When it comes to weight loss, everyone is different. Different people are motivated by different things. Some people prefer to count food servings and calories and measure out their portions. Others would rather follow a list of ‘approved’ and ‘unapproved’ foods so they have an easier time remembering which foods are safe to eat and which ones are off limits.
In this case, several dieting and motivational concepts come together to form the basic structure of Weight Watchers. Subscribers to the Weight Watchers diet rely on points and an optional support system to continuously motivate them to eat smarter and make the best possible food and fitness choices to promote weight loss.
Want to know more about how Weight Watchers gives you the power to make healthier choices at the grocery store, dinner table and beyond? Here is our detailed breakdown of what Weight Watchers is, how the system works, sample menus and testimonials of how Weight Watchers has already helped others meet and maintain their weight loss goals.
Weight Watchers Diet Review
For many people, numbers can prove to be an extremely effective way to gain better control over their eating habits. However, counting calories, weighing out food and worrying over carb and protein percentages can be confusing and time consuming. Diets like Weight Watchers make eating healthier and smarter a much simpler and more enjoyable, rewarding process.
Weight Watchers is a paid subscription-based dieting and exercise tracking system that aims to encourage ‘smarter’ eating and more enjoyable exercise. The system rewards smarter food choices such as choosing fruits or vegetables over heavily processed foods. It also praises engaging in fitness activities that are most convenient and worthwhile. For example, someone who only has time for a 10 minute walk on their lunch break still benefits from tracking their workouts, even if it’s not an hour long cardio session.
Read on to learn more about how members track points, which foods earn the least points, and how to structure a healthy weight loss diet around this concept.
Weight Watchers Diet Plan Basics and Rules
Weight Watchers involves “budgeting” your way to a healthier lifestyle. According to the SmartPoints tracking system, each food is assigned a specific value based on metrics like number of calories, grams of protein, sugar and saturated fat content. Higher calorie foods, for example, are assigned higher numeric values than lower calorie foods.
Members try to stay within a certain number of points, similar to trying not to overspend on a monthly paycheck. They are also rewarded FitPoints for different physical activities like walking or swimming. This is designed to encourage people to make healthier choices, as healthier foods under the Weight Watchers program are given lower point values.
There are currently three different pricing plans if you are interested in joining Weight Watchers. You can either sign up to track all your numbers individually online, or you can use online tracking and add in-person meetings for even more weight loss motivation. Finally, you can upgrade to the third plan, which includes one on one coaching to give you an even more individualized approach to the weight loss program.
Now that you know how the Weight Watchers system generally works, let’s turn our focus onto the food. After all, it’s not just about points – it is about learning how to eat healthier and keep yourself physically active. The point system is just a motivational tool. Food still matters!
Menu and Meal Planning
Your daily allotted number of SmartPoints is based on your goals. How much weight do you want to lose over time? The system will give you a daily point “budget” that is yours to spend how you please.
The plan will not tell you what to eat, how much or when. You are simply given point values for every food and what can be viewed as a daily spending limit. So it is important that you spend your points wisely and make the healthiest possible choices while shopping, cooking and eating. If you balance out your daily menu by eating lower point foods during meals and snacks, you are already on the right track to losing weight at a healthy rate.
Here are a few sample menus with general point values to give you an idea of what a day on the Weight Watchers diet might look like for you.
1 English muffin (2 halves)
2 eggs prepared how you prefer (scrambled, over easy, etc.)
½ cup of blueberries or strawberries
Sandwich (whole grain bun, turkey or ham, tomato, avocado and lettuce)
3 oz. grilled chicken
1 cup green beans
½ baked potato (can include cheese, sour cream)
Ideas for Snacks
Snacking can either make or break a successful weight loss diet. Some people largely benefit from eating small servings of food between meals; it helps them curb junk food cravings and makes them less likely to overeat at meals.
It’s important that if you do choose to snack, you choose smart, low-point (healthier) foods to fill you up between meal times. There’s really no reason why you should not snack, as long as you keep it light and simple. Here are a few smart snack suggestions to implement into your day while on the Weight Watchers diet:
- A serving of fruit and plain yogurt
- A cup of oatmeal with cinnamon and fresh apple slices
- Berries with whipped cream
- Half a bagel with your preferred nut butter of choice
- A cup of homemade granola
- One slice of whole wheat toast with a layer of hummus spread
Healthy alternatives to your favorite snack foods are a great way to eat smart and still enjoy your food. For example, you can make your own homemade “chips” to avoid eating processed, fried potato chips or french fries from a bag or fast food restaurant.
Grocery Shopping List
If you prefer to plan out your meals for the week, the next step is to head to your local grocery store and/or farmers market (depending on the season/location) to purchase the food you want to prepare in the week ahead.
Weekly grocery shopping trips are best when you are buying mostly fresh food. Fewer preservatives and artificial ingredients means some foods can’t be stored for quite as long, but you can carefully plan out your budget, clip coupons and spend less each week to save money in the long term.
Shopping becomes much easier when you have a list ready to go, divided into sections to make the experience quicker, and to make you less likely to splurge on food items you do not really need or want. Here are some examples of foods you would typically purchase on the Weight Watchers diet.
You are pretty much free to choose whichever foods you prefer, since this diet does not restrict any foods or food groups. Calculate beforehand what each food item might “cost” in terms of points so you can avoid buying too much food, opening up the temptation to “overspend.”
- Fresh fruit (grapes, bananas, apples, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, berries)
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes
- Minimally processed deli meats (turkey, chicken, ham)
- Fresh cheeses
- Low fat yogurt, Greek yogurt
- Whole grain breads, bagels, biscuits
- Nut butters
- Salad dressings
Does the Weight Watchers Diet Work?
The Weight Watchers diet system has been around since the 1960s. In 2015, major changes were made to take things like saturated fat, lean protein and exercise into account. The brand now also focuses on helping people incorporate healthy “feel good” activities into their lives, a new aspect of the support portion of the system.
A diet that incorporates not just eating, but also exercise and small aspects of mental health into its program is bound to be effective, right? Let’s take a closer look at how Weight Watchers has managed to improve people’s lives for the better.
Reviews and Weight Loss Results
“I have been doing weight watchers since May 1st, 2016. I have lost total of 41 pounds and 58” between the chest-legs and stomach area.
I was type 2 diabetic (I got rid of it by losing the weight and eating properly) so I pretty much had to eat every 3 hrs. The hardest thing was getting myself to eat properly and to eat often. I didn’t want to eat after 6:00pm because I thought I would gain weight, but I had to eat for my sugars to stay stable so I started juicing right after my 5km walk (I walk every night) and I just started doing spin classes which I LOVE!
I also love my pizza, so I found a new recipe using flat out bread and it’s about 8pp for the whole thing which is amazing.
You have to WANT to lose weight and make sacrifices, it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it, weight watchers has changed my life; I have more energy, I feel better, I don’t have cramps/headaches anymore, and I sleep better. I’m excited to lose another 30 pounds!”
“I started Weight Watchers back at the end march 2015. I have lost 65 lbs to date, I haven’t kept track on inches, however I wished I did now.
The diet itself is simple and easy to follow. It doesn’t require you to faff around too much , maybe the only thing is that you need to weigh most foods to work out the pro points.
I would recommend this diet to everyone! It’s non restrictive, you don’t feel like you are missing out on anything. I can still go out for a meal, I don’t need to order the salad, I can just eat normal foods and enjoy my time. I can have a treat once in a while and not feel deprived. I can have an unlimited amount of fruit and vegetables to keep me full during the day. I can eat the same foods as my husband. It doesn’t require me to cook something completely different. I have tried many diets over the years but this one is by far the best and I think I am living proof of that.”
“I started Weight Watchers April 4, 2016. To date, I have lost 52.3 pounds on Weight Watchers!
I love Weight Watchers because it does not feel like a diet. I am never deprived and honestly eat many of the same foods I used to eat prior to Weight Watchers. One difference is that my portions are obviously smaller and I make better food choices. As an example I have eaten a fast food chicken sandwich but instead of getting French fries I went home and made baked zucchini “fries” to go alongside the sandwich. I am a more conscious eater because with Weight Watchers you are allotted a certain number of points per day and you have a set number of weeklies that can be spread throughout the week or used up all with one splurge meal. I have to get foods to fit within my points and thus I have to make good choices so I don’t spend all my points on an impulse cookie BUT if I wanted to I could have the cookie and adjust everything else I eat around the cookie! With Weight Watchers I am not deprived! 🙂
I would advise anyone who is interested in Weight Watchers to just go for it! You have nothing to lose except for pounds! I would also recommend making an Instagram account and following individuals who are on the program. You will find great products to buy and just get inspiration from other people who are doing to same thing as you.”
Before and After Success Stories
“I started this weight loss journey following Weight Watchers on July 10, 2015. To date, I have lost 75 pounds. I haven’t measured inches but I was stuffing myself into size 16 jeans before and now I’m wearing size 10 jeans across the board. I’m almost 5’11” tall.
The easiest part of following Weight Watchers is there are no foods off limits. It’s all about portion control and making better choices most of the time while still living and enjoying your life. You don’t have to stop eating a major food group to lose weight on WW.
The most difficult part is probably the tracking and accountability that is necessary to have success. A lot of people complain about having to track points and/or measure/weigh food portions so they accurately know the points values necessary to track your food on WW. But that part is what makes you aware of your portions and the quality of your choices. I track everything the good the bad and the ugly. I believe that has been key to my success this time around. But that action is probably the most difficult aspect of the program.
I’d like to share that WW is the program to follow when you are ready to get real and do the work to lose weight for good. It’s not a quick fix by any means. However, when you are sick and tired of yo-yo-ing come join WW to lose the weight for good and to take the time needed to change your relationship with food. Weight watchers works if you are willing to track your food and be accountable. Their program will get you to a healthy weight and give you the tools and changed habits to maintain your weight loss for life.”
“I started WW January 1st 2015 and have lost 173 pounds! BMI from obese class III to overweight.
I only started recording measurements in July 2015, by which time I’d already lost about 21 pounds. Inches lost since July 2015:
21.5″ from my boobs (or whatever you call them in America)
15″ from my chest/bra measurement
18.5″ from my waist
21″ From my hips
19″ From my widest part
9″ From each thigh
7.5″ From each upper arm
Remaining motivated when the scales don’t reflect my hard work and doing meal prep at 1am is definitely the most difficult part of this diet! Sometimes your food is perfectly on plan all week, you work out and this just isn’t reflected at weigh in. Some nights I just want to go to bed and not prep my food for the following day but I know if I don’t then I’m setting myself up for a bad day and have an excuse to make bad choices. The extra 15 minutes prep is worth it and makes all the difference.
Having such a variety of foods to choose from made WW easy to stick with. No food is off limits with the weight watchers plan. You can still have treats from time to time. I have a box in the kitchen with low point treats so I’m not tempted to eat any if my husband’s high point treats.
If you’re thinking about trying WW, take that first step. At 340lbs I thought I’d never lose weight, that it was too big a task and wasn’t worth starting. The weight watchers plan is easy to follow and let’s you eat a wide range of food. I stuck to the plan and the pounds started to come off.”
I started weight watchers more than once, i am not going to lie. I was on the program with my first and second and each time weight watchers was the only program that would help me achieve my goals. I never got to goal weight though because every time i would fall pregnant.
My real struggle started once i had my third baby boy and i gained more than 70 pounds and reach my highest weight i can ever imagine 220 pounds once i gave birth. Once i gave birth, i struggled a lot. I had developed post partum stress that came along with depressions and anxiety. So a month after having my 3rd baby baby boy i started weight watchers and the program and meetings are what helped me lose about 30 pounds.
Once i decided, i was able to continue on my own that’s when the weight would come back on and reached around 194 pounds again and decided to join back on weight watchers with my husband as a team April 10, 2016 and i have never regret joining brought me to losing some of the weight i put on and is one of the things helping me with my depression and anxiety everyday. Up to date i have lose 45 pounds and i am still going. Weight watchers motivated me to start a Instagram page that’s all about my weight loss journey that i fell in love with doing because you hear and learn of others on the same program and see others achievements. So inspiring and hope to inspire others on their journey.
Weight watchers taught me how to eat better and make better choices. The best part is the meetings that me and my hubby enjoy going to, every Sunday. The people at the meeting have become like family to us. We all share our thoughts and feelings of our everyday struggles that comes with the weight loss. I have learned so much from the program and finally come to realized that weight loss is not a race. It’s about feel ing amazing at any weight. It’s too make better choices on daily to daily basis. It’s about finding what you love to do and bringing activity in your life. I love to put on music and dance my ass off and burn calories that way or even put music and clean the house. Take my little one in the stroller and go for a walk. It doesn’t have to always be just going to the gym.It’s to lose weight but still be able to live life and enjoy your foods you love. I can have my piece of cake or say chocolate and still lose weight. You don’t have to deprive yourself and that’s one of the reasons i love this program and i really recommend it to others. I have learned to live again. I am not going to lie there is days i struggle i mean who doesn’t. But that’s why there is the meeting and all the online chat support that weight watchers offers. I believe because of weight watchers my journey will be a success and i will be able to keep the weight off compare to other programs.
There is a diet out there that works for everyone, whether that’s Weight Watchers or a plan less focused on a points system. The key is to figure out which aspects of lifestyle change you need in order to help you succeed on your weight loss journey, and find or establish your own personal diet program that is the most effective in terms of your needs and overall preferences.
Some people are motivated by numbers, points and rewards. Some aren’t. If this is what works for you, it can’t hurt to give it a try. Always keep in mind that weight loss starts with a conscious choice to make a long lasting change in your life. Results can happen, but they’re not all going to happen at once. It takes a lot of time and habit forming to produce weight loss results that stick. But you can do it. Believe you have the power to change your life, and then channel that belief into effort and strength. It all starts with your mindset.