Weight Watchers is one of the most successful and popular weight-loss programs on the market. But that doesn’t mean it works for everybody. It’s important that you consider all of the pros and cons of Weight Watchers and other popular weight-loss programs before you invest. Here are some important factors to consider before you decide if the diet plan is right for you.
What Is Weight Watchers?
Weight Watchers has been around for decades, so most people have heard about the group meetings, the weigh-ins, and the Weight Watchers online support services. But what is the Weight Watchers diet plan?
The eating plan has gone through countless revisions to keep up with current trends in nutrition and exercise. Currently, the Freestyle program allows for greater flexibility than previous plans. The eating plan allows you to eat almost any food that you prefer as long as you consume it in moderation and you balance your activity points with your food points—a program called SmartPoints.
So, you are still required to track your food intake and physical activity, and the program still encourages you to make smart nutritional choices, such as eating plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. But you’ll have the freedom to eat foods that are traditionally off limits in a weight loss program, so the eating plan feels less like a diet.
Weight Watchers Pros
Now that you know how Weight Watchers works, it’s time to evaluate whether or not the program is right for you. Here are some reasons that the diet plan might be the best program to help you lose weight.
- No foods are forbidden. There is no list of foods to avoid on Weight Watchers like you’ll find on other diets. Instead, you count SmartPoints and earn FitPoints. The point system encourages you to eat healthy food but also allows you to indulge with sweet treats or snacks once in a while.
- Nutritional tips, cooking advice, and lifestyle education are offered. If you attend Weight Watchers meetings, your leader will share good nutritional advice with the group, such as the importance of eating plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and drinking enough water.
- You may be able to bring your kids. Some Weight Watchers locations offer special meetings to which parents can bring their children. Teens as young as 13-years-old can take part in the program as long as they have physician approval.
- Slow and steady weight loss is achieved. You can expect to lose one to two pounds a week on the program. You may even lose more when you first start. Weight loss at a steady rate is more likely to be maintained. But like with any program, consistency makes a big difference.
- Encourages portion control. To accurately track and record your SmartPoints, you will need to measure your portions and serving sizes. This skill is valuable and will serve you well even if you go off the plan.
- Exercise is promoted. The Weight Watchers system encourages plenty of daily movement and exercise. You earn Fitpoints with movement that help you balance out your food intake. Guidance is provided for new exercisers and for those who can work out harder and burn more calories.
- Cooking at home is encouraged. You’re more likely to eat healthy foods if you cook them yourself. Weight Watchers offers recipes and cooking tools to help you learn how to prepare meals that will keep you lean and fit.
- Weight Watchers syncs with popular trackers. If you own a Fitbit for weight loss or use another device or weight loss app like Jawbone, Withings, Misfit, Garmin Vivofit, Apple Health, or Map-My-Run, you can sync your data to Weight Watchers so that all of your weight loss data is maintained and can be managed in one place.
Weight Watchers Cons
Even though Weight Watchers works for many people, it still may not work for you. Consider these drawbacks before you invest in the plan.
- The expensive cost. The monthly cost for your Weight Watchers membership will vary depending on the level that you choose, but if you have a lot of weight to lose, the investment may be significant. Be sure you consider the total cost for the entire time you need to be on the plan to make sure that you can afford it.
- Group meetings don’t work for everyone. Some people don’t like to share personal health and weight loss information in a group. Of course, you are not required to talk at a Weight Watchers meeting. But the meetings are what make this weight loss program unique. If you prefer not to do meetings, other options are available.
- Weekly weigh-ins are necessary. You need to weigh in once a week to track your progress on Weight Watchers. For some dieters, this requirement is uncomfortable. For others, it helps keep them on track. Keep in mind, however, that at meetings the only person who sees your weight is the person weighing you.
- Weekly progress may discourage you. Some people prefer to measure weight loss success on a monthly basis rather than weekly. On Weight Watchers be prepared for weekly progress checks. Some weeks you will lose little or no weight, even if you’re doing everything right.
- SmartPoints counting can be tedious. If you don’t like counting calories, you may not like counting SmartPoints either. The process can be time-consuming and may be too complicated for dieters who want a quick and simple approach to eating.
- Too much freedom to eat. The ability to choose anything you want to eat may prove too tempting for some. It is completely possible to use all your SmartPoints on less-than-nutritious foods. For those dieters, weight loss plans that offer strict eating guidelines may work better.
A Word from Tips For Healthy Living
Remember that there are bonuses and drawbacks to every diet and eating plan. This list of Weight Watchers pros and cons will help you decide if the program is right for you. Before you choose any diet, be sure to evaluate all of the costs, reviews, and information. Reach out to your health care provider or speak with a registered dietitian if you need help finding a weight loss program to meet your needs.