Weight Watchers Review

Weight Watchers is one of the best known diet programs in the world today. Endorsed by countless celebrities, Weight Watchers promises to let dieters eat what they want – as long as they keep track of the number of “points” they’re eating in each dish.

How does Weight Watchers work? Is it worth the price? Does it actually live up to the hype? Find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Weight Watchers today in our Weight Watchers review.

Weight Watchers

What is Weight Watchers?

Weight Watchers is a diet program which offers a number of different weight loss systems. Popular systems include PointsPlus, where dieters keep track of their meals using a points-based system, and Simple Start, which includes motivational support and eating tips.

Weight Watchers was founded way back in 1963. Founder Jean Nidetch would invite friends over to her house in Queens, New York and talk about the best ways to lose weight.

As the official Weight Watchers website describes,

“that group of friends has grown to millions of women and men around the world who’ve joined Weight Watchers to lose weight and lead healthier lives.”

Today, Weight Watchers International, Inc. is headquartered at 675 Avenue of the Americas in New York, New York. Inc. The company sells packaged foods, weight loss advice, and exercise products.

Weight Watchers International, Inc. is owned by Artal Group, a Luxembourg-based company which purchased Weight Watchers in 1999.

The company is publically traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the stock symbol WTW.

What does Weight Watchers Sell?

Weight Watchers has changed its offerings over the years. Today, Weight Watchers products aim to take full advantage of mobile technology and social media.

Here are the weight loss plans currently sold by Weight Watchers:

Online Plus Weight Loss Plan: $19.95 per month
Meetings + Online Plus: $44.95 per month
Personal Coaching + Online Plus: $54.95 per month
Total Access: $69.95 per month

See detailed information about each plan below.

How Do the Weight Watchers Weight Loss Plans Work?

The base Weight Watchers plan is called OnlinePlus. OnlinePlus gives you full access to the Weight Watchers site, including all of the following materials:

24/7 Expert Chat: Talk to weight loss experts who will “give strategies, “answer any question” and “help you reach your goals” according to the official site.

Proven PointsPlus System: This is the system that made Weight Watchers famous. Different foods and meals are assigned different point values. If you follow your recommended points values (which vary according to your weight, target weight, gender, and size), you’ll lose weight.

Digital Tools and Mobile Apps: Weight Watchers has Android and iOS apps that let you track your weight, food, and activity over time. The apps also include a recipe builder, cheat sheets, and restaurant guides which help you make healthy choices on-the-go.

Recipes and Customized Meal Ideas: There are over 4,000 Weight Watchers-approved recipes designed to meet dietary preferences and nutritional needs. Meals can be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or have no restrictions at all. The goal is to keep dieting fresh and interesting.

Sync with Fitness Devices: Weight Watchers gets along with popular fitness trackers, including FitBit, Jawbone, and its own branded fitness tracker called ActiveLink.

Video Learning: Weight Watchers publishes hundreds of 2 minute “bites” on its website which promise to help dieters learn something new they can try for themselves.

Once again, all of the above options are included in the Online Plus plan, which costs $20 per month.

If you want to become more committed to the Weight Watchers lifestyle, then there are other options available. You can sign up for Meetings, which includes everything in OnlinePlus as well as local meetings for $45 per month. Those meetings promise to provide weight loss support in a social setting and you can meet with other people trying to lose weight in your area.

The Weight Watchers Personal Coaching program, on the other hand, provides 1:1 support with a weight loss expert, but no local meetings.

If you want everything Weight Watchers has to offer, including the local meetings and 1:1 support, then you can buy the Total Access plan for $70 per month.

What Happens at a Weight Watchers Meeting?

As mentioned above, Weight Watchers was founded in 1963 when a group of friends would regularly meet to discuss weight loss advice.

For years, Weight Watchers meetings formed the core of the program. Today, the online resources and apps tend to be more popular, although meetings still play a critical role.

Meetings can be found all over the world. Here’s what you can expect at an average Weight Watchers meeting:

— A Confidential Weigh-in, Letting You Check On Your Progress

— Talk As Little Or As Much As You Like. Weight Watchers Claims You’ll Get Inspired By Others Even If You Don’t Say A Word.

— Discuss The Latest Weight Loss Topics And “Stay Energized With Thought Provoking Topics And Ideas.”

— All Meetings Are Led By A Weight Watchers Mentor Who Has Experienced Success With The Weight Watchers Program.

— Discuss The Weight Watchers Online Tools, Apps, And Resources Available

What Kinds of Foods Can You Eat?

One of the biggest questions people ask about any diet program is what kinds of foods they can eat. Weight Watchers claims that it doesn’t have any dietary restrictions: dieters can eat whatever they want. They just can’t eat however much they want.

As Weight Watchers explains,

“On Weight Watchers you can eat anything – but you can’t eat everything. We’ll help you figure out how much is too much so you don’t end up eating way more than you think.”

The key idea behind Weight Watchers is following the points-based system. All foods are assigned a PointsPlus value.

As an example, Weight Watchers states that one apple and one cookie both have 95 calories. However, Weight Watchers gives Apples a PointsPlus value of 0 and a cookie a PointsPlus value of 2.

Some sample foods include:

— Pancakes With Cream And Fruit For Breakfast: 5 PointsPlus Value

— Grilled Cheese With Tomato Soup For Lunch: 8 PointsPlus Value

— Chicken With Rice And Vegetables For Dinner: 8 PointsPlus Value

— Fries With Ketchup For A Snack: 4 PointsPlus Value

— Small Chocolate Mousse For Dessert: 1 PointsPlus Value

Weight Watchers lists the above as an average day on the program. Adding up all those points gives you a total value of 26 for the day.

Weight Watchers calculates your daily points value based on the following metrics:

— Gender
— Weight
— Height
— Age
— Activity Level (Sedentary, Light, Moderate, or Heavy)
— The Amount Of Weight You Want To Lose

A 30 year old 6 foot male who weighs 200 pounds and wants to lose 20 pounds with moderate activity gets a point value of 36 per day with an estimated completion time of 10 weeks.

A 40 year old 5 foot 6 inch woman who wants to lose 30 pounds with light activity receives a total points value per day of 32 for weeks 1 through 5, 31 for weeks 6 through 10, and 30 for weeks 11 through 15, with the target weight of 150 pounds coming at the end of week 15.

Cocktails, wine, and beer are all on the menu and given their own points values – so you don’t have to give up the foods or drinks you love to lose weight.

Celebrity Endorsements for Weight Watchers

Over the years, Weight Watchers has been endorsed by a number of different celebrities. Those celebrities include:

— Tina Fey (lost 30 pounds)

— Jenny McCarthy (lost 60 pounds after the birth of her son and achieved target weight by her son’s first birthday)

— Jennifer Hudson (lost 80 pounds and became a Weight Watchers spokesperson, although the two parted ways in March 2014)

— Jessica Simpson (dropped 60 pounds in 6 months after the birth of her daughter)

— Charles Barkley (lost 70 pounds)

Some of these celebrities have officially endorsed Weight Watchers and been seen in advertisements on TV. Other celebrities have not been so vocal about their support for Weight Watchers, but have followed the program away from the public spotlight.

Ever since Jennifer Hudson’s endorsement agreement ended in March 2014, Weight Watchers has not had a high-profile celebrity spokesperson for the program.

Branded Weight Watchers Foods

Go to your local supermarket and you’ll see plenty of branded Weight Watchers foods or foods that are affiliated with Weight Watchers. Many of these foods list the Weight Watchers value directly on the packaging.

Weight Watchers branded and affiliated foods include:

— Smart Ones Frozen Meals
— Yoplait Source and Yoplait Source Greek yogurt
— Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods
— Weight Watchers Breads

What Do Health Experts Have to Say About Weight Watchers?

Weight Watchers is one of the world’s most popular weight loss plans. Here are some of the validations, criticisms, and praise it has received over the years:

US News & World Report called Weight Watchers one of the world’s best diets. It currently ranks Weight Watchers as the #1 easiest diet to follow, the #1 best commercial diet plan, the #1 best weight-loss diet, and the #3 best diet overall. Weight Watchers is only beat out by the DASH Diet and the TLC Diet, both of which were created by government-funded nutrition organizations.

The United Kingdom’s NHS gives away Weight Watchers subscriptions for free. The UK has a huge obesity problem and has the second highest obesity rate in Europe. In May 2014, the country’s National Health Service announced that it would let doctors prescribe £100 million of Weight Watchers programs to patients. NHS currently spends £5.1 billion per year treating obesity-related illnesses, and Weight Watchers was seen as an effective and easy-to-follow way to encourage healthier lifestyles across the country.

Dr. Oz Endorses Weight Watchers on The Dr. Oz Show. At the popular television show’s blog, Dr. Oz calls Weight Watchers “one of the best ways to lose weight” and claims that the program offers “an amazing array of healthy recipes that cover every craving under the sun.”

Researchers find that Weight Watchers is more effective than visiting a doctor. In 2011, Weight Watchers funded a study measuring 772 overweight or obese adults. Half of the adults received their nation’s “standard-of-care weight loss advice from their primary care provider” while the other half was sent to Weight Watchers. Neither group had to pay for their treatment. Researchers found that about 60% of participants in both groups completed the program. However, those who completed the Weight Watchers program lose 15 pounds on average, 7 pounds more than the standard care program.

Ultimately, Weight Watchers isn’t a fad diet backed on shady science or weird herbal supplements: it’s just an effective way to keep track of the food you eat and make yourself feel responsible for your dietary choices. If you can do that, you’re going to lose weight.

How Much Does Weight Watchers Cost?

Weight Watchers offers four different base plans, including:

Online Plus Weight Loss Plan: $19.95 per month
Meetings + Online Plus: $44.95 per month
Personal Coaching + Online Plus: $54.95 per month
Total Access: $69.95 per month

Those prices are your base rate per month. You can save money by subscribing to Weight Watchers for 3 months at a time. If you sign up for the Online Plus weight loss plan for three months, for example, you’ll only pay a total of $49.85, which is $10 less than what you would pay going month-to-month at $20 per month.

It’s important to remember that Weight Watchers plans automatically renew at the end of each subscription period. If you don’t want to continue with Weight Watchers, then you’ll need to cancel your subscription.

Who Should Follow the Weight Watchers Program?

Weight Watchers is very careful not to call itself a diet. It doesn’t refer to itself as a diet program, nor does it tell its users to follow a strict diet.

Instead, it promises to offer flexible meal planning, down-to-earth advice, and real results. If you’ve never tried Weight Watchers before, then the basic $20 per month plan might be the best option for you: this lets you see exactly how Weight Watchers works before signing up. The basic OnlinePlus plan gives you access to all of the online resources of Weight Watchers and the 24/7 support.

If you want to get more committed to the Weight Watchers lifestyle, then you can sign up for local Weight Watchers meetings in your area and one-on-one coaching.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Oh so true Lali. I’ve been on WW more times than I can count and even became a lifetime member in my younger life BUT….AND THIS IS IMPORTANT ……it is NOT CONSIDERED A DIET…it is a lifestyle! A change from eating the wrong foods and in quantities that are overindulgent, to learning portion control and eating more healthy. I totally agree with Juvi…her/his posting is totally correct. Lali you failed because you did what most people do…think of it as a diet when in fact, it’s a lifestyle.

  2. I agree with Lali that the new version of the online tools suck, which is too bad, I used it a lot. But I will disagree on comment regarding gaining weight, since that is not limited to WW. Most people will gain weight after losing simply because they ‘diet’, a short term solution. You have to revamp your lifestyle in order to lose weight AND keep it off. I’ve been on WW maint mode for 20+ years and have not gained back the weight I lost. I believe it’s because I use the point system to decide whether I can eat a piece of cake, need to exercise more, etc. That is the strength of WW, in my opinion.

  3. Don’t sign up. The new app is a total failure. Also, most people gain the weight they manage to lose. I couldn’t even sign in on my iphone or tablet.

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