Weight Watchers is a popular dieting program that was started in the 1960s and allows people to lose weight in a group setting by developing healthy habits, attending meetings and counting calories. Today, Weight Watchers offers their program both in the traditional way with in-person meetings and through an online course. Members are encouraged to select a goal weight for themselves and follow the program until it is met. Unlike simple calorie-counting, Weight Watchers uses a “points” system in which participants aim to meet a certain goal each day, which is one that creates an overall calorie deficit.
Weight Watchers does not place much emphasis on avoiding certain foods, or adhering to a certain ratio of macronutrients. Instead, no food is forbidden and the diet centers around both portion control and achieving an overall calorie deficit no matter what is eaten, through careful budgeting of a daily allowance. This daily allowance varies amongst individuals and is calculated based on things like gender, activity level, and weight.
Originally, points values for foods we calculated by Weight Watchers by comparing the caloric content, fat and fiber. Now, a newer system called PointsPlus weighs fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein. This new system reflects a more current understanding of the science of weight gain and loss. Participants have both daily points allowances and weekly points that can be used for special occasions. Additionally, dieters have the ability to earn extra points by engaging in exercise if they so choose. There are zero points foods, like fruit, that dieters may snack on at any time if they’re feeling hungry.
Weight Watchers offers a number of programs, products and services. The emphasis on working within a group gives some dieters the extra motivation they need to succeed. The points system makes calorie counting easy and provides an excellent way of practicing portion control, which is a skill that becomes very useful for keeping lost weight off.