Weight WatchersWeight Watchers is a commercial weight loss program that focuses on balanced low fat nutrition, exercise and group counseling. Its latest diet creation is called "TurnAround" and is based on its successful "Flexpoints Plan" and "Winning Points Plan." Every item of food from pizza to ice cream to carrots to bread has a points value based on its nutritional content. You may eat as you like as long as you stay within your allotment of points. This new program is basically the same as the old, but uses the points in a slightly different manner. You are encouraged to use an online resource called "eTools," along with a points "calculator" and recipes provided by Weight Watchers . To assist the dieter in their lifestyle changes all members are encouraged to attend group discussion and counseling sessions, mostly in person, at local Weight Watchers centers.
Weight Watchers programs have historically been good programs, but they are increasingly relying on gimmicks and slick marketing. The new "TurnAround" plan is basically the "Winning Points Plan" with refreshed marketing. They advertise aggressively, trying to convince overweight people that they can lose weight without sacrificing the foods they love. The points-based plans control portion size by allowing calories that should be consumed on healthy food with very small portions of potentially unhealthy food. This strategy gives the dieter a false sense of the real nutritional changes they need to make in their lives for long-term success. If one seriously wants to lose weight and keep it off in the long-term, they need to think more comprehensively about the foods they eat. The program does not put a priority on exercise, which is essential. Long-term group therapy impedes the development of self-reliance and self-discipline, which is clearly the most important trait in those 5% of dieters who succeed in the long-term.
The Core Plan
The Core Plan controls calories by focusing on a core list of wholesome, nutritious foods without tracking or counting. The list includes foods from all the food groups -- fruits and vegetables, grains and starches, lean meats, fish and poultry, eggs and dairy products -- to ensure that all nutritional requirements are met. People can also have occasional treats in controlled amounts on the Core Plan.
More Satisfaction, Fewer Calories The Core Foods List was created to provide maximum eating satisfaction without empty calories. It emphasizes foods that have low-energy density, or few calories per unit volume.
"One of the key things scientific research has shown is that from a very young age, people are trained to eat a volume of food, not a certain amount of calories.
"To lose weight, people should eat foods that have low-energy density, that is, foods that are high in volume, but low in calories," said Weight Watchers Chief Scientific Officer, Karen Miller-Kovach.
"We also identified foods that are linked with overeating and removed them from the Core List. Once the Core Plan was developed, we tested it until we were convinced it allowed people to achieve healthy, effective weight loss, with no counting or tracking.
" ... [Testing] shows that both the Flex Plan and Core Plan deliver a healthy rate of weight loss, livability and member satisfaction," said Miller-Kovach.
The Freedom Factor According to Miller-Kovach, "... Some people felt the Flex Plan provided them more freedom because it offered the entire range of foods, while others felt that the Core Plan was more freeing because it focused on wholesome foods without counting."
The other eating approach, Flex Plan, is based on the POINTS(R) Weight-Loss System. With it, users can enjoy the full range of food options and deal with any meal occasion at home, on the go or when dining out.
Two Options to Choose From Having two healthy eating approaches allows members to maintain their continuity in the Program while being able to switch from one Plan to the other when circumstances dictate, such as if they have hit a weight-loss plateau before reaching their weight goal.
"We developed the TurnAround program to allow people to find the approach hat works best for their lifestyle and personal preferences," said Linda Huett, CEO of Weight Watchers International, Inc.