6 problems with the Weight Watchers program and 6 solutions
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
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 shows casing 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 juts 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. They are expensive
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
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
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!