Weight Loss Support - Thoughts on Weight Watchers

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01-27-2014, 10:10 AM
Hi All,

I hope you are all well. What are everyone's collective thoughts on Weight Watchers? I'm having trouble managing my eating habits, so it might be time to not only have some accountability, but also get some support from a group of like minded people. However, it's an expensive program, so I'd love to get some insight from folks who have tried it - whether you liked it or not.

Thanks for the help!

01-27-2014, 10:16 AM
I've been doing the online version for a week and it's working a lot better than calorie counting ever did. I calorie counted to lose the first time around but it made me feel guilty for going out with friends, and I rarely drank. On WW you can earn points for working out and are allotted weekly points that you can choose to use or not use. There are guides for eating out, and point values for food at chain restaurants.

I also like the app (if you have a smartphone) because it has a scanner that tells you how many points everything in the grocery store is just by scanning the bar code. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but it's working for me. I weigh in officially for the first time tomorrow, but as of this morning I'm down -4.5 lbs and that's in the week before TOM when I typically NEVER lose weight.

01-27-2014, 10:38 AM
If it is the support you are after - it is worth every penny! I went to meetings for over a year and lost 75 pounds. Stopped going - gained it back arg. It was the accountability of weighing in every week that helped me. I am back at it again right now and said to myself that I would try it on my own for a month and if I couldn't stay on track then I would go back. But - I learned all the tools on being successful by going to meetings. Good luck in whatever you choose! You can also go to your first meeting for free to check it out.

01-27-2014, 10:39 AM
I have done both - calorie counting as well as Weight Watchers. I've done WW both online and meetings. I think it's probably just the mindset I was in at the time, but neither of the WW methods worked for me, but it was simply a function of me not really being ready to follow the program. When I did calorie counting I was in a much more determined state, and I was successful. Successful only in the sense that I lost the weight I wanted to lose, but I gained it all back. I always do, which is why I no longer diet. But that's another story.

I really think ANY specific weight loss program can work; you sometimes have to experiment and find what works best for you. Ultimately your success, however, depends on how determined you are to get the weight off. I think that is key.

I will say that I personally HATED the WW meetings. I found them totally unmotivating. I think occasionally you can find a really dynamic leader who can make a difference, but I don't think that's the norm. I find that forums like this are much more to my liking. But I'm not a super-outgoing person, so that is probably part of why I didn't like them anyway. If you want to try WW you might like the online version, as it is half the price. Of course the accountability factor isn't there - some people like that they have to go in and weigh, and if you're a somewhat competitive person I think that's an advantage as those weigh-ins can be motivating.

If you want an in-person meeting experience and have the accountability factor, you might want to check and see if there are any TOPS meetings in your area. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). It's a lot cheaper than WW and I think people have been just as successful. Go to tops.org and search for a local meeting.

01-27-2014, 12:32 PM
My 2 cents since you asked. Weight Watchers is a good program, sound nutrition. I've been following it on and off for years. Over time they have tweeked the program and I have to say that I was most successful with the original program of exchanges (specific servings of carbs, vegetables, proteins, fats, etc). Having said that I would say that if you are a disciplined person WW can work for you. WW is proud of the fact that choosing what you eat is up to each participant - the program is very flexible. The bad point is that the program is very flexible. Which means you can burn up all your points on carbs. They encourage you to eat fruits as vegetables - to the degree that many of them don't count against your daily intake. But it's up to YOU to eat balanced meals. You have to put structure in your plan.

As for the meetings, I completely agree with Southern Maven. The success of meetings depends on the leader and the participants. I've been disappointed in most of the leaders - it's like they take the job of leader because they have been successful in using the program but they are just not very good at being teachers or inspirational leaders. And I've seen others who favor those in the meeting who are very competitive leaving people who are not so outgoing or not losing at the pace of the competitive ones, ignored and in the dust. Over the years I have attended meetings at WW centers, done the At Work program with coworkers and have gone to some meetings held in church basements and the like so I've attended a variety of sessions. My advice to you would be to try and sit in on a free meeting if possible to observe and see if the leader and group are what you are looking for. If everything clicks it can be extremely motivating. If nothing else the idea of weighing in each week lends it's own accountability.

After at least 10 years of being an online WW member - lackluster at best I have to admit - I have decided to cancel my membership and instead use one of the many free calorie tracking websites. Technology has come a long way and there are many more options that offer the kind of tracking and information that WW once had a grip on.

It's an individual thing - I hope you find something that works successfully for you KK!

01-27-2014, 01:16 PM
I am a regained lifetime member of WW. I don't blame WW for my regain, because I regained when I quite going to WW.

WW provides a good eating program. There are actually two ways you can do it: you either manage portions through counting points plus or you manage portions through what you eat (that is called simply filling). I have tried both but usually use points plus. On Points Plus, I like it because there is no food off limits but I do need to stay within my points. There are Good Health Guidelines on how to eat. On Simply Filling, you don't have to count the points but you are more restricted in what you can eat (you do count weekly points where you can eat the things that aren't normally allowed on Simply Filling. So, you can have those things but are restricted in the amount).

To be truthful, though, I don't really think WW is worth it for someone doing it online. The eating program (either points plus or simply filling) is basically healthy eating and watching your portions. I guess if you don't know how to do that at all then the program provides a guide and might be worth it to help you learn.

On the other hand, for me, the in person program is totally 100% worth it. I did the online program for awhile (I was already lifetime so I understood the program well). I found that it was not successful for me.

On the other hand, I do really well with the in person program so long as I do one thing - attend meetings. As a long time member, I hardly ever learn anything new at the meetings. I did learn when I first started but that was a long time ago. So, it isn't that I am learning wonderful things at the meetings. But I get three things from the meetings that are super important for me:

1. Focus on weight loss - When I am in the zone to lose weight I am putting weight loss and healthy eating top of my list. It is a priority to me. Going to a meeting every week keeps my mind focused on weight loss and reinforces to me what I need to be doing.

2. Accountability - I read somewhere that it helps in losing weight to be accountable to yourself, those around you, your community, and to the public. So I record everything I eat (accountability to self), I talk to my family about what I am doing (accounting to those around me), I go to WW meetings (accountability to community), and I post on my blog (accountability to the public). I figure I need all the accountability I can get in order to help me lose weight and keep it off. I was doing great at WW years ago and was at goal weight until I quit going to meetings.

3. A short term period for all my goals - This is the weekly weigh in. When I think of all the weight I have to lose it is overwhelming. When I was doing online, it was easy to go off track and say I would start back tomorrow or next week. But, if I commit to going to WW meetings then once a week I go in and weigh in. And, I hate to go in and have a gain (sure it happens occasionally). So, each week I am really, really focused on one thing. Have a good week so I can go in and have a loss when I weigh in. I don't worry about getting to goal or how I will look 2 months from now. I just want to have a good week so I have a loss when I weigh in. That weekly weigh in concentrates my mind wonderfully.

Now, I know that some people can do that on their own. They can have their own private weigh in at home and that motivates them. And, that is great. But....I can't do that. So doing that doesn't work for me. In my cases, I see the WW weekly weigh in as a goal in a way that I don't see it if I am weighing in on my own.

It does help to find a great leader. I've been known to try several meetings until I find a great leader.

01-27-2014, 01:23 PM
I do online, and it works great for me. I switched to calorie counting for a short while (since its free), but I found I very quickly got super obsessed with making everything even out just so. Hence why I like WW - its been a great tool for me to figure out healthy portioning without going number crazy.

But I also agree with happy2bme - its great if you're disciplined and opt to make healthy choices within the point allowance. I look at it as just a tool for servings/portioning. Can't say its really taught what to eat (aside from not worrying over snacking on "0pt" fruit/veggies instead of equal calorie alternatives *coughchocolatecough*).

01-27-2014, 01:29 PM
And I've seen others who favor those in the meeting who are very competitive leaving people who are not so outgoing or not losing at the pace of the competitive ones, ignored and in the dust.

Exactly. I started to address this in my earlier post but for some reason I decided not to. I have seen this very same thing at the meetings I went to. My center is a pretty big one with meetings every day of the week except Sunday - two meetings on some days and 3 on Friday and Saturday - so there were a lot of leaders from which to choose. I tried several different meetings and found this to be true in each one.

It's an individual thing - I hope you find something that works successfully for you KK!

Indeed it is - Koshka brought up some excellent points from the other side. I think that you should at least try the free meeting; it can't hurt. You never know; you might find it is exactly what you need. And like Koshka, you might find a really good leader. They can make all the difference.

01-27-2014, 01:55 PM
Hey guys,

Wow, thank you! This is just the type of feedback I was looking for! I had never even considered the fact that the leader might be the issue. I'll keep an open mind about it.

It sounds like the best advice would be to try out a meeting for free. I've been counting calories on and off on free sites since 2005 and although I've been very happy in the past, something changed in the back half of 2013. I'm not sure if it's emotional or mental, but my weight is really high and I'm struggling with myself. A lot of you mention that the support in these meetings *can be* priceless, so it might be worth a shot.

One more thing though: is it easy to cancel your membership? I know that some gyms, clubs, etc build a lot of fine print into their contracts, making it really difficult to cancel. It may sound weird, but I think I would be more excited about joining if I knew it was easy to cancel if I needed to.


01-27-2014, 03:41 PM
I have no ww close to me so I am wondering how can the onlne program help?

What does it offer than you cannot get elsewhere for free? I ahve been to ww in the past before the closed in my town and I know the old program.

I liked the meetings but cannot make a the drive to one.


01-27-2014, 05:03 PM
I did WW a few years ago and it was a mixed bag for me. The accountability (weekly weigh-ins) was very effective, but I found the rah-rah atmosphere of the meetings a little grating and the stickers (stars for weight loss, boots for exercise) really childish. After a while I stopped hanging around for the meetings -- just weighed in and left. I didn't even follow the program very closely. I just cut back on calories and lost 55 pounds. For me, the value of WW lay in the weekly weigh-ins.


01-27-2014, 05:11 PM
I was very uncomfortable at the WW meetings, although I thought the diet was wonderful. I could not stand the perky little leader letting the at-goal members control the meetings while there were obviously people there (including myself some weeks) fighting tears because of a weight gain.

I have done WW online twice for the three-month offer.

Now my problem is I like counting the points online, but really cannot afford the monthly fee. I have been desperately searching for a website or an app that counts WW points like the WW website does. Quite frankly, that is the only thing, outside of my weekly weigh-in, that I use the $$$ WW site for.

So, I would say try a meeting, try the online intro offer, and see if either works for you. AND, if anyone knows of such a website or app, please IM me!!!

01-27-2014, 06:04 PM
my 2 cents!

i have never been to a meeting ( have no interest in that kind of support) and have just been tracking on my Iphone with the app. I have lost 17 pounds! since August. I have never been successful in any other weight loss program so I couldnt recommend it enough-- I posted in the mini-goal photo album today if you want to see my results! ;)

01-27-2014, 06:06 PM
I also love the recipes they post-- they give me great ideas for the kitchen and what to snack on! :carrot:

01-27-2014, 06:25 PM
My mom has done WW several times, most successfully about 15 years ago. I don't know how many lbs she lost, but she went from a size 22 to a size 8. She regained some but has maintained at a 12/14 ever since.

She's done both online and meetings and says its easier to stay motivated doing the meetings, but like some other people she's had personality clashes with her leaders in some groups. The last time she attended meetings, her main issue was a leader who pushed the WW-brand food products in meetings rather than addressing cooking healthy meals yourself. This leader was actually telling people to solve their points issues by eating more WW frozen dinners and such, when the previous leader had discouraged overeating the packaged foods because of sodium.

01-27-2014, 07:20 PM
I used to attend WW meeting in my town with a friend... My friend lost over 110lbs and I lost about 50lbs... We bother really enough the meeting and thesupport you got there as well.
Two years ago WW decided to pull out of my town - not happy :( so now the nearest one to me is a 6.5hours drive away. :/
I tried to do the online program but it isn't the same... Know two years later I gained all my weight back and them some :(
I have decide enough is enough... I broke out my old WW books, I found a tracker on my iPhone, signed back up for the gym, discovered Skinnytaste.com (amazing site!) and started the old WW program with my mother. We both join TOPS so that we have a support group that we need! And in the past week I lost7lbs!
Anyways, to answer your question. WW is a good program...the food you eat is Real food. If there is a meeting near you, I HIGHLY recommend going - you'll learn a lot there!
Cheers - happy healthy life :)

01-29-2014, 10:08 AM
OMG, I LOVE Skinnytaste!

01-29-2014, 10:20 AM
I lost my pregnancy weight through WW. I lost every single week until I reached goal about 1 year after joining. My mom and I went religiously every week. After we stopped going, I gained about 6lbs and here I am five years later with the same 6lbs.

I consider WW and calorie counting to be the same, but WW builds the nutrition into the plan. If you calorie count and already eat balanced meals, you probably would have the exact same journal as someone who is doing WW. If you need help with the balance and accountability via meetings, it would be beneficial.

I found myself really confused at meetings because I had a hard time understanding struggles that other people expressed. To me, I made a meal plan and stuck to it. If it wasn't on the plan, I didn't eat it.

02-01-2014, 10:31 PM
I have no experience with weight watchers, other than trying some of their recipes. I actually found this page (http://freckleberryfinds.com/2012/01/how-to-get-weight-watchers-for-free-really/)today through Pinterest. It provides links to online calculators that do a lot of what Weight Watchers does -- provides your number of points, and figures points for foods. Maybe it will help someone.

02-02-2014, 04:23 AM
I did it and it personally did not work for me. The Lose It! app on my iPhone does. (They have the app for Windows and Android as well).
You can gain calories for exercising and there's no way to "cheat" the system. In WW, you can cheat by eating just under the amount you need to get to gain another point.
I feel like there are free ways to do essentially the same thing, but it has worked for many people and the program is definitely not bad in any way!

02-03-2014, 01:31 PM
Hey All!!

I wanted to check back in with everyone to give you an update. I tried out WW this weekend and I absolutely love it. It's definitely where I need to be right now. I joined despite the money issue - I figured that I don't have to do it forever, but it's worth stretching the budget a little bit right now.

Thank you again so very much for your insight, advice, and encouragement. I wish you all the best in your weight loss journey. Hopefully in six months I'll be in a much better place mentally, emotionally, and physically. We can only hope!

Very best to all

02-04-2014, 02:04 AM
Glad it worked out for you. There is a Weight Watchers forum here that you might want to take a look at.

02-04-2014, 06:39 AM

Congratulations on your success :) I completely understand from the financial side of things - I am having to balance finances and what I feel is my need for WW as well. But you are right - paying the membership fee will not be forever.

I have had a lot of success with WW. I've lost over 100 pounds. I am just loving the skills they teach you each week. Sometimes it is stuff I already know, but I would say 85% of the time it is a new skill or perspective. Sometimes I practice the skill that week, sometimes if it's not something that interests me I won't.

In terms of leaders and meetings...I really feel it is a lot how one reacts to the situation. I don't like everyone's attitudes or actions 100% of the time in real life and yes sometimes it is difficult to understand people in real life - a WW meeting therefore would be no different.

I say this to encourage you to stick it out even if someone at the meeting or the leader doesn't click with you/you don't click with them. I personally did not but made the decision to stick it out. I've learned to appreciate my leader and other members for who they are - take from and learn from the good, and leave the bad. Because if you look for it, there are good things we can learn from everyone. I'm glad I stuck it out because now my leader and I have a nice relationship; we respect eachother and I can tell that my leader genuinely cares about my success.

That said, if you ever need it TOPS is an amazing support program as well. It's very inexpensive and if I had the time I would do both for the extra support.

Good luck :)

02-04-2014, 02:02 PM
Of the eight people I've interviewed on my podcast thus far, four lost their weight using weight watchers. Of those four, three used the traditional program and one used the online program.

02-04-2014, 02:18 PM
I am on my 4th week of WW and it's been a real roller coaster. I lost and then gained, which has put me in a kinda funk. I have been using my tracker app and exercising but gained a pound last week. I do go to the meetings every week. Anyone else gone thru this? Any advice?:?:


02-04-2014, 06:39 PM
It is sort of a hard question to answer since there can be a variety of reasons for a gain. Doing strength training the day before weigh in can cause a little bit of fluid retention that is temporary. Or having a high sodium meal day the day before weigh in. Or time of month. Or increased carb consumption. So you can just have a weigh in that is a little bit anomalous. That is one reason I weigh at home every day so I can see the little fluctuations.

The other possibility is that you have actually gained. How much zero point fruit and veggies are you eating? And, what kind? Some people get derailed on higher calorie fruit in particular? Do you weigh your food? Sometimes it can help to take in your tracker to your leader (or the tracker app) to look at what you are eating to see what might be going on? Are you eating all your weekly points and activity points? Sometimes people overestimate activity points.

02-04-2014, 06:51 PM
My search is over!! I bought an app for $2.99 that (so far) seems to do everything that WW online does. Ultimate Food Value Diary Plus. I miss doing it on my computer, but for the difference in price, will quickly adjust.