well as some important practical tools and behavior-change techniques. The programs offer a simplified calorie-counting system personalized based on people’s basic details including height, age, weight, gender that helps people to lose weight in a healthy and scientific way. This system plays the key role of a tracker that helps us to track everything we eat and drink, and even our regular physical exercises.
According to a recent 2020 study 2 , it is the most flexible and customized program built on the SmartPoints system. We can set a specific goal on the app or website according to our choices and this program allocates you a corresponding point value for every food and beverage item you consume according to its nutritional value and leverage value. For example, healthier foods offer interesting freebies with no SmartPoints, saturated fat and sugary foods drive the points to value up, and protein-rich food drives it down. It is basically about a calorie-counting system with less complicated calculations that helps us to make our healthy lifestyle choices habitual with time. It assigns different diet plans for different people depending on their food preferences and lifestyles to match each person to one of the three comprehensive ways to follow the program. This program suggests that, if we consume equal or below of our daily SmartPoints, we will lose weight that the WW platform records once a week.
Weight Watchers Diet Programs
After joining, the WW app or website offers you to take a quick quiz about your lifestyle, physical activity level, goals, eating preferences, habits, and the like. This personal assessment test displays certain food values and the total SmartPoints you will be working with further. However, it provides two types of diet programs including three color-coded programs.
1. The Points Plan
This plan is all about gaining and losing SmartPoints based on your daily activities. It allocates points for the food calories, dietary fiber content, and total fat you consume. This plan allows you to consume any food of your preference and allots a certain number of points every day. The points plan include three color-coded diet programs:
a. The purple plan
It offers more than 300 zero-points foods as well as the lowest number of total daily SmartPoints. You don’t need to track everything under this plan if they consume any of the 300 zero-points foods. However, you will be responsible if you consume anything that is not on the 300 zero-points food list such as any sugary or fatty beverages.
b. The green plan
It offers the fewest zero-points foods along with the highest number of total daily points. Under this plan, one needs to track every single food item they consume. Though this plan makes one follow an extremely strict diet, it allows one to work with more daily points.
c. The Blue Plan
It provides more than 200 zero-points foods as well as an average number of total daily SmartPoints. This plan is considered the most beneficial one for people who are looking for a combination of flexibility and guidance.
2. The No-counting Plan or The Core Plan
This diet plan depends on the consumption of every wholesome food from all the food groups. It also includes healthy food choices like fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, lean meats, poultry, eggs, and other dairy products.
Weight Watchers Food
The variety of zero-points foods largely depends on the diet program you choose. The zero-points foods range from 100 to more than 300. One doesn’t need to buy any prepackaged meals as these plans allow one to easily mix and match various food items that best suit their goals and choices. Under Weight Watchers diet programs, the zero points foods and drinks include:
- Lean proteins such as chicken breasts, lean ground turkey, fish, etc.
- Whole grains and starches
- Poultry and no-fat dairy products
- Black coffee
- Black tea
- Alkaline water
- Various diet beverages
Read More About Caffeine Use Disorder Here
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Weight Watchers
Despite having numerous benefits, these diet plans are not suitable for every physical and psychological condition. It has certain disadvantages along with various positive attributes.
The beneficial characteristics of this weight-maintaining diet program include:
- It offers you one of the most flexible and balanced diets and encourages you to consume foods of your preference within your daily SmartPoints limit.
- There is no forbidden food on the diet plan lists as it does not restrict you to completely avoid certain food items.
- It encourages you to increase your daily movement and physical exercise.
- As it focuses on weight loss and offers you nutritious food options, research 3 says that it helps you to control your blood sugar level.
- It offers more resources for its participants. One can attend regular group meetings according to their preferences.
- It promotes slow, steady, and effective weight loss.
- It provides a ‘What’s in your fridge’ meal planner including the meal suggestions depending on which foods you have at home.
- It offers an upgraded activity dashboard to track your FitPoints.
- You can listen to short audio lessons with a 5-minute coaching tool to manage your stress-eating and motivation.
- You can search for personalized recipes on the app or website based on your food preferences.
- It offers you an in-depth progress report to measure your success on and off the scale.
- It provides an organized sleep tool with science-based strategies to help you get to bed on time and have a sound sleep.
The negative attributes of this diet program include:
- The cost of this program varies from person to person depending on their plan choices. It can be costly as it includes in-person coaching and personalized workshops.
- Some people find the calculation of SmartPoints manipulative and tedious. The process can be complicated and extremely time-consuming.
- One must weigh in once a week to track their progress. Some participants find this requirement extremely difficult and uncomfortable.
- Some people don’t find it beneficial enough as it offers too much freedom to consume anything one wants to eat.
- Another concern is that the primary focus on gaining SmartPoints may lead to unhealthy dieting.
Try It For Yourself
Weight Watchers is a popular weight loss diet program that helps its participants to lose weight through its calorie-counting system. It offers different types of organized plans based on different people’s food preferences and affordability. One can track their food intake while staying within their daily budget. Though it has certain negative characteristics, it offers numerous health benefits, not just losing weight in a healthy way but also maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Gudzune, K. A., Doshi, R. S., Mehta, A. K., Chaudhry, Z. W., Jacobs, D. K., Vakil, R. M., Lee, C. J., Bleich, S. N., & Clark, J. M. (2015). Efficacy of commercial weight-loss programs: an updated systematic review. Annals of internal medicine, 162(7), 501–512. https://doi.org/10.7326/M14-2238
- Tate, D. F., Quesnel, D. A., Lutes, L., Hatley, K. E., Nezami, B. T., Wojtanowski, A. C., Pinto, A. M., Power, J., Diamond, M., Polzien, K., & Foster, G. (2020). Examination of a partial dietary self-monitoring approach for behavioral weight management. Obesity science & practice, 6(4), 353–364. https://doi.org/10.1002/osp4.416
- Marrero, D. G., Palmer, K. N., Phillips, E. O., Miller-Kovach, K., Foster, G. D., & Saha, C. K. (2016). Comparison of Commercial and Self-Initiated Weight Loss Programs in People With Prediabetes: A Randomized Control Trial. American journal of public health, 106(5), 949–956. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.303035