Weight Watchers

I am looking for information about Weight Watchers. I know I could probably get a very thorough description of how it works on the Web site, but I’m not looking for a sale’s pitch. So, have you ever done Weight Watchers? Did it work? What were the pros and cons? Is it worth the money?

I am considering an online trial. I want/need to lose 20 pounds of weight. I simply have to. I’m tired of saying I’ll do it and then failing miserably. Also, if anyone cares to join me, I’ll be your online dieting buddy!

Any or all help welcome. If you tend to shy away from comments, feel free to email me.


  1. I have not done the program myself, but my HR dept sponsored a WW program for staff. I know several people who are doing the plan here, and I haven’t heard anything negative about it. Everyone is apparently losing weight at a moderate rate (I know my supv has lost about 10 lbs in 8 weeks), so it sounds like a healthy system to me. (This all being my unscientific, untested opinion)


  2. I’ve done both the online and the group programs and I actually liked the online the best. I did it about 5 years ago and I lost 15 pounds. I also was working out pretty often, which helped. I really like the online b/c of the recipe builder, which allows you to find point values on food you already make and i liked the recipes you can search for. There were a lot more eating out foods than in the little book you get at meetings. Once you do it for a week, you basically know how, but it helps to have the online tracker to keep you on track. I really should get back on it!


  3. I lost 35 pounds with WW online (meetings weren’t my style,I’m more of a loner)post college and grad school. Then I gained 50 lbs. during my pregnancy and lost all the baby weight through WW as well. I am currently pregnant again (though I have gained less this time around!) and plan on using WW to lose the weight after I have the baby in August—you can do a modified WW plan while nursing, which is awesome.
    I highly recommend the online program if you’re able to hold yourself accountable and don’t need the meeting aspect. WW encourages healthy habits and lifestyle changes which is what worked for me. I found that once I hit my groove and learned the “system” I was able to eat healthier and smarter than when I tried to “diet” on my own.

    Whatever you decide, good luck!


  4. I did weight watchers without joining either online or meetings. I simply bought some cookbooks and downloaded points for food from the internet (you can even download points for just about any chain restaurant). Someone who was on weight watchers gave me a slide ruler to figure out points for individual items and that definately helps. I lost 18 pounds in about 4 months and found it to be pretty easy. I found it convienient to buy the frozen meals (either Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine) for lunch each day and then make dinner. The dessert snacks from Skinny Cow and Smart Ones definately made it easier as well. I highly recommend the program, it works and nothing is off limits.


  5. I haven’t done WW. But I went on a juice diet, with a Philips Alu juicer and a book called “7 pounds in 7 days” by Jason “The Juicemaster” Vale. Jason is all orange tan, gimpy smile and “hey guys!” writing style, which is obviously awful, but the book works and so does “Turbo-Charge your Life in 14 Days”.

    I lost 7 lbs in 7 days: that was without doing the recommended exercise. Then I kept up the healthy eating – juice for breakfast, something like smoked mackerel and avocado for lunch, and a dinner of lots of green veg and a bit of chicken or fish. Basically, no more fun stuff like bread, pasta, sugar, dairy, etc etc zzzz.

    It really works – I lost 16lb, which is ALL the extra weight that’s been hanging around me since I had a baby in October 06, plus a few more pounds besides. I don’t exercise a lot: a yoga class once a week or a fortnight. Most of the time I sit on my arse at a computer looking at shoes on eBay. But the weight’s stayed off. I feel light and energetic and all that sort of thing.

    Sorry – this comment has gone on all day and it isn’t about WW. But the juice thing worked for me. It got me out of the habit of eating stodgy food and into the habit of eating the good stuff, and it’s brilliant.


  6. I tried WW in college to loose some pounds. This was about 8 years ago. I went to meetings. I don’t remember how much weight I lost, but I stopped going to the meetings once I achieved a weight I was happy with.

    The best thing about the program was it gave me nutrition knowledge that I still use today. Once you understand how the point tally system works, you can carry over those guidelines to your everyday – thereby keeping the weight off.


  7. I think I’d opt for the online version. I doubt i can make meetings around here. I can barely make doctor’s appointments or grocery store visits.

    I’m looking into now online. Thanks for the insight. The part that makes me nervous is how does one know how much a serving is when they cook for themselves all the time? I suppose this, and more, will be answered once I begin. heh.


  8. I signed up for the 3-month thing. And I’m already confused as to how to use this site. I know I spend a great deal of time online, but I’m admittedly totally retarded whenever it comes to figuring this crap out. I think I may have an Internet learning disability or something.

    Or maybe it’s a browser compatibility issue? Ugh. Dammit. Feel so stupid.


  9. Just totally sent you an email telling you about my WW experience before reading down and seeing that you’re doing the online program.

    My best advice? Pump a LOT of recipes you use often into that recipe builder, and buy a scale. Both of these things have saved my neurotic brain from scrambling too much and ruining my dinner.

    The other important thing my (awesome!) meeting leader told me – when you can’t be too precise, take a guess and give yourself a break. He always reminds me that it’s not the extra ounce of chicken breast that got me here.


  10. I never did WW, but did do a similar online program called My Food Diary. My frustration with it was that so much of the things you could choose were pre-packaged, frozen, or fast food chain foods, and it was fairly time-consuming to put in recipes for all of the food I made myself, which is all but a few meals a week. I also tend to eat really varied meals, which made it hard, too. In the end, I’ve been keeping more unofficial track myself, just trying to eat mostly vegetables, lean protein, not snack too much, get exercise. Seems to be working, albeit slooowwly, which I know is the healthy way.


  11. I’ve done the program and had a LOT of success. For me, the accountability of going to a weekly meeting was key. And? I got some great advice and information in those meetings. There were always the “lifers” who had some story to relate that made me crazy (people, this is not therapy! it’s WW!), but I needed to show up and be accounted for.
    I bought the monthly unlimited package that gave me freedom to attend the meetings as well as access the AMAZING website and points counter online…also, sushi became my BFF.
    The best thing is the recipe finder and the cookbooks. Even though I dropped off the program, I still cook many recipes from them on a regular basis. They just taste great! After this baby is born, I can be found at my local WW once a week. I love they have a plan for nursing mothers, as well.
    I lost 22 lbs in 6 months. The first few weeks, I won’t lie, were tough, but it’s so worth it! The sales pitch is “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” And you know what? It’s true!


  12. Is there a target weight slot in WW? I am not finding it. Did they figure that out for me? They gave me a 21-point daily max. I am .5 away from hitting that already today! HAHAHAHHAHAHA



    I’ll start tomorrow since our homemade turkey burgers seem to be pulling in a 9 point total. Yowsa.

    I also never put in a target weight. Just my weight now and how tall I am. Wondering what they assume I should weigh.


  13. good of me to read the WHOLE POST…

    give me about a month and I’ll be your online buddy!


  14. I did WW, both online and meetings. Your 1st goal weight is 10% of your current weight. After that, there is a height-weight sliding scale they work off of.

    I enjoyed meetings but agree w/ Liz about the lifers using it as therapy!

    The best way to learn portion control is to use the scale and measuring cups and measure everything! I lost 30 lb on WW. I stopped going to meetings when my CC got stolen and they canceled me when my automatic payment wouldn’t going through.

    I thought WW was very helpful at handling portion control, but even with the bonus points I was still always hungry. I tried the “core” plan too, where there aren’t points but you eat all you want off a list and I put weight back on. I guess I will never feel “full” and lose weight.

    Good luck!


  15. What if you want to lose more than your 10% thing? You know what I mean? I need a self-help group to learn how to use their site. heh

    Dude, it’s starting to make some sense, but not entirely yet.

    How much do they think I should weigh, damn wankers.


  16. The easiest and healthiest way to lose weight? Count your calories. You don’t need to pay anyone and you don’t have to eat specific foods. Count everything and only allow yourself a certain amount of calories per day, no matter what. My husband lost 25 pounds like this and had developed great awareness of what he can and can’t eat. Example: you want to eat that cupcake? Ok, how many calories is it? Does it put you over your daily limit? Will it prevent you from being allowed to eat dinner? Probably. Your choice. Also, the more you exercise, the more calories you’re allowed. It’s a win-win!


  17. ps. Today’s Mighty Girl post has a great, honest post about losing weight after pregnancy (although maybe that’s what inspired your post in the first place?):


  18. Upon approving Amber’s comment, I deleted my own. But I didn’t like the way it read. I sounded annoyed whereas i was merely tired and frustrated. OK, then. Carry on.

    Amber: I’ll check it out now. Thanks!


  19. I do the McDougall plan every year to detox and lose some weight.

    Here is my golden advice – think about what you eat.

    You don’t have to go crazy and count calories. You don’t have stick to a regimen… but you DO have to think about what you’re putting into your body. How much fat (and what type) are in foods, how much vitamins…. what is all empty calories like sugar… and the differences between whole wheat and white flours.

    There aren’t really rules / guides. Going strict will make life unpalatable. But you need to learn how to balance.

    If you look up ‘diet’ there are different main meanings… sometimes it means a regulated selection of food as a meal plan. other times it means the usual foods/drinks someone intakes. The key to successful living isn’t the regulated fad for a few weeks, its about eating right every day for the rest of your life.


  20. I eat relatively well RIGHT NOW. I can’t specify that enough. I do drink wine, tho. I think cutting that out will help a bunch.

    I don’t eat a lot of sugar. i don’t eat cupcakes or chips and stuff. I don’t snack. I eat whole grains, wheat, the like. I don’t drink juice or soda. EVER. I drink water and iced tea.

    I lost 15 pounds on South Beach and I was hungry a lot of the time. I did cut a lot out of my diet, however. Even when I ran I wasn’t losing weight.

    I can’t tell you enough how well I think that I eat already. I eat even better now that I’m with TJ. We cook. We don’t eat fast food. I’m a little perplexed.

    It leaves me to believe it’s the wine. It must be.


  21. I put on a good 30 lbs. in law school (UGH) and have been trying to take it off since. I did WW online during my final year and lost about 15 of it. I did it with a coworker who also did the meetings. Here’s what I can tell you. WW WORKS. Anyone that I know (aunts, friends, coworkers – I’ve known at least 5 people personally) have lost weight if they follow the system. I did points because I liked being able to “earn” them through exercise. My big issues were 1) motivation and 2) a complete disregard for caloric content – I just wasn’t informed enough. The only drawback for me, and why I ultimately went off it, was the constant monitoring. I’ve had eating disorder issues in the past and the constant calculating of calories and fat grams, entering of data on the site, etc. was just too much for me. I felt totally haunted by it. But apart from that, I would recommend trying it for a few weeks without hesitation. The message boards are also great for inspiration and support.


  22. Thanks. I will check them out too.

    I do eat a lot of cheese. That seems to be a huge point giver on WW. I know cheese is fatty. Must stop eating so much cheese. That’s going to be difficult. I love cheese. :]

    I plan on picking up running again. Every time I run, I’ll eat cheese and wine. ;]


  23. Four years ago I lost 33 lbs on WW over a 9-month period. I also worked out a lot. I’d never looked better. A month after my honeymoon, I slowly started to revert back to my old eating habits and also began skipping workouts. I gained all the weight back plus 10 lbs within four years.

    Then I got pregnant. I managed to keep the weight gain down to 22 lbs despite being 12 days overdue. Within the first month I lost 28 lbs (mostly due to the baby blues which killed my appetite).

    My baby is three months old and I have yet to lose anymore weight despite all the breastfeeding we’re doing. I’d like to lose 35 lbs and I’d love a diet buddy!


  24. If you feel like reading the story of how someone who never thought they’d be on a diet went through WW you can hit my blog and anything tagged with Weight. I lost about 28 lbs. in just over a year. I did just the online part and I have to agree with everyone who said it works because it just does. I do think, though, that you need personal experience/interaction even if you aren’t going to meetings. I happen to have a number of friends who are working the program and they helped all the time. Other people spend a lot of time on the forums. I can’t deal with the forums but one of my friends loves them so any time I had a question that needed an answer from the forum I’d ask her to help. The current version of the points counter makes it a little harder to count points without measuring but I think it’s still possible. I didn’t buy a food scale but I did use the hell out of my measuring cups and spoons when I was starting out.

    Good luck with it! I can’t say I loved doing it but it did the job.


  25. Hey, I’ve heard great things from friends who have done both versions of WW. For me, I slowly started to change my diet, recently I have been cooking from the eat-clean diet cookbook. It is FREAKING AWESOME! I’m rarely hungry when eating these recipes, lots of lean proteins, complex carbs, and even recipes for desserts, the ones I have made (for others) have been a huge success. They have the nutriental break-down & calories per serving which can be helpful.

    As a lover of cheese, I have cut back on the amount I have, but still allow it, you know because it is safer for those around me that I still get cheese.

    I can’t honestly say I how much wieight I have lost, since I also started working out like a mad thing & have built a fair bit of muscle. BUT I have gone down a pant size or two, not to mention buying my first ever medium sized shirt in a million years!
    Lots of mini-meals, properly portioned snacks & paying attention to the when & why I eat, have also helped.
    Hope that was helpful, wishing you much luck with it all.


  26. I’ve tried WW online several times and it always works like a charm. My problem is I don’t watch my portions permanently..and they slide back to eating 2 cups of pasta at dinner, etc. The first time, I signed up in May, hoping to lose 5 pounds by my August 3rd wedding date. I lost 25, and had to get my dress severely altered. It was quite unexpected!
    The last tme I was on it, I lost 20 lbs, but after pregnancy, and being home on mat leave a year, so close to that darn fridge, I”ve ballooned way up. Coincidentally, I just signed myself back up for WW on Tuesday. I joined the core plan this time, as I think it might be a better way for me to permanently maintain a lower weight. The other plan works great for me to lose weight, but it’s all about measuring portions, and I can’t maintain that.
    I know I’m not supposed to weigh myself often, but I’m already down 2 lbs…
    Regarding the website – the new plan thingie is kind of confusing, and slow on my computer. I liked the older one better. If you can enter recipes into the recipe builder that you use often, it makes life a lot easier and quicker. If you also eat similar type meals, eg. I eat the same cereal with milk, glass of juice for breakfast every moring, you can save a “meal” also. At least you don’t have to enter portions every single day for the same thing.

    Hmm…I can’t think of anything else specifically, but I’ve been on this website a lot and I think I have it figured out.

    When you click on “weight tracker” on the left hand side of the home page, you can go edit your weights and you should be able to find out the range WW thinks is ideal for your height and age.

    Email me if you have any more questions?


  27. I know you guys eat well – tasty nutritional food and you’re both good chefs.

    But… you really need to pay attention to what you’re cooking and how you’re doing it. When you look at the calories in each dish.. and more specifically the calories from fat… you can be astonished.

    One of the best ways to cut down a bit in home cooking is to moderate olive oil usage. The McDougall plan has this crazy idea where you sautee veggies in water. Crazy, but it works… and every TBSP of olive (or other) oil is around 133 calories.

    Tofu is so damn unhealthy… roughly 1/2 the calories are from fat. It’s basically just a soyfat emuslion that is gelled.

    Wine shouldn’t make you fat. I forget the exact mechanics… i think it has to do with triglycerides and fatty acids… generally speaking the wine and clear-alcohol calories will run through you… while beer , whiskey and rum will stick.

    Anyways, like I said… I htink the best way to get back on track is to go for the lifestyle change. If you cut out cupcakes and wine, you might have a life that you hate. You need to have an amount of ‘fat’ in your diet that makes you happy… I personally think the best way to get that is to find a few treats and drinks, make them healthy, and plan things backwards. Find a lifestyle you can commit to, this way you’ll stay on track.


  28. I did WW back in the 80s. I know it’s changed a LOT since then, but even back then it worked well. I have a bloggy friend who is doing it now. I’d link you to her weight loss journal, but it’s private. Let’s put it this way…she’s lost 39 lbs in 17 weeks. She wants to lose 100 in total. I’d say 20 is a very doable goal with WW.


  29. Alcohol does get in the way of losing weight… it’s metabolized into acetate, which your body then burns off instead of fat. Doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol it is.


  30. I’d like to point you to Maggie Mason’s recent great blog post about this very topic.

    I’m sorry if this is stating the obvious, but it sounds like it just takes a long time to lose that pregnancy weight. The hormones are not back to pre-pregnancy levels, the sleep deprivation, the lack of time to do things for yourself…I’m sure these all contribute.

    I wish you the best in reaching your goals!


  31. i started ww online four weeks ago and have lost 11 pounds so far, without ever being hungry. so i’d chime in with everyone who’s said that it works, because it very obviously does.

    i am in europe and use one of the european sites, and i reckon the website is slightly odd, could do with more actual information on the program and improved user interface-wise, the forums are full of total lunatics (), but apart from that, i love it. really. i love it. using their food diary has become normal by now, there is no food plan to follow, nothing is explicitly forbidden. i eat (tiny, tiny pieces of) chocolate, i drink alcohol when going out. i’m happy, and can already take off my jeans – which were way too tight six weeks ago – without unbuttoning them. my boyfriend joined in after seeing me on it for three weeks, so i’m not feeling so community-less anymore. like kizz pointed out, you do want someone to talk about this, even when their forums are not your thing.


  32. Hi Michele,

    Have you visited with your endocrinologist concerning your thyroid hormone replacement therapy? I don’t recall the outcome of your hyperthyroidism but your metabolism is definitely affected by your thyroid hormone levels.


  33. stfarmer: No. I have an appointment for bloodwork this week. I think. I have to double check. Yeah, i wonder how much of this is due to my thyroid levels. So frustrating! (Haven’t “seen” you in a while. Hope you’re well)

    WW people: My biggest hurdle thus far (been on it for a whopping TWO DAYS! Is forgetting some of the things I picked up with South Beach regarding nuts. Last time I felt this confused was when I (a Spanish language learning student) decided to take French after 3 years of Spanish. It was very, very difficult to answer the questions in anything other than Spanish.

    Yes. That’s it. If that makes sense. At all.


  34. I have lost 40 pounds on Weight Watchers and am 13 away from my goal weight. It definitely works, and those that continue working the plan after they get to goal keep it off.


  35. Michele: I’m consistently checking for posts but haven’t commented lately. I enjoy reading about Emory but not being a parent, I don’t have a lot to contribute.

    I love the blog… I hope you continue with it in some form or another.


  36. Everyone: Thanks for the WW comments. I am three days in. It’s not easy, but it’s going well. I hope to lose some weight and will keep everyone updated as the months continue.


  37. (i’m writing this w/o reading other comments so this may have been said..)

    if you follow the plan, it works! the first few wks are difficult but you will see results!
    good luck!


  38. Hi Michele, I’m not a frequent commenter but I check your site daily… just wanted to tell you that I also joined the online ww thingy… I’m on day 2 here. You inspired me to start! Good luck…


  39. I haven’t read all the comments, but I started WW online on Sunday, and I agree—the site is a little overwhelming. I FINALLY found where my target weight was plugged in. Day by day, I’m feeling a little more proficient. Plugging in my frequent foods into the “favorites” helps. Anyway, I’ll be doing it, too.


  40. I have done Weight Watchers, as well as my mom, and I still use it ALL the time for weight maintenance and general portion calculations. I LOVE IT!!! It’s the best system in the entire world. Also the most successful.

    – You can eat your own food.
    – It’s VERY easy to calculate how many points you’re eating, no matter what food it is.
    – It’s good even after you’ve lost the weight you want to lose: as I said, I still use it all the time for maintenance and to knock a quick five pounds of holiday weight back off.
    – There are tons of WW recipes that I use all the time. They are AWESOME and not at all fattening.
    – Lots of food brands have started putting WW point count right on the can/box/etc. Progresso soup is one example.
    – I learned a lot about good nutrition (i.e. the importance of fiber, things to avoid, etc.) through WW.
    – You get bonus points for exercise, and that’s a huge motivating factor for me.

    – You have to be somewhat disciplined. You MUST count your points if you want to lose weight. There were days that I didn’t count and then would later wonder why I stopped losing weight. You’re eating more than you think you’re eating, so the points-counting is crucial.

    Good luck! I LOVE it and I’ve convinced a few people to try it (others are more resistant). The ones who have tried it have been really, really glad they did and are all still using it to this day.


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