The Weight Watchers diet is one of the oldest and best-known structured diet plans, and it has by and large withstood the test of time. The system was designed in 1961, when founder Jean Nidetch gathered a group of friends to create a weight loss group based around empathy and mutual support. Today, Weight Watchers International is one of the largest weight loss support groups in the world, with a variety of local branches and online support groups.
The group setting of Weight Watchers, with its meeting requirements, is a big part of what makes this diet successful. The nutrition aspect, which centers on choosing healthy food options and limiting intake of certain foods without strictly forbidding items, is the other component of the diet. While it is certainly possible to use the Weight Watchers point system alone, the diet will be significantly more effective when combined with a supportive weight loss group following the same system.
Celebrities Who Have Used Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers been used successfully by a number of well-known celebrities. Here are a few success stories:
- Jessica Simpson started Weight Watchers as a way to slim down and lose the baby weight after the birth of her first child. She lost 60 pounds in 6 months.
- Jennifer Hudson used Weight Watchers to lose 80 pounds in 2010 and has been an avid spokesperson for the program ever since.
- Jenny McCarthy utilized Weight Watchers as a springboard for a lifestyle of healthy food choices and portion control, and has lost 60 pounds with the program.
- Ginnifer Goodwin has been following Weight Watchers nearly all of her life, beginning at the age of 9; it is a way for her to get back on track after indulgent periods in her life.
Tina Fey has combined Weight Watchers with yoga and personal training to stay fit and healthy. She lost 30 pounds.
There are many more similar stories of celebrities who have found success with Weight Watchers. Approximately 90 percent of Weight Watchers users are female, but the program has gained popularity with men as well, including Jason Alexander and Charles Barkley who lost 70 pounds on the diet.
A few other notable celebrities that have used weight watchers include; Oprah, Christie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond, Mariah Carey and Sarah Ferguson.
How Does Weight Watchers Work?
The guiding principle of Weight Watchers is that a diet should be comprised primarily of wholesome, nutritious foods, with indulgences consumed sparingly. In order to simplify the process of counting calories, food groups are assigned “Smart Points.” You will have a specific number of points to “spend” in a day, and you can decide for yourself how to best allocate those points across all meals and snacks.
Weight Watchers points are determined based on a food’s nutritional value. Vegetables and most fruits have a very low point value, allowing you to eat nearly an unlimited quantity. Foods that are higher in fat or sugars will be more “expensive,” preventing you from over-indulging.
Because Weight Watchers is a well-known and mainstream diet, many restaurants and food manufacturers include Weight Watchers point values on their menus and packaging. This makes it easy to keep track of your intake.
In addition to point values for food, Weight Watchers also offers an easy to follow points-based exercise plan called “FitPoints.” When you join the Weight Watchers program, you will receive an initial assessment; this will determine the amount of FitPoints you should aim to accumulate in a day. Physical activities count toward these points and make it simple to track exercise and activity throughout the day.
The social support offered by Weight Watchers is the primary draw of the official program. You can join an online support group to discuss your diet and weight loss goals, or you can enroll in a face-to-face group at the local Weight Watchers International chapter in your town.
In general, in-person meetings have the best results as they provide accountability and a strong support network for people; many individuals continue attending meetings long after their initial weight loss goal has been met. Weight Watchers also offers personal coaching from professional dieticians trained in their program.
How to Get Started with Weight Watchers
Because the program is well-known, it’s possible to find a substantial amount of support and information online for free. You can also purchase books and guides that will teach you about the diet and exercise plans recommended by Weight Watchers.
However, this type of self-guided plan is not recommended as the Weight Watchers support groups are so important to the plan’s overall success. If you have researched Weight Watchers and feel that it may be a good fit for you, the next step should be to visit the official Weight Watchers International website and enroll as a member.
Membership will grant you access to a variety of tools, including:
Food and activity trackers.
Personalized goal-setting and monitoring.
Online chat support available 24/7.
Meal plans and other exclusive content.
Access to an online community of others who are on the same journey.
The site offers three tiers of membership at different price points, depending on what you need. The lowest tier includes basic access to the site and virtual community. At the second tier, you can gain access to group meetings. These weekly meetings allow you to meet others on the same path as you, and they are moderated by an experienced leader who can help you to stay on track. For an additional fee, you can also hire a personal trainer and coach who will offer personalized advice, one-on-one phone consultations, and more.
The Weight Watchers fee is affordable – lower than the cost of most gym memberships – but the cost is a barrier for some people who are considering the program. It’s worthwhile to investigate the program and decide for yourself whether it will be a good fit for your needs. Weight Watchers offers a free one-month trial to allow you to see all of the available features and decide whether this program will work for you.
Weight Watchers Products
If you’re interested in learning more about Weight Watchers, wish to try a “self-guided” approach or simply looking for materials to augment your existing Weight Watchers program, there are a few products that may interest you:
Weight Watchers: Top Slow Cooker Recipes: The Smart Points Cookbook Guide© with over 65+ Approved Slow Cooker Recipes (Start The Points Plus Meal Plan)
This best-selling book combines the Weight Watchers diet plan with the convenience of slow-cooked meals. With a focus on easily assembled meals that can be put in a slow-cooker and left to simmer throughout the day, this cookbook makes it easy for even working professionals to come home to a hot, nutritious dinner without any fuss.
Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, Fifth Edition: Over 500 Delicious Recipes for the Healthy Cook’s Kitchen
An official Weight Watchers cookbook, this large tome presents a collection of hundreds of recipes for every meal of the day. Recipes are presented with their point values, making it easy to create meal plans around them. A number of entertaining-friendly recipes are also included for special occasions and parties.
Weight Watchers 2016 SMART Points Calculator
This handy device includes a massive database of foods with their Smart Points amounts. Whether you’re planning meals or picking up food on the go, you can plug the items into this calculator and derive the point value of any meal, ensuring you stay within your budget.
Weight Watchers: 15-Minute Boot Camp Series
This DVD is just one of many in a series of popular Weight Watchers workout videos. These routines can be followed at home and will help you get off the couch and start being more active. This program in particular is a great solution for people wanting to improve their fitness levels without a major time investment. By focusing on 15-minute intervals of fitness, the DVD can inspire you to get up and moving even if you’re pressed for time.