I'm a Weight Watchers member, so I'm just going to do a Pro/Con list for you:
-A plan already laid out.
-Promotes choosing healthier foods, through their good health guidelines.
-Promotes adding in activity in all forms. Through an actual work-out to taking the stairs over an elevator.
-Still allows flexibility to fit a person's life, and to enjoy certain foods in moderation.
-Specific materials to help a person stay on plan each week.
-In Person Support & Encouragement through meetings.
-In Person accountability through weigh-ins.
-Meetings have a different healthy topic they go over each week.
-Meeting leaders are there to help! They've SUCCESSFULLY followed the program.
-Website that includes a food tracking program and their own forums filled with thousands of people also using WW, as well as healthy articles and scientific articles!
-Phone application for tracking on the go.
-You still need to do the work on your own. Like any plan, YOU are in charge of following the plan or not.
-It can cost a hefty sum for people on a tight budget. (Note! Some health insurance companies do cover part of the costs, so everyone should look into that if considering WW.)
-Meetings worthless if you DON'T GO. For a person who doesn't want/need in person encouragement and accountability... then the meeting part of the system isn't really going to be worth it for them whatsoever.
-Points, while not the same as calories, can be similar to calorie counting. It's honestly just a matter of personal preference to whichever one fits a person better. (Calorie counting is free)
-There are actually a few in person support groups (like TOPS - tops.org) that allow people to attend for a smaller fee, and don't promote any one type of plan.
-Occasionally the meetings can be a little cheesy
-Again, if you don't like weighing in front of people...the weigh-ins are going to be a drag.
-Some people do just pay for the online tools which is cheaper, but it doesn't include all the physical materials or the ability to go to meetings.
Here's the overall:
Calorie Counting can accomplish the same things as the WW Program, but it takes a little more personal footwork to figure out certain things (like how many calories to start out with, percentages of types of foods), and it doesn't come with a "built in" support system. Following Calorie Counting means you have to do a little more specific reaching out (assuming you went to meetings before).
I have seen people lose significant amounts on both, and honestly the only difference is that the people needed to decide what worked best for them.
I'm the type of person where I know WW works. I enjoy the program emphasis on healthy choices and moving more, and so it keeps me positive and keeps me going. But, you'll also notice that I still frequent forums like 3FC in order to incorporate healthy ideas from all over. And I've DEFINITELY heard some great ideas from Calorie Counters, heck even Low Carbers, etc! People following any plan can have a healthy outlook. So, it comes down to what fits our lives individually.
You can make any plan healthy, conversely you can make any plan unhealthy. It's up to the individual.
I have OFTEN heard "Why are you doing WW when you can do CC for free?" Because calorie counting (for free) does not
give ME what I need right now in my journey. That doesn't mean I don't see the value in it!
You have to decide which type of plan will give you what you need. There's nothing wrong with either choice!
Best of wishes with whatever you choose. 3FC will be here to support you no matter which you decide upon!