Recommended Posts

Weight Watchers: Principles, Cost, Advantages And Disadvantages

Weight Watchers: Principles, Cost, Advantages, And Disadvantages

Weight-Watchers

     Created in 1963, the WW Method (formerly Weight Watchers) is a commercial diet that focuses on three aspects: sustainable weight loss, physical activity and helping others achieve their goals. 

     All this without depriving yourself of a single food. What is this diet really worth?

What is the WW method -Weight Watchers-?

     The WW Method (formerly known as Weight Watchers) is one of the best known and most widely used commercial diets. 

     Developed in the 1960s in the United States by Jean Nidetch, it originally consisted of getting together among peers to exchange recipes and other tips to achieve your weight loss goal


     Since then, the program has evolved: while it is still based on mutual aid with other members, it also places great importance on adopting a healthy diet, but without deprivation, and on the practice of physical activity, whatever it may be.

How does the WW method Weight Watchers work?

     The new WW program, launched at the end of 2019, can be followed in several ways: via individual coaching, group workshops and/or digital tools (website and mobile application). 

     The member can, therefore, benefit from expert advice or be completely autonomous.

     It is based on a points system: each food and drink has a nutritional value expressed in SmartPoints

     The higher the protein content of a product, the lower its value in SmartPoints units. Conversely, the higher a product is in calories, saturated fatty acids (the famous "bad fats") and sugars, the more SmartPoints it will accumulate. 

     The daily budget for SmartPoints is calculated according to the sex, age, weight, and height of the individual to adapt to each person's needs while reducing calorie intake. 

     The WW method is all the more flexible as it allows the user to draw on his weekly SmartPoints reserve when the daily budget is exceeded: it is up to the user to be careful to balance his meals for the rest of the week to ensure the benefits from the necessary nutritional intake and not to exceed this budget at the risk of compromising weight loss

     Depending on your weight and the objectives set, the program is available in 3 colors, each with a number of points and personalized recipes.

     With Green, you have a very high SmartPoints budget and a list of over 100 foods at ZeroPoint (fruits and vegetables, except avocado, Jerusalem artichokes, and parsnips).

     With Blue, you have a medium SmartPoints budget and a list of over 200 foods at ZeroPoint (fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, 0% or plain classic yogurt, legumes, turkey and chicken fillets).

     With Violet, you have a modest SmartPoints budget and a list of over 300 foods at ZeroPoint (fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, 0% or regular plain yogurt, legumes, turkey and chicken tenderloin, potatoes, whole grain pasta, whole grain rice, and whole-grain cereals).


Weight-Watchers-food

     Physical activity is also recommended and yields FitPoints, calculated according to the same parameters. There is only one watchword for achieving the individual activity goal set: "move as we please". 

     Walking, swimming, running... it doesn't matter whether it's a low- or high-intensity activity, as long as it allows you to take at least 3000 steps a day.

     According to WW, Weight Watchers, these different approaches ensure that the members of the diet "provide their body with everything it needs, without the risk of hunger" and provide "behavioral techniques that help them adopt new habits for long-term success".

What can I eat?

     The WW method does not prohibit or impose any food, the most important thing is not to exceed your SmartPoints budget.

     Nevertheless, the consumption of ZeroPoint foods, "safe values that form the basis of a balanced diet", is recommended at the expense of those rich in calories, saturated fats and sugars: they have the advantage of being high in protein and therefore satisfying. 


     They can be eaten at will, as long as the feeling of satiety is taken into account. More than 200 foods are considered at ZeroPoint, including turkey or chicken breast, flageolets, white beans, split peas, artichoke, carrot, cucumber, banana, apple sauce with no added sugar, plain yogurt, eggs, fish or tofu.

Is the WW method easy to follow?

WW-method-easy-to-follow

COST OF THE WW METHOD 

     The cost of the WW method depends on the offer and formula chosen. Several are proposed at the time of registration:

WORKSHOP + DIGITAL
  • 13 months formula: 1 month free then 37,95€ per month 
  • 7 months formula: 19,95€ the first month then 39,95€ per month;
  • 1-month package: €42.95.
DIGITAL
  • 13 months formula: 1 month free then 17,95€ per month 
  • 7 months formula: 9,95€ the first month then 19,95€ per month
  • 1-month package: €52.90.

EFFECTIVENESS OF THE FOLLOW-UP LINKED TO THE WW METHOD 

     Most scientific studies have shown that the WW diet is effective in losing enough weight to see health benefits, especially through its workshops and individual coaching. 

A SIGNIFICANT AND LASTING WEIGHT LOSS

losing-enough-weight

     In 2006, scientists sought to compare the effects of four trade regimes: WW, Atkins, Slim-Fast and Rosemary Conley

     During the first four weeks of follow-up, all study participants experienced significant weight loss: 2.68 kg with Slim-Fast, 2.86 kg with WW, 3.17 kg with Rosemary Conley and 4.4 kg with Atkins

     Thereafter, over a total of six months of follow-up, all continued to lose weight, with no noticeable difference in terms of the number of kilos lost.

     A study published in 2011 in the BMC Public Health reveals that out of more than 30,000 people adhering to the WW diet, a third of them managed to lose 5% or more of their weight, "which is generally associated with clinical benefits," note the scientists.

     In 2008, researchers estimated the percentage of WW Diet members who maintained at least 5% weight loss from their initial weight after successfully completing the program3: 79.8% at 1 year, 71% at 2 years and 50% at 5 years. 

     The percentages of participants who remained below their target weight after successfully completing the program were 26.5% at 1 year, 20.5% at 2 years and 16.2% at 5 years. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMMUNITY AND BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH

     In 2013, American researchers highlighted the importance of the community-based, behavioral approach of the WW method: obese people adhering to this program were almost nine times more likely to lose 5-10% of their weight compared to those who followed a program without outside help and only with printed materials. 

     And the more the various WW tools were used, the more significant the weight loss was.

     A study published in 2006 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed that out of 33 people who were obese following the WW method, 20 continued it one year later. According to the researchers, the emotional support provided by the WW diet would ensure better adherence.

AN ECONOMICALLY ATTRACTIVE REGIME

     A study published in 2011 in the BMJ showed that the WW diet was cheaper and more effective than programs offered in primary health care for weight loss: after three months, participants following the WW method lost an average of 4.43 kg, compared to 1.37 kg for those who followed the advice of dieticians, general practitioners or pharmacists.

AN EFFECTIVE DIET TO REDUCE THE RISK OF CERTAIN DISEASES

WW-diet-health

     In 2005, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that over one year, the WW diet would reduce the LDL and HDL cholesterol ratio by about 10%, in the same way as the Atkins, Ornish, and Zone diets.

     In 2013, a study published in The International Journal of Obesity showed that a commercial WW diet would delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by about ten months.

     A study published in 2016 in the American Journal of Public Health states that in adults with prediabetes, the WW diet is effective in "achieving lifestyle change associated with diabetes prevention". 

     People who followed it lost more weight than the control group who followed a program developed by the National Diabetes Education Program (5.5% of their weight versus 0.2% at 12 months).

     The BMJ study cited above also suggests that only people following the WW diet significantly reduced their fasting blood glucose levels after six months.

WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE SHOULD ACCOMPANY THE WW DIET?

physical-activity

     While the WW diet makes it a point of honor for its members to engage in regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day), they are completely free to choose the type of exercise they like and that suits them according to their age and physical ability.


     However, according to a report by the French National Food Safety Agency (Anses), for people who are not used to doing sports, physical activity combined with a weight-loss diet can lead to short-term "cardiovascular risks" and "discomfort (hypoglycaemic, vagal, and/or aggravated by dehydration)".

Is this method dangerous to health? 

     In its report on the risks linked to weight-loss dietary practices, the Anses explains that with any diet, "weight loss is not only at the expense of fat reserves but quickly leads to the loss of muscle and bone mass".

     As the WW method Weight Watchers is hypocaloric, nutritionists warn of the risk of deficiencies: an energy imbalance can lead to an imbalance in the intake of macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) and micronutrients (trace elements, vitamins). 

     The caloric restriction also exposes, in the long term, to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. The WW method is not suitable for people suffering from these disorders, under 18 years of age and pregnant women.

     In any case, it is advisable to seek medical advice before starting a diet. 

Is it compatible with special diets?

WW-Weight-Watchers

VEGETARIAN DIET
The WW method can be adapted to the vegetarian diet, by replacing animal flesh with tofu or seitan, for example.

VEGAN REGIME
The WW method can be adapted to the vegan diet, for example by replacing all animal products with soy products.

GLUTEN-FREE DIET
The WW method is compatible with a gluten-free diet, provided that meals are prepared with certified gluten-free products.

LOW-SALT DIET
The WW method can be adapted to a low-salt diet as long as you do not salt your dishes, eat low-sodium foods and use alternatives to salt as recommended (aromatic herbs, spices, lemon, etc.).

KOSHER DIET
The WW method is compatible with a kosher diet, provided that you choose kosher certified products.

HALAL PLAN

The WW scheme is compatible with a halal scheme, provided that halal-certified products are chosen.