If you are just starting out on your Weight Watchers journey there may be questions that you have about the program that you want answered before signing on the dotted line.
With over 50 years of experience helping people lose weight & maintain that weight loss, Weight Watchers has developed a proven method for sustainable weight loss through healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
Here, I try to answer some of the most asked questions potential new Weight Watchers have - from 'What is the Weight Watchers Program?' and 'How much weight will I lose on Weight Watchers?' to 'How much does it cost to join Weight Watchers?'.
This article answers a lot of the more general questions that you may have about the Weight Watchers program. However, if you are looking for more specific information about the current Weight Watchers plan, take a look at The New Weight Watchers Points Plan Explained (2022/2023).
What is the Weight Watchers Program?
The Weight Watchers program is a weight loss program that focuses on helping people make healthy lifestyle changes so that they can achieve long-term weight loss and improved overall health.
The program uses a Points based system and has done since the 1990's. Foods and drinks are assigned a Point value based on their nutritional content, with healthier options having lower Points values.
Participants are given a daily Points target based on their gender, age, weight, and height, and they are encouraged to stay within that target.
The program also emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity, with members encouraged to set goals and track their progress.
In addition to tracking food and activity, the Weight Watchers program provides support and accountability through meetings, online forums, and one-on-one coaching. It also offers members education and resources on healthy eating habits, such as portion control, meal planning, and cooking tips.
The program has been running for decades and is a popular choice for anyone wanting help to achieve long term weight loss.
How does the Weight Watchers Program Work?
As I mentioned above, the Weight Watchers program (or WW as it is now called) has been running for decades. Every few years they 'tweak' the plan, in line with nutritional science, to ensure that the plan is healthy and sustainable.
The program has been Points based since 1998 - every food is assigned a Point value based on its nutritional content, with healthier options having lower Points values. Some foods are even given a zero Point value.
Members are given a daily Points target based on their gender, age, weight, and height, and they are encouraged to stay within that target.
The program encourages participants to make healthier food choices by choosing foods with lower (or zero) Points values, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, and limiting or avoiding foods with higher Points values, such as sugary snacks and processed foods.
How long does it take to see results on the Weight Watchers program?
The amount of time it takes to see results on the Weight Watchers plan can vary depending on a number of factors, including starting weight, age, gender, and activity level.
Generally speaking though, most people can expect to see weight loss within the first few weeks of starting the program. Go on the WW social media pages and you will find many a happy person reporting fantastic losses in their first few weeks of starting the plan.
These larger initial losses then tend to settle down to a 1 - 2 pound (around 0.5 - 1KG) loss per week.
According to Weight Watchers, the average weight loss for participants is 1-2 pounds per week, which is considered a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss. Over time, this can add up to significant weight loss and improved health outcomes.
It's important to keep in mind that weight loss is a gradual process, and individual results do vary.
It's also important to approach weight loss in a healthy and sustainable way, rather than expecting rapid or extreme results.
Making long-term lifestyle changes and focusing on overall health and wellness, rather than just weight loss, can lead to lasting success on the Weight Watchers plan
What Foods can I eat on the Weight Watchers Program?
You can eat any food you like ..... as long as you track it!
The program encourages a balanced and varied diet that includes a wide range of healthy and nutritious foods.
As the program assigns Points to foods based on their nutritional value, every food has a Points value (even chips and chocolate!). Healthier options however, have lower point values whilst foods filled with fats and sugars have higher points values.
Some examples of the foods that are generally lower Points or Zero Points on the Weight Watchers program include:
- Fruits and vegetables (most are zero Points)
- Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, and eggs (most are zero Points)
- Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread
- Low-fat dairy products such as skim milk, Greek yogurt, and reduced-fat cheese
- Legumes and beans such as chickpeas, lentils, and black beans
The program also allows for flexibility and occasional indulgences, with a weekly Points budget assigned to people to use for special occasions or treats.
It's important to note that Weight Watchers encourages a balanced and varied diet. Although members can eat all foods, best results will come from staying within the daily points target by eating healthier choice foods. In other words, however tempting it is to use your daily points on indulgences and then to fill up on zero Points foods, that approach may not be the best strategy for long term goals!
How do I track my Points on the Weight Watchers Program?
There are several ways to track your Points on the Weight Watchers program.
- The Weight Watchers App: The Weight Watchers app is a popular and convenient way to track your points on the go. The App allows you to track your food intake, activity, and weight. It also provides access to a variety of WW resources and tools. . The App also includes a super handy barcode scanner feature, which makes it easy to track points for packaged foods.
- Weight Watchers Online: If you prefer to track your Points on your computer, the Weight Watchers Online program offers a variety of tools and resources, including a Points tracker, recipe builder, and meal planning tools.
- Paper Tracker: Some people prefer to track their points using a pen and paper. Weight Watchers used to provide a printable Points tracker that could be picked up in meetings or downloaded from their website.
No matter which method you choose, it's important to track your Points consistently and accurately in order to achieve the best results on the program.
What if I go over my Points allowance?
Firstly, don't panic or feel like giving up .... please!
If you do go over your daily Points, it's not the end of the world, and you can get back on track.
- Use your weekly Points: Each week, Weight Watchers gives you a set amount of extra Points to use for treats or occasions when you go over your daily Points. You can use these to make up for any Points you went over.
- Make healthier choices the rest of the day: If you go over your daily Points at one meal, try to make healthier choices for the rest of the day to balance it out. Choose foods with lower Points values, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, and avoid high Point foods such as sugary snacks and processed foods.
- Don't give up: Remember that the Weight Watchers program is designed to be flexible and sustainable, and occasional slip-ups are normal. Don't let one bad day derail your progress, and try to stay positive and motivated towards your goals.
How many Points do I get on Weight Watchers?
The number of daily Points you get on the Weight Watchers plan depends on several factors, including your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.
Weight Watchers has its own algorithm to calculate your personalised daily Points target, which takes into account your unique situation and weight loss goals.
As a general rule, however, most people on the Weight Watchers plan get at least 23 daily Points, and some people may receive more depending on their specific circumstances.
The program also allows for weekly bonus Points that can be used for treats or special occasions.
If you're just starting on the program, you can use the Weight Watchers App or online tools to calculate your daily Points target based on your personal information.
It's important to remember that the daily Points target is designed to help you lose weight at a safe and sustainable rate, so it's important to stick to your target and make healthy choices within your allowance.
Can I eat out on the Weight Watchers program?
Yes, you can eat out on the Weight Watchers plan. I do often, which is one of the reasons that I love the plan!
Weight Watchers offers a flexible and adaptable program that can accommodate a wide variety of foods and dining situations, including eating out at restaurants.
When eating out, it's important to make sensible choices and be mindful of portion sizes. You can use the Weight Watchers App to look up the Points values of menu items at many popular restaurants, or you can ask for the nutrition information from your server if it's available and then enter that into your App.
I have found it helpful to:
- Plan ahead: I look up the restaurant's menu online and decide what I will order in advance. This really helps me to avoid impulse ordering.
- Look for lean protein options: I tend to choose dishes that are made with lean protein, such as grilled chicken or fish.
- Fill up on vegetables: I sometimes opt for vegetable-based dishes, such as salads or grilled vegetables.
- Watch your portions: I try to be mindful of portion sizes although this is often a struggle!
- Be cautious of high-calorie extras: Watch out for high-calorie extras like dressings, sauces, and fried toppings, as these can quickly add up in Points
Can I drink Alcohol on the Weight Watchers program?
Yes, but alcoholic drinks can be high in Points and can quickly add up, so it's important to track them carefully.
The Weight Watchers App has a database of alcoholic drinks and their Points values, which you can use to make informed choices.
Drinks that are lower in calories and sugar, such as light beer, wine spritzers, or spirits mixed with low-calorie mixers like soda water or diet soda are lower in Points.
Drinks that are high in sugar, such as cocktails made with fruit juice or sugary syrups are higher in Points.
Can I follow the Weight Watchers program if I have certain dietary needs?
Yes, you can follow the Weight Watchers plan if you have dietary needs such as a gluten intolerance or if you follow a vegetarian diet.
If you follow a gluten free diet, you can still follow the Weight Watchers plan by choosing gluten-free foods that are low in Points.
Many fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats are naturally gluten-free and can be incorporated into your meals and snacks. You can also look for gluten-free versions of popular Weight Watchers foods, such as bread, pasta, and snacks.
If you follow a vegetarian diet, you can follow the plan by focusing on plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts.
Many vegetarian foods are low in Points and can be incorporated into your meals and snacks. Pointed Kitchen has a good choice of vegetarian recipes, including these popular Butternut Squash Falafels and this easy to make Hummus.
The Weight Watchers app allows you to filter recipes and food options based on your dietary preferences and restrictions, making it easier to find foods that fit your needs.
How much does Weight Watchers cost?
Weight Watchers is a paid membership. The program currently offers a Core plan (which starts at $15 a month) and a Premium Plan.
It's important to note that prices can vary based on your location and that there are many promotions & discounts that may be available throughout the year.
It's also worth checking with your health insurance provider, as some plans may still cover the cost of a Weight Watchers membership.
Overall, Weight Watchers can be a valuable investment in your health and well-being, providing support and guidance as you work towards your weight loss goals.
Do I have to attend meetings to follow the Weight Watchers program?
No, you don't have to attend meetings to follow the Weight Watchers program.
You can now follow along with the program online. Thousands and thousands of people have followed WW this way with great success.
Having said that I would urge anybody who has access to a Weight Watchers meeting to go along if you can .... even if only once!
I loved my meetings and they kept me focused and motivated. I also loved the sense of community. Unfortunately, like many others, my meeting closed in 2020 (because of you know what!), never to re-open.
Can I join Weight Watchers online?
Yes, this is the most common way of joining Weight Watchers nowadays!
Just go on to the Weight Watchers website and follow the instructions on there.
You can also join using the Weight Watchers App on your smartphone or tablet.
What support is open to weight Watchers members?
Presently, Weight Watchers offer a Core membership and a Premium membership in the USA.
With the Core membership you receive access to the WW App and online resources. There is a very popular community, Connect, within the WW App. Other members are supportive, share their success stories, recipes and tips and tricks for staying on track.
With the Core membership you can also chose to go along to in person meetings or you can join in the numerous virtual workshops.
The Premium membership offers you unlimited coach led workshops, customised food plans, progress reports and 24/7 live coach chats.
If you have any further questions do ask below and I will do my very best to answer (or point you in the direction of where you may be able to find answers).
Best of luck with your Weight Watchers journey!