Why I Don’t Like Weight Watchers

Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional. Please read my disclosure for more information.

I’ve tried Weight Watchers twice in my life, and I don’t like the program. Not the whole program, just pieces of it.

At my first big-girl job when I was made full-time and offered health insurance, I was required to get a full physical. And because my BMI was in the obese range, I was forced to take part in Weight Watchers. My insurance covered it, of course, but I didn’t have a choice.

Forced To Lose Weight

I understand where they are coming from. There are so many health issues that develop simply because of being obese. I get that. I understand that.

But Weight Watchers? Really?

The premise of WW is that you go to a weekly meeting, that lasts around 45 minutes. You weigh in, urged to purchase a variety of products, from diet foods to workout DVDs to fitness trackers– all under the WW brand. Then you listen to a leader read the same information that everyone else across the country is hearing.

Points for Food

Based on your BMI, you are given an allotment of points to eat from during the day and week. Foods are assigned point values based on nutrition. You typically get a cushion of points to spend additionally throughout the week.

You are to track your food intake and exercise and aim to be within your target points.

All of this is fine for me, except how the points are assigned.

So, I tried it again. The first time I was young, and don’t remember much about it.

Here are some pros of WW:

  1. The employees and leaders of WW must have gone through the program and maintain their goal weight in a healthy BMI. They are required to weigh in once a month and be within +/- 5 pounds. This provides the leaders with an insight unique to them.
  2. It is a large community. There are meetings happening across the nation, and you can attend one other than your usual home meeting if you are traveling.
  3. For many people, it really does work. Since everyone is different, it’s understandable that different weight loss methods will work for some and not for others.
  4. Weighing in is private- kinda. The scales’ display isn’t like the scale in your bathroom– the leader recording your weight has the display in front of them. They don’t shout it for the room to hear.

Here are some cons of WW:

  1. Fruits are considered zero points. This is a con because the recommended amount of sugar consumed per day is 25 g. THIS INCLUDES NATURALLY OCCURRING SUGAR FOUND IN FRUIT. Did you know that an apple contains 23 g of sugar? You still have to watch your fruit intake, people!
  2. The ‘diet’ foods have fewer points, giving the impression to people that they are somehow healthier. I will never forget the leader encouraging the members to buy and eat ‘diet’ foods, because they are healthier. Low fat this, no fat that. Those types of products are full of chemicals and additives to make the products ‘healthier.’ But they are actually worse than their full fat counterparts.
  3. It is expensive! When I was a member, it cost $39.99 a month to use their website. That is alot of money! And that wasn’t even for the meetings. That was another $12 a week to listen to a leader read from the corporate manual.
  4. It’s a pyramid scheme! Just like Mary Kay, Avon, It Works!, or any other multi-level marketing, you can only work for WW if you went through the program. Every meeting our leader would always make sure to tell everyone how great it was to work for WW. When a woman met her goal weight, she made a point to ask at least three different times if she wanted to work for WW. At least three times. I never felt like she was genuine. It always felt like a sales pitch.
  5. The leaders typically didn’t lose a lot of weight. As I’ve mentioned before, you have to go through the program to become a leader. But some of them had only lost 20 pounds. That’s fantastic that you only had 20 pounds to lose, but I have 120 pounds to lose. You don’t know the first thing about losing that kind of weight. I do have to credit where credit is due. Our main leader had lost 70 pounds, whereas her helpers had only lost 20.

 

So many people have lost weight with Weight Watchers, which is how they are still in business. They marketed a proven technique of watching your food intake. But instead of counting calories, fat, carbs, protein, or any other metric, you count points.

I’m not discouraging anyone from trying Weight Watchers, because it really could turn out to work for you. And just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean you won’t either.

Just keep in mind that:

Diet foods are typically worse for you than the ‘original’ or ‘regular’ counterparts.

Their program doesn’t incorporate exercise. You need more calories the more you exercise.

They will try to sell you a variety of products that you just don’t need!

Summary

To summarize, I know of many people who have lost weight with Weight Watchers and attest that the program works for them. I personally don’t find their weight loss approach healthy, but every body is different so if it works for you, then great.

If you are looking to lose weight, then please do your research before jumping on board. Make sure that the route you take is healthy and safe.

Question

Have you tried Weight Watchers? What did you think of it? Are you considering using their program?

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6 COMMENTS

  1. discoveringsooz | 13th Jul 16

    I agree with everything you’ve said, my other issue is you’re changing one food addiction into another, weighing, measuring, and counting points! You end of focused on that, you eat something because you have too many points left! X

    • Meg's Healthy World | 13th Jul 16

      I agree that becoming extremely addicted to measuring and counting your food happens. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to keeping track of my food, but I do like to see where I’m at with calories. Most days, I aim to keep it under 2000. But I occasionally run into the situation where I’m under 1200 for the day, so I do force myself to have an apple, half a sandwich, whatever to get me to 1200, since that is the absolute minimum your body needs.

      Just as with everything else in life, moderation is key, even in weight loss. 🙂

  2. Nick | 13th Jul 16

    Excellent, honest appraisal IMO. I have never used weight watchers but I know of people who do and years later are still going, happily paying for something that doesn’t work!? Yes, it’s a pyramid scheme.
    As you correctly point out, promoting fruit and other sugars is a definite no no for anyone trying to lose weight. Finally, using BMI is also a con. Waist should be the measure. Arnie in his prime had a BMI 32 but with a waist of only 32″. Pls don’t tell me he was obese!

  3. emcleod44 | 9th Sep 16

    YES! I could have written a similar post myself! I did WW, and was pretty successful at it when I did it, but it didn’t give me tools to completely change my lifestyle, nor did it truly teach me about health. I am glad I did it, it was a stepping stone in the right direction for me. BUT, it’s not something I recommend to people and I would never go back.

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