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How does Weight Watchers work?

June 26, 2017

Weight Watchers® is a commercial weight loss service. That means people pay to use the program and attend meetings. Paying to lose weight isn’t a bad thing if you’re paying for a program that’s proven to work and endorsed by reputable, third-party organizations.

In an industry full or scammers and expensive but unfulfilled promises, it’s understandable that commercial weight loss services are mistrusted. Weight Watchers has earned a reputation as America’s most trusted weight loss program.

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Weight Watchers doesn’t make promises that can’t be delivered. Weight Watchers is built on sound, evidence-based science.

You will never see Weight Watchers advertisements promise overnight or unrealistic results such as these these images indicate.

You will never see Weight Watchers advertisements promise overnight or unrealistic results such as these these images indicate.

This is true because Weight Watchers started with a humble beginning in a Queens, NY housewife’s living room who invited some friends over so that they could support each other while following a New York City Department of Public Health diet. Since its inception Weight Watchers has never strayed from a weight loss program based on a healthy and scientifically sound weight loss plan focused of good nutrition rather than a simple calorie-counting approach.

Jean Nidetch, former overweight housewife from Queens, NY and founder of Weight Watchers

Jean Nidetch, at 87, former overweight housewife from Queens, NY and founder of Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has been ranked best diet for weight loss for 7 consecutive years by US New and World Report. It also ranked #1 in four other categories.

NEW YORK , Jan. 4, 2017 /CNW/ — Weight Watchers International, Inc. (WTW) has again been recognized by the experts in the 2017 Best Diets rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report. Weight Watchers® earned the top spot in four categories:

  • Ranked #1 for “Best Diet for Fast Weight Loss” for the first year since the category was added in 2016
  • Ranked #1 for “Best Diet for Weight Loss” for the seventh consecutive year
  • Ranked #1 for “Best Commercial Diet” for the seventh consecutive year
  • Ranked #1 for “Easiest Diet to Follow” for the sixth consecutive year since the category was added

“We’re honored to be ranked at the highest level for seven straight years by the experts at U.S. News & World Report,” said Stacey Mowbray , President of Americas at Weight Watchers International, Inc. “At Weight Watchers, our goal is to continue providing innovative solutions for our members, so we can help them live well while losing weight, find joy in the journey and realize the benefits that go beyond just the number on the scale.”

Here is how Weight Watchers works.

It starts with calories because calorie reduction is essential to losing weight, then grams of sugar, saturated fat (sat fat) and protein per serving are added to the formula to get the SmartPoints® value. Foods with higher sat fat and/or sugar content have a higher SmartPoints value than a food with a similar calorie content but less sat fat and/or sugar. Foods higher in protein (and lower in sat fat and/or sugar) also tend to be fewer SmartPoints.

A member has a daily SmartPoints target based on gender, age, and current weight. Younger, taller, heavier, and male members have a higher starting target to start which will get smaller with weight loss progress. When a member reaches goal, the target increases to adjust for maintenance.

Nobody has a target of fewer than 30 SmartPoints (SP) per day.

To give you an example of how the program promotes healthier food choices compare the SmartPoints for:

  • any fruit – 0 SP
  • most vegetables – 0 SP
  • 3oz of chicken breast – 6 SP
  • chocolate candy bar (same calorie count as chicken) 12 SP
These are the kinds of foods that members are encouraged to eat simply by the way the SmartPoints formula works. Members can eat whatever they want, but foods higher in sat fat and sugar have a higher SP value making them foods that are enjoyed less often and in smaller portions.

These are the kinds of foods that members are encouraged to eat simply by the way the SmartPoints formula works. Members can eat whatever they want, but foods higher in sat fat and sugar have a higher SP value making them foods that are enjoyed less often and in smaller portions.

Weight Watchers is for profit and gives excellent value for the money. It’s been around since 1962 helping people lose weight and learn how to keep it off. During that time Weight Watchers efficacy has been studied by independent researchers (not hired or paid by Weight Watchers)

One such randomized study found that people who regularly attend Weight Watchers meetings lose 3 times more weight than people who take a self help approach. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Assoc. (JAMA).

Weight Watchers works because it gives members structure and flexibility with their food choices while nudging them to make healthier choices with their exclusive SmartPoints formula. The CDC has approved the Weight Watchers plan as an effective way to prevent type 2 diabetes for patients who have been diagnosed as pre diabetic. https://www.weightwatchers.com/…/Diabetes-Prevention…

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Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale® Program combines a healthy food plan and an exercise plan (FitPoints™) with a behavioral/cognitive component and reinforces these healthy changes in an environment of group support.

You can follow Weight Watchers completely online by subscribing to Weight Watchers OnlinePlus. Many people find that online weight loss programs work only about as well as any “do it yourself” approach. The idea of a weekly group support meeting to enable weight loss success doesn’t sound appealing, but millions of people all over the world have discovered that nothing works better – nothing.

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