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Pros & Cons of Weight Watchers Program

Pros & Cons of Weight Watchers Program

Weight Watchers is one of the most successful programs for weight loss and has many dedicated members who have followed it for years. It provides enormous support and a lot of sound advice, and there are classes throughout the world. However, like all weight loss programs, it too has its drawbacks.
Dhananjay Kulkarni
Disclaimer: The team of Weight Watchers keeps updating the program, according to the requirements/feedback of their members. The program has been updated many times, the latest one being the Weight Watchers 360° program, which was unveiled on the 3rd of December, 2012. The program teaches members how to manage their food environment, claiming that we tend to eat what we see. It also guides people on ways to control their temptation, and to avoid pleasure eating. Weight Watchers has not increased their rates for this new approach, and all the meetings, eTools, and apps are included in the total fee.

The content in this article explains the Weight Watchers program in detail. The details of the current program are exclusively available to the paid members of Weight Watchers.

Diet programs are a dime a dozen, therefore, to find the right one that would really work for you, is a task. Weight Watchers is known to be one of the most helpful diets to follow. It not only encourages you to eat healthy, the weekly meetings also guide you and keep you motivated. Here are some reasons for its success, as well as some limitations that the members have felt over the years.

Major Points
Weight Watchers Meetings
One of the unique features or you can say pillars of the Weight Watchers program is the concept of Meetings. (The concept of this meeting was brought about by the co-founder, Jean Nidetch, who realized the importance of confronting one's weaknesses in front of people going through a similar phase.)

Can Work in Your Favor
When you are trying to lose weight, determination and a positive attitude makes a lot of difference. In fact, it can be as important as following the diet/program. The idea behind a Weight Watchers meeting is to provide this motivation and to guide one to his goal. The meeting is conducted by a leader, who has a success story to share. He would not only share his experiences with you, but would encourage you to share yours, in front of people who are standing at the same platform as you.

Palma Posillico, a former VP of training and development for Weight Watchers International, has used the word 'wantpower', in one of her statements. She means to say that willpower is not something we are born with, but it is more about wanting to do something, and in this case, losing weight. Therefore, one needs to first recognize what he wants, and then should convince himself that he can do it. And a meeting aims at doing just that; motivating you to recognize your needs and then helping you to reach them.

Might Go Against You
But, what if you are not a social person? What if you feel awkward talking about your weaknesses in front of people? What if, instead of motivating you, this process actually demotivates you? Well, this is where lies the disadvantage of group meetings. There are many among us who are not comfortable talking and sharing personal details, especially, the not-so-nice ones. For them, the weekly meetings are but nightmares which they prefer avoiding. Here, however, one-on-one counseling can be of great help.

To Summarize: Group meetings can be very motivating and can help you go a long way when it comes to following the program with patience, however, for those who are a little introvert, one-on-one counseling is the perfect alternative.
The Program Structure
The Weight Watchers program has a well-thought-of structure, and is updated with the changing needs of the members.

Can Work in Your Favor
The Points system helps you plan your every meal with precision, and the best part is you can eat everything. Neither does it ask you to give up on your favorite food, nor does it force you to eat tasteless, bland food. The key to this program is moderation and that is something every one of us can achieve with a little effort.

Also, it helps one manage and understand the value of portion control. We make efforts to plan what to eat, but we mostly ignore the "how-much" part of it. With Weight Watchers, you become aware of the serving sizes and also learn how to measure, balance and maintain the points.

Might Go Against You
However, this points system restricts an individual, takes away his initiative to do things his way and binds him to rules, regulations and of course, points. He cannot think, he cannot judge and he cannot learn. It is like spoon-feeding a baby, where everything is given to you ready-made, and you need to just follow things blindly. The member feels less responsible for his actions and this, definitely, is not a very nice point.

To Summarize: Though the program makes you aware of many important things like quantity, serving size and balance between different food items, it also takes away your power to judge, and the freedom to follow your instincts.
Weight Loss
Any diet program is meant to help one to lose weight. Weight Watchers, through a comparatively different approach, aims to help over-weight and obese people lose the excess weight.

Can Work in Your Favor
The program guides the members to follow a healthy lifestyle, right from making better food choices to learning about portion sizes. This approach helps in consistent weight loss. If you follow the program structure, you can rest assured that you would lose about 2 lb. per week, which is a healthy weight loss, recommended by every doctor.

A rapid weight loss due to excessive dieting is not only hazardous for your body, but would make you weak and would drive you to binge. And as soon as you fall back to your old ways, it is but obvious that you would put on the few lost kilos. The best part about Weight Watchers weight loss is stability.

Might Go Against You
Consistent weight loss too, has a drawback; it is a great demotivator. Anyone who is desperate enough to give up on all his favorite foods just to lose some weight, would definitely want to see some quick results. It is but human to want to look thinner as soon as possible. This is definitely not the right approach, but this is one of the reasons why most people give up on this simple diet, and go for the unhealthy crash diets.

To Summarize: Though it is the sanest way to lose weight, that is slowly and consistently, a person who is not patient enough to wait would easily give up on Weight Watchers.
Quick Look
Can Work in Your Favor
  1. The flexibility, when it comes to making food choices, is the best part about this program. It makes the diet easy to follow, simple and much more convenient.
  2. You would never get bored, as you are not expected to eat boring salads for lunch, or some dull soup whenever you feel hungry. The variety keeps you hooked to the diet.
  3. The continuous support provided by the team leader and other members makes it a lot easier for you to follow the program.
  4. The structure is well-designed. Every member gets properly written instructions, personalized according to his physical requirements, mental health and his goal.
  5. It is considered as one of the best weight loss programs in the US, as on an average a member loses about 5 - 6 pounds, after following the program for 4 weeks.

Might Go Against You
  1. Since you keep calculating points for every small food item, at one point you become so obsessed that you stop enjoying your food. You forget the relationship that you share with food, which is a very important thing.
  2. Better progress of a fellow member can make you depressed and can even demotivate you.
  3. The cost is a big factor as you need to pay for everything. Other than paying about $10 - $12 per meeting, you also need to buy other items like fresh fruits and juices and also other additives. This can add up to a lot of money.
  4. You might get bored of counting and calculating, as you need to keep a proper track of each and every point that you consume.
  5. Weight Watchers doe not have a very promising record, when it comes to long-term weight loss. People following the program for over a year or more, tend to lose less weight.

Come what may, Weight Watchers is a successful and established weight loss program. It is well-designed and member-friendly, however, like everything else, it has some limitations. The most important thing worth mentioning here is, that the success or failure of a program entirely depends upon you and you alone. If you have faith in yourself, there is no reason to worry.