Weight Watchers and SparkPeople are two highly successful online diet programs. In this article, we have compared the two based on several parameters.
There are numerous diet programs that are doing rounds in the market as well as on the Internet. Online diet programs are often preferred over their offline counterparts as they are cheaper, convenient to access and easier to follow. Weight Watchers and SparkPeople are two such online diet programs which have garnered rave reviews. In this article, we have done a comparison between SparkPeople vs Weight Watchers, so as to highlight their similarities and differences. This comparison should also be able to tell you which one is better for you.
Which One is Better
Disclaimer: The comparison has been made with the Weight Watchers program and not the latest Weight Watchers 360° program. The details of the current program are exclusively available to the paid members of Weight Watchers.
Weight Watchers diet program is based on a point tracker system. In this system, various foods are assigned numerical values or points. Foods with more fat content and higher calories are assigned higher points, while healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables fall on the lower spectrum of point scale. In this program, each dieter is allocated daily points depending upon his age, gender and lifestyle. The dieters can manage their daily meals in such a way so that they do not exceed their daily point limit. If a dieter eats heavy, high calorie meal during lunch, then he is forced to eat healthy foods with low points for the rest of the day, so that he does not run out of daily points. The general idea is to encourage healthy eating habits in dieters.
SparkPeople, on the other hand, is based on a calorie counting mechanism. In this program, the dieters need not keep track of what they eat and how many points they consume. They can simply choose meal plans which cater to their needs. The meal plans are formulated such that a dieter receives complete nourishment. Also, a dieter can look for substitute foods with similar calorie count, so that they can eat their favorite foods.
Both Weight Watchers and SparkPeople aim at steady and healthy weight loss. Most people who subscribe for these programs experience the desired weight loss. However, weight loss attained is usually dependent upon the person’s discipline and diligence rather than effectiveness of a program.
Both Weight Watchers and SparkPeople encourage exercising for dieters. A special Weight Watchers point system also has negative points for exercise. Meaning, if you exceed your points for the day, you can shave off the extra points by exercising and gathering negative points. The negative points offset for the extra points you gathered by overeating. You can also exercise if you are about to run out of points in the middle of the day. Thus, you are more likely to stick to your routine and not get discouraged even if you go off your daily point limit. Weight Watchers also suggests exercise regimens according to your individual needs. SparkPeople indeed encourages exercising but it does not specify regimens for your particular needs.
Both Weight Watchers and SparkPeople offer excellent online support for the dieters in the form of message boards, forums, communities, expert advice etc. Weight Watchers also conducts meetings where dieters can actually interact with dietitians and fellow dieters. Although, SparkPeople offers online physician advice, the interaction may not be immediate. Both websites offer effective etools which enable the dieters to track their meals. These etools also assist in weight loss.
Weight Watchers charges a monthly subscription fees of $17.95 for its dieters, whereas SparkPeople is completely free online program. Besides, Weight Watchers charges a signing fees of $29.95. The offline program is slightly cheaper than the online program.
Weight Watchers point tracking system can be a little hectic for some people. Besides, there is not much of choice in foods that you eat. The biggest drawback is that if you exhaust your points at single meal, you may have to starve for the rest of the day or exercise. This is not exactly a healthy way of losing weight. For healthy weight loss, you must provide your body with nutrition throughout the day. Its higher cost may deter some dieters from enrolling.
SparkPeople, which is based on calorie counting does not take into account the lifestyle, gender and individual needs of a person. Thus, you may have to do a lot of manual calculations and come up with your own customized calorie requirements. This can prove to be very difficult for someone who has no experience in dieting, food nutrition etc. It is more self directed in a way and does not provide set guidelines. Thus, beginners may have trouble adapting to this diet plan.
While both these diet plans have their own pros and cons, it is recommended that you begin with Weight Watchers and then switch to SparkPeople, when you get the knack of how dieting works.