Personally, I find weight watchers to be a good alternative to calorie counting, which would have been the diet I had chosen if my grandmother had not gotten me the points plus calculator for my birthday. I actually don't pay for anything, except for their ice cream...those dulce de leche ice cream bars are sooo yummy, lol!
There are so many free versions of the calculators online and through smartphone apps, most of the reading material is online, including the actual weight watchers official website...you CAN do it without paying for it (I am unemployed right now, so I don't have the money to spend on a lot of extra things). I use this website as my support system, and I find it to be as successful as if I had signed up. You can even order the starter kit online through places like amazon...sure the price is marked up, but it's a one-time fee and comes with the calculator/food guides/starter reading material if you want to have something on hand.
The only issue I find in going online only without signing up is that you need to check the dates when the articles are written...I believe everything changed to pointsplus in 2010, so articles written before then are for the old system and may not have the same point values as the new one.
As far as sticking to the diet because I'm paying for it...I stick to it because it's working. There is something very satisfying about seeing the scale number go down, even when it's just a little bit. When I started, I had hit that "ah-hah" moment where it was time to make a choice...either stick with where I was heading, or get myself in shape. I chose to get myself in shape, and while I know there will be stumbles along the way, I am looking forward to the time where I can mark my ticker at my goal weight
Started Weight Watchers May 5th, 2013
Started MyFitnessPal June 23, 2013
"Rather than aiming for being perfect, just aim to be little bit better today than you were yesterday"
A Gamer's Journey of Weight Loss
First goal: 210 lbs-5% of body weight-achieved 6/24/13
Second goal: 199 lbs-10% of body weight and ONEderland!-achieved 8/20/13
Third goal: 175 lbs-high school graduation weight!