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Are You A Weight Watcher?

The decision to lose weight is one that many people take seriously. Often, it has been flitting around in the mind for years. It may even have been reached, acted on, and abandoned as another fad diet bit the dust.

Then, a rogue photograph depicts you making your best whale impression, or you are unexpectedly required to move quickly (perhaps during a fire drill at work, where everyone sees you panting) and almost expire from the effort. Shamed into action, you decide again that another attempt to shed weight will be worthwhile.

 The good news is that you needn’t do it on your own. A vast range of weight-loss programs exists today – from independent, locally run clubs to multi-national organizations- all offering weight-loss plans to suit individual needs and budgets.

 Arguably, one of the most successful prominent organizations is WeightWatchers. Founded in a New York apartment over 40 years ago by Jane Nedetch, the minor support group for friends has grown into the vastly successful international company it is today.

By combining a healthy eating and exercise program with group support, WeightWatchers developed a ‘partnership’ approach to dieting; weight-loss groups worldwide are now employing this method.

 How do Weight Watchers operate?

 Membership:

After locating a local meeting venue via the internet or the local press, members can join the organization for a fee of around 25-30.

This membership fee is often waived during particular promotion months, generally advertised in the media. Each meeting requires a payment of around 10 to 15 dollars in weekly fees. Buy packages one or three months in advance at a lower price.

Membership lapses if a member fails to attend meetings for four weeks.

Members must pay for a missed meeting, but if they have missed more than two, they need only pay for the first week missed and for the current week. Each member is allowed to miss two meetings in the year without having to pay.

 When members have reached an agreed ‘goal’ weight and maintained it (within two lbs or one kilo) for six weeks, they become a Life member. They may attend future meetings free of charge, provided the goal weight is maintained and at least one panel participates each month. Online membership is now available for those who need help to attend meetings or live in rural areas. A monthly online membership costs around 44.

 The Points System:

The dietary part of the WeightWatchers program works on a ‘points’ system. Every food is allocated a point value according to its fat and sugar content. For instance, an apple may be worth one point, while a sausage may be worth five points. You can eat most vegetables and salad ingredients without any consequences. 

A usual practice is to assign members a specific number of points daily, commonly varying from 18 to 22. The weight of the issues determines their value. If you want to eat something, check its points and add it to your daily points intake. By delaying using your save points, you can allocate them for later in the week and enjoy a meal outside.

 Engaging in a variety of exercises earns you points. Bonus points gained by being active allow the member to save for later in the week or spend on an extra treat to the value of the bonus on that day. There are guidelines to prevent excessive consumption, starvation, and exercise; these rules dictate the number of points you can accumulate or save each week. All members receive a points-value guide to the essential foods in Week One of the program.

 The Meetings:

On joining WeightWatchers, the member’s height and current weight are recorded in the ‘passport’ document, which holds each member’s details for the duration of the program.

The member retains the passport and must only produce it when being weighed. The group leader and members establish a target weight that aligns with a healthy proportion of height and weight. After reaching a specific weight range, we can later determine a more specific objective.

 The member receives the Week One support materials, which include a weekly brochure containing a tracker (for recording food intake, exercise, and points), a possible weekly menu, some words on the topic of the week, and a Quickstart DVD (For the first six weeks of the program, there is a DVD available to support you).

 Without fail, the person attends a weekly meeting. The leader brings up the subject for the week and invites members to share their encounters, pose any queries, and provide suggestions.

 Why are WeightWatchers so popular?

Many devotees of the organization will answer this in just one word: Flexibility. The weight-loss plan, which runs for 24 weeks, can be tailored to meet a wide range of needs. The points system allows for total flexibility in the menu. No food is forbidden or compulsory, and the menus, if used, are written with busy lifestyles in mind.

 Meetings are also flexible, with members being able to attend meetings at other venues should they find themselves unable to get to their usual arrangement. Members are also free to choose the level of their involvement at these meetings. While some need group support weekly, many opt to ‘weigh in’ and leave. Either is acceptable.

 In addition, WeightWatchers offers a wide range of support materials: a points value guide to specific brands of foods, a Supermarket guide, the Eating-Out guide, a monthly WeightWatchers magazine, WeightWatchers’ food products, cookbooks, and scales.

 Like any weight-loss program, the WeightWatchers system does have some drawbacks. As it is run at a local level by leaders who have previously lost weight on the program and current members who volunteer, the effectiveness of the support group is dependent on individual personalities. If new members need help fitting in with the existing group, they may choose not to return.

 Some may also argue that the points’ system approach to weight control is a short-term method and just one of many weight-loss options; there is no advertising of any other selections to members.

 Finally, the weekly fee is too expensive for many people, especially if the member prefers to avoid attending the meetings. Spending 15 each week to step on a pair of scales seems extravagant. Regardless of these criticisms, people are still flocking to join WeightWatchers and many similar weight-loss organizations across the globe.

In today’s world, weight loss needs to be less about vanity and more about health and well-being, with all the benefits of looking good ‘thrown in.’ Weight Watchers offers a practical, accessible, and structured way forward to a fit, healthy lifestyle.

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