Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Wellness Wins (Weight Watchers, ‘WW’). The information provided in this blog and the following editorial is from my own personal views and experiences. No person(s) associated with this blog are doctors and are simply sharing knowledge and experience. Always consult with a professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.
I see comments constantly: “The new point system doesn’t work for me – I like the old better.” “Why did they change it? I struggle now!” “I just don’t understand it.” And so on. While it’s not rocket science, it can be overwhelming and a bit confusing. If you’ve read my story, you already know the first time I tried WW, I gained weight. But I realized it was my own fault. I didn’t know enough about the body and nutrition to enjoy any kind of success with dieting. So, I hope the information I’m providing below will help people have a better understanding.
First off, WW works. Period. Regardless of your dietary needs, it works. You just have to work it properly for YOUR body. There is a reason it is the #1 recommended plan by doctors.
WW was founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch. She was on a quest to lose weight. Being heavier her whole life, a comment by someone asking if she was pregnant sent her in search of help. She found it at a weight loss clinic in her state. She had a little success, but found the program hard to follow, so Weight Watchers was started. Jean always took the approach from a scientific point of view. She wanted things to be easy to follow for her members. WW has gone through many changes over the years as science and obesity research has changed. The fact that there is a company out there actually basing its program around science instead of “fast” results is a win in my book. WW is meant to lead you into a healthy lifestyle not an overnight fad.
In my personal opinion, the freestyle program is one of the best programs to date. I’ll be honest here, if I had to follow the WW plan my mom did back in the 80’s, I wouldn’t have lasted long. The requirements were CRAZY! But even at that, it worked. The Freestyle program allows members to a list of about 200 food items that are considered “free” of points. This list was designed to help members make healthier decisions. Instead of spending 12 points on a Snickers bar, choose an apple or carrots. They are better for you and free of points, leaving you with extra points to spend on a big meal if needed.
Some people can take the “zero point” foods a bit too far. It’s a “common sense” approach. Just because a food is zero points doesn’t mean you can gorge yourself on it. Be sensible about it. Bananas are zero points, yet eating 10 of them a day will likely cause weight gain instead of weight loss. Plus, bananas are loaded with sugar – not exactly a good idea to overdose on them!
When you join WW, it asks you various questions, your age, height, weight, goal weight and lifestyle. Based upon these answers, it gives you a total amount of allotted points you can have per day, plus weekly points. If you exercise, you can also earn fit points. So let’s examine this.
This is based upon your current weight and your goal weight. Think of it in terms of the old restrictive caloric intake belief. The “1200” calories per day thought process. It is/was believed that by limiting your caloric intake to only 1200 calories that you could lose weight. Not necessarily wrong, but in my opinion misguided. The daily points are similar in that based upon the type of food, a point value is assigned. Points help you maintain a healthy diet, because let’s face it, nobody can live off 2 Snickers bars a day. Using points forces you to find good healthy options and smaller portion sizes to eat. In turn, this allows you to lose weight and most importantly, forces you to choose healthier options.
My belief is that sometimes, we need more. Maybe a birthday party gets in the way or we go out to dinner unplanned. The weekly points are there to “catch” us in those situations because, life happens. I believe the weekly points are there so we feel a little less “guilty” about that piece of cake. Some people feel that they do better and have more success by using their weekly points. But that is for another editorial.
What most people do not realize is that when you begin to add an exercise regimen into your life, sometimes it will require more nutrition. Higher output can create the need for higher input. The WW’s program allows for that with fit points you earn as you log your exercise. This is where listening to your body comes into play. If you notice you are hungry more often, EAT! Remember – add more snacks into your menu.
What this all comes down to is you. You need to be in full charge of your health. Anybody can give you the tools, but at the end of the day you are the person who makes the decisions. So, my best advice to anyone is – see your doctor. Have a full physical done with a full blood workup. Make sure there are no underlying issues. Discuss with your doctor your goals. From there, do some research. Then join WW. Set a plan into motion that will make you successful in your journey. But don’t be fooled, this is not an easy journey. Remember – never blame the plan. The plan will work if you are honest with yourself. Accept the fact you will fail from time to time, but it’s about getting back up and pushing harder. Accept the fact that you may have to change tactics from time to time. Switch up your menu. There will be times you don’t lose a single pound or inch and that is ok. Do not live your life by the scale. With WW, just live your best life.
Good luck! I hope you can find some tips & tools here that will help you along your journey.
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