Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weight Watchers Beware!

Ecstatic to freely eat bananas, for the first time in years—this was the sentiment at Thursday’s meeting. Finally able to select salmon—previously too pricey by their point system—this made them rejoice.

Most of my readers care little about Weight Watchers. But I’m writing this post because whether we realize it or not, whether we are “Weight Watchers” or not, their messages infuse into our culture and into our beliefs. They impact our thoughts about what’s acceptable to eat for health and weight management, whether they are myths or truths. Hearing some myth-information recently, I decided I needed to cut it short, before it spreads. I also wanted to point out a side of diets that most lose sight of—the damage they do.

Unlike those in attendance at their meetings, their cheerleaders who are pleased with their program and their successes, I get to see another perspective.

No Lifetime Membership for Sharon

Sharon came to see me for the first time this week, having never struggled with her weight. That is, until the past few years when it began to slowly climb.  That led this smart, level-headed woman to Weight Watchers. She followed their plan 100%, yet still gained weight. Encouraged by their new program, she figured maybe the old program just wasn’t for her. Two weeks into the new Points Plus system, she arrived frustrated and distraught in my office, and for good reason.

Sharon’s climbing weight made perfect sense to me, and with the recommendations we discussed I am confident she will turn things around. But I mention her because of how she changed as a result of the Weight Watcher’s diet.

Her whole life, she ate what she wanted, in moderate portions. She’d have ice cream at night—when she felt like it—but only as much as she needed. She had wine with dinner some nights, but just a glass, and she listened to and trusted her body. And it worked for all of her 38 years. Only recently, the balance wasn’t there.

Enter Weight Watchers. Her weight continues climbing, and now she is thinking about food all the time. She avoids the normal foods she always had, the moderate portions of foods she truly enjoyed, opting instead for lots of fruit (free on the new program). She moved from trusting her body, which had always worked for her, to trusting the program. And even if it had worked, it has totally impacted her relationship with food, and her ability to be normal. And this can happen with any diet, not just Weight Watchers.

So I went to a meeting. Yes, I decided to put on my journalist’s hat and collect information. I wanted to be fair and not misrepresent their program, to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Lori goes incognito

They were prepared to sign me right up, on line, and at the meeting. It didn’t matter that my BMI was in the normal range (I do have issues with using BMI, but we’ll take that up at another post). No one questioned the appropriateness of my joining, in spite of my normal weight. I could only imagine the damage done, if an eating disordered individual, also in the normal weight range, showed up. The messages, in my estimation, run counter to those supporting a healthy relationship with food.

Here’s what I saw and heard. Upon checking in, your progress is assessed. Behaviors? Thoughts? No, no, simply weight. Progress is measured solely in pounds. It doesn’t much matter how your weight changed.  No, the group leader isn’t inquiring whether you binged, then restricted all week, or if you purged before the meeting. You are praised simply for the weight change.

Now hopefully, those of you dealing with eating disorders or even weight management, in another setting, have experienced a different approach. When you see your team, progress should be measured not only by weight change, but by improvement in your thinking and preoccupation with eating and weight, by changes in your vital signs, and your energy level and sense of well-being.  Weight may not change one week, but we may see breakthroughs in how you cope with challenging situations without relying on food and disordered behaviors.

Those of you who really know me would have been so proud! I work hard to filter my thoughts, when they’re inappropriate, and to think before I speak. I could be sharp tongued, at times, when something really pushes my buttons. But at this 7:30 meeting I asked some naïve-sounding questions, and truly tried to listen to the answers. And I bit my tongue really hard.

It’s not about the calories? It’s about eating for health? Really?

“Can you tell me about the new point system?” I asked. “We’ve learned so much about weight loss,” the meeting leader replied. “It’s not just the calories, it’s the macronutrients,” she tells me, “the protein, fat and the carbs, besides the fiber, that determine your points.” Hmm. Has anyone taken basic biochemistry? Or maybe just high school biology?  Those calories in foods come from (drum roll please) those very macronutrients—protein, fat and carbohydrate.

Let me remind you that energy balance and weight regulation is about the calories. In a large Harvard study, they again showed us that weight change is the same whether following a low carbohydrate or low fat diet, by one year’s time, calories being equal. And similarly, for those on the other side, the weight gain is no worse regardless of which component of your diet you increase, calories being equal. And then there’s my favorite Dr. Haub study (see previous post).

What is true, is that certain food choices may make us more full in the short term. But this is not the wisest choice. We may find ourselves in situations getting too hungry, when that volume from liquid and fiber they promote, passes. That doesn’t help us sustain our bodies and our energy. And if we are struggling to recognize hunger and fullness, lots of water and water-filled foods will only mask your ability to listen to your body and its needs.

“It’s about promoting choices based on what we know about eating for health, so we encourage whole grains and less processed foods”, I was told. “It’s not about calories.” And yet, the unprocessed, whole grain brown rice has the very same point value as white rice. To me that would send a message that they are equal, no? And why is a glass of wine so high in points? Science does, in fact, support a glass of wine. And dark chocolate, I might add. Have they not seen that science?

Cocoa and chocolate, concentrated sources of polyphenols, have received much scientific interest and study. In fact, health benefit evidence regarding cocoa and chocolate were reviewed by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (2010). This session will review the cocoa bean's composition as well as the population-based and dietary intervention studies supporting the cardiovascular health benefits of consuming cocoa and chocolate. (from the American Dietetic Association 2010 conference guide).

Yet Karen, the leader, said “have the fruit first and that may satisfy. Then if you really need it, have the crap.” No, she didn’t use those words exactly, but that was what was implied. You know, “good food” first. In other words, don’t have what you really feel like.  Yet ultimately, after yearning for what you really want, you’ll eventually end up eating it having consumed both the calories from the fruit and the calories from the other item.

Not a diet?

Their materials work hard to convince us that it’s not a diet, but a lifestyle. They’ve got to be joking!  You’re given a plan, a number of points, and ways to count foods. And you’re encouraged to have all your points. There is little focus on self -regulation, eating what you need, as just as much as you need, based on your hunger and fullness. How can they not call this a diet?

They do, apparently have a plan that has you listening to your body, but that plan was largely dismissed at this meeting. And to truly be supported in that approach, an approach I completely support, it takes time, and exploration of eating triggers, and stress management tools, and one-on-one guidance.

So here’s the thing. There’s a place for sensible guidelines. These just weren’t so sensible. Adding structure to our day’s intake helps us not get too hungry, and I certainly support regular meals and snacks. And if you are at a place where you mask your hunger (with anything form large volume, low caloric-density items to coffee and diet sodas) than listening to your hunger with be a challenge—for now.

For those of you who don’t listen to your body’s hunger and deny your needs, a meal plan may have its place—for now. You should re-learn the tools to self manage, to listen to your hunger and your fullness, and trust them. Move out of your head, away from all the rules and information you’ve picked up. Work on becoming mindful—of what you eat and how it tastes. And tune in to what is making you eat—or stopping you from eating, in spite of hunger awareness.

That’s the work we have before us. And counting points isn’t going to resolve it, or improve your relationship with food.

It’s my hope that none of you need a lifetime membership. Let’s work on making changes that can change our relationship with food and our trust in ourselves, to help us for a lifetime.


  1. Oh, Lori, I was so engaged in reading your post. I was especially reeling at the part about how the program defines "progress". That is exactly the kind of mindset that I am trying to overcome. I just agree that food and eating is about so much more than numbers. Although I have disordered eating, I believe in my heart that eating should be about a relationship with your body. Diet programs like this seems to make the body something that needs to be battled or tricked. Thank you for being such a diligent reporter and journalist!!


  2. Thanks, Emily, for your generous feedback! Glad you found it of interest!

  3. It's a bit of a worry that they were happy to sign YOU up - I know you're not at risk, but if I was told I could join WW I would immediately believe that I needed to lose weight (regardless of what my dr might say).
    I also find it interesting how much focus WW puts on counting points. I know it is designed to act as a guide to how much is a sensible portion - but surely it just leads to obsessing about every little thing you eat (I don't know about you, but that sounds like an ED to me??).
    And as for being weighed in front of others - that's just mean. I was weighed by dr this morning (in private obviously) - and I know how long prior to that (and then after) that I tend to fast - I can't imagine what it would be like to be placed under that kind of public pressure. It just sounds like one big recipe for disaster to me.

  4. Yes, I must admit that for a fleeting moment even I was a bit put off by their thinking I was "Weight Watchers material"! And all I could think about was the damage, the set backs, others with eating issues would have in a similar position.
    Regarding the weighing--only one person views your weight, it's electronic and I believe shows up on the computer screen. But yes, from what I hear day to day, members play all kinds of tricks regarding weigh ins--Not eating until meetings (even those at 7:30 PM), binging after meetings, rewarding themselves for their progress with food after a "successful" weighin...I'll say no more.

  5. I still can't get over them letting you join up! I would have thought to join up you need to be at least a little bit overweight - but I just had a look on their website, and it says you only need to be 2kg over the MINIMUM weight for your height. Which would mean I would only need to weigh 56kg to join. 56kg sounds like a perfectly healthy weight to me. I can't imagine needing to join a weight loss group for 56kg (I mean, yes *I* would...but that's a whole different conversation :-)

  6. Great, great post. Thank you for sharing this. I was a Weight Watchers leader for 4 years. Just quit last March because I had come to a place in my personal journey where I could no longer support and teach what WW promotes. Oh, mercy, I could tell you some stories. You think things are off in the meeting room? You should some of the behind the scenes stuff. Don't go me wrong - there are dear and wonderful people who work for the company and sincerely believe in the program. Most of the folks who work for WW really have their hearts in the right place. They want to be healthy and they want to help people get healthy. But, at the end of the day it IS a diet. And that creates serious ugliness. And I think it makes it worse because everyone is convinced it isn't a diet. So you feel extra defeated when you can't succeed at the #1 doctor recommended healthy lifestyle program!

  7. Thanks, Joy, for the inside scoop and validation! It's always struck me as bizarre that the reality of Weight Watchers (it being a diet, the unhealthy messages) isn't apparent to all. Perhaps it's because as a culture we have so far to go with our relationship with food, body image, weight management, etc.
    Thanks for reading!
    Please consider adding yourself as a follower!

  8. Fascinating- I couldn't stop reading.

    I completely agree with what Emily said regarding "progress." I am trying to overcome those same mindsets as well and believe that it is so much more than a single number of determination...

    I too am alarmed that you were even able to enter, but this just goes to show more of the distortion of our society that I am seeing more and more each day. I only wish I could see it in my own distortions of my self-image.

    Regarding the calorie intake, and attempting to eat the fruit before the "crap," so true. You'll end up eating both anyway, and I think the true key to any balanced diet is everything in moderation. For now, for me, it's meal plan compliance, but I really hope to be able to eat intuitively and instinctually in the future.

  9. Thanks Lori for your post. I definitely think some leaders and receptionists are better than others-I used to be a receptionist there. We were also taught by our leader to ask how the week went-behavior and thought-process wise. People often said, "I was so bad, or I am up," and I would hear the leader say, "But how are YOU?" We did chat with people in the normal range about joining. However, we were excellent ;) My leader was also on the "listen to your body" program so she was much more focused on that. I would say you were dealing with typical. There are always problems with non-experts recommending things. Also, please know those poor misguided souls who signed you up get paid next to nothing and are paid on you signing up and your attendance. I wouldn't lay blame on them, rather the company that feeds the pay structure this way.

    After I had my baby, I realized that I could eat whatever I wanted and I would be more satisfied that way rather than trying to eat "low points" all the time, which did not work for me. Rich foods work better for me or I keep trying to find something to satisfy myself. I am glad I listened to my body and found your blog. I no longer attend WW or think about points. It's working much better for me to maintain my weight. And generally, I do believe it builds an unhealthy relationship with food. So thank you for shedding light on this problem.

  10. Thanks, Anonymous, for your balanced perspective! I had no idea that staff is rewarded for individuals joining--regardless of need! And glad to hear that some instructors do address more behavioral aspects. But like you said, it appears to not be the norm. And the not-so-subtle messages remain--progress is measured in pounds, and relying on counting and external measures is necessary.
    Glad you made it to the blog! Thanks for reading (and sharing with your old Weight Watchers :D )

  11. i have joined Weight Watchers over 10 times at least! I have lost weight but never felt like it truly helped me conquer my eating issues!!

  12. Hopefully you'll find value in the messages here and begin to change your approach to eating.
    Good luck, and thanks for reading--and commenting!

  13. I have a friend at work who does very well on Weight Watchers. It's too complicated for me. I lost weight doing a food diary, figuring out how many calories I ate and then cutting back--eating what I liked though.

    As for having a normal BMI, I too could go there and get admitted with a normal BMI--because I'm not at the BOTTOM of the BMI range. Basically if you had a BMI of 20, they wouldn't let you join but if you're 5 pounds above a BMI of 20 they will.

    I haven't had a BMI of 20 since I WAS 20!

  14. At some point I hope to get a post out on the problems with using BMI as a measure of health!
    And I fully support choosing foods that you enjoy! Life is too short!

  15. I saw this linked on twitter and as a person who is using WW I thought I would read.

    I don't think of WW as a diet, but that is because I haven't used it as such. I believe weight loss takes time. I don't go to meetings, I do it online where I can look at what I'm eating and make good choices. I rarely use their recipes or tricks because I just don't agree with many of them.

    Honestly, for me it opened up options that I hadn't thought of before. I can have a corn dog, but I will have it with broccoli. I can have that baked potato, but I've learned there are other things to put on it than butter and a cup of cheese! I don't like the idea of "fake-foods" that are specifically created for dieters. I had to find "low point" options and changes that fit within my ideals.

    I started WW before the new plan and ate banana's and whatever fruit I wanted regardless of point values. They made this change because people were playing the system. They would go through gasto-intestinal distress daily eating a fiber bar filled with additives rather than eat a banana. Why? Oh, well because the fiber bar had 1pt less! I never stopped eating foods I liked, even while everyone online would talk about the new zero point fake-food they found.

    The old plan was definitely a "diet", but I think they are making effort with this new plan to get away from that somewhat. The problem is that the members still have this mindset. The other problem is that the leaders use to be members, so they still have this mindset as well. Basically, WW needs to do more for it's leaders and not just send them pamplets explaining the new system if they genuinely care about people not thinking of their system as a "diet".

  16. Counting points, or calories, or fat grams, relying on external means of self-regulating is a diet in no uncertain terms. And, weighing your progress by stepping on the scale upon arrival only reinforces that weight is the main focus here. There is no assessment of eating behaviors or other parameters. Nonetheless, if it works for you in increasing your awareness and managing your weight, and you can take the good with the bad, who am I to complain?!

    Thanks for reading!

    1. It is called "Weight Watchers" so yes, I think the main focus is, and should be numbers. How else does one tell if one has lost "weight?" I think fatties (and yes, I was one, briefly) have lots of excuses not to join a program or start a diet, but honestly, so many health issues are impacted by that number on the scale, that everyone really should try to maintain a "heathly weight". After all, "you are what you eat".

  17. First time reader, fellow RD, and love your post.

    I can't wait until you write about BMI as an indicator of being "healthy" because I sooo agree there are so many different (and better) ways to measure health! I have to explain this to my clients time and time again and some get it but some don't.

    Great post. I've often considered going to a WW meeting incognito as well.

  18. Very good post. Very clear, correct and unbiased.

    You should be proud (I'm sure you really don't need anyone to tell you) of your work of helping people and giving them information that is in their best interests.

    Well done.

  19. Thanks, Ed! It's always great to get feedback from my readers! Hope you join as a follower!

  20. That is an outrage that they would allow you to join Weight Watchers! I last belonged to Weight Watchers nearly 5 years ago. I went with my daughter, who wanted to go, to lose 20 lbs for her prom (a high school senior). She became a Lifetime Member and THEN kept LOSING and LOSING and LOSING! I was horrified! She ended up with an eating disorder and told me Weight Watchers taught her how to "control" her weight! I will say, however, when her weight started dropping too low, the leader actually did say she was losing too much weight and that they would require a doctor's note if she continued to lose as she was! She mentioned this publicly in front of the whole larger group (which I did not think was appropriate!). We both left Weight Watchers: me struggling with TOO MUCH weight and her struggling with TOO LITTLE! It was then that I realized this way could not work for me... and may have done serious damage to my daughter. I really appreciate your approach to eating/relationship with food. This is what I need to change (that relationship!).

  21. QuincyCarole,
    Glad you have the wisdom to see the problem with a Weight Watchers
    approach, in spite of the generally positive reputation it has.
    And isn't the need for "Lifetime Membership" an admission that the program isn't really effective in changing our relationship with food?

  22. Gosh am I glad I just cancelled my membership!! Although I followed the program on and off for years, I ALWAYS said "it's not a way of life". Any thoughts on their Smart Ones (also Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice..) meals? Is it good for portion control or too risky with the sodium?

  23. First time reader; LOVE this post.

  24. I'm a long time lurker, currently following weight watchers! I know this in an old post, but I have to comment.

    I am a37 year old woman and am being treated for hypothyroidism. My weight over the last 3 years has gone from 135-155, usually I sit somewhere in the high 140's. (I'm 5'5"). I can usually tell when I need an increase in my medication, because among other symptoms, I usually gain 10 lbs in a matter of weeks.

    Anyway, I digress. I have been a WW member off and on for over 10 years. I have had success in the past, but this time around, the scale is just.not.moving. I can't seem to get under 142 (my goal is 135) no matter how many points I count. I am moderately active, I work out at the gym at least 3 days a week, and I work as a nurse, so I'm on my feet. (Plus I have two children and have a big house to clean) . I do eat a fair amount of fruit, and I'm wondering if all of this "free" fruit is the culprit? The scale honestly hasn't moved in over 2 weeks. I'm so discouraged. I don't actually go to meetings or weigh ins, I have the info from a year ago, so I can't comment on what the WW staff would recommend in this situation.

    This sounds silly, but I am going to Hawaii and just really want to look cute in my bathing suit. I have been following WW for a few months now, and have lost 9 lbs. It seems to me that I should have lost more than that, but perhaps not. Perhaps this is what healthy weight loss is all about. I am eating healthier than before, I still enjoy a glass (or two) of wine at night (isn't that what the flex points are for?) and am motivated to work out. The food diary keeps me on track, I know that I would over eat without it. However I AM eating more salmon and bananas than usual....hmmmmmm. And I was excited to see that white rice is now the same in points as brown rice (although I did question the wisdom behind that one!). For me, aside from the fact that the weight loss seems painfully slow, weight watchers is actually helping me in terms of my relationship with food. I know that as soon as I get on that airplane, I will be leaving my "points calculator" at home and go back to enjoying everything in moderation. I will hopefully be left with some healthy habits that carry over so that by the time I go on my next vacation, I won't have so much weight to lose!

  25. Really enjoyed this post. Thank you for explaining how WW is NOT good for you long term. When I explain what I do (teach people to reach health goals without dieting) I soooo many times get this response "Oh but I'm on WW and it's not a diet" GRRRRRRR! It drives me crazy because it IS a diet just disguised as healthy eating.

  26. OH ya and I can't find you on facebook....

  27. Thank you for this post. I really needed it in this exact moment. I was about to sign up for WW after having been struggling with an eating disorder for over ten years. Actually, now that I think of it, it all began after I started WW when I was 16! All the guilt and shame I felt when I couldn't stick to the points! Anyway, my therapist made me quit counting calories two weeks ago and I am going mad! I have no idea how/what to eat or when I am even hungry! I used to eat tons of veggies and cardboard cereals/bread/etc. I always felt full but never satisfied and was always hungry again an hour or two later. Now I realize I am eating more fats and can go 5 hours without food...amazing considering a used to go 2 hours and be famished! What is hard is that I still want to lose weight. I am not happy with my body and don't know how to get fit without dieting. I will continue to read through your blog. Hopefully I will find some answers. Please know you saved one girl from signing up for a lot of pain and mental hell.

  28. It sounds like you may have encountered a staff person / meeting that weren't quite right. Weight Watchers specifies certain guidelines for new members (needing to be in a certain weight range and need to lose a certain number of pounds to get to a healthy weight). Perhaps that person didn't pay attention - that's not a good thing.

    However, I have been a WW for 5 years - and am now a Lifetime Member - and it's been incredible. Lifetime Membership does not mean the program doesn't work. Lifetime Membership means you have free access to the online tools (as long as you stay within your goal range every month). Lifetime is when LIVING begins. Living at goal IS the goal - and attending the meetings for free REALLY helps. Weight maintenance is even more important than the loss.

    For anyone struggling with the program, it's important to find a leader you connect with and speak with them honestly about your habits and goals. Some may also need to see their doctor in conjunction.

    I am a total supporter of Weight Watchers when you do it right and find a good meeting. It's about making smart choices for life - so that you live at goal FOREVER!

    1. I, too am a WW lifetime member. Weight Watchers has helped me in many ways. It can be very beneficial and is more about getting healthier than wanting to look like Bo Derrick, Twiggy, or whoever you can think of, that is too skinny to be healthy, anyway. I plan to stick with tracking and counting food and activity points. This has been my way to success and I never want to go back and have to start all over after I gain it all back, plus even more.

  29. I agree with "anonymous". I have been attending WW since April and have lost 20 pounds and am now in maintenance. Yes it is a diet that teaches us how to eat/portion control/exercise. All these are very healthy aspects of our life we need to learn. If we don't learn these important tools, we will be over or underweight. Yes, I do think about how many points are in my food everytime I eat....and I am THANKFUL I do. I want to be more aware of what is going in my body instead of having a mindless eating concept. My leader is also very helpful with talking to us about our behaviours; this is very important in understanding WHY we eat WHEN we eat.

    1. I fully support mindful eating and managing portions to meet your need. But I recommend doing so without calorie or point counting. Ultimately, we need to learn to listen to our body and respect its signals, including hunger and fullness. To do so, separating eating from distractions is a start. And learning to distinguish physical hunger from all the other triggers for eating is essential. But if you are determined to eat to match a point or calorie level--because that's how much you're "supposed to have", you'll ultimately run into problems. What if you get hungry after you've eaten your allotment of points? What if you're not hungry but you have points left; eating the remaining food seems to go against what your body's need. Calculating calorie need and ultimately points, is not a perfect science. it varies even for individuals at the same height and weight, and can change day to day for each individual.

      Personally, I'd prefer my patients to be mindful not by counting up their food, but by tasting and fully enjoying their their intake!

      But glad that the WW program is working for you!

    2. As with all people who join weight watchers, there's a 95% chance you'll gain all the weight back within a few years.

      Have fun!

  30. I just found your website through my dietician's twitter and I LOVE YOUR BLOG. I love this post in particular. I went on Weight Watchers twice, and I ended up gaining 70 pounds after I finished the program (I am not blaming my weight gain just on this obviously). I fianlly lost all the weight on my own my calorie counting and listening to my body and relying on an online support system and myself. I was so passionately against WW when I saw they let my healthy weight boss sign up and she became severely underweight. At my goal weight I wanted to go undercover and see- would they let me join? Points are an abstract concept. It is not a long term solution for the majority of the people.

  31. In reference to your comment: "What if you get hungry after you've eaten your allotment of points? What if you're not hungry but you have points left; eating the remaining food seems to go against what your body's need."

    I don't think you learned enough about the program on your visit. I lost 90 lbs on WW and have kept it all off for 2 years and counting (I'm a lifetime member, which as someone else pointed out means you GOT TO GOAL, nothing more, and is support to help you stay there). Anyway, what do you do if you're still hungry after eating your daily points? You borrow from the bank of extra points you're given each week, simple as that. If you're not hungry enough to eat them all one day? Then you don't eat them all. It's not nearly as rigid as you make it sound.

    1. And if you've depleted all the points in the bank? And how do you feel if you've gone beyond what the plan calls for? From the many, many patients I've seen who used to be WW members, I have heard that they are encouraged to eat all the points regardless of hunger with the warning that otherwise they won't lose weight! That's at least the message they are hearing!
      If you are able to use the plan more as a road map and can be forgiving of yourself for needing--or even choosing--to eat more, and if you can learn to distinguish your hunger from other eating triggers, and stop when you're not hungry--even if there are available points--than all may be fine.

      Thanks for putting in your 2 cents.

  32. I Have lost 221 POUNDS on WW ...No pill popping, no surgeries, no stomach shrinking and stapling, no sticking my fingers down my throat after eating 2 whole chickens and a lifetime supply of Halloween candy....No $500 worth of packaged food delivered to my doorstep(Nutrisystem) not knowing who scratched their ass before preparing and packaging it.....they dont tell you WHAT to eat they educate you on HOW TO CONTROL HOW MUCH YOU EAT....and if you're not reading nutrition labels the HUGE STUPID BOWL of cereal that you are pouring each morning can easily turn into a 800 calorie bowl of cereal ...simply because you are pouring a huge monster bowl instead of 210 calories for ONE CUP!!!!(which is all u need anyway) THEN eat all day long without being aware of HOW MUCH youre eating can easily make your ass as wide as the dresser in your bedroom.....Many people want the weight off in a week, by their birthday, by Christmas, by Little Johnnies Birthday party but No one wants to do the work....Everyone is looking for a quick fix, no one wants to spend the money on materials and things that will HELP THEM but dont think twice about order an extra large value meal at McDonals with a icecream cone, or a Huge Scooby Doo steak at the steak house.....I LOVE ..I REPEAT I LOVE WEIGHT WATCHERS.......there are NO RESTRICTIONS YOU EAT WHAT YOU WANT WHEN YOU WANT IT!!!!! pizza and icecream at 2am IS OK TO EAT!!!! Caramel cake and left over Green bean casserole?? is A OK....MARTINI AND BUFFALO WINGS??? YES SIR!!! Nothing Fatfree, Low fat, low cal, you simply BUY WHAT CHA BEEN BUYING AND CONTROL HOW MUCH OF IT YOU EAT!!!! THATS ALL THERE IS TO IT.....I LOST 221POUNDS of ASS ON WEIGHT WATCHERS AND NOT A STRING OF SKIN IS me how to post pics and I will post plenty of them from every single MONTH of LOSING.....and i have plenty of videos from start to finish...Day One to todays date....not a day was missed......THE PROGRAM ONLY WORKS FOR THOSE WHO ARE DEDICATED cant be on Weight Watchers on Monday and Doing whatever you want Tuesday thru Thursday and then step on the scale Friday expecting a 5lb Loss........YOURE GONNA GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN.....and IF YOURE PUTTING NOTHIN IN BUT CHEESEBURGERS AND BEER expect a gain.....I LOVE WEIGHT WATCHERS they helped me from looking like the NEW YEAR BLIMP TO A WHOOPTY DOOPTY SIZE 6!!!!! AND IF ALL I HAVE TO DO TO CONTINUE TO LOOK LIKE THIS IS BE ABLE TO COUNT 2+2 AND 3+3 to KEEP IT OFF THEN IM NEVER GOING ANYWHERE THEY CAN DIG IN MY POCKETS ALL DAY LONG!!!!!!

    1. Congrats on your progress--assuming, of course that the lost weight is suggestive of changes in your relationship with food! Clearly you describe a newfound mindfulness around eating--that's commendable. It's my hope that the focus on counting and measuring and weighing does not become obsessive, and that your new size is one that is truly appropriate given your history--and is maintainable. For more on this, read about Maggie, a pt of mine who'se lost 175 lbs but more importantly is not in her head, so to speak, but manages her eating more intuitively. I hope she never reaches a size 6 but comes to terms with being healthy at the fit weight she is currently at!

      Thanks for so passionately sharing your perspective!

  33. You make a lot of excellent points, and I've never been to WW so have no strong feelings one way or the other. However, I'm curious about your relationship with the ADA after reading the side notation about the chocolate. I have a difficult time feeling comfortable with dietitians who wholly endorse the ADA - just wondering where you stand with them.

  34. Enjoyed reading some of the comments
    I joined Weight Watchers ( WW) last year and reached my goal weight in 8months. One thing that helped me during the process was staying positive, knowing I had a goal and was going to achieve it. Joining WW is not a magic wand that will help you be slim. It’s about you making those choices and getting fit and healthy. This is all about having an active lifestyle, walking, running or whatever activity. Making healthy food choices and knowing that the weight will come off eventually. It’s a personal thing. Your WW leader will guide you but cannot help you to lose weight. Its all about you and surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded people and hoping that their story will allow you to change yours!
    We have seen TV programs like the biggest loser in which contestants weighing over 400 pounds are back to normal weights which is achieved through sensible food choices exercise and most importantly their thought processes/ mind set. .
    Losing weight is a personal thing and once you believe and know that you are ready to start, there is no going back. It’s a very challenging and difficult process. It’s a “No Pain, No Gain” process the gain being achieving our goal weight!
    Once your mind is ready to lose weight then you will. Programs such as WW for example only exist as a guide for us to follow e.g. the weekly weigh ins allow us to make sure that we are on track, even the points plan, should be used as a guide and not the "magic book" that would help us lose weight. Talking and meeting with fellow members at the meeting is also a tool to help us realise that what we are going through is not unique to us and we are all facing similar challenges which would also help remove any feelings of depression.