Weight Watchers, now known as WW, is a popular commercial weight loss program that focuses on a point-based system to help people make healthier food choices and lose weight. In this article we will see how it generally works and try to break down its pros and cons.
What is Weight Watchers?
Weight Watchers was established by Jean Nidetch in 1963 her Queens, New York home. It had modest origins as a weekly weight loss support group for her friends. It swiftly evolved into one of the most popular dietary programs globally. Initially, Weight Watchers utilized an exchange system, where foods were quantified by portions, reminiscent of the diabetes exchange system. In the 1990s, it introduced a points-based system that assigned values to foods and beverages based on their fiber, fat, and calorie content.
Weight Watchers has made several adaptations to the points-based system over the years, with the most recent changes emphasizing personalization and considering other health factors that can influence weight, such as sleep, stress, and physical activity.
Principles of the Weight Watchers diet
Let’s now see how this popular commercial weight loss program works. It basically focuses on a point-based system to help people make healthier food choices and lose weight.
- Points System: In the WW program, foods are assigned a certain number of points, known as SmartPoints. Each member is given a daily SmartPoints target based on their age, weight, height, and activity level. They also receive a weekly allowance of extra SmartPoints to use as they wish.
- Food Choices: You can eat any food you want on WW, but healthier, lower-calorie foods typically have fewer SmartPoints, while less healthy, higher-calorie foods have more SmartPoints. The idea is to encourage members to make better food choices.
- Tracking: Members track their food intake and stay within their daily SmartPoints target. This can be done using the WW app, which has an extensive database of foods and their SmartPoint values.
- Support: WW offers group meetings, online communities, and coaching to provide support and motivation.
- Exercise: Physical activity is also encouraged and can earn you FitPoints, which can be used to offset overages in your daily SmartPoints.
Weight Watchers diet: what are the advantages?
The goal of the Weight Watchers Diet is to ensure that each point provides approximately 35-45 kcal, regardless of the food they come from. This way, you can also reduce portions and make your diet more balanced.
In fact, the Weight Watchers diet does not exclude any food, except spirits, carbonated and sugary drinks. Physical activity can increase the credit available, furthermore, the individual is allowed to ‘save’ points to use, for example, for a weekend treat.
Some Weight Watchers diet recipes
Those who wish to have a more concrete idea of how WW diet works or want to test its effectiveness in advance can follow this 26-point example menu:
- Breakfast: muesli + low-fat yogurt + fresh fruit
- Snack: 150g of fat-free Greek yogurt + fruit
- Lunch: lentil soup with quinoa + 2 slices of bread + a portion of vegetables + 1 fruit
- Snack: cheese toast + 1 fruit
- Dinner: stewed calamari + salad
- Breakfast: fruit smoothie + chia seeds
- Snack: 50 g of lean cooked ham + 2 crackers
- Lunch: dumplings with peas and snow peas + a portion of vegetables
- Snack: ricotta + dusted cocoa
- Dinner: light chicken curry + a portion of vegetables
- Breakfast: cottage cheese + fresh fruit
- Snack: rice cakes + smoked salmon
- Lunch: light spaghetti bolognese
- Snack: 150 g of fat-free Greek yogurt + 1 teaspoon of honey
- Dinner: light spinach omelette + 50 g of bread + a portion of vegetables
- Breakfast: 1 low-fat yogurt + muesli + fresh fruit
- Snack: vegetable crudités with tuna mousse
- Lunch: tricolor rice
- Snack: 1 fruit + 1 low-fat yogurt
- Dinner: light aubergine parmigiana
- Breakfast: fruit and chocolate skewers + 1 glass of milk
- Snack: 2 slices of bread with peanut butter
- Lunch: 2 light stuffed peppers + a portion of vegetables + 1 fruit
- Snack: 1 low-fat yogurt + 1 fruit
- Dinner: chickpea soup + a portion of vegetables
- Breakfast: smoothie + cocoa + fresh fruit
- Snack: frisella with tomatoes and fresh cheese
- Lunch: 1 slice of cod + a portion of vegetables
- Snack: mini cheesecake + 1 low-fat yogurt
- Dinner: 10 vegan meatballs + hummus + light potato salad
- Breakfast: pancakes/waffles/crepes + fresh fruit
- Snack: purifying cream soup + 2 crackers + fresh cheese
- Lunch: 10 meatballs + a portion of vegetables
- Snack: light mango mousse
- Dinner: pepperoni and olive pizza + 1 fruit
Disclaimer: always remember this fundamental rule. Avoid DIY diets. If you intend to follow any diet, not just this diet, always consult your doctor and a nutritionist, so that they can provide you with tailored advice.
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