6 problems with the Weight Watchers program and 6 solutions

Having problems with weight watchers? I don’t know too many people (especially, I hate to say, women) who have never tried Weight Watchers. Their method of prescribing a “points value” to food has been praised by many and I know that lots of people do find success with the program. Not everybody loses weight permanently with Weight Watchers, in fact, there is evidence that suggests that diets don’t work and any weight you lose will be gained back.

1. They focus too much on food

6 problems with the Weight Watchers program and 6 solutions | Healthy vs. unhealthy food

Weight Watchers is expensive and may (or may not) be the best option for you

This is shifting slightly but I remember coming away from a Weight Watchers meeting with a series of little recepie books filled with pictures of tantalizing food. This is not a good thing to give a person who is trying to lose weight. Photographs of food are ‘triggering’ and make you feel like eating. I remember going to their website and it was the same deal – hundreds and hundreds of shots of food.

Solution: They should be showcasing more photographs of success stories, of ‘before’ and ‘after’ case studies. This is what is inspiring to a fattie – not a photo of a chicken curry.

2. Their products feature lots of junk food

There are thousands of Weight Watchers products in the marketplace in almost every country. These cover everything from sweets and cakes to sauces, breads, meals and desserts. This criticism really hit home to me the last time I went to a meeting (years and years ago admittedly) and they would try to sell everybody these sugar free sweets/lollies/candy and Points-controlled cookies. These things are a rip off and really just encourage people to eat unhealthy crap and not make any lifestyle changes.

Solution: Research online and find substitutes for these products, matching the calorie and sugar/fat content as closely as you can. Believe me there are many products that will have the same effect, without having to buy Weight Watchers branded products.

3. Problems with Weight Watchers: they are expensive

6 problems with the Weight Watchers program and 6 solutions | Yoplait Greek yoghurt low fat

Are you wondering, “What is Weight Watchers like?” Well, you will be eating things like this yoghurt – most likely

Just doing a bit of research, I have found that today, if I wanted to join Weight Watchers in my home country, it would cost me $US38 and $US30 per month after that, excluding food. That’s quite a lot of money and I do not think that it represents good value as what you are getting for that is essentially access to a program where most of the information can be found online for free. It’s a rip-off if you ask me.

Solution: Losing weight actually costs nothing at all, it can be free. Whereas many people find inspiration and motivation from outlaying a huge amount of money to a virtual stranger, I think this is like telling yourself that you don’t rust yourself. Save your pennies.

4. They have dodgy workplace practices

6 problems with weight watchers and 6 solutions | Weight Watchers sign

Is Weight Watchers underpaying staff? That was a recent claim in Australia. See links for details

You may have heard this already but Weight Watchers has been in trouble for underpaying staff who run meetings. Staff have said that by the time they set up and pack down, they are earning less than minimum wage. This is a shocking and shameful practice for such a big global company that employs mostly women in these roles. One staff member from the US has said: “They know my love for the program, but I can’t say we’re treated right,” she said. “We are professionals, we have to dress nice, but we are paid less than kids who work at McDonald’s.” (quote)

Solution: The company’s chief executive, David Kirchhoff has come out and said, “One of our top priorities is to improve your working life at Weight Watchers, and in particular, the way we reward you for the incredible work you do.” If you are considering working for this company, I would do lots of research and consider your options.

5. They aggressively market to you

“We are not working for a charity or a non-profit corp,” one Weight Watchers leader posted on the Web site. “This is a multimillion-dollar company with enough cash to advertise relentlessly on TV, and pay celebrities tons of money to lose weight.” (quote) That’s right – they are successful because they have a huge share of the marketplace. Their ads are aimed at mostly women, although there is now a shift to include teens and men into the program.

Solution: None, really. This company will continue to aggressively market themselves until the end of time. Personally, I am a total sucker and I get sucked in by shiny things and bright colours. My only solution would be to avoid them entirely if you are the same as me.

6. They recently changed their plans and points

6 problems with the Weight Watchers program and 6 solutions | Carrots and salsa are "free"

Are you asking what is bad about Weight Watchers? Read on…

About two years ago, Weight Watchers changed their points plan to a new system called Points Plus. Many people have said that this just doesn’t work for them. It was intended to guide you towards more healthier food choices by encouraging people to eat more fruit by giving them zero points, as most vegetables already were. Many long time members reported slow weight loss under the revised plan. I have to say that I found their old plan equally open to abuse and I never lost any weight for it. Technically salsa and carrot sticks were “Points Free” but the designers of the program didn’t factor that I could consume vast amounts of these things, causing my weight loss to slow.

Solution: Just learn to count calories the old fashioned way. There is no magic to the points plan, it’s effectively about portion control. If you are having trouble controlling your portions then I recommend Therapeutic Hunger. The program is a natural way to curb your appetite and it’s an all natural method too.

How do you find Weight Watchers? Tell me your experience with them please!

13 Comments

  • Bar Science says:

    “Their products feature lots of junk food” I definitely agree with this point. The preservatives and additives may add another layer of problems for the overweight persons digestive system and metabolism. Preservatives do not make it easier for the human body to efficiently break down and use nutrients. Aa a matter of fact, for many people the problem of storing metabolized food as fat is compounded by products like weight watchers.

    • alycevayle says:

      Thanks for your comment, Bar Science. I get in trouble for eating junk food because it is full of preservatives, however so many of my friends and colleagues eat things like bread, cans of tuna and tins of tomatoes which are full of preservatives. Even fresh fruit and veg is picked weeks or months before hitting the supermarket shelves.

      Preservatives are nearly impossible to avoid. We are trying to fight a battle we can never win.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      Alyce

    • Denise says:

      Ww doe not work, if it did they would not be making so much dough having people returning many times after weight comes back. Same is true for jc and ns,many oters. Calorie restriction does not work, you have to cut processed carbs, sugars, and fake sugars out. Increase meat, eggs, poultry, fish, add veggie, and use whole fats.

      • Alyce Vayle says:

        Hi Denise-

        Yes, I agree with you that weight watchers is a flawed program. I do eat lots of carbs, fats and sugars and I maintain my healthy weight. There was a time when I was overweight, now I really watch my calorie intake and portion control. Like you suggest, I find that adding protein to my meals helps to keep me fuller for longer.

        Thanks for your comments and have a great week.
        –Alyce

  • I have only ever put weight on using Weight Watchers, not sure why but I tried it twice and put weight on twice. I think for me they restrict the calories too low and encourage me to eat junk, which just has me eating everything in sight after a few days. I have found just slowly, very slowly changing one habit at a time has meant that over the last two years I have lost two stone. I’ve made changes for life and that’s the secret I think, I wouldn’t want to go back to the way I used to eat, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

    • alycevayle says:

      I totally agree, Sume.
      I found the methodology behind WW to be a little dodgy but it definitely works for some people. However, when I did it, I found it to be very “one kilo off, one kilo on” – that I was constantly regaining the weight. I also hated having to do the weigh-ins which I found to be demoralising. Thanks for your comment. I agree that changing habits slowly is the best way to go!

  • sharonseidel says:

    I did Weight Watchers for a long time and whilst I think it is a good program which unlike many others encourages people to eat real food responsibly (no shakes or eliminating food groups), I did have some problems with it after a while.

    I understand the idea of group leaders being someone who has done well on the program, an inspiration to new members, monkey see monkey do and all that, but I found that not being trained professionals, they often presented inaccurate information ( I once heard a leader tell a group that 100g of grapes was 5 grapes, which is just not true) and are unable to address the real issues behind why people gain weight. They just get up there every week with their prepared information and so are limited in their ability to answer anything outside the lecture.

    I also found once I decided that I had heard all the lectures and would use the online version of the program that I felt very isolated, there was no support. There were forums available and various articles, but I didn’t feel that connection with my fellow users. And in this format, I didn’t lose weight.

    As for the products, they are expensive and not always the lowest calorie alternative..I found other low fat cheeses, for example, that tasted just as good for less cost and calories.

    I also worked as a weigher at a meeting for a time and it was the worst thing for my weight loss..I wasn’t paying for the meetings, so I lost my accountability through financially investing in the program each week. And I was paid $8.00 for my time, which involved setting up for the meetings, lugging the scales around and all the paper work every time. It was truly a disgusting way to treat employees.

    I also have an issue with the fact that whilst they tell you that exercise is a good idea,they also spruik their program as not forcing you to exercise – getting moving is a basic tenant of good health, not to mention weight loss.

  • MJM says:

    Several years ago, there was a Weight Watchers book, and my mother and I read the Weight Watchers Plan and followed the plan perfectly, including any weighing or measuring that needed to be done. At the end of one week, not only did we not lose weight, both of us had gained between three and five pounds. Consequently, I will NEVER EVER try Weight Watchers again, and the commercials continue to frustrate me because I am certain that there are others out there that have had the same problem. Sorry Weight Watchers, but for some of us this program does NOT work!

    • Alyce Vayle says:

      I totally agree, MJ.

      I did not like the program and it doesn’t work well for those of us that already eat a healthy diet, but may have issues with portion control or big appetites.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Alyce

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