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Mulling over the Weight Watchers idea...

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Old 05-10-2011, 12:05 AM   #1
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Default Mulling over the Weight Watchers idea...

Hello everyone,

Upon joining 3fatchicks, I was greeted and had people suggest weight watchers to me. The program is something I have considered previously, but something I didn't have enough information on to not further research it. I know that posting here will get me many positive reviews on it, but really what I want and need is a full scope from the positive side.

If I were to use this to get to my goal weight and then wean myself off of it to a healthy diet, but not calculating the points would that be an issue?

I hear there are no longer actual meals they send you/that you purchase in the stores, but that you can make your own meals from their cookbooks?

How does their point system work versus actually counting your calories, carbs, proteins etc?

Is it really worth it if you wouldn't be going to actual meetings? I worry about this especially as I live with a fairly agoraphobic family... and getting out of the house is complicated at best. I have in the past been told the online subscription is a ripoff, I've even heard so far as it being a scam.... with poor customer support.

If you could take a moment and tell me your good an bad experiences with it, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thank you,

Fallingawake
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:51 AM   #2
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Hello! I think that this version PP of WW is the best one yet,but you have to also realize that WW is a business and their end goal is to make money.An example of this is they tell us to eat more protein and fiber and Less fat,Sugar,and carbs..Yet,ALL of their WW products are filled with junky carbs,sugar,and fat...and its really hard to leave the meetings without buying their "treats."

My Main reason for going to WW vs calorie counting is the Meetings.Its nice to be around other people who can relate to my issues and share ideas with each other about healthy food ideas and I even met a few exercise buddies.

I do believe that calorie counting might be more effective,but WW does a GREAT job in teaching that this is a lifestyle not a "diet" I Never feel like Im on a diet.I still eat what I want just in smaller amounts and not everyday.

Its important for you to make time for yourself..Your family will be O.K. at home for 30 min..and some people bring their kids to the meetings as well.

My body LOVES Atkins and lower Carb types of plans,but I could never stick with them,or go through the "rungs".With WW I am losing weight slower,but its more permanent.

My advice to you would be to check out a meeting for free.Every first meeting is free and stay after the meeting to hear the "intro session" and ask lots of questions.

You can also check out the Ww forums to get a better idea of the plan...
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:57 AM   #3
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AND Yes,you dont purchase meals from WW..unless u buy their frozen meals at the grocery store.You eat what you want at home but they want us to concentrate on healthy foods...Lean meats,veggies,low fat dairy,whole wheat carbs,and fruits...You are given 49 extra PP a week which u can use for a night out or some type of special meal or not at all.U can also earn more Points for exercising.Personally I eat about 70 percent of the above foods and 30 percent of whatever I want...I use my extra weeklies on drinks with my friends once a week.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:19 AM   #4
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I do WW Online and I love it: I have no idea why anyone would consider it a ripoff, let alone a scam. I never really liked going to the meetings, they just weren't for me, so the online system is perfect for me.

There are meals you can buy at the grocery store, but you don't *have* to. As long as you have the nutritional information for whatever you're going to eat: whether it's a frozen meal, something you made at home, or ordered at a restaurant, you can figure out the points value. The online system actually has a recipe builder, where I can put in the ingredients for something I'm cooking and it will calculate how many points per serving. In no way are you limited to the WW meals or cookbooks. It's just about having the nutritional info for what you're eating.

As for weaning yourself off at some point, I don't know. Because in my experience, when I stop doing WW, I gain the weight back (that's why I'm here again, naturally!) You can't get lazy about tracking your points. WW works, but only if YOU work it.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:39 AM   #5
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See, my issue isn't wanting to eat healthy, because I truly want to eat better, and I am eating better portion sizes etcetera... And I don't really need the outside meetings, especially if they are mostly just weigh ins... I would prefer to do my weigh ins privately with my close friends or family.

I like knowing that when I don't eat too much, or if I don't eat too many calories I will still lose or maintain weight. I also like knowing that if I cheat every now and then it won't kill me.... I guess most of what I am concerned with is the lack of information I have on the after effects of weight watchers... If you eat unhealthy portions, or unhealthy food you are bound to gain weight, I just was wondering if it is still feasible to only use it to shed the weight.

From my understanding losing weight with Weight Watchers is less about a life change and more about trying to eat 'healthier' but still not healthy foods...
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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If I were to use this to get to my goal weight and then wean myself off of it to a healthy diet, but not calculating the points would that be an issue?
I'm not sure what you mean... The focus of WW *is* eating a healthy diet. They set you up for success by giving you tools and guidelines on how to life a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable, enjoyable and tasty. The points system is comparable to counting calories, so in effect, if you started with WW and learned what they have to teach you, you could theoretically switch to counting calories and do it on your own, if you think you can sustain it on your own. I know I cannot - I need the program. I go to meetings, because I need that in person accountability. It's worth the cost to me to invest in myself.

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I hear there are no longer actual meals they send you/that you purchase in the stores, but that you can make your own meals from their cookbooks?
I don't believe WW ever had a program of that sort. They do make their own products and you can buy them in stores or at meetings, but it's not a requirement. I often keep their frozen meals (as well as Healthy Choice meals and Lean Cuisine meals) to take for easy lunches at work, but I don't eat them every day. I will also occasionally buy some of their desserts (as well as other low fat / low sugar / healthier options) to have as an after-dinner snack. As I said, the plan focuses on teaching you how to MAKE healthy foods, not just consume pre-packaged foods.

WW does have lots of cook books where the points are figured out for you, but you can easily take any recipe you love and calculate the points. With your membership, you have access to their eTools, which includes a recipe builder. I've taken a bunch of my favorite recipes and entered them into the builder. In some cases, I've tweaked them, substituting healthier ingredients for less healthy ingredients to bring down the points per serving. I am FAR from a great cook, but I've made some really tasty stuff!

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Is it really worth it if you wouldn't be going to actual meetings? I worry about this especially as I live with a fairly agoraphobic family... and getting out of the house is complicated at best.
Are you yourself agoraphobic? If you are not, then going to the meetings could be very beneficial for you. It would actually be a perfect way to make some time for yourself and take a big step into doing something positive in your life. If you find the meetings are not worth it for you emotionally or financially, you can always switch to the online program.

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I have in the past been told the online subscription is a ripoff, I've even heard so far as it being a scam.... with poor customer support.
It's definitely NOT a scam. I am not a HUGE fan of the website beyond the eTools but it's not a scam. Their forums are not easy to navigate, but I solved that problem by finding this site. :-) As I said above, though, accountability is a BIG factor for me, and I need the meetings in order to succeed, at least for right now.

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Originally Posted by FallingAwake View Post
If you could take a moment and tell me your good an bad experiences with it, I would be greatly appreciative.
All in all, I'm very happy with the program. It find it very easy to follow, I'm not deprived, and I've lost consistently for my first six weeks. I figure the only thing I have to lose is the weight, so I'm going for it!
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Mini-Goal #1: 10 lbs - April 23, 2011 || Mini-Goal #2: 5% (14#) - May 7, 2011 || Mini-Goal #3: 20 lbs - June 4, 2011 ||
Mini-Goal #4: 10% (28#) || Mini-Goal #5: 35 lbs (July 4th Challenge!) || Mini-Goal #6: 15% (42#)
Mini-Goal #7: 50 lbs (Labor Day Challenge!) || Mini-Goal #8: 20% (56#) || Mini-Goal #9: 65 lbs
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:46 AM   #7
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From my understanding losing weight with Weight Watchers is less about a life change and more about trying to eat 'healthier' but still not healthy foods...
That is 100% incorrect. The focus is all about a LIFESTYLE change. The point of the program is that you're not dieting. You are establishing a lifestyle that will first help you lose the weight you want to lose and then help you maintain that weight loss for the rest of your life.

The word DIET means DEPRIVATION to a lot of people. It means, "I can NEVER have that again!" which does nothing more than make us crave the very thing we think we can never have. WW says that nothing is off-limits, but you have to make those "never" foods the exception, not the rule. Life happens, and WW shows you how to live your life AND stay on track.
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Mini-Goal #1: 10 lbs - April 23, 2011 || Mini-Goal #2: 5% (14#) - May 7, 2011 || Mini-Goal #3: 20 lbs - June 4, 2011 ||
Mini-Goal #4: 10% (28#) || Mini-Goal #5: 35 lbs (July 4th Challenge!) || Mini-Goal #6: 15% (42#)
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:58 AM   #8
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To me Weight Watchers is so flexible that you can do it unhealthy just as well as healthy. Your choice! Whether you go with artificial sweeteners, low fat etc. or just try to switch to more veggies and smaller portion of meat, fat and carbs.

I also think that Weight Watchers points is just a convenient way of counting calories, fat and carbs. I like counting points because it is quicker and easier to remember than three different numbers.

We do it on our own. We have the formula to an older Weight Watcher system (it calculates calories and fat only) and I know the health guidelines. That's all you need. It takes a bit more time in the beginning to learn the points and look stuff up but mostly you will find you stick to lots of foods you enjoy and it will be a shorter list than you think. We use an iPhone app (iWatchr) and look up calories on packages in store or online.

The online Weight Watchers thing works, I did that a couple of years ago but they didn't have an iphone app or anything for Canada.

I have never been to a meeting in my life. I didn't like the idea of talking about it and public weigh ins. In 2002 I lost 44 lbs in 6 months just by doing it on my own.
Now I have lost 37 lbs since mid January and again only by doing it myself, no meetings. So it definitely works. 3FC helps a lot I think to stay motivated too.

I would say try it. See if you can find a home kit on ebay or buy one from Weight Watchers or sign up online. I am 100% sure that you can make it without meetings if you are committed!
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:58 AM   #9
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The points system is comparable to counting calories, so in effect, if you started with WW and learned what they have to teach you, you could theoretically switch to counting calories and do it on your own, if you think you can sustain it on your own.
Thank you for this information, it is a large part of what I am interested in. I personally love the thought of a guideline for the beginning of my journey, but I don't want to feel pressured to stick to a system after I have dropped the weight... I want to be able to use portion control and mostly common sense/knowledge on calories. If WW is a good way to train that then I find it ideal.



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WW does have lots of cook books where the points are figured out for you, but you can easily take any recipe you love and calculate the points. With your membership, you have access to their eTools, which includes a recipe builder.
If you go to the meetings in person do you have the same access to the Etools as well?

I will check out some of the cook books on Amazon, weigh my options there before checking them out on the WW website.



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Are you yourself agoraphobic?
Due to me going through residency right now I am unable to have a license in this country... as such I cannot be insured under either of the family cars and I would be stuck using the transport system. I will check out where the closest places are and give it a shot.


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It's definitely NOT a scam. I am not a HUGE fan of the website beyond the eTools but it's not a scam. Their forums are not easy to navigate, but I solved that problem by finding this site.
Alrighty, I had just seen some very, very negative reviews in regards to some credit card mishaps with them and their customer service not being the uh... most willing to listen to their customers issues.



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All in all, I'm very happy with the program. It find it very easy to follow, I'm not deprived, and I've lost consistently for my first six weeks.
Have you found there to be any draw backs to it, besides the obvious (it's not a quick fix, you do have to meet parameters for it to work, etc.)?
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:11 AM   #10
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I also think that Weight Watchers points is just a convenient way of counting calories, fat and carbs. I like counting points because it is quicker and easier to remember than three different numbers.
Does not counting all three (or four) numbers ever present itself as an issue?


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I would say try it. See if you can find a home kit on ebay or buy one from Weight Watchers or sign up online. I am 100% sure that you can make it without meetings if you are committed!
Thank you for all of the information, and congratulations on your weight loss. It really takes determination to lose the weight. I will search around for a home kit, and some of the cookbooks when I wake up in the morning. I would have quoted more of this but I am a bit sleepy and foggy minded right now (2 AM here) as well as having said some things in another reply that would make it seem a bit much.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by FallingAwake View Post
See, my issue isn't wanting to eat healthy, because I truly want to eat better, and I am eating better portion sizes etcetera... And I don't really need the outside meetings, especially if they are mostly just weigh ins
The meetings are more than just weigh-in. That's only a very small part of it. After everyone weighs in, you sit and talk about various food and points issues, and other things related to weight loss. It's like this forum, but in person

(I just happen to be a bit anti-social and prefer this forum to the meetings, which is why I do it all online )

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I guess most of what I am concerned with is the lack of information I have on the after effects of weight watchers... If you eat unhealthy portions, or unhealthy food you are bound to gain weight, I just was wondering if it is still feasible to only use it to shed the weight.
I'm not sure what you're saying here. That you want to use WW to lose the weight and then quit and try and maintain on your own? The thing is, with ANY sort of change in dietary habits, the minute you stop following it, you will gain the weight back. WW is not exempt from that, nor is it the only thing like that. But WW isn't a diet, and isn't meant to be treated like one. It is meant to be used as a lifestyle change, and maintenance is a big part of that, once you reach goal.

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From my understanding losing weight with Weight Watchers is less about a life change and more about trying to eat 'healthier' but still not healthy foods...
That is definitely incorrect. WW is most certainly about a life change, which is why it stops working if you stop following the plan. While the focus is on eating healthy, and healthy foods, they also make sure you realize you don't have to give up the "not healthy foods" in order to lose weight. But it's not like they take the attitude of "Oh, eat whatever you want, just as long as it's in your points, you'll lose!" because that's not true.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:41 AM   #12
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The meetings are more than just weigh-in. That's only a very small part of it. After everyone weighs in, you sit and talk about various food and points issues, and other things related to weight loss.
Ah, I guess that makes a bit of sense...



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The thing is, with ANY sort of change in dietary habits, the minute you stop following it, you will gain the weight back.
I understand that dietary habits changing will cause a weight gain or a weight loss, I just don't want to have to tie it all back to WW... If I continue to eat healthy though stop following the WW program as if its word were law... that is all I worry about... This is the first time I've actually looked into losing weight, and since I am already eating healthier and exercising..... I am honestly just terrified to yo-yo.

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But WW isn't a diet, and isn't meant to be treated like one. It is meant to be used as a lifestyle change, and maintenance is a big part of that, once you reach goal.
I know it's not meant to seem like a 'diet' but it is. Just like eating healthy is a 'diet'. Just because the word 'diet' is often associated with one people starving themselves to lose a few kilo's or denying themselves certain foods for the rest of their lives, doesn't mean the word diet isn't still applicable here. It's like people telling me that Christianity isn't a religion, it's a life style. Buddhism isn't a religion, it's a lifestyle....

Truth is, religion changes your lifestyle, sticking to anything changes your lifestyle... By such logic your diet directly affects your life style.



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But it's not like they take the attitude of "Oh, eat whatever you want, just as long as it's in your points, you'll lose!" because that's not true.
It's just the way it was presented to me. This is why I came here to ask questions.

Thank you for your candid answers, they have been helpful.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:22 AM   #13
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I disagree with you. I am not on a diet. To me, a diet is a short term reaction. People diet to lose weight. When they stop dieting, they gain it all back. People that live a healthy lifestyle maintain a healthy weight. I find that to be a pretty strong distinction. As such, your religion analogy doesn't quite work. One's religion is PART of one's lifestyle, just as food choices and exercise are PART of one's lifestyle.

To answer some of your follow up questions:

Any WW membership, whether that At Home or the In Person programs, have access to the eTools. They can be accessed through their website. I also have an iPhone and an iPad, and I have apps on both that sync between all three. For me, that means no excuses for not tracking my food and exercise. It's all about convenience.

I myself have fallen victim to a credit card "mishap" when I signed up for the online program about two years ago, but ultimately it was my own fault. There is a trial membership, and there are cut off dates. If you don't cancel before the trial ends, you get charged. If you continue after the trial ends, and you decide to cancel later on, but you do so after the billing cycle closes, you get charged. It's easy to blame WW for these things, but it's really personal responsibility to know when the billing cycle ends and planning accordingly.

I haven't found any drawbacks to the program itself, and the things I do criticize are really just personal preferences. I love the eTools, though I'm not a fan of the rest of their website. I find it clumsy and cumbersome to navigate. I would set it up differently, but thousands of people use it on a daily basis, so it can't be all bad.

At the meetings, no one announces your weight. You weigh in discreetly, your progress is tracking, and you get your materials for the upcoming week. During the meeting, my leader will ask if anyone wants to share any successes. People will share both their weight loss as well as their non-scale victories from the week. Some people share every week; some people never do. It's completely up to you how much you participate. Even if you just sit and listen, it's so liberating to know you're not the only one struggling - that there are others out there facing the same challenges, and you just might get a suggestion or two out of the meeting that will make all the difference for you.
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Mini-Goal #1: 10 lbs - April 23, 2011 || Mini-Goal #2: 5% (14#) - May 7, 2011 || Mini-Goal #3: 20 lbs - June 4, 2011 ||
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:57 PM   #14
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I know it's not meant to seem like a 'diet' but it is. Just like eating healthy is a 'diet'. Just because the word 'diet' is often associated with one people starving themselves to lose a few kilo's or denying themselves certain foods for the rest of their lives, doesn't mean the word diet isn't still applicable here.
I just wanted to throw in some clarification about "diet" and what it means to most people at 3FC. (Because, yes, even on different forums will you find different ideas.) You will not find as many people saying they are on a diet here at 3FC (despite the full name of the site), because it is implied that there will be a time when we will be OFF the diet.

Most people like to say they're changing their life, their habits or their food choices, because it gives a more solid sense of permanent change.

Now, I agree that the word diet actually simply means what we eat. We are all on this site in the first place, because we're changing our diets for the better. But, we are not "on a diet". And there's the distinction.

I believe we like to emphasize that distinction, because there's not really a difference between losing weight and maintaining the weight lost. It's the same thing in the end. We've made permanent, healthy changes to our lives. That's what is helping us lose weight, and those same permanent healthy changes are going to help us keep it off in the end.

I know you've said you don't plan to just skip out and eat whatever you want after goal, that you want healthy changes to stick with you. Counting points (calories or even noting the amount you're eating), tracking the healthy guidelines (making sure you're getting enough vegetables, water and healthy fats from things like olive oil), moving more (getting in daily activity). These are all things that are ALREADY built into the plan. It's not anything magical. It's just the way that we here at the WW area have found is best for us to keep track.

Ignoring the meetings part, sure we could calorie count, and do it without paying, but the whole of it together is what keeps us going and on plan.

I'm not weening myself off of WW when I lose the weight. WW is maintenance from the very moment I lost my first pound.

I am not saying that it works that way for everyone. Maybe you use WW until you lose everything and then calorie count or are able to keep an eye on things without either, but I do not recommend it.

If you take a look down at the Maintainers area you'd see. Most of those ladies and gents still plan their meals, mark their workouts, calorie count, note their fruits and veggies. They are doing the exact same things we are doing to lose the weight. Their benefit isn't seeing the scale go down, it's seeing the scale stay the same.

I know this seems like a long blab over a simple word such as "diet", but the subtle distinction is very important to enough people that you'll see "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle" on MANY of the forum areas and replies. That's not to say you can't tell yourself or others that you're on a diet. Different strokes for different folks. But, usually you won't see others referring to it that way, or you'll see some members throwing out the ol' phrase mentioned.

We're reminding ourselves as much as others that there is no going back.

Last edited by Lovely : 05-10-2011 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Changed wording for clarification
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:03 PM   #15
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It's the same thing with calorie counting- sure you can lose weight by cutting calories and exercise while eating whatever you want as long as it's within calorie range but would you be healthy if your diet only consisted of chips, ice cream, pizza with no dairy, fruits or veggies? Probably not and you probably would feel more hungrier and less satiated compared to if you ate more veggies/fruits as well as dairy.

It IS a lifestyle change and I love it because the choices you make are your own, no guilt if I want to indulge in this or that, tho I do try to make good choices most of the time- getting in my water (at least 2-3 liters a day), veggie/fruits, dairy, healthy fats/oils and whole grains. To me it sounds like you are just overthinking it. Just do it! What have you got to lose?

ETA: I used to think the word "diet" was an evil four letter word that equaled deprivation, starvation, lot of no-no foods with yucky lowfat/calorie crapola food. Now I look at it as a definition of what you eat. My diet consists of mostly lean meat, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and lots of dairy with the occasional sweets and alcohol.
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