Weight Watchers - The Original (WW 1970) Program

View Full Version : The Original (WW 1970) Program

06-11-2001, 03:18 PM
Attached, for your reading pleasure and horror, is the WW program as promoted in meetings throughout the United States in 1970.

Look at how far we've come, and let's appreciate how hard everyone worked way back then (I was one of them, and failed) to get to their goals and become lifetime. By 1970 there were more than 5000 200 pound losers from this plan alone.

Congratulations to anyone out there who succeeded then. Our plan has had huge changes... and it's still a challenge!

Karen L
06-12-2001, 12:03 AM
# 11 would have sent me screaming for the door :lol: Thanks for the look back. Aren't we lucky :)

06-12-2001, 03:33 AM
Re: No. 11 - Define 'ethnic food' anyway!!! Respect to anyone who followed that and kept their sanity :D


06-12-2001, 09:39 AM
WW began in 1961. By 1970 the program had been modified twice. Originally, it was worse...by our standards anyway.

06-12-2001, 10:56 AM
In fact, Weight Watchers began as a business, officially, on May 15, 1963. Jean Nidetch began her journey via the New York City's Obesity Clinic in September 1961, and by sometime in 1962, she had lost her 72 pounds. It was at the end of 1961 (but NOT as Weight Watchers) that she called in six friends, just to talk, about their weight issues, after she spent 10 weeks on the diet prescribed by NYC's dept. of health and lost 20 pounds... She did a great thing for all of us.

Lin S
06-12-2001, 02:51 PM

I remember this program, too. I was not successful, either. I still shudder when I think about eating that liver. UGH!


06-12-2001, 03:42 PM
I lost 195 pounds on that plan and I still am thankful for all it taught me about healthy eating. The new plan sure could put more emphasis how to eat...junk food is not good for anyone and I see people posting that are eating it everyday and wondering why they aren't losing even though they are within their points...if you don't change the way you it, you'll look like you always have.

06-12-2001, 04:00 PM
Well said. I have a member who doesn't understand why SHE isn't losing -- she's having 2-3 points for breakfast (too low, but ok) 3-4 points for lunch (also, low and she's in the 22-27 range) and then at dinner? either she eats all junk (ice cream) or drinks wine.... duh!

have you kept most (or all?!) of that 195 off?

06-12-2001, 04:18 PM
I never would have lasted. I have a hard time even getting all my 5 fruits/veggies during the day. I hate rules

06-14-2001, 05:17 PM
Many folks lost tons of weight both on the original program and on all the variations since. I think the "specialness" of the original version meant you had to plan your eating VERY carefully and be very strict about everything you put in your mouth. On 123 we can eat just about anywhere anytime, and it's much easier to practice dietary self-deception.

The original was essentially a moderately low carbohydrate diet with lots of protein which is ideal for some folks and poison for others.

The idea of eating 5 beef weiners or a mass of liver is as disgusting to me as it ever was but it was effective for many many people.

06-14-2001, 07:14 PM
As W. C. Fields used to say, "Ah, yes, I remember it well!" I have been on just about every program WW has ever had since I joined the week before Christmas in 1970. I attended the 10th Anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden in NYC during the summer of 1973 and saw Jean Nidetsch in person.

All of us are indebted to this woman who not only stuck to her program but founded Weight Watchers. We are all richer because of her efforts.

06-14-2001, 07:48 PM

Agreed that eating junk food daily is rotten for our nutritional health, but why wouldn't folks be losing if they're staying within their points (and exercising and drinking water)? What is the chemical/physiological reason for not losing if you're eating junk but are still within your points range?

06-14-2001, 08:52 PM
If you don't eat a balanced diet, your health will suffer in the long run. Why do you think we have so many people consulting nutritionists? Most snack food is high cloresterol and we know where that goes. Good diet will help decrease your chance of cancer. We could all just eat ice cream, cake, cookies, chips and lose weight. What I see all over this site and others is people moaning about not losing weight and then saying they save up their points so they can snack all evening. Why do you think we have the guidelines in the Week 6 book? Drinking water and exercising will not combat a poor nutritional intake and all the supplements aren't going to offset everything. Remember the food pyramid?

06-15-2001, 12:02 PM
Hi, Quilter,

I've followed the food pyramid my entire life; good nutrition is very important to me and I stay well informed on the benefits of healthful eating in combating disease.

My question was, proper nutrition aside, why would people NOT lose if they're staying within their points, exercising and drinking water, regardless of what they're eating...? You say just above that "we could all just eat ice cream, cake, cookies, chips and lose weight," but in your previous message you say, "I see people posting that are eating [junk food] every day and then wondering why they aren't losing even though they are within their points." I'm not speaking in favor of a junk-food diet--just the opposite--I'm just wondering if you're saying that the nutrient content of foods cancels out the caloric content when it comes to losing weight, and, if so, what you mean. I have close ties to a number of RDs who would argue with this premise (while of course staunchly defending the other benefits of a balanced diet!).

06-18-2001, 02:22 PM
my mom did this program. i found her old materials in the closet, and read through them... I've tried to get her to go on the 123 program with me, but she is not a person who can plan her meals and eat well. She needs the structure of someone telling her what to eat, at what time, and in what quantities. I really think that WW should have a 2 pronged version of the points. One where you can do your own menus, and the other where they give you a list of meal menus for the week. I think they had something like that about 10 years ago, when i was on the program in 7th grade. Wow. I feel old now. Anyways.

06-18-2001, 02:59 PM
The materials I received when I started contained many examples of meals at various point levels. Why not just stick with those if all the constant choices are overwhelming? I have certain combinations and foods I repeat when I'm stressed (particularly frozen things that I can always have accessible) because they are healthful and satisfying. My most frequent evening meal is two boca burgers (no rolls), a bowl of no-point vegetables, and a big salad with a nice dressing. I've eaten this over and over, varying the combinations with the seasons. Sometimes I add a potato or some rice. You don't need to eat a million different foods if you're a person who is happy with less variety.

06-18-2001, 06:33 PM
yeah, i got those too. but my mom just can't deal with looking through the menus and choosing. and i'm too lazy to type everything into the computer for her so she can have a month of planned out meals for morning noon and night. i think it's just an excuse for her, personally. but she'll have to lose weight or have back surgery....maybe that'll be motivation for her.....

i sometimes feel like i am the parent and my mom is the child.


06-18-2001, 07:09 PM
Hi! Imaleader, thank you sooooo much. That 1970 printout was so funny. I remembr choking down food I didn't like and desperately trying to lose weight. I wasn't able to make that program work, nor any of the selection programs, ad infinitum...But counting points does work for me. A mature and thoughtful program. Thanks for the nostalgia and congrats to all of you who lost weight doing that program.

06-19-2001, 12:59 PM
How do I download the file?

06-19-2001, 09:12 PM
for me, the attachment is a clickable link in the original message. that should work...i think. if it doesn't, i have no idea what else to suggest. i am not the world's biggest computer wiz.

06-20-2001, 02:15 PM
What a chuckle reading the "old" program"! I remember my mother and her friend choking down chicken liver chili, which was the only way they could disguise the requisite liver servings. I, of course, love liver in any form, so I ate all of what they didn't, and look where it got me!

Shakethosehips, I think the problem with junk food may be in it being typically very high in simple carbohydrates. Many of us find we have to 'watch' the carbs or we don't lose well, especially carbs with no fiber.


06-22-2001, 03:46 PM
If you followed this to the letter, it was a very nutritious diet, especially in contrast to the general American diet of the times. You also need to remember that the variety of foods we now enjoy from whole-grain bread to Skinny Cows and edible low-fat salad dressing SIMPLY DIDN'T EXIST. Even s/f soda tasted vile.

I reviewed what I've eaten in the last few days and at least 80% of what I eat on WW123 wasn't availible in 1970 here in eastern Ct.

06-22-2001, 06:52 PM
Thank you so much for the program from the past. It was marvelous to read and I was highly relieved to be on the new one. Liver has never been a favorite, and I have to say the vegetable restrictions would have been unpleasant for me.

It is a great conversation piece.


06-22-2001, 09:54 PM
Your post reminded me of the time when Weight Watchers ice cream first hit the supermarkets. I think it was 1972, and it was only available in Poughkeepsie, New York. A friend and I drove all the way there from Bridgeport with two coolers of dry ice and bought as many as we could bring back. :lol:

The ice cream came in two flavors, chocolate and vanilla. It was "meally" tasting, a far, far cry from what is available today. But we thought we "died and went to heaven". ;)

06-25-2001, 12:23 PM
I'm just sharing with some of the younger folks here that weight-loss "back then" was tougher in some ways. Less decisions but very few really delicious options either. I remember WW bread in the markets which was great because you could have TWO SLICES instead of one.

06-25-2001, 02:55 PM
my mom ate that bread on weight watchers in the 70s too. she said it was so awful tasting that she stripped it off of her sandwich and tried to feed it to the pigeons. unfortunately, they wouldn't eat it either.
hee hee


06-27-2001, 04:09 PM
Everyone's been getting a kick out of that program. I did it for one week (starting last thursday) -- and followed in absolutely religiously. Not one illegal food passed my lips. Although, I will admit a couple of illegal combinations did. On 2 occasions, I had both breads at breakfast (until I purchased the Wonder Light at 1/2 point each) and I also had 1 cup of no fat cottage cheese (which did not exist back then) instead of the 2/3 cup regular (it was a shopping error.) My weigh in for this experiment is tomorrow. I will let you all know how it worked.

06-27-2001, 05:02 PM
We actually had dry curd cottage cheese ... very nasty but much lower in calories.

06-27-2001, 05:23 PM
Quilter: Isn't dry curd also known as "tangy"? or is that something else entirely. I remember "California" style (what ever that is) "tangy" and dry curd (but MAY have been the same?). My all time favorite,though, is POT Cheese by Friendship. I don't know if it's available all over, but it has a large curd, is soft, not runny, and almost sweet. Lower in fat, and used in a lot of Jewish style cooking. Can't always find it. (Richard Nixon used to put ketchup on his cottage cheese. Isnt' THAT special!

06-27-2001, 07:52 PM
Does anybody have the lists of the #3 and #4 veggies? In fact, I would love to see a copy of all the "old" food lists. The old plan wasn't easy, but it worked. You have got to wonder how 5 weiners at once ever let you lose weight.

I remember the day they announced that "Golden Grahams" were now "legal". I think all the WW cleaned the grocery shelves that night. There were so few cereals (good tasting ones, that is) that were allowed. We did think we had died and gone to heaven. Breakfast was pretty grim back then.

06-28-2001, 11:45 AM

somewhere on the page you will find the early program. she may list the exchanges. or check your local library for a copy of the original WW cookbook. I bought one on e-bay for 25 cents.

06-28-2001, 04:49 PM
For the person who was interested in "A" and "B" vegetables, all the specifics of the 1972 program are here: http://www.dottisweightlosszone.com/old1972ww.html

06-29-2001, 12:21 AM
Thanks a bunch for the url. Everything was there.

07-03-2001, 09:14 PM
I was a "clerk" for WW back in 1972. I remember when they began to allow us pasta in place of a bread (only once a day tho),
then I remembered when they added a tablespoon of margarine. Then they allowed you to have a serving of cereal in place of a bread. We boiled tomato juice down for catsup ... we sliced one slice of bread in half so we could have two slices. Then they gave us bananas, apples, cherries, grapes ... but you could have them only once a week, and not the same fruit two weeks in a row. I remember looking down on my dinner plate and seeing SIX hot dogs to eat (6oz. COOKED is a LOT of hot dogs). Loved liver so that was never a problem. I remember making NO BAKE CHEESECAKE with cottage cheese, skim milk powder, envelope of gelatin, pineapple. Our selection of Diet Sodas was pretty much limited to TAB and FRESCA (GAG) ... but you know, I got to goal on that diet! Now I am struggling to lose weight ...sometimes have 19 pts. in Hershey's kisses ... (that could be why I am struggling!). I did MUCH BETTER when I didn't have so many choices! Now I am 80 lbs. heavier than I was then ... and all these almost 29 years have been going to WW. The difference could also be I am 29 years OLDER now ... metabolism is pretty well shot. But I have been tempted to go back and get strict with myself again ... but then I crave the chocolate, cookies, cakes, soda, ice cream, candy, etc. and I am back off track. Sometimes I think lots of choices are NOT good ... even tho we want them. I am really shocked at the number of members who are not reaching their goals. Every day I start out well, and every day I seem to mess up. BIG SIGH. I have no problem getting in my exercise, drinking my water ... it is the desire for the "sweets" that leads me astray.

Aprill :?:

07-03-2001, 10:31 PM
for chocolate cravings, you can get some plain quick oats oatmeal (2pts for 1/4 cup) and add some hot chocolate powder, like quik. add water. yummy chocolate thing with some nutritional benefits.

chocolate luna bars are also good (4pts), and those are vaguely healthy too.

07-04-2001, 01:39 AM
Sometimes I am not so sure that we don't do better without all the choices. I was a WW way back when too. I remember when catsup became "legal" and the other things too. I remember the cheesecake made with unflavored jello-----the whole nine yards. 5 fish meals a week was awful, but I ate them. I used to gag down the liver, but it taught me to like it. I never could cook and eat it (I have to devein it), but my mother would cook it for me. Now that she's not here anymore I buy it at Luby's. Skim milk is the same thing------I used to gag it down. Now, I can't drink any other kind. So the old WW taught me some good habits that I still use. I am seriously considering going on the old plan for about 2 or 3 months. I got to goal in 1976. I am like you Aprill---the junk food gets me. I really think I do better when I don't have any of it at all. The refined sugar just makes me want more, and more, and more. It is a vicious circle. I wonder what would happen if a group of "strugglers" banded together and followed the old plan. It is worth a thought. Any takers?

07-04-2001, 10:58 AM
Thank heavens for the new plan!

I first started with WW in the early 80's and remember having to eat liver! (*shudder!*)
I NEVER touch it now, preferring whitefish and poultry.

#11 would have me screaming for the door! Just the thought of a "prohibited food list" would be enough for me to put up complete mental barriers.:nono:

I commend those who had the willpwer and the internal desire to follow that program!

What I would love to have is a copy of the Fat and Fibre program in a file like that one......with the fat and fibre listings of foods. Can anyone help? :)

07-04-2001, 12:01 PM
I understand completely what you are saying, and you do have a point. However, to this day I HATE fish and anything remotely connected to gelatin. That's all because of the year I spent on the "original" 1970 program with WW.

We have a great deal of freedom to be sure. What we need is the character (ouch!) to make the right choices for us. I believe if most of the time we made better selections nutritionally, then, the days of eating pizza and M&Ms (all within point range) would not de-rail us.

Lin S
07-04-2001, 06:41 PM

As I mentioned earlier, I've never done well with the older WW programs. I relish the flexibility and choices this latest approach gives me. I prefer this new method in which we're given a basic structure and the information we need to make the structure work. Then it's up to us to make appropriate choices. It's often both harder and easier than the older, more rigid style of program. But, I've noticed that for me, in the long run, I've learned more about what I need to do to get and, more importantly, keep the weight off in my three years on this program than I did in over 25 years of going on and off the more restricted programs.

But, even if I wanted to go back to that strict regimen, it would not be a great idea. I still have over 100 pounds to lose. My body would go straight into starvation mode if I restricted my food to that caloric level, especially the "Quick Start" types that had a super restricted first few weeks. Plus, I cannot eat that high protein diet. I feel ill when I eat that way. According to the WW booklets for Winning Points, I need to eat t.he high complex carb plan. Since I started doing that, I've felt more energetic and healthier than I have in years.

One of my other reasons for not using it today is that there has been a lot of research between 1970 and now about what constitutes a healthy diet. The old one is basically OK, but there are some things that nutrition experts would probably change. Some examples: The serving size of animal protein products and the overall amount of animal protein you'd eat in a week would probably be cut down. There most likely wouldn't be as many vegetable and fruit restricitons. You'd be allowed to eat nuts, avocado, and other similar foods. The liver would go because it's so full of saturated fat. And vegetarian meals would be allowed more often.

The other changes that would likely be made would be to get rid of the sillier rules that don't make a difference one way or another. Things like not being allowed to eat dinner food for breakfast or breakfast food for dinner. Or only being allowed to eat bread at breakfast and lunch. Not being allowed to eat pasta, rice, etc.

I sympathize with those of you who would prefer to be told what to eat, when to eat it, and exactly how much to eat, but I think that overall, we'll all be more able to keep off what we lose if we're forced from the beginning to learn how to make the best choices. Maybe that process means slower weight loss, since we don't always make the best choices. But I think that forcing us to choose results in us building habits that we can rely on to keep us at goal weight once we get there. We're not following a super restricted, super structured plan and only when we reach goal expected to figure out what to do with that piece of cake we're now allowed to eat. And, WW didn't really support people on maintenance that well because the maintenance program wasn't what the majority of people followed. You were basically on your own. With this program, it doesn't matter where you are in your journey, you get support because it's essentially the same program.


07-05-2001, 10:19 AM
I couldn't do that program now, the food is just too revolting to me. But for those who want precise menus to follow, you might take a look at the http//:www.ediets.com site. For $35 for three months they will send you daily nenus, shopping lists, and so on. Or just make up seven days worth of menus that follow the "old" program so that all your planning is done on one day. I'd substitute some similar foods(like Boca burgers, f/f hotdogs, Kashi, and HC spaghetti sauce)that didn't exist in 1970.