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The Weight Watchers Diet

Weight Watchers, which has become another known franchise through the dieting community was established in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, a housewife in Brooklyn U.S.A. It has grown over the years and is now known through the United Kingdom and Australia. The diet programme follows a set of equations to govern the consumption of different foods groups, it then converts this into points. The idea being, that you then count them up during the day until you have reached your maximum limit, once you have reached your allotted points, you then must stop if you want to lose weight.

The programme has actually been split into two different styles in more recent times and dieters have the choice of either a Flex Plan or a Core Plan.

  • Flex Plan - This incorporates any foods as long as you keep a diary of what and how much you eat during the day, it follows of the point counting system still, however participants must calculate each meal. There are no restrictions on the foods you can, Weight-Watchers have even branded ready meals to accommodate point counting.
  • Core Plan - Following a more concrete list of acceptable foods, this takes a much more lax approach to point counting and follows a list of cleaner, more nutritional ingredients and tries to exclude processed and unhealthy food. This does not mean a dieter is free to eat as much as they want, they must still follow guidelines on how many portions of carbohydrates and proteins are acceptable.

Weight Watchers have studies to show that a person is three times more likely to lose weight if they work in with the groups themselves, these are weekly weigh-ins done with  groups of other members. They have also claimed that their online web-tools will help a dieter twice as much when compared to those that don't, though there has yet to be any cited studies to confirm this.

The diet programme has been backed in its initial structure by dieticians and nutritionists and over the years as media exposure has continued, several celebrities have also advocated the diet.

In more recent years, the diet has revamped its system to Points Plus, this has been to accommodate our further understanding of weight loss and how food effects our bodies. The original equations behind the point system have been altered and the ratios of groups have been changed (Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats etc.) to comply with a more modern way of dieting.

Overall the diet has structured dieting habits and the weekly weigh-ins will keep a person up to date on their progress.  It has claimed to provide steady weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week, though this was debated in a clinical study published in 2005, showing the average weight loss was in fact 6.6 lbs per year.  With recent changes, it now allows an unlimited consumption of free-vegetables and fresh fruits to encourage healthier, cleaner living and to push the habit of eating foods that are better for us.

However, the diet can become high maintenance for some, it requires constant monitoring and dieters will need to point count every day for effective weight loss plus attend a weekly group weigh-in. Unlimited fruit can also be dangerous as it is often high in sugars which can hinder the progress of losing weight and can also cause onset diabetes if consumed in very high quantities.

Over all the calculations behind the points system are fairly well governed by the dieticians working for the company and as the diet is unlimited in which ingredients a person may use, it can make it very appealing. Though, this system can mean a person may spend all their points in one sitting, if they choose predominantly unhealthy foods a person can go hungry for the rest of the day, and so it falls mainly to the dieter to make a change.