Weight Watchers for Weight Loss: Things You Should Know Before You Try It

Have you tried several diets without much luck? Are you ready to try something new so you can finally lose weight? Then you might be thinking about starting Weight Watchers. The company revised its diet plan in 2015, re-branding it Beyond the Scale. Here’s everything you need to know about Weight Watchers before you try it.

The diet operates on a points system

Pasta with roasted cauliflower on a dark table.

Get ready to count! | OksanaKiian/iStock/Getty Images

If you decide to try Weight Watchers, one of the first things you’ll need to know is that the diet operates on a points system called SmartPoints (under the old plan it was called PointsPlus). Different types of food are given a certain amount of points based on their nutritional value. The diet requires participants to stick to a certain number of points per day or week. The emphasis is less on calorie counting and more on consuming a healthy diet.

It’s more than just food

Woman using calorie counter application.

You should be committed to recording your food and exercise intake daily. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

Eating a balanced diet won’t make much of a difference if you’re not exercising. That’s why the new Weight Watchers program is focused on much more than just healthy eating and counting calories. Members are encouraged to find time during each day to get moving. This is accomplished through the company’s FitBreak app. This is a little different than other fitness apps because the focus is on helping busy people use their down time as an opportunity to exercise. App features include mini workouts and one-minute activity recommendations.

Points aren’t just for meals

A group of women enjoy a walk.

You can score points by taking walks with friends or hitting the gym. | Jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

There’s not only a points system for your food but also your physical activity. Weight Watchers introduced FitPoints in 2015. This is a system to help you keep track of your activity so you can reach your fitness goals. Following an assessment, members receive a customized FitPoints goal that’s based on factors such as your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level. These points can be earned in a number of ways from going out dancing with friends to taking a walk around your neighborhood. The emphasis is on finding enjoyable ways to stay fit.

Support groups are available

A Weight Watchers meeting room with posters and bright green chairs.

Fans of the program love meeting each other. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

It can be tough when you’re the only one in your social circle on a diet. Reaching your fitness goal is a lot easier when you have support. That’s why Weight Watchers features an array of support groups for its members. Weight Watchers meetings can even be held at your office. These meetings allow participants to socialize with other program participants as well as trade tips and advice. Meetings are also offered online if you don’t want to meet face-to-face.

You can get personal coaching

A person writes down information about their healthy lifestyle.

There’s extra support everywhere you look. | Rawpixel Ltd/iStock/Getty Images

 In addition to support groups online and in-person group meetings, you can also access help from a personal coach. Coaching takes place on the phone or through text messaging. During these coaching sessions, your coach will help you devise a personal action plan to assist you with sticking to your diet and fitness routine. Emails, texts, and phone meetings are unlimited.

You don’t have to quit once you reach your goal

A top view shot of breakfast food.

You can prevent the pounds from creeping back on. | Magone/iStock/Getty Images

Once you’ve reached your diet and fitness goals, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the program. It just means you’ve reached a point referred to as “maintenance mode.” During this time your SmartPoints allotment will be higher but you’ll be required to stay within two pounds of your goal weight. Sticking to the plan during this stage will help prevent you from backsliding and reinforce healthy habits.

Is Weight Watchers right for you?

Oprah Winfrey holds a mic while on stage at an event.

Oprah Winfrey has long been a fan of the popular weight loss program. | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 2016 Essence Festival

Not every diet will be right for you. What works for one person might not be a good fit for your individual needs. As with any diet or exercise plan, it’s best to run the program by your doctor first. Once you’ve received the green light, your next best step is to research the program and see if it aligns with your fitness, lifestyle, and budget needs. You can get more information on meetings and plan costs here.


A weight watchers workshop or meeting taking place with a speaker welcoming guests.

Weight Watchers coaches are trained to help you achieve your goals. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Weight Watchers

Here are a few resources to help you with your Weight Watchers journey:


Weight Watchers resources

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