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 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).