Why Weight Watchers Won’t Make You Healthy

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When people come to see me for weight loss I always ask them if they’ve tried anything in the past.  The typical answer is, “Oh I’ve tried everything!”

They then proceed to rattle off a long list of popular diets.  The most frequently mentioned is Weight Watchers.

And I always ask, “How did you do?”

The answer is fairly universal.

“I lost weight.”

I then ask, “Why do you think you put the weight back on?”

The answer is again, fairly universal.

“I got tired of counting points.”

This is what people do on Weight Watchers.  Different foods are given different point values and those point values are meant to keep you from overeating.  Essentially, it’s about portion control and restricting calories.

It works for most people.

But most people relapse.  Now not everyone, I know.  Some people do keep the weight off.  But in my experience, these folks are few and far between.

Why?

In my opinion the biggest reason is that Weight Watchers doesn’t teach people about real food.  I could say this about any program that revolves around counting calories.

For example take a look at this picture:

Who do you know who eats foods like these everyday?

These are standard items in the kitchen cupboards of most Americans.  These are not real foods.  Forget the flashy health claims on the front.  Take a look at the ingredients on the back.  You’ll see the standard list of chemicals that are the realm of processed foods -sugar, hydrogenated oils, more sugar, soy byproducts, more sugar, MSG and of course, more sugar.  These products don’t come directly from farms.  They come from factories.

And it’s amazing that we’ve become so divorced from our foods that most people have been conditioned to think that some of them are actually healthy!  For example, I posted the above pic on my Facebook page a few weeks ago.  A friend commented, “What’s wrong with Cheerios?!”

Cheerios is a highly refined product. like most boxed cereals go through an industrial process called extrusion which creates the flakes and in the case of Cheerios, the O-shapes.  Extrusion uses high heats and pressure to do this.  It damages all the nutrients and in the process creates potentially toxic proteins.

Of course, the foods shown in the above pic are all fine on diets that count calories as long as they fit within a certain daily calorie limit.

But remember, calories are a measurement of energy not nutrients.  You can eat two thousand calories a day of nutrient rich foods or two thousand calories a day of nutrient deficient foods.  The former will keep you satisfied and nourished. The latter will keep you hungry and malnourished.

You can lose weight on both approaches.

But the essence of good nutrition in not caloric content.  It’s nutrient content.

Duh!

And this is my problem with Weight Watchers.  Their list of sponsors are a who’s who of big names from the processed food industry – Eggbeaters, Tyson and Progresso to name a few.  In fact, they’ve recently decided to partner with McDonald’s in Australia and New Zealand.

And then there’s their own line of products full of processed ingredients.

Yes, you can lose weight by eating less processed foods than more processed foods, but does this really promote long term health?

When I work with clients both individually and in my group weight loss program I educate people about real food that promotes long term health.

For example, there is a tremendous difference in the meat, milk and eggs of animals that are raised on pasture and those that is are raised in a factory farms.   A good way to tell is to look at the color of an egg yolk.  Color equates nutrient density. Pastured egg yolks will have a beautiful bright orange color.  Non-pastured eggs will be more yellow.   And in some cases (like with the photo I took above), they lack any color whatsoever.

A similar example is wild salmon compared to farmed salmon.  Wild salmon have a natural deep reddish hue.   Farmed salmon have no color and are fed dyes to turn their flesh pink.  Next time you’re in a seafood department, if both wild and farmed are on display, compare the difference in color.  It’s shockingly obvious.

There is also a tremendous  difference between fruits and vegetables grown in nutrient rich soils and those grown in nutrient deficient soils.  A good way to tell is to use your taste buds, especially with fruit.   Ripeness is a good indicator of peak nutrient density.  Most fruit in supermarkets is picked from large farms grown in nutrient deficient soils.  It then sits on trucks and shelves for long periods and loses further nutrient value.  This is why most fruit in supermarkets tastes horrible!

I am always educating people about these differences.  I also connect class members to local farms in my area, farms that are growing their food sustainably, farms that give back to the earth what they take, farms that care for their animals and allow them to roam and graze.

I know not everyone is ready to fully embrace this and that’s OK.  I give them options for healthier choices in their supermarkets and how to transition slowly to a more real food-based diet.

Regardless, once people learn that it’s NOT how much you eat but WHAT you eat, they are shocked when they start losing weight without restricting calories.  They’re also thrilled.

Throughout the course we learn about other underlying issues that can impede weight loss such as digestive issues, hidden food sensitivities, yeast overgrowth, toxins and hormonal imbalances.

If you’re in western MA and would like to lose weight (or just feel better) by learning about real food, check out my 12 week Get At The Roots weight loss classes.  Truth be told, they’re really more about wellness than weight loss.  But that’s what weight loss should really be about anyway!

Classes start January 26th in downtown Northampton.  There is also a free info session on Thursday, January 19th at 7pm to learn more.   Classes are held at Clinic: Alternative Medicines, Northampton’s newest wellness center at 98 Main St.

Details and costs as well as a short video explaining the program can be found on my website, www.pvnutritionaltherapy.com/weight-loss

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Comments

  1. Susan E Roth says:

    Congratulations! How did your first group(s) do? I had one “control it” program. One woman loved it, still is using the powder for one meal a day. She lost over 40 pounds. I actually have to convince her to get out of the old weight watchers mind set,and to eat more nutritious fats. I would love her to join in the new group, or maybe be my assistant- so she will pick up more of the food prep, and home made meals, which is so important for ANY diet change to work.
    That is why I love this “Roots” program so much-it works on so many levels, and really leaves the person with tools for a lifetime of healthy eating. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Susan. GATR is going well! Good luck on getting it started. It takes a lot of work but it’s worth it in the end because I think it’s what people are really looking for. And yes, one of the great benefits is that you only have to do the class once to really learn about healthy eating for the rest of your life.

  2. Heather Walters says:

    I have done Weight Watchers while eating my normal diet. My normal diet includes no processed foods, no HFCS, no dyes, and is primarily local and/or organic and includes grass fed cultured butter, raw whole milk and cream, and grass fed meats and pastured pork & poultry.

    I lost weight. It helped me with portion control, but, honestly, the program is not set up for that type of diet. Finding the “Points” value of a frozen meal takes seconds, finding it for a pork chop with mushrooms and a couple Table spoons of cultured cream takes minutes. At the meetings people talk about “Writing points for every food on the box so you know when you open your pantry!” I have few boxes in my pantry…

    A lot of overweight people have lost the “full” trigger and portion control is their problem. For those weight watchers is not a bad program, if you use it as a tool and avoid the processed crap that so often goes with it.

  3. Great! It is such a huge paradigm change for us to see healthy as the goal. I think partially this is because we are taught from birth that thin=healthy, when there may be no correlation at all (ever watched a friend go through chemo??).
    You’ve done a wonderful job, and I commend you!

  4. Weight Watchers doesn’t focus on counting calories with their new program. They focus on the nutrients and points are calculated based on protein, carbs, fiber and fat content. They actually encourage consumption of plant based whole foods now more than ever as a heathy eating lifestyle.

    • Finally they are catching on to true health!

    • Hi Jenn, thanks for your feedback. A plant-based diet is another philosophical difference I have with WW. I know it’s very trendy and seemingly accepted by everyone but there is ample evidence that humans need animal based foods for good health, in particular, animal fats. I would turn your attention to the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation for more information about this – http://www.westonaprice.org

      • WW doesn’t promote a plant based diet, they encourage people to eat more whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

        • And I will be happy to check out your referenced web site, however I admit I eat very little meat. I don’t feel comfortable eating sentient creatures. I do eat some wild caught fish and organic chicken. I do get fresh eggs from my farmer neighbor. I do not consume dairy except a little cheese as a treat occasionally. I love beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit. I try not to eat anything that comes from a box or bag.

      • I think the omnivorous, good fat-filled, plant-based diet that Terry Wahls used to heal her MS is probably the best sort of diet for a broad variety of people. She does suggest the kinds of organ meat that the WAP Foundation proposes, but basically 3 plates full of mineral and flavonoid rich vegetables are the mainstay of the diet:

        http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com/alternative-health/nutrition-for-parkinsons-disease-part-1

    • Cynthia Franklin says:

      I agree with you, Jenn. I find the points system encourages me to eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans. Those are the foods that are most satisfying and fit within the points allowance. The reason it’s so easy to calculate points for processed/packaged foods is because they have a bar code. You can easily track healthy foods on their eTools as well – save your favorites and add with one click.

  5. I couldn’t agree more and was just explaining this to a client yesterday!

  6. love this post! Thanks for a great post I can share with friends about WW!

  7. i loved this post!

    ive been saying for a long time now that WW is not a “healthy” program for the exact reasons you mentioned.

    Another thing i would add though is that because we’re so obsessed with the points (at least for me) — i would often choose food that was less so i could have more. For example, i’d have more bread (or even a WW snack cake :) as opposed to another piece of chicken or salmon because i wanted to “Save my points.”

    Maybe thats just my craziness, but even though i did lose a couple of pounds on WW – its NOT necessarily healthy.

    • You may need to take anothe look at WW if it’s been a while since you’ve been on it… as I initially had the same problem 3 years ago: a small apple was 2 points; same as a processed sweet/carb snack. Happily, the revised points calculations as of November 2010 addressed just such an issue — now protein and carbs are factored in, so now that “snack cake” will likely have far more points than the piece of salmon or chicken. And with fruits and most veg being 0 points, there is never a reason to forego those instead of a processed carb-loaded snack.

      • But do they differentiate between farm-raised salmon and wild, between CAFO-raised chickens and pasture raised? Do they educate you about where your food is coming from?

        • Weight Watchers does not claim to be a “health food” diet. They teach portion control and nutrients. And it is very effective. Bottom line is that a person at a correct weight IS healthier than an overweight person. You can’t argue that. How can you compare the two?

          • I understand your point, Annette, but good health doesn’t always coincide with thinness. One can be thin and be diabetic, have a heart attack or even get cancer. I’ve seen way too many people lose weight on WW only to put it back. Anyone can lose weight via counting points, restricting calories, eating low fat, eating low carb, etc but after the weight comes off and one needs to nourish one’s body with real foods from real farms for good long term health. I don’t see WW teaching this. Their sponsors clearly shows it.

  8. This is so very untrue!! I attend a weekly weight watchers meeting and the entire meeting is based on “encouraging health eating”. I have lost over 30 pounds by eating healthier and being accountable for everything that I put in my mouth. This program has helped so many people and I think that is a very successful weight loss program. If the people fail at the program then it is them giving up it’s not the program itself. It is so easy to place blame on someone else. We all know what we have to do to loose weight it the “doing it” that is the problem..

    • I also follow the Weight Watchers program, and I can’t agree that the article is entirely untrue.

      The Points Plus program does encourage lean meats and plants, but they still endorse unhealthy, processed food. They follow Conventional Wisdom, and my meeting leader nearly had a heart attack when he found out that I no longer eat grains and only cook with coconut oil.

      I was personally horrified that they have started endorsing McDonald’s… It is one thing to have McDonald’s listed in the dining out book… It is one of the most popular places, so, yes, it should be in the in the book. It is a completely different statement for Weight Watchers to put their logo on the menu. When they put their logo on a microwave meal made of random chicken parts glued together and pressed into a generic nugget shape, many people will assume it is a healthy option. It’s not.

      The program is working for me… But, I also eat organic produce, grass fed meat, while avoiding grains and processed food.

  9. Definitely: real food is what our bodies need, not processed, pretend food.

    But even real food can be made unhealthy by sprinkling it with salt. And for people who are sensitive to salt, the added salt will increase their problem of fluid retention and thereby cause them to gain excess weight.

    The fastest, simplest way to lose excess weight is to avoid salt and salty food. – This does entail eating real food, of course, since in the main, processed food products are laden with salt/sodium.

    • Hi Margaret, thanks for your feedback but I have to disagree with you about salt. Salt is vital for our health. I wrote another blog about this recently: http://www.pvnutritionaltherapy.com/why-sugar-will-raise-your-blood-pressure-more-than-salt/

      • Hi Craig

        Yes, our bodies need some salt. What they do not need is added salt – the large amounts of salt that processed food manufacturers ladle into their products. Real food – all real food and all drink, even plain water – contains a small amount of salt. This is all we actually need. I personally do not eat of drink anything at all that has any added salt because I am extremely sensitive to salt/sodium. I was made salt-sensitive as a result of taking prescribed steroid medication, which made me gain a lot of weight as fluid retention. When I made the chance discovery that reducing salt intake resulted in fluid loss and therefore weight loss, I eliminated all added salt and salty food from what I ate. I lost 51 pounds in this way. I have written about my experience in an article that was published in Mensa magazine. The article is on this webpage: http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/obesity_and_the_salt_connection.html

        And I have written here http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/vulnerable_groups.html about the groups of people who are vulnerable to salt.

        Over the years my website has been on the internet I have had feedback from many people, thanking me for the information that had solved for them the mystery of their obesity, and amazed at how fast they lost weight when they cut down on salt and salty food, and how dramatically their high blood pressure came down and how much better they felt.

        Clearly salt is not the only sensitivity that causes weight gain, but for the people who are sensitive to salt, when they discover that salt is the problem for them, the knowledge is quite literally a life-saver.

        There are, unfortunately, many prescription drugs that cause sensitivity to salt and therefore weight gain, often obesity, or even morbid obesity. Unless the people taking these drugs find out that it is salt they need to reduce, they will continue to get fatter and fatter, however little they eat.

    • I agree with you on your points. But WW varies widely depending on who is running it, etc. I was very fortunate as my leader was studying nutrition, and not just the government pyramid type, but she was the one to get me to eat some protein in each meal/snack, every week was an eye opener, was very upset when I could not attend. But all the knowledge kept with me.

      However I’ve been to meetings even just around the corner and in the States where the advice was er, well not so good. I think it is very hard for WW to be consistent. But what you do see consistently is WW foods everywhere that I wouldn’t consider to be healthy foods.

  10. This type of article makes me really aggravated. I agree with the underlying message: “eat a balanced variety of unprocessed foods for best health,” but I’m disheartened to see the fairly disengenuous disparaging of WW’s program as being contrary to that underlying message.

    WW now, more than ever (but it was also true 3 years ago when I started), encourages in meetings moving toward whole foods, stretching one’s horizions regarding fruits & veggies & whole grains (often, a meeting’s theme or advice is “try a new food”), and stresses lean protein & healthy fats.

    Often, people focus on WW’s “counting points” aspect, and forget about the integral daily “Good Health Guidlines” which is the part where you are to aim to consume DAILY at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies, 1-2 servings lean protein, 2 high-calcium servings of food/dairy, 2 tsp of healthy fats (olive, flaxseed, etc.), whole grains whenever possible, at least 6 servings non-alcoholic liquid, and a multi-vitamin.

    I’ve been on WW for 3 years, and I’m lighter, fitter and healthier than I was 15 years ago. I generally eat very healthful foods (I did before WW, but certainly moreso after), but if I had to forego forever my occasional fast food burger or packet of crappy chips, I’d never be successful. WW has made it possible for me to figure out how to have those things reasonably.

    The genius in WW is that anyone can follow the program and not have to give up the foods they like (whether they’re junk or not) — but the issue there is in the person following WW. If they ate only junk before, they can continue to eat junk, count points and lose weight, but this piece is right — they won’t be any healthier. If they’re truly following the whole WW program however, including the Good Health Guidelines (and the 3rd part: “Move More” encouraging an increase in physical activity) and not just the points-counting, then they’re bound to be headed toward good health. But again, it depends far more on the person following the plan than the program itself.

  11. WW is definitely a waste of money and vain efforts. Counting points and eating whatever you want as long as you have the points is ridiculous. It is not healthy and does not endorse nutrient dense foods. I follow the WAPS way of eating and have lost weight and gained health. Smart food choices and traditional preparation is the healthy way to eat.

  12. I disagree with a lot of these points about Weight Watchers. If they have been to a meeting since they have moved to points plus, they would know that they are pushing fresh foods and minimizing the consumption of processed foods. They haven’t been using calorie only points in over a year now. They actually don’t use calories at all, just fat, carbs, fiber, & protein.
    I dare Craig Fear to go to a meeting.

    • They would have to remove their partnership with McDonald’s for me to do that. And stop partnering with processed food companies.

      • As much as I want to be behind this article I can’t be because of your attitude. You refuse to go to a meeting and actually learn about the program from meeting leaders or members.

        Just an FYI if you are going to quote articles about WW you probably should find one that is less than almost 2 years old. It’s not a “recent” partnership with McDonalds in New Zealand and Australia. That is dated March of 2010.

        • Michel, I’ve learned enough about nutrition to know that WW is a completely different paradigm than the one I believe in. I’m sure the leaders and members are good people and have good intentions and like I said, I know people do well on the program but I don’t think they educate people on the core issues. And has WW retracted their partnership with McDs? McDonald’s is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with food. How can WW have any self-respect when they support a company like that?

    • WW ALSO pushes all this junk: http://www.weightwatchers.com/shop/index.aspx
      Tell me, what is healthy about any of these things?
      I have worked with Craig, and my life has only changed for the better. I learned more from him in one month than I ever did in the multiple times I was a member of WW. And I continue to learn from him.
      I dare anyone to attend his Get At The Roots program and tell me that WW is still a good idea.

  13. You nailed it with this essay, Craig, especially when you write, “the essence of good nutrition in not caloric content. It’s nutrient content.” I think the calories in/calories out model is kind of whack, since they’re both very hard to precisely measure in the real world (look how hard it is in a lab!), but the bigger problem is one of thinking that “watching what you eat” means being able to measure its caloric content. I think people who don’t know their food farm-to-fork feel more secure eating something with a Nutrition Facts label, even though that’s your first hint that it was manufactured, because it seems authoritative. I’m glad you’re turning people on to cooking and eating real foods. There’s so much that’s good to eat that’s grown right here.

  14. I think that Craig is right on the mark with his assessment of Weight Watchers, and in fact most diet industry programs.

    I have been helping clients lose weight and keep it with with lifestyle changes for years. Sometimes I use the ‘control-it’ system of mild detoxification prior to re-introducing foods that cause inflammation for some people. The diet industry never takes into consideration the underlying causes of not being able to lose weight: inflammation, food sensitivities and hormonal disruption.

    It’s always about calories in and calories burned with industrial diets. I work with people recovering from Medifast, WW, etc. The one thing they all have in common is fake foods, GMO foods, and the medical establishment and insurance companies backing them up – without long term results! I actually had someone from Medifast get back to me when I questioned their use of GMO soy who said – it’s never been proven to do damage to humans.

    Thank you Craig for such a great article. Your clients will thrive with your whole food and healthy approach to weight management.

  15. Diets don’t work in the long run

    Eat when hungry stop when satisfied
    High fiber helps too
    And lots of water..

  16. Kelley Combs says:

    Weight Watchers Point Plus 2012 is a very healthy lifestyle change. Not only does it help reeducate people on portion size it stresses, let me repeat STRESSES the importance for fresh fruits & vegetables! Most fresh fruits & veggies are 0/ZERO point foods, also known as POWER FOODS. Eat these when hungry. Don’t have to count the calories….just eat. Open up the new WW cookbook, take a look. The above information is simply not true. If you embrace the program you will lose the weight and you will be healthier than when you started. It teaches how to eat properly. Do some research and see for yourselves!

    • Thanks for sharing, Kelley. Again, I know people benefit from WW but it comes from a very mainstream perspective on nutrition. It’s basically the standard USDA food pyramid approach. There’s A LOT more to it than that. My big issue with WW is that there is no differentiation between foods from real farms and foods from the food industry. These choices are vital if we are to repair our food system and ourselves. People need to know this. Check out http://www.westonaprice.org or subscribe to http://www.mercola.com for more in depth information. Or watch Food, Inc.

  17. Thank you everyone for your well informed and very viable information. I would however urge everyone to read the book “Wheat Belly” by Dr. Davis. You will never eat wheat again for the rest of your life with all that he shares about the GM part of wheat and many other grains besides that one. Alfalfa has now been offered up as a GM product from the powers that be and unfortunately the long term effect of this will be disasterous! It will eventually affect everything and sadly even organic farming will become a thing of the past with all the cross pollination that will start to take place. What is the US doing to your country and your people??? Mind you Canada will not be far behind either.

    • Leslie,

      The moment I began reading these comments, my first thought was “These people have GOT to read Wheat Belly!” My husband and I (personal trainer and nutrition coach, and healthy foods chef, respectively) eat very clean, but that book changed our lives. Literally. If I could, I’d buy tons of copies and literally hand them out to people on the street.

      I loved this article Craig. I couldn’t agree with you more. I tried WW a long time ago, and have kept abreast of what their new programs are and I know of people who will literally “schedule” it throughout the year. People know that for many, it’s a short-term solution. I emphasize that point…for MANY, it’s short-term. Some do lose weight and keep it off. But I can’t help but agree that I feel the underlying principles are shifting based on a vague understanding of what’s truly healthy.

  18. Why pick on Weight Watchers? There’s a ton of other programs out there that don’t have the success that Weight Watchers does. Obviously, you’ve never been to a meeting nor do you have knowledge of how the program works. It has never claimed to be a “health food” diet. If you are the type of person who eats processed foods you can still lose weight on WW. If you like organic and fresh you will lose weight faster on WW. Don’t dog the program for trying to appease all the people. And, yes, they do teach the benefits of fresh and healthy foods at the meetings. WW doesn’t claim to teach organic eating and this is essentially what you are doing. You can’t compare the two. You can eat organic, unprocessed, and fresh and still be overweight. Oh, and furthermore, any chicken farmer can add nutrients to his chicken feed to make an egg yolk more orange than yellow!

  19. I like this.

    Please see my article “Instead of Counting Calories, Make Every Calorie Count” at http://medtopicwriter.com/2012/01/03/new-years-resolution-instead-of-counting-calories-make-every-calorie-count/

    Thank you.

  20. I have to say… I agree with the article.

    I did WW several years ago and lost weight, but put most of it back on. It was surprisingly simple to “rig the program.” I could grab a can of Chef Boyardee pasta, sprinkle a little fiber on it and it was suddenly much healthier for me? It didn’t matter to me, because I saw results.

    For the last two years, I have limited my sugar and simple carbs, and increased my vegetables and protein. A couple of months ago, I introduced Virgin Coconut Oil in my diet and Chia seeds into my smoothies. I also work out 3 times a week. The results speak for themselves. The weight has stayed off and evened out… I have muscles now… and it isn’t as hard to skip the sweets.

    My partner inspired by my weight loss, started WW online 4 months ago. He has lost 35 lbs, but he doesn’t look healthy. His skin is dull and he has lost some muscle tone. He says he wants to start working out, but I don’t know if he will have the energy to do it. He is having digestive issues, but doesn’t want to examine his diet because he has lost weight. He just takes another pill from the doctor.

    WW (and other weight loss systems) preys on the societal desire to be thin, not healthy. These companies make billions of dollars a year and if their programs truly worked, they would put themselves out of business and trust me… they don’t want that.

  21. Thanks, Craig! Your article inspired me to think about my relationship to “food” vs. “groceries” and how moving to Brazil has changed the foods I eat to be much more nutrient dense. My experience mirrors the exact differences you note between the two. I wrote a blog about it – you can see it at

    http://barefootlifeblog.com/2012/03/04/when-food-is-love.aspx

    • Hey thanks Stephanie. That’s a really great blog! And thanks for the shout out at the end of it. That was a pleasant surprise. I’m going to post this on my facebook page.

  22. WW does teach you how and what to eat. They do want you to choose whole foods – veggies, fruits, lean meats and fish. They do not get as specific as – organic, grass fed, etc. They are not Weston A Price after all.

    I have followed WW more times than I can count. I have lost weight previously on their old plan and once I educated myself about real food and began following Weston A Price I quit WW. I couldn’t embrace the artifical sweeteners and fake butter philosophy any more. I rarely buy processed, packaged foods and avoid fast food.

    I have returned to WW and am enjoying their new pointsplus program. It is up to the individual to make the right choices for themselves and educate themselves on what they put in their mouth.

    Whether WW endorses McD’s or not, you don’t have to go there. You don’t have to buy WW frozen meals or their other snack items they sell at the meetings either. I am sorry to say, that the general public chooses to frequent fast food establishments and buy processed foods because their perception is that is less expensive and easier than planning and preparing food made with wholesome ingredients. For those of us that understand what real food is but still need the support of groups like WW, we make it work using the proper foods. Yes, it takes more time and planning but it can be done.

    Weight Watchers DOES teach you how to cook from scratch and has some great cookbooks which is far superior to the other weight loss centers out there. For example, Jenny Craig, who sells you frozen microwave meals and packaged, processed foods. These foods are loaded with HFCS and artifical sweeteners and totally void of nutrients.

  23. The problem with WW’s is they are and have been so far behind the times on nutritional advice that it’s just sad. Fruits are no points? Sure, have a 50# person think they can load up on all the fruit they want and still have a good metabolic profile.

    it’s hard for people to break away from the idea that while fruit is “healthy”, it depends upon the person and how well they tolerate carbs…

    That said, the one area that WWs is leap and bounds beyond the fitness industry is their social support. This is something that needs more attention and WW’s definitely is on to the right idea here.

    Nutritional advice not so much.

  24. Some misinformation here:

    1. WW does not count calories.
    2. WW does promote eating healthy whole foods and has also started to promote superfoods.

    However I think the general point of your article is excellent. We are a society of eating quick, processed foods. God forbid if we should cook a meal every night!

    I think that WW is an excellent program and is just one tool in a journey for people to become healthier. WW is not solely responsible for our health. We are. I decided to join and use the program to supplement more of a whole foods approach to my eating including eating lean meats, whole grains (no gluten or dairy), nuts/legumes, fruit/veggies. I don’t buy WW food products and I take what is good from the program (which is most of it) and leave the rest. I take responsibility for myself.

  25. http://bit.ly/QyrES8 says:

    I’d need to examine with you here. Which isn’t something I usually do! I enjoy reading a publish that can make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  26. I think another thing worth mentioning on here is WW’s new “simply filling” technique. They now offer it as an alternative or when you get “burned out” on counting points. There is a one page list of “natural” foods (organic chicken breast and lean fish, fresh fruits and veggies, egg whites, whole wheat bread) that you can eat all you want of every day. You’re also still given a small weekly points allowances for things such as condiments or a treat.
    I found this site after googling “tired of weight watchers” I’ve lost only 20 lbs in the last year on it. And I’m still struggling. I’m so tired of counting points. Even with 20 lbs left to go, I’m thinking of throwing in the towel. I hate having to wait for my app to load and log every time I eat something.

  27. I think that ultimately it is each persons own responsibility to research and understand why they shouldn’t eat GMO food, artificial sweeteners, food from depleted land, why minerals are more important than vitamins, why trans fats and corn syrup are bad for you.

    Weight watchers doesn’t tell people what to eat, they show them how to portion control so that what they do eat will result in weight loss.

    It would only take a person a few hours on the internet to learn what they should eat and why, the problem lies with the individual not with weight watchers.

    I do have a question though, you stated thin people can still have diabetes, have a heart attack or get cancer, are you suggesting that in following your program people will not get diabetes, have a heart attack or get cancer?

    I know your not, but it sure sounded like you were. However I think your information can be found with a little research. Of course health food comes unprocessed, is grown on mineral rich soils, the animals are not vaccinated or pumped full of hormones, this is a given. I’m wondering if you also teach people to cook as little as possible since this is also healthier.
    The whole problem with all of the healthiest food is that it is expensive and or inconvenient to the average person. That doesn’t mean some people wont do it, I do, but most wont take the effort.

  28. Exactly how do you have the ability to build this type of fantastic group regarding commenters to your site?

  29. Interesting website, i read it but i still have a few questions.
    shoot me an email and we’ll talk more because i might have a fascinating idea for you.

  30. Your an idiot!
    I have lost and kept off 200lbs. I eat healthy and am healthier than I ever have been. Go to a meeting and learn the whole system. Get the facts! Don’t detour people by guessing. You are for your own profit not the well being of people. Typical new age “medicine”

  31. So happy to finally find an article written about the downfalls of Weight Watchers. YEs, some people loose a ton of weight on it. And perhaps some people have a leader who actually teaches healthy eating. As a person who has tried WW several times, I can say, without a doubt, that they do not promote the most healthy lifestyle. Non-fat dressings and milk, lower point counts for crap ice cream that is fat free than for healthy oils and foods is not how to teach a person to eat healthy. It would be a great program if not only did they teach portion control, but got away from promoting processed foods. Buying their oatmeal is a start, but making your own oatmeal from steel cut oats is a much better choice for breakfast.

    Any anyone can use the internet to find out the healthy foods you should eat, but you pay a lot of money for WW and go to a meeting where someone is supposed to help you eat healthy. HA! I have a friend that is training to be a leader, and I know what she eats.

  32. natalie says:

    I started weight watchers last May…I gained 20lbs dating my ex. I will say, I like it. I went from eating processed crap all day to eating more fruits and veggies. Not organic or raw eating yet, but by just trading the 3 pt cookies for a 0 pt apple, I still get the sweetness but yet my blood sugar stays much more balanced. Its definitely a good “introduction” to a healthier lifestyle. Once I get cooking down….then I can keep improving. :) plus the online program has 10000s of foods

  33. people are just uneducated and close minded when it comes to this. they see the word ‘diet’ or ’99% fat free’ and think oh thats good for me. Like you said above.. having your 2000 calories of natural foods that contain amazing nutrients is very different to having 2000 calories of processed “healthy” food.

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