October 3, 2007

You Ask, I Answer: Weight Watchers

I was [talking to a friend today about] how fad diets don't work, because you deprive your body of calories for a short time, and the weight comes back on. But [she] was saying she does Weight Watchers, and she doesn't consider it to be a 'fad' diet because she's lost weight and kept it off, and eats balanced meals.

I'm torn, because Weight Watchers seems like a big ol' scam to me.
What do you think?

-- Anonymous (per writer's request)

I agree with your friend -- Weight Watchers is most certainly not a "fad" diet.

What I like about Weight Watchers is that, above all, they stress calorie and portion control. Additionally, their famous "point" system (used to determine how many calories you should be taking in) is determined by taking into account a variety of factors, including weight, age, and physical activity level.

Unlike many fat diets, the Weight Watcher program does not suggest anyone eliminate entire food groups from the diet or deprive themselves.

Their belief -- which I agree with -- is that there is no such thing as "good" or "bad" food. Instead, you should strive for balance and watch your calories and portions. THAT is the key to successful and permanent weight loss.

Banning flour or sugar for life is not only impractical, it also does not guarantee permanent weight loss (you could get extra calories from fats or sugar-free candy and still gain weight).

Additionally, Weight Watchers recognizes emotional patterns and support systems as crucial pasts of a successful weight-loss system.

I also like the idea of meetings -- at least initially -- as a way of providing supportive environments for people. At the same time, I am glad they now offer an online program to people who dislike -- or are unable to attend -- meetings.

My only "concern" with Weight Watchers is that they now sell a lot of processed products (cupcakes, muffins, cereals, etc.) that, while low in calories, drown out what I believe is the better suggestion of "eating close to nature".

As an occassional treat, they are suitable choices, but I find them to be loaded with preservatives and very artificial tasting.

If anyone were to ask me what popular "diet program" I would recommend, Weight Watchers would be one of my top choices, hands down.

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