Weight Watchers is a global company that provides weight loss services in 30 countries around the world.

Weight Watchers was founded by the American Jean Nidetch. She was the inventor of the Weight Watchers concept, where people try to lose weight in groups, like she did with her friends. In 1963 Weight Watchers officially became a company.

The Meetings
The idea behind Weight Watchers is that it's very hard to lose weight by yourself, and that it becomes much easier when there are people around you to support and motivate you. Weight Watches organises group meetings, where you learn about healthy eating according to the Weight Watchers system and where you can talk to other people. The leader of such a group meeting is someone who has completed the Weight Watchers programme with success and can therefore be a useful source of information.

At the beginning of each meeting all members are (privately) weighed. During the meetings, Weight Watchers meeting members share their weight-loss challenges and celebrate their weight-loss victories. The meetings provide members with the opportunity to talk with and learn from others who have overcome the same or similar problems.

At your first meeting, you are weighed and your ideal weight is determined. This ideal weight is determined using your BMI (Body Mass Index). When you eventually reach that ideal weight, your ultimate weight goal, you become a premium member and you stop paying for the meetings as long as you stay within a certain range around your ideal weight.

The POINTS system
Weight Watchers has developed the POINTS PLUS system. In this system, all foods have a POINTS value, depending on fat, calories and fiber. Each day you start with a POINTS range that depends on your current weight. When your weight is higher, you need to eat more to lose weight in a healthy way, so you get more POINTS. To help you keep track of POINTS, you're provided with a weekly journal. When you exercise, you get bonus activity POINTS. It's even possible to 'collect' points, so you can eat more at a party, for example. You are encouraged to use up all your POINTS each day though, because that is the most healthy option.

Weight Watchers also publishes books on healthy eating and recipes. Using the recipes ensures you make balanced meals with a known amount of POINTS. There is even a range of Weight Watchers low-calorie snacks and gadgets like non-stick frying sheets for low-fat fried eggs...

Losing weight with Weight Watchers
Joining Weight Watchers is a good way to lose weight: they encourage a healthy lifestyle with balanced meals and lots of exercise. They are also careful with whom they admit: you need to be at least 5 pounds overweight and/or have a BMI greater than 20 to join, and they advise against losing too much weight or losing weight too fast. The contact with other people trying to lose weight is a big help. On the downside, WeightWatchers membership costs money (attending a meeting costs around €10,-, depending on how faithfully you come. This includes the service and the weekly food programme).

Source: www.weightwatchers.com

In the 1970s, Weight Watchers had a different approach to dieting. Today, if you walk into the frozen foods section of your local supermarket, you will see ice cream sandwiches, baked ziti, and all other kinds of indulgent foods conveniently marked with Weight Watchers points. Now I don't understand the details of their convoluted point system, but I do understand the basic logic they use. Which is, that by cutting 30-60 calories from a brownie, they may be able to get people to lose weight over an extended period of time. I personally don't think it's the best approach to dieting, but at least it's humane.

By comparison, the folks at Weight Watchers were culinary terrorists in the 1970s. Their approach was to make people so revolted by the food that they were eating that they would eat less. Perhaps now they're just trying to repent their sins, to avoid the afterlife of eternal damnation that must surely await them for their atrocities.

For example, Weight Watchers recipes for diet drinks in the 1970s included a concoction made out of sherry extract, beef bullion cubes, and water, and another made out of skim milk and orange juice. Somewhere, I imagine there must also be a recipe for how to refrigerate whatever you vomit up after drinking one of those monstrosities, describing it as tasty low calorie popsicle. These are the same people who told us to make popsicles out of plain coffee, after all. I'd rather just lick plain ice at that point, thank you very much.

The recipes for "food", with an emphasis on the quotation marks, are even scarier. Did you ever think that it would be a good idea to serve chopped bananas, strawberries, and other fruit over hot dogs? No? Well, they did. There's a recipe for something called a bean and mushroom salad that is pretty much just green beans, mushrooms, and slices of pimiento molded into a gelatinous ball. I wonder how many Minnesota Vikings fans puked this salad (?) up at Super Bowl parties as their team went en route to lose four of them during the 1970s? Some things not even Purple People Eaters can digest (as the Vikings and their fans were nicknamed back then).

Other food seems designed with color as the only guide. There's a hot wrap up that is essentially celery with lettuce wrapped around it, served with a garnish of pickles and parsley. All of those foods are green, so it must be good, especially after it's been heated. Then, you have their ideas for tacos and enchiladas, which essentially amounts to literally throwing shit on pieces of burnt toast. To make one of these, just grab some toast and whatever you have handy, be it a fish, a chicken, tofu, or a small child, and throw processed cheese on it. Add some kind of tomato sauce to it and sprinkle some red pepper on it and you're done. Actually, it doesn't sound that bad, but it doesn't seem healthy and it reminds of something a teenager would make at 4 am. It also serves to remind us of how the information age has made us less ignorant of other cultures. We still bastardize Mexican food, but now we do it with an air of mock authenticity.

Yes, it's true. The days of serving bean sprouts and South American fruit as a "Polynesian snack" are long gone. All we have left remaining of those days are these grim recipes. And jello. If you wish to pleasure your sick and twisted imagination further like I know you do, I suggest reading The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan. That's where I plagiarized sourced all of this information from, anyway.

Final note: do not make my recipe Loco Taco Pasta. That is like my own 1970s Weight Watchers-style affront to good taste. Sure, it sounded like a good idea to me at the time, but the indigestion I got after actually eating it spoke otherwise. Yes, it spoke. That tells you all you need to know.

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