I have followed the WW/Weight Watchers program for years, from "exchanges" up to the most recent Wellness Wins program.
Weight Watchers has been around for decades, and has been consistently successful for people who are willing to follow the program, and adhere to the rules. Initially, it was something like the diabetic exchange diet, where you selected from exchanges of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Then the program was updated, to emphasize more fiber, and less fat in your daily diet. The most recent version is the best yet. It does not prohibit you from eating any particular foods or drinking any type of beverage you might prefer. Instead, you are motivated to select healthier choices by making the healthiest selections contain fewer points, and less healthy choices contain disproportionately more points. So, while what you eat is totally up to you, if you stick to foods that are higher in protein and lower in sugar and saturated fat, you will use less of your daily budget of points. You are totally in control of making the plan work for you. Nothing is off limits.
Your weight loss goal is also totally up to you. You can start small (say five pounds or so), and then when you're ready, you can set your ultimate number. But it's not all about a number on the scale. Your goal can be to get back into your skinny jeans, look good in a swimsuit, have more energy to play with your children, eat a more balanced diet, or just feel more comfortable in your own skin. All are valid goals. Weight Watchers is designed to result in a safe rate of weight loss, which is usually around 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. Participants usually experience a faster weight loss rate in the first few weeks, as the body adjusts to a change in eating habits. As long as you stay on the program, weight will continue to drop until you reach your goal. At that point, you will be advised on how to maintain your new target weight, usually by adding points to your daily and weekly points allotment.
Your plan is also personalized for you, based on your starting weight and other characteristics. You start the week with a certain number of points, plus a cushion of extra points if you happen to go over your daily target. You can use this cushion any way that you want, by splitting them up over the days of the week, saving them all for the weekend, or even not using them at all. There is only one small catch: your cushion points don't roll over to the next week if you don't use them. You start each week with a fresh set of points. Also, your daily target points will change over time. As you take off pounds, your target will be recalculated to stay in line with your reduced weight, so that you can continue making progress. As an added insurance policy of sorts, Weight Watchers requires you to take a multi-vitamin-mineral supplement each day, as well as consult with your personal doctor to make certain that any specific, individualized dietary needs are considered.
You have choices not only in your food selection, but also in how you track what you eat. You can use an online tool if you have a digital subscription. It is by far the easiest way to track your intake, because the computer program does all the calculations for you. You simply enter the food name in a box, hit enter, select the portion size and meal time, and finally click on the tracker button. Alternatively, you can use a tried and true paper-and-pencil method. If you choose this method, you will need to look up your food choices manually, and do all your own math. Still, if this is what is comfortable for you, you can be absolutely as successful tracking this way as with tracking online.
Another key component to Weight Watchers is fitness. Being more active will boost your energy, and it is a critical part of maintaining weight loss. Plus, you have the opportunity to earn additional points, which means that you can eat more food on a daily basis, and still keep taking off weight. And you don't need to join a gym or buy any fancy equipment. All you need to do if find little pockets of time in your daily routine, where you can move more. It is important to find something that is fun that you can do regularly. This could be something as simple as walking your dog, playing with your children, or taking the stairs rather than the elevator. It all counts towards your fitness goal. Also, being more active will help you be more comfortable in your clothing, boost your energy, reduce stress, and elevate your mood.
New to Weight Watchers this year is an emphasis on finding time to recharge and enhance your overall well-being, in addition to just weight loss. All sorts of activities are included in this portion of the program, and they are extremely personalized. You might decide to start taking a nap every afternoon, start a mini-journal of your thoughts and feelings, sign up for an art class, or even visit a nearby museum. By making time for yourself, you are validating that you are worth it, and it will change the way you see yourself. There is more to weight loss than just eating smart and improving your fitness. Taking time out for yourself matters, and is a key part of the new program.
Putting it all together, the new Weight Watchers program is about eating well by making smart choices based on a new formula of points, improving your fitness level, and finding time for yourself to have some fun and restoration. In my opinion, it is one of the best versions of the program that has been released to date. By following the program, you will feel better, look better, and have more energy. All in a way that is personalized to meet your individual needs.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Carolyn Fields
Minskore on November 09, 2016:
I have little to no success with the new WW Beyond the scale program. I have been a member of WW for many yrs, tried all their programs, as well as many other weight loss programs on the market. This is by far the least success I've ever had losing weight. I started the program in Sep of this year, with 14 lbs to lose. Every ounce has been a struggle. The focus on more protein just doesn't work for my body. It felt like my entire body shut down when I started this program. My 30 yrs of bathroom regularity (daily) disappeared and I was feeling bloated, and heavy and horrible everyday. The problem is that this program focuses on more protein but not necessarily more fat and as science as proven over the yrs high protein diets don't work, unless you also increase the fat in your diet. After 1.5 mts on the program I have now gotten to the point of having to stop and do things my own way. I have never been a high-carb eater, have always focused on lean protein, fruits and veggies and healthy fats. If I eat that way on this program I will not be eating enough to sustain me for a day because the healthy fats add too many points and if I stay away from the healthy fats then the protein and fruits and veggies just turn to cement in my body....and my bodies regular transit time is significantly reduced and therefore this program stalls for me and does not work, it's simply not a healthy way for me to eat. Others may feel differently but we all know our bodies and I rely on science and the science proves that higher protein, higher fiber WITHOUT more fat is NOT going to work for anyone whose trying to lose weight.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 24, 2016:
Tried Weight Watchers for a short while, but that was a very long time ago. Thanks for sharing their updated program. Smart of them to include more than weight loss. Best to all on the program!