Weight Watchers Review

8.7 out of 10

People Who Viewed Weight Watchers Also Viewed Trim Down Club.

Weight Watchers was named the 2017 Best Weight-Loss Diet by U.S. News & World Report. The 7th annual list includes nine sets of Best Diets rankings; Weight Watchers was first, or tied for first place, in almost half the categories and was a runner-up in the rest. [1]

And while Weight Watchers did not make the cut as the “Best Overall Diet”—the DASH diet took that prize—it’s arguably the world’s most popular diet. Anyone who has ever been on a diet to lose weight, and been successful even though it’s often not sustained, has been on Weight Watchers.

Developed by a New York City housewife in the 1960s, the plan combines smart nutritional science to encourage better eating habits and exercise with mutual support—the ubiquitous Weight Watchers meetings in church basements and community centers.

There’s no forbidden foods. That said, the junk will quickly suck up points, so it’s better to eat good foods and manage points wisely. That’s the ‘diet’ part.

It was surely the latter that was the secret sauce: camaraderie and support women—and men—were able to provide each other as they were coached by the meeting leader with weekly weigh-ins made all the difference. Over the decades there have been a number of iterations—“Beyond the Scale” is the latest, launched in 2016—as more is learned about nutrition and the role of exercise.

Weight Watchers Claims

“Beyond the Scale” is less a diet than a lifestyle, Weight Watchers says.

It’s likely no diet has been the subject of more academic study and research than Weight Watchers…

Our proven program is not a diet. It’s about living. Your best self isn’t just about a magical number on the scale. It’s about seeing food as fuel for a healthy life, finding ways to move more each day, and developing the skills to unlock your inner strength so you can make  healthy choices for life. Yes, you will lose weight. But with Weight Watchers, you’ll also gain a whole new perspective on getting—and staying—healthy. [2]

Weight Watchers claims that you can lose up to two pounds a week when you follow the plan correctly. Some users lose a pound a week, some three. It depends on the level of effort and your body. Regardless, if you follow the plan, you’ll lose weight. That’s what Weight Watchers promises. Does it deliver?

The Weight Watchers Plan

The current program is pretty simple: “Every food gets a value. Smart Points are based on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Just follow your budget [of points] and start seeing results.” [3]

There’s no forbidden foods. That said, the junk will quickly suck up points, so it’s better to eat good foods and manage points wisely. That’s the ‘diet’ part.

Next? Get moving. “Every move counts. Earn FitPoints for walking, cleaning, gardening—you name it. Sync your fitness device with your account and start earning!” [3]

The study found Weight Watchers was far more effective as a weight loss program than a do-it-yourself diet, which apparently is how most of us diet.

Perhaps the most important part of Weight Watchers is the “I got this” mindset: “Get your head in the game with science-based techniques that go beyond food and fitness.” [3]

The Weight Watchers website, app, support network, gadgets, products, magazines, recipe books, prepared foods, and meetings make the program accessible. And if you want to be held accountable, this program does that, too. It’s easy to do, easy to navigate, and—since it’s so universal—you can eat anything anywhere and figure out your points.

There’s no downside because even the cost is low, comparatively speaking, when you factor in the tools on the website, the support and the types of plans—three currently—one can purchase. Even the sign-up cost is usually waived in some special.

The Science Behind Weight Watchers

The majority of the participants on Weight Watchers stuck to the diet and lost twice as much weight as the other group.

It’s likely no diet has been the subject of more academic study and research than Weight Watchers, with results published in you-name-it medical and scientific journals. It ticks all the boxes. Although a number of other commercial diets have shown initially quicker and sometimes more significant weight loss—think Atkins—if it’s a diet with staying power, a diet that can be sustained, it’s Weight Watchers.

Starting with the American Journal of Medicine, which published its study in 2013. The study found Weight Watchers was far more effective as a weight loss program than a do-it-yourself diet, which apparently is how most of us diet.

Use of the WW program yielded significantly greater weight loss than a self-help approach, suggesting it is a viable community-based provider of weight loss treatment, as recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF]. Further, high usage of [three] access modes was associated with greater weight loss results.”[4]

In other words, the meetings, the online support, and the app all make a big difference. I’m not sure that’s so surprising. It’s what made it a good diet to begin with; it takes a village to diet successfully! The bottom line is that the USPSTF says do Weight Watchers instead of a self-help diet. Don’t go it alone!

If Weight Watchers has anything, it has its share of celebrity endorsers—including Jennifer Hudson, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Lynn Redgrave, Jessica Simpson, and Jenny McCarthy.

The British journal Lancet published a 2011 study that followed several hundred people for a year; half on a diet recommended by their doctor and the other group on Weight Watchers. The majority of the participants on Weight Watchers stuck to the diet and lost twice as much weight as the other group. [5]

The American Diabetes Association has studied Weight Watchers and found that meeting attendance, combined with an emphasis on healthy eating—including veggies, fruit, and high-fiber, low trans-fat foods—makes it a good commercial diet choice with better, and healthier, results. [6] [7]

Word on the Street About Weight Watchers

…there are a number of complaints about Weight Watchers from people who did one specific thing: tried to cancel their membership.

If Weight Watchers has anything, it has its share of celebrity endorsers—including Jennifer Hudson, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Lynn Redgrave, Jessica Simpson, and Jenny McCarthy. But perhaps the biggest name of all, Oprah Winfrey, not only endorses Weight Watchers, she bought 10 percent of the company. If that’s not an endorsement, not sure what is.

What they have in common is all successfully lost quite a bit of weight on Weight Watchers, and most, if not all, have kept the weight off—in some cases for years.

But what about regular people?

The most candid and compelling review I located was posted on SparkPeople by “WannaBeHealthy51,” who explained that she lost 86 pounds on Weight Watchers in 1997, and then life got in the way and she stopped going to meetings.

I didn’t learn how to maintain my loss and just (did it to myself) went back to eating whatever…and you can guess…gained it all back. Then a few years ago, I pulled out all of my WW material and lost about 36 pounds and was feeling wonderful, but didn’t stick with it and gained it back with a few friends. Bummer. So my humble opinion on WW, I believe it works great if you stick with it. [8]

She said while on Weight Watchers she ate a lot of high-fiber foods, a lot of vegetables, lean meats and fish, light breads, fruit and drank a lot of water. “So I’m going to try to follow it again and hope for the best! I would like to lose 76 pounds.” [8]

If you follow the diet religiously—and it is very doable—you absolutely will lose weight, usually in the neighborhood of a pound or two a week.

Now, all this said, there are a number of complaints about Weight Watchers from people who did one specific thing: tried to cancel their membership. For whatever reason, they felt the program did not work for them—or they simply hadn’t bothered to use it—and wished to cancel. Many complaints on the Consumer Affairs website were about continued automatic billing after cancellation. Though “Holly” points out that per the cancellation policy she read—always a wise idea—a membership must be cancelled before the next billing cycle. But there are still a lot of accounts of people still being charged even after they had supposedly canceled. The other most common complaint was about rude customer service representatives. [9]

“Rio” of Austin, Texas, sums it up fairly well:

“Weight Watchers the program is terrific. My issue is with customer service. I bought a Fitbit from the online store and then decided I would like a different model. I look for a return policy and it says you have to call or send email and they’ll tell you what to do. I sent email and got an automated response. 5 days later, I still have not heard anything. So I call the number. After being on hold for 20 minutes I gave up.” [9]

And “Joan” of Amesbury, Massachusetts:

Beware of bad billing practices for WW!! I am a lifetime member since last March, 2016. I have been faithfully entering my free eTools number every 2 months or more frequently. I just realized that I’ve been charged every month anyway. Make sure you check your credit card statements every month – don’t trust Weight Watchers to do it right. [9]

Is Weight Watchers Worth a Try?

Yes…

As long as you keep an eye on the billing (and report them to the Better Business Bureau if you run into problems), the program itself works. If you haven’t done Weight Watchers, try it. If you follow the diet religiously—and it is very doable—you absolutely will lose weight, usually in the neighborhood of a pound or two a week. The tricky part is keeping the weight off once you’ve met your goal. But hopefully, the habits learned while on Weight Watchers will stick. With Weight Watchers, you can’t lose. I mean, you can—you can lose.


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Weight Watchers
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*Individual results will vary.

Information on this website is not to replace the advise of the doctor, but rather for general education purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be considered as medical advice. Aways consult your doctor before starting any diet or taking any dietary supplements.

Articles, reviews and investigations are our own opinion, and written based on the information publicly available or simply contacting the companies. We try our best to stay up to date with constantly changing information. If you find any information inaccurate, please email us, we’ll verify for accuracy and update it.

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  • vamp57mw61

    Weight Watchers tries to teach you to eat sensibly, so you can eat the things you like just don’t go crazy doing it. It is not a quick fix and it will not keep you slim for life if you don’t continue to watch your food consumption. I look at WW as more a teaching tool than a quick fix to weight loss.

  • david

    weight watchers makes me sick having one of the most Racist people on the planet representing there program. I just want to puke every time there commercial comes on the tv.

    • Larry Hursh

      David – the choice to stay with WW is yours. If you feel Marie is a racist – THAT’S ENTIRELY YOUR DECISION, I HAVE WATCHED HER GROW UP OVER THE YEARS AND NEVER ONCE HAVE I EVER HEARD ONE WORD THAT COULD CONSIDERED “RACIAL!!!
      The greatest part of living in the USA IS -IF YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING. AVOID IT! SO DO ME A HUGE FAVOR PLEASE???? STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM THE OSMOND FAMILY (ESPECIALLY MARIE) THEN GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY “TREE!!” J U S T L E A V E !!!!! THERE ARE SO MANY CHANNELS TO CHANGE TO, WHY NOT DO IT IF IT UPSETS YOU THIS MUCH? GOT IT? WHY TORTURE YOURSELF LIKE YOUR DOING??????????? YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO STOP THE RACIAL THINKING, RIGHT? NOW YOU JUST GO ON HOME TO MAMA AND TELL HER SHE WAS CALLING YOU!!

      PS TRY TO HAVE A GREAT DAY THERE “CUPCAKE!!!

      YEAH HEAR???

      • Angela Demma

        Um larry he is talking about Oprah..Marie is Nutrisystem. Just FYI.

      • ava712

        Dumb as aROCK: They are talking about that fat tub Oprah!

      • Mark Raymond

        People who type in all caps aren’t usually the brightest bunch.

    • LostHearts

      I hear ya. My husband actually groans when she appears on the screen and we quickly change the channel. Besides that, her weight has been vacillating back and forth for years, which to me makes her even more unbelievable.

  • mewp12

    I gained 3 pounds on WW. Apparently if you weigh 300 it would work but not 150.

  • Cattnip

    Weight Watchers works, if you work the program. You can’t lose the weight and go back to your old, bad habits and expect to keep the weight off.

  • Linda

    I did the WW diet year and years ago. I remember someone telling me , after I shared my new found diet journey, that “if one cannot lose weight with Weight Watchers, they are hopeless”. well, I did lose about 35 pounds out of 70 I needed to lose. BUT i gained it all back and then some. Do not believe any program, plan pills etc that tell you can eat anything you want and lose weight. Yes, you will lose it but you will gain it just as quickly. The only way to do it is look for a healthy, not processed food plan.

  • Kris Zoliak

    I remmeber being on WW and one of my friends saying “well if someone does not lose weightin WW, they can never lose weight with anything else”. She was kind of right. I did lose weight (about 37 pounds) but what is lacking in that observation is that after you lose the weight you gain it all back. Because the plan is to just count points but really it is just the same calorie counting but in different numbers, it does not teach you what to do long term. No diet should allow sugary desserts or sodas, period. I ate anything I wanted , inmoderstion of course, lost weight and then went back to eating everything i wanted but without counting the points gained it all back with the next 6 months. So this will work if you can commit to counting for the rest of your life!
    Find something that will teach you how to eat right and def incorporate excercise. Diet will make you lose but excercise will shape your body.

  • Ann D

    I joined WW in August 2013 and made my goal of 75 pounds lost in May 2015. WW is not a diet, it is a lifestyle…one that I will be following for the rest of my life. I do exercise (45 minutes on the treadmill at a 15 degree incline) at least 4 times a week. As a lifetime member, I no longer have to pay as long as I stay within 2 pounds of my goal weight….that keeps me accountable. I still attend weekly meetings and track everything I eat everyday. I was fortunate that my employer offered WW as part of our Wellness Program and the monthly fee was discounted! It totally changed my life and my way of looking at the foods I eat and how important exercise is to reach and maintain my goal weight and be the best me I can be. I would and have recommended WW to anyone who is ready to loose weight and get healthy!

  • Virginia Price Felder

    I lost 7 the first week. Then 2nd week gained 1 then lost 1/2 the 3rd and had I followed the plan totally I think I would have lost more. Weigh in today so will see how that goes. My Dr. recommended this diet. I am adding in exercise now so that should help. I think a buddy system works best when trying to lose or get in shape.

  • lynne

    A few years back I lost 50 lbs on WW. The things I did not like were, I took the time to learn the old points program to have them change it and then they changed it again! I liked to attend meetings and they changed the locations and times numerous times and then the meeting times I was able to go to were canceled all together. I get nothing out of the on-line process. There was even a program introduced that you could eat all you wanted of certain foods. You know why keep changing what works? I know they think they have to do something new all the time but really if it was successful then leave it alone. I no longer go… have gained back weight and have not tried any other diet plan since.

  • Guest

    WW is just a calorie counting

    • guest

      Not true! It is points counting. The points are available in books or on-line.
      It works if you follow the program and change your lifestyle. Exercise is as much a part of the program as well as calculating what you eat.

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  • Krista

    I have lost 40 lbs with WW from Jan 2013 – Dec 2013, I have kept it off for over 8 months now, there are benefits for keeping it off as well, there is no cost once you get to goal you just have to stay within a weight range of goal which is major incentive to stay on track. Plus you are eating real food, not prepackaged/premeasured food so it is really a lifestyle not a diet that you will yoyo back and forth on.

  • Linda

    I’ve lost 40 lbs on WW since October 2013. I’m 69 yrs old and have some physical limitations. I do the treadmill for 45 min. 3 times a week. Stay active at home and walk in stores and do my own housework. I love the program, but if you don’t follow the tracking and get some exercise you won’t lose. If you use all your optional points you will probably not lose or lose as fast. I made up my mind when I joined I was going to work the program so the program would work for me. I’ve tracked my food diary everyday since I started. I stay on points and I am very disciplined to make good choices. I eat healthy and still have a snack or a goodie dessert now and then as long as I count them. I am now 7 lbs from goal.

    • BettyBoop

      I found your review really helpful. Thank you.

    • Krista

      Every person is different, I like you lost 40 lbs and found that the weeks that I didn’t use my flex points or used very few I lost little to nothing. The weeks I used most or all of them I lost 2 lbs at least. You learn within the first month what works and what doesn’t for your body. I have had several family members join and quit within the first week because they get overwhelmed, what to buy, what to make, etc. Once you learn what works it is very easy to stay on track.

  • Sheila Dawson

    I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS TO ANYONE IF YOU FOLLOW THE RULES IT WORKS IF You work It!

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