What Is Weight Watchers?
Alzheimer's and Aging Brains. When you're diabetic , it's crucial to eat well to keep blood sugar stable. There are many reasons for sudden weight gain when there are no changes in diet or exercise. As with all diets, nothing works for everyone, and nothing works forever. The other negative aspect of this diet is that the prepackaged foods contain the artificial sweeteners Sucaralose and Acesulfame K.
I did my first go-round of Weight Watchers with my sister. She and I—with around twenty other women and the occasional man —met in a church basement on Saturday mornings. The Points system had recently been introduced, and for me it worked.
Nidetch had done something revolutionary but uncomplicated: Over the years, I have attended meetings with three different cheerleading leaders; two were great, and one was just too much for me. Weight Watchers implemented a points system in the s, where foods were given a numerical value based on nutritional profile. So then, how does Weight Watchers work? Starting from the beginning, the program included a very specific eating system and over the years there have been a number of iterations.
But the introduction of the original Weight Watchers Points system —currently referred to as SmartPoints—kicked the specifics into super-user-friendly. It came into being from Weight Watchers Limited in the United Kingdom, where two women invented, developed, and patented the Points system calculator. Using an algorithm that calculated calories, fats, proteins, and carbs, it would have a couple of iterations, too, as more was learned about nutrition and exercise science.
But the underlying system, of counting foods as values based on nutrition, was genius then and it remains the cornerstone today. The newest program, launched in , is dubbed Beyond the Scale. Weight Watchers says it wants people to not diet per se, but adopt a Weight Watchers lifestyle:.
Our proven program is not a diet. Yes, you will lose weight. The current program is pretty simple, in that every food has a value.
SmartPoints are calculated based on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. You simply adhere to your allotted points. There are no forbidden foods. And that phrase alone is for some the ah-ha! Weight Watchers explains that it takes the complex nutritional information of a food and gives it a single number—the SmartPoints value—so people can make smarter food choices while eating the stuff they like to eat.
Well, some of it anyway. And, each week you get bonus points—which, when I did Weight Watchers in my last go-round, I banked and then pigged out on Friday nights.
Just Ben, Jerry, and me. Anyway, the idea of points is smart, easy, and doable. And I mean not just parking further away from the store entrance. Get your heart rate up and keep it up with fat-burning, good-for-your-heart exercise. I swim albeit not enough. You can walk, run, jog, row, climb, spin, bike, step, jump, skip, kick—you get the idea.
And do it at least 30 minutes every day—or at least most days of the week—as best as you can fit in your already ridiculously hectic life. Actually, make it your time; take 30 minutes, put headphones on, and do it.
And, it turns out, even during the most seemingly mundane of tasks, you earn FitPoints which you add to your total points for the day. FitPoints is also a smart idea.
Weight Watchers explains it this way:. FIT is about getting back in touch with your body. Weight Watchers has several dozen videos, workouts, demos, fitness plans, and challenges.
And all of this can be managed on a handy, popular app. The Weight Watchers mobile app for smartphones and devices helps dieters to track weight loss progress, manage SmartPoints and FitPoints, shop for and plan meals, and offers social networking with other members.
Every step you take, every bite you eat, kept track of. The mobile app for Android has almost , reviews on Google Play with an overall rating of 4. Reviewers find it easy to use, convenient, and it helps dieters stay on track. Similarly, on iTunes, more than 2, real people reviewed the current iteration of the app and gave it a close to 5 stars. Even the previous versions of the app—with 12, reviews—agreed it was effective, easy to use, and helped Weight Watchers dieters keep track. On the Weight Watchers app you can live chat with a coach and—for a lot of people who are focused on the fitness in the program and want a fuller health-tech experience—toggle to the Activity tab to your track activeness.
And if you have an Apple Watch, wireless scales, and an activity tracker—like Up by Jawbone or Apple Health, for example—you can connect them to your Weight Watchers account.
Along with Weight Watchers online, a virtual and brick-and-mortar support network yes, there are still meetings, absolutely! W hat does Weight Watchers cost? A little secret from me: Once you have done Weight Watchers, you know how to do Weight Watchers—so as some say, you can do it without paying.
Remember I said that accountability, motivation, community, and support are the secrets to Weight Watchers? In fact, Weight Watchers itself—even in this day and age where everything is online—recommends the plan you go with is the one with meetings: But, as of fall of , there are three plans:. Just read the fine print. If you follow it. If you fall off the tracks, you just get back on. When I did my first round with Weight Watchers, I lost 4 pounds the first week and I have to tell you, I remember that day like it was yesterday.
The focus is on SmartPoints—or points assigned to foods based on calories, saturated fat, protein, and sugar—which you add up to reach your daily allotment fruits and veggies are free. And you know what: One study analyzed the effectiveness of a variety of diets, and declared Weight Watchers to be such a great option for keeping weight off long-term that docs should prescribe it to their patients.
The secret sauce to their success? The support of Weight Watchers meetings and accountability at weigh-ins, keeping you motivated to reach your goals. The French and Italians have something right: Did we forget to mention wine?
In a meta-analysis on 16 studies , researchers realized the plan helped dieters lose an average of 8.
But it's not magic—you have to cut calories, exercise , and stick with it for more than six months for the best results, the research found. So if you're going to go for it, put away the entire bottle of vino and pour yourself a sensible glass instead.
Cutting sodium can help minimize bloat , and eating more low-calorie, high-fiber foods is a bright idea for any woman who needs to fit into her skinny jeans.
More than that, it's a heart-healthy way of eating that can keep blood pressure in check. So you'll feel good, too. That's the idea behind MIND, a plan designed to help prevent Alzheimer's disease by focusing on foods like green leafy vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and hooray!
This diet has some big guys behind it: The National Institutes of Health recommends TLC Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes for lowering your cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease—especially if you have risk factors like being a woman who is 55 or older, have a family history, or have high blood pressure.
Following the diet—low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and focused on fiber—can lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol by 20 to 30 percent and allow you to take a smaller dose of cholesterol-lowering medication, the NIH reports.
If you could hunt and gather it, you can eat it. That means yes to meats, fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils like olive and coconut , and seafood. But cereal grains, legumes, dairy, and potatoes are all big no-nos.
While research isn't conclusive, small studies say go for it. One found that after three weeks, people dropped five pounds. Another found that after 10 days, blood pressure and cholesterol improved. So it can slim down your tush and healthy up your heart, but the restriction sure, cake is out, but so are beans can drive you cray-cray—not to mention make going out to eat more difficult.
Check out these seven things no one is telling you about going Paleo. Life without bacon and cheese sounds harsh, but your hips will thank you. Vegan diets beat out semi-vegetarian, pescatarian fish , and omnivorous meat and plant foods diets, according to recent research.
In fact, after six months, dieters lost more than twice the weight compared to the other groups. But you can't nix all animal products and call it a day—quality matters. If you're going vegan, focus on those complex carbs, produce, healthy fats, and whole soy foods; skip processed junk, even if it's vegan. Whether your reason for going vegetarian is ethical, environmental, or for health, one thing's for sure: In fact, in that same study that evaluated vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous diets, vegetarian diets were almost as effective as vegan—helping people lose 6.
Even if you fall off the wagon and break your diet hey, it happens! If it can get Jennifer Aniston her amazing abs, arms, butt, well then, we're going to take it into consideration. On the low carb plan, you eat low-fat protein, non-starchy vegetables, small amounts of fruit, and a bit of healthy fat like olive oil.
In a meta-analysis that pitted The Zone diet against Weight Watchers, Atkins, and South Beach, researchers found The Zone is good for modest, long-term weight loss. After a year, dieters dropped 3. Not bad, but it may be disappointing if you have more to lose. Reverse or prevent heart disease. Nutrition of course plays a huge role in a healthy ticker, and Dr. Ornish's plan keeps you focused on eating the super healthy stuff: The challenge is no meat, poultry, or fish or caffeine so it can be hard to follow , but you can eat unlimited calories if you're doing it for health rather than weight loss.
Not only is it ranked a top plant-based and heart-healthy diet by U. If you've got baby making on the mind, this may be the diet for you. Its basis comes from a book by Harvard docs , in which they make their recommendations from the Nurses' Health Study that concluded that what you eat impacts egg quality, ovulation, and your chances of getting pregnant.
Medifast and Nutrisystem require you to purchase other foods in addition to the diet products. The Medifast Lean and Green Meal includes 6 to 8 ounces of lean protein, vegetables and up to two servings of healthy fats. You can also have two small servings of low-calorie condiments each day. On Nutrisystem, you eat healthy foods from the grocery store to supplement your Nutrisystem meals and snacks. You can have fruits, vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, reduced fat dairy and lean protein.
Both Medifast and Nutrisystem offer options for men, women, people with diabetes, older adults and vegetarians. If you do not have as much weight to lose, Nutrisystem might be a better choice because it offers a slower rate of weight loss that agrees with recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines from the U. Department of Health and Human Services.