This Weight Watchers evaluation put up is an opinion piece primarily based on my experience as a dietitian. The quotes which are bolded all through the piece are the real-life experiences of former Weight Watchers dieters.

Weight Watchers is undeniably one of the vital profitable industrial food plan applications ever. Based in 1961 by Jean Nidetch, a housewife and mom, it has grown to develop into a food plan behemoth with 4.6 million members worldwide.

Maybe in an try to shuck off its unhealthy food plan juju amongst a big proportion of the inhabitants, Weight Watchers rebranded in 2018 as ‘WW.’ Out of the blue, Weight Watchers needed to leap on the wellness prepare, however most of us weren’t having it.

That’s as a result of WW was, and is, nonetheless a food plan, and everyone knows it. You possibly can’t give individuals a calorie *ahem* factors finances, have a major end result that entails weight reduction, after which say that you simply’re not promoting them a food plan. 

And who can neglect Kurbo, WW’s try to suck children into its orbit? The load loss app, launched in 2019, catered to children as younger as 8 years previous, and was understandably met with outrage as a result of ‘weight reduction’ and ‘8 yr previous’ ought to by no means be utilized in the identical sentence.

The Kurbo app isn’t out there anymore, however in 2022, the FDA issued a settlement order to WW for loopholes within the app, together with one which allowed children to enroll with out parental oversight. The FDA additionally discovered that WW had used Kurbo to illegally harvest delicate well being data from youngsters. 

Now, beneath CEO Sima Sistani, WW is providing GLP-1 agonists as a substitute for its typical food plan program. 

Observe the cash, I suppose.

Learn my Xyngular GLP-X evaluation right here.

WW conferences at the moment are principally on-line, and weekly weight-ins are nonetheless a part of this system. Should you do go to an in-person ‘workshop’ as they’re now referred to as, the weigh-ins are non-public, as an alternative of in entrance of your fellow WW dieters. 

I’ve heard from numerous individuals who had been placed on Weight Watchers as teenagers and adults, about how traumatizing these public weight-ins had been for them. 

Right here’s a couple of:

The day the weigher was aghast that I had gained 0.5 kilos was my final go to. She actually put her hand to her mouth in shock and requested me what occurred. I needed to say “I f**king ate, that’s what occurred”.

It was terrible. I used to be a child who didn’t perceive why my physique was “mistaken” in a room full of fifty yr previous girls. It taught me nothing about vitamin, particularly as a result of that was the age of “fats makes you fats”. Every part was off limits and all I realized was how you can cover my consuming, lie about parts, be embarrassed about weigh-ins, and eat far an excessive amount of of all of the meals I used to be denied as a baby as soon as I began to purchase my very own meals. I’m 43 and I’m simply now therapeutic my relationship with meals and my physique.

Is there analysis behind the Weight Watchers food plan?

There are a couple of research right here, right here, and right here, that seem to indicate WW’s efficacy when it comes to weight misplaced and diabetes administration. Nevertheless, WW funded these research, and the outcomes are pretty unremarkable.

Keep in mind that simply because one thing has analysis behind it, doesn’t imply it’s good analysis or that the outcomes had been clinically related.

Weight Watchers Factors

The Weight Watchers factors system is the premise of all their food plan plans. It was launched in 1998. It then modified to Successful Factors, then Pure Factors, then Professional Factors, then Factors Plus, then Sensible Factors after which Freestyle. The variations between these are minimal: the WW Factors system appears to vary as typically because the wind blows, or at the very least that’s the impression I’ve gotten. 

weight watchers review dietitianweight watchers review dietitian

The gist is that you simply get a sure variety of factors to ‘spend’ every day, plus an allotment of weekly factors to ‘cowl’ any ‘indulgences’ that may pop up. You can too ‘earn’ bonus factors for train, which I believe is totally ridiculous, because it makes train into one thing we do to ‘earn’ meals or ‘make up’ for consuming (each of that are disordered pondering), and it’s not how our our bodies work…in any respect. 

I took the WW quiz, which assigned me 26 factors a day. The questions had been principally targeted on weight reduction, asking my present top, weight, objective weight, intercourse, and age. The one medical historical past query it requested was if I’ve diabetes.

weight watchers review weight watchers review

Related components corresponding to exercise degree, historical past of an consuming dysfunction or different severe diagnoses, weren’t talked about. To their credit score, I attempted to enter a weight that was too low for my top, and received this message:

weight watchers review 2024weight watchers review 2024

As a dietitian, my predominant problem with WW is the factors system. I imagine that it encourages disordered pondering and habits round meals for many individuals. 

Right here’s my Weight Watchers Private Factors evaluation.

It encourages ’banking’ of factors (aka energy, who’re we kidding right here), and categorizing meals as ‘good’ and ‘unhealthy.’ Sure, all meals can match, nevertheless it’s human nature to not suppose that approach when offered with an possibility (aka zero level meals) the place they’ll eat extra for much less. I additionally see this system encouraging followers to ‘recreation’ the system.

That is one thing that was echoed in a number of the feedback I received from individuals:

I did lose 80 kilos however I gained all of it again as a result of it didnt assist me to decide on ‘higher meals’ it helped me to search out methods to nonetheless eat what I needed. So apart from parts nothing modified for me. I assume it gave me a false sense of getting management?

Whereas WW itself doesn’t outwardly promote “synthetic meals” you could possibly are likely to lean in direction of a few of them as a result of they had been decrease in factors. I additionally didn’t suppose they promoted more healthy choices on a regular basis: Skim milk and 0 fats yogurt had been 0 factors, however I had been taught that you simply wanted the fats to blunt any insulin spikes and the fats would additionally improve your satiety. I discovered it very troublesome to remain throughout the factors and eat wholesome and left after 3 months.  I determine there was no sense in being smaller if I wasn’t additionally getting more healthy.

Every meals’s factors are calculated primarily based on its vitamins. Positive, greens and fruits have low factors values, however there are extraordinarily bodily nourishing and satisfying meals which are larger in factors. Avocado, nuts, oatmeal, and candy potatoes are a couple of of them. 

The present WW program has greater than 200 zero-point meals, which sounds wonderful till you understand that it really isn’t, for causes I’m going to elucidate.

WW tells dieters to not overeat zero level meals, however when you’ve been given a factors finances to remain inside, there’s a definite attract to stuffing your self with zero level meals as a way to ‘afford’ the inevitable multi-point binge.

All of this turns consuming right into a math equation, which can result in consuming meals that you simply don’t need simply to suit into your factors finances, or not consuming as a lot as you want due to the factors. Conversely, it’s possible you’ll eat simply to fulfill your factors finances when you’ve got factors left over (which in all probability by no means occurs). This could mess up your inside starvation and fullness cues.

Right here’s why I don’t advocate having a calorie objective.

It additionally promotes satiety OVER satisfaction. Quantity consuming, or consuming massive volumes of low-calorie meals to fill the abdomen so that you don’t eat different, higher-calorie meals, is a disordered behaviour.

Should you go over your factors finances or eat the ‘mistaken’ meals, this could result in guilt and disgrace, one thing that perpetuates the food plan cycle.

weight watchers review 2024weight watchers review 2024

Individuals should monitor their level consumption, which might be triggering for anybody who’s predisposed to, has, or has had an consuming dysfunction. That is probably a big section of the inhabitants, because the prevalence of consuming problems themselves (NOT together with disordered consuming), in keeping with this 2019 examine in JAMA, is 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 7 males.

We additionally know that prevalence of consuming problems peaks once more in girls round center age, in keeping with this 2023 examine and others. In 2018, a report by MRI Simmons discovered that 85% of WW dieters had been girls, and 43% of these girls had been over the age of 55.

WW might say they’re all about well being, however what I see mirrored within the quite a few WW factors teams on Fb, is just about the alternative.

Should you can’t eat meals with out swapping out components for lower-calorie decisions, and you may’t eat with out counting or monitoring, please know that this isn’t what a great relationship with meals seems to be like. It removes all flexibility, pleasure, and peace from consuming. Not good.

This system makes use of ‘coaches’ who lack in-depth, related vitamin coaching. Their solely {qualifications} are that they’ve reached their objective weight with WW and maintained it for at the very least 6 months. 

Clearly, this isn’t enough coaching to advise individuals on their vitamin. Diet and the psychology behind meals decisions are advanced. Unqualified individuals can probably do hurt once they contain themselves in different peoples’ relationships with meals and consuming.

Learn my Noom evaluation right here.

As with most diets, many individuals shed extra pounds initially with WW as a result of they’re consuming fewer energy than they had been beforehand. That is simply simple arithmetic. Nevertheless, the psychological exhaustion that outcomes from counting factors and overthinking every thing you set into your mouth could cause a lot of these individuals to surrender. I don’t blame them.

I’ve seen many individuals in my apply who’ve carried out Weight Watchers years in the past, however nonetheless see meals as ‘factors.’ That is problematic, as a result of it causes them to worry meals and second-guess every thing they eat. It completely takes away that connection between how they really feel and what they select to eat. 

 I nonetheless know what number of factors some issues are a long time later. The weekly weigh ins had been so annoying and the straight up meals obsession was so dangerous.

The factor is, these individuals typically return to WW time and again, as a result of of their thoughts, it ‘labored’ as soon as for them, so that they’re going for a second, fourth, or eighth kick on the can. It not often has a cheerful ending, however that’s what food plan applications like Weight Watchers need. 

Repeat prospects. Lifetime devotees. Individuals changing into depending on figuring out the factors of every morsel of meals earlier than they permit themselves to eat it. Blaming themselves for his or her ‘failure’ on a food plan that’s made to fail anyhow. 

Sound acquainted? A lot of you who’re studying this may recall having these experiences with WW. I’m sorry.

I joined many instances and by no means made objective weight. Because of being on WW I continued to drink espresso and tea black, don’t put butter on greens and restrict fats. Nonetheless I’m heavier than I needs to be.

I work out recurrently, stroll lengthy distances and customarily really feel responsible about not having my weight down. This month I flip 68.

I’ll say that I’ve joined WW so many instances that I actually misplaced depend. I by no means reached the objective weight that THEY set for me and at all times felt like a failure each time I left as a result of it was my fault for “being so weak”.

My greatest takeaway from WW was that each one of my price as a human being was tied to a quantity on a scale, and all meals had numbers as properly, which by God Had To Be Stored Beneath The Restrict.

There was not solely a complete disregard for vitamin but additionally for the enjoyment and pleasure of meals too.

I attempted ww and did lose 30 lbs which has come again after I finished. I’ll say it made individuals panic a couple of 0.3lb achieve, get obsessive about which model of hummus is 1 level vs 1.5, too targeted on the minutia, not an general wholesome sustainable long run weight upkeep answer. Any program will work when you work it, however you shouldn’t want a program in case you are really studying the abilities and habits for wholesome dwelling.

I additionally received feedback from followers who mentioned optimistic issues about their time with WW.

Issues like, it gave them construction and taught them about portion dimension. That they’ve misplaced weight and saved it off, for essentially the most half. That they benefit from the neighborhood, and that general, it was a optimistic expertise.

Does Weight Watchers work? Nicely, each food plan will ‘work’ for somebody. And by ‘work,’ I imply reducing weight and KEEPING IT OFF.

I received 173 feedback, 6 messages, and 15 emails about WW.  Out of these 194 items of correspondence, 9 had been supportive of WW. 4 had been so-so, and the remainder had been destructive.

181 out of 194 had been so-so or destructive, or 93%. This isn’t a scientific end result, nevertheless it’s fascinating to see the break up. I really feel as if it’s in line with what I’ve heard from individuals over the previous 24 years I’ve been a dietitian.

Regardless of how WW places it, it’s nonetheless a food plan. 

weight watchers review 2024weight watchers review 2024

Oh hey, how about we simply EAT?

Individuals won’t ever cease desirous to shed extra pounds, and as a dietitian who helps intentional weight reduction the place acceptable, I completely perceive. Nevertheless, I believe there are higher methods to shed extra pounds than to topic your self to WW or one other industrial food plan program.

Weight Watchers, when you’re listening, listed here are my suggestions:

Do away with the factors in favor of a extra intuitive eating-style program. Individuals will probably be mad at first, however within the long-run, it’s a more healthy approach to see meals and consuming. 

Should you’re really fascinated with peoples’ well being and general wellness, cease making weight reduction the first objective of your program.

Get some form of upkeep assist, as a result of a number of individuals complained to me that you’ve got none.

Monitor the WW teams on social for disordered behaviour, and FFS, ask related questions in your onboarding quiz.

Use certified well being professionals as coaches. You have got the cash. Simply do it.

Who am I kidding…WW won’t ever change their methods. We are able to hope, although.

SHAMELESS PLUG: when you’re struggling along with your vitamin and relationship with meals, I may also help! I’m taking 1:1 purchasers now. I’m dearer than WW, however you could possibly get protection for my providers when you’ve got non-public insurance coverage. Right here’s the hyperlink for extra data and to request a session.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *