Home Voeding I am a Dietitian. Listed here are My Points with Weight Watchers.

I am a Dietitian. Listed here are My Points with Weight Watchers.

I am a Dietitian. Listed here are My Points with Weight Watchers.

This Weight Watchers evaluate put up is an opinion piece based mostly on my experience as a dietitian. The quotes which are bolded all through the piece are the real-life experiences of former Weight Watchers dieters.

Weight Watchers is undeniably one of the profitable business eating regimen packages ever. Based in 1961 by Jean Nidetch, a housewife and mom, it has grown to grow to be a eating regimen behemoth with 4.6 million members worldwide.

Maybe in an try and shuck off its unhealthy eating regimen juju amongst a big proportion of the inhabitants, Weight Watchers rebranded in 2018 as ‘WW.’ Instantly, Weight Watchers needed to leap on the wellness practice, however most of us weren’t having it.

That’s as a result of WW was, and is, nonetheless a eating regimen, and everyone knows it. You may’t give individuals a calorie *ahem* factors funds, have a major final result that entails weight reduction, after which say that you simply’re not promoting them a eating regimen. 

And who can overlook Kurbo, WW’s try and suck youngsters into its orbit? The load loss app, launched in 2019, catered to youngsters as younger as 8 years previous, and was understandably met with outrage as a result of ‘weight reduction’ and ‘8 yr previous’ ought to by no means be utilized in the identical sentence.

The Kurbo app isn’t accessible anymore, however in 2022, the FDA issued a settlement order to WW for loopholes within the app, together with one which allowed youngsters to enroll with out parental oversight. The FDA additionally discovered that WW had used Kurbo to illegally harvest delicate well being data from youngsters. 

Now, below CEO Sima Sistani, WW is providing GLP-1 agonists as a substitute for its typical eating regimen program. 

Comply with the cash, I suppose.

Learn my Xyngular GLP-X evaluate right here.

WW conferences at the moment are principally on-line, and weekly weight-ins are nonetheless a part of this system. In case you do go to an in-person ‘workshop’ as they’re now referred to as, the weigh-ins are non-public, as a substitute of in entrance of your fellow WW dieters. 

I’ve heard from numerous individuals who had been placed on Weight Watchers as teenagers and adults, about how traumatizing these public weight-ins had been for them. 

Right here’s a couple of:

The day the weigher was aghast that I had gained 0.5 kilos was my final go to. She actually put her hand to her mouth in shock and requested me what occurred. I needed to say “I f**king ate, that’s what occurred”.

It was terrible. I used to be a child who didn’t perceive why my physique was “incorrect” in a room full of fifty yr previous ladies. It taught me nothing about vitamin, particularly as a result of that was the age of “fats makes you fats”. All the pieces was off limits and all I discovered was methods to conceal my consuming, lie about parts, be embarrassed about weigh-ins, and eat far an excessive amount of of all of the meals I used to be denied as a baby as soon as I began to purchase my very own meals. I’m 43 and I’m simply now therapeutic my relationship with meals and my physique.

Is there analysis behind the Weight Watchers eating regimen?

There are a few research right here, right here, and right here, that seem to indicate WW’s efficacy by way of weight misplaced and diabetes administration. Nevertheless, WW funded these research, and the outcomes are pretty unremarkable.

Keep in mind that simply because one thing has analysis behind it, doesn’t imply it’s good analysis or that the outcomes had been clinically related.

Weight Watchers Factors

The Weight Watchers factors system is the idea of all their eating regimen plans. It was launched in 1998. It then modified to Profitable Factors, then Pure Factors, then Professional Factors, then Factors Plus, then Good Factors after which Freestyle. The variations between these are minimal: the WW Factors system appears to alter as typically because the wind blows, or no less than that’s the impression I’ve gotten. 

weight watchers review dietitian

The gist is that you simply get a sure variety of factors to ‘spend’ every day, plus an allotment of weekly factors to ‘cowl’ any ‘indulgences’ which may pop up. It’s also possible to ‘earn’ bonus factors for train, which I believe is totally ridiculous, because it makes train into one thing we do to ‘earn’ meals or ‘make up’ for consuming (each of that are disordered considering), and it’s not how our our bodies work…in any respect. 

I took the WW quiz, which assigned me 26 factors a day. The questions had been principally centered on weight reduction, asking my present peak, weight, purpose weight, intercourse, and age. The one medical historical past query it requested was if I’ve diabetes.

weight watchers review

Related components akin to exercise stage, historical past of an consuming dysfunction or different severe diagnoses, weren’t talked about. To their credit score, I attempted to enter a weight that was too low for my peak, and acquired this message:

weight watchers review 2024

As a dietitian, my primary concern with WW is the factors system. I imagine that it encourages disordered considering and habits round meals for many individuals. 

Right here’s my Weight Watchers Private Factors evaluate.

It encourages ’banking’ of factors (aka energy, who’re we kidding right here), and categorizing meals as ‘good’ and ‘unhealthy.’ Sure, all meals can match, but it surely’s human nature to not suppose that method when introduced with an choice (aka zero level meals) the place they’ll eat extra for much less. I additionally see this system encouraging followers to ‘sport’ the system.

That is one thing that was echoed in a few of the feedback I acquired from individuals:

I did lose 80 kilos however I gained all of it again as a result of it didnt assist me to decide on ‘higher meals’ it helped me to seek out methods to nonetheless eat what I needed. So apart from parts nothing modified for me. I suppose it gave me a false sense of getting management?

Whereas WW itself doesn’t outwardly promote “synthetic meals” you may are likely to lean in the direction of a few of them as a result of they had been decrease in factors. I additionally didn’t suppose they promoted more healthy choices on a regular basis: Skim milk and 0 fats yogurt had been 0 factors, however I had been taught that you simply wanted the fats to blunt any insulin spikes and the fats would additionally enhance your satiety. I discovered it very troublesome to remain throughout the factors and eat wholesome and left after 3 months.  I determine there was no sense in being smaller if I wasn’t additionally getting more healthy.

Every meals’s factors are calculated based mostly on its vitamins. Positive, greens and fruits have low factors values, however there are extraordinarily bodily nourishing and satisfying meals which are larger in factors. Avocado, nuts, oatmeal, and candy potatoes are a couple of of them. 

The present WW program has greater than 200 zero-point meals, which sounds wonderful till you notice that it truly isn’t, for causes I’m going to clarify.

WW tells dieters to not overeat zero level meals, however in case you’ve been given a factors funds to remain inside, there’s a definite attract to stuffing your self with zero level meals with a purpose to ‘afford’ the inevitable multi-point binge.

All of this turns consuming right into a math equation, which can result in consuming meals that you simply don’t need simply to suit into your factors funds, or not consuming as a lot as you want due to the factors. Conversely, it’s possible you’ll eat simply to fulfill your factors funds when you have factors left over (which most likely by no means occurs). This may mess up your inner starvation and fullness cues.

Right here’s why I don’t advocate having a calorie purpose.

It additionally promotes satiety OVER satisfaction. Quantity consuming, or consuming massive volumes of low-calorie meals to fill the abdomen so that you don’t eat different, higher-calorie meals, is a disordered behaviour.

In case you go over your factors funds or eat the ‘incorrect’ meals, this could result in guilt and disgrace, one thing that perpetuates the eating regimen cycle.

Individuals should observe their level consumption, which may be triggering for anybody who’s predisposed to, has, or has had an consuming dysfunction. That is doubtlessly a big section of the inhabitants, because the prevalence of consuming issues themselves (NOT together with disordered consuming), in line with this 2019 examine in JAMA, is 1 in 5 ladies and 1 in 7 males.

We additionally know that prevalence of consuming issues peaks once more in ladies round center age, in line with this 2023 examine and others. In 2018, a report by MRI Simmons discovered that 85% of WW dieters had been ladies, and 43% of these ladies had been over the age of 55.

WW could say they’re all about well being, however what I see mirrored within the quite a few WW factors teams on Fb, is just about the alternative.

In case you can’t eat meals with out swapping out components for lower-calorie selections, and you’ll’t eat with out counting or monitoring, please know that this isn’t what a superb relationship with meals seems like. It removes all flexibility, pleasure, and peace from consuming. Not good.

This system makes use of ‘coaches’ who lack in-depth, related vitamin coaching. Their solely {qualifications} are that they’ve reached their purpose weight with WW and maintained it for no less than 6 months. 

Clearly, this isn’t ample coaching to advise individuals on their vitamin. Vitamin and the psychology behind meals selections are complicated. Unqualified individuals can doubtlessly do hurt after they contain themselves in different peoples’ relationships with meals and consuming.

Learn my Noom evaluate right here.

As with most diets, many individuals shed pounds initially with WW as a result of they’re consuming fewer energy than they had been beforehand. That is simply simple arithmetic. Nevertheless, the psychological exhaustion that outcomes from counting factors and overthinking every thing you place into your mouth may cause lots of these individuals to surrender. I don’t blame them.

I’ve seen many individuals in my observe who’ve accomplished Weight Watchers years in the past, however nonetheless see meals as ‘factors.’ That is problematic, as a result of it causes them to concern meals and second-guess every thing they eat. It completely takes away that connection between how they really feel and what they select to eat. 

 I nonetheless know what number of factors some issues are a long time later. The weekly weigh ins had been so traumatic and the straight up meals obsession was so dangerous.

The factor is, these individuals typically return to WW many times, as a result of of their thoughts, it ‘labored’ as soon as for them, so that they’re going for a second, fourth, or eighth kick on the can. It hardly ever has a cheerful ending, however that’s what eating regimen packages like Weight Watchers need. 

Repeat clients. Lifetime devotees. Folks turning into depending on figuring out the factors of every morsel of meals earlier than they permit themselves to eat it. Blaming themselves for his or her ‘failure’ on a eating regimen that’s made to fail anyhow. 

Sound acquainted? A lot of you who’re studying this may recall having these experiences with WW. I’m sorry.

I joined many occasions and by no means made purpose weight. On account of being on WW I continued to drink espresso and tea black, don’t put butter on greens and restrict fats. Nonetheless I’m heavier than I must be.

I work out frequently, stroll lengthy distances and customarily really feel responsible about not having my weight down. This month I flip 68.

I’ll say that I’ve joined WW so many occasions that I actually misplaced depend. I by no means reached the purpose weight that THEY set for me and at all times felt like a failure each time I left as a result of it was my fault for “being so weak”.

My greatest takeaway from WW was that each one of my value as a human being was tied to a quantity on a scale, and all meals had numbers as effectively, which by God Had To Be Stored Below The Restrict.

There was not solely a complete disregard for vitamin but in addition for the enjoyment and pleasure of meals too.

I attempted ww and did lose 30 lbs which has come again after I ended. I’ll say it made individuals panic a few 0.3lb acquire, get obsessive about which model of hummus is 1 level vs 1.5, too centered on the minutia, not an general wholesome sustainable long run weight upkeep answer. Any program will work when you work it, however you shouldn’t want a program if you’re truly studying the talents and habits for wholesome residing.

I additionally acquired feedback from followers who mentioned constructive issues about their time with WW.

Issues like, it gave them construction and taught them about portion measurement. That they’ve misplaced weight and saved it off, for essentially the most half. That they benefit from the group, and that general, it was a constructive expertise.

Does Weight Watchers work? Effectively, each eating regimen will ‘work’ for somebody. And by ‘work,’ I imply reducing weight and KEEPING IT OFF.

I acquired 173 feedback, 6 messages, and 15 emails about WW.  Out of these 194 items of correspondence, 9 had been supportive of WW. 4 had been so-so, and the remainder had been unfavourable.

181 out of 194 had been so-so or unfavourable, or 93%. This isn’t a scientific final result, but it surely’s attention-grabbing to see the cut up. I really feel as if it’s in line with what I’ve heard from individuals over the previous 24 years I’ve been a dietitian.

Irrespective of how WW places it, it’s nonetheless a eating regimen. 

Oh hey, how about we simply EAT?

Folks won’t ever cease desirous to shed pounds, and as a dietitian who helps intentional weight reduction the place applicable, I completely perceive. Nevertheless, I believe there are higher methods to shed pounds than to topic your self to WW or one other business eating regimen program.

Weight Watchers, in case you’re listening, listed below are my suggestions:

Eliminate the factors in favor of a extra intuitive eating-style program. Folks will probably be mad at first, however within the long-run, it’s a more healthy approach to see meals and consuming. 

In case you’re actually fascinated with peoples’ well being and general wellness, cease making weight reduction the first purpose of your program.

Get some type of upkeep help, as a result of a number of individuals complained to me that you’ve got none.

Monitor the WW teams on social for disordered behaviour, and FFS, ask related questions in your onboarding quiz.

Use certified well being professionals as coaches. You’ve got the cash. Simply do it.

Who am I kidding…WW won’t ever change their methods. We will hope, although.

SHAMELESS PLUG: in case you’re struggling along with your vitamin and relationship with meals, I can assist! I’m taking 1:1 purchasers now. I’m costlier than WW, however you could possibly get protection for my providers when you have non-public insurance coverage. Right here’s the hyperlink for extra data and to request a session.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here