Few diet plans have stood the test of time the way Weight Watchers has. Even our own survey of dieters showed that Weight Watchers was the favorite, over South Beach and Atkins. One of the reasons Weight Watchers is so popular is because they don't force a taboo food list. You're wise enough to make your own choices of what to eat. Instead, they promote portion control, which is a common sense way of eating. Foods are assigned point values based on their calorie, fat, and fiber content. You are allowed to eat within a certain point range per day. So, you pick your foods and eat what you want, as long as you don't exceed your allotment of points. It's as easy as it sounds! Another key element of Weight Watchers success is their group meetings. You are provided with your own cheering squad to encourage you to stick to plan and reach your goal.
There are two versions of the current Weight Watchers program: Flex and Core. The Flex plan is basically what we described above. Foods are assigned point values, and you are given a point range to follow so you don't overeat. You pick and choose your foods accordingly. Your points allotment is based on your weight, and your Weight Watchers leader will help you determine the right number of points for you. You can earn additional points by exercising, since you'll burn more calories and need the extra nutrition.
The other plan you can choose is the Core plan. With this plan, you are not given a daily point range to follow, but are instructed to choose between foods in a list similar to the foods available on the South Beach Diet. In fact, many assume the Core plan was Weight Watchers response to the popularity of South Beach, though they really didn't have anything to worry about. According to our own survey of Weight Watchers members, only one in ten actually prefer the Core plan, and the rest prefer the versatility of the Flex plan.
What will you eat on Core? You can have lots of vegetables, including fresh, canned, or frozen, but not vegetable juice. The same rule applies to fruits – fresh, canned, or frozen, but not fruit juice. You must also make sure there is no added sugar in your fruit or vegetables (such as tomato or spaghetti sauce). Fat will be strictly limited. All dairy must be fat-free, and you can only use fat-free margarine. You can eat whole grains such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice. These must be limited to one serving per day. You can also eat white potatoes, but again they are limited to one per day.
One advantage to choosing the Weight Watchers Core plan over the South Beach Diet is that you actually do get the opportunity to eat non-Core foods, unlike the South Beach Diet. On Core, you are given a weekly allowance of points that you spend on non-Core foods, as long as you stay within the limit. Your Core foods, however, will not have actual limits (other than the grains and potatoes) but you will be advised to eat just until you are satisfied. This is the part many people don't like. If it was so easy to eat just until satisfied, we wouldn't have become overweight in the first place.
Weekly support meetings are the key to weight loss success for many members. They are fun, you make new friends, learn new things, bring home new recipes, and keep you motivated to stay on plan another week. You'll be weighed, but no one can see your weight but your leader. Many members have weigh-in rituals, such as removing all jewelry, shoes, and wearing the same clothes every time. Our mother is a Lifetime member and even though she is at goal, she still goes to her meetings and it keeps her on track.
To learn more about Weight Watchers, or to find a local Weight Watchers center, visit the official website at www.weightwatchers.com
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