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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Weight Watchers

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What You Can Eat and What You Can't

No food is forbidden when you follow this plan, which doesn’t make you buy any prepackaged meals. You’ll eat real food, all of which Weight Watchers assigns a PointsPlus value.

You’ll have a PointsPlus target, which is personalized to your body (including your height, weight, age, and gender). As long as you stay within your daily target, you can spend those PointsPlus however you’d like, even on alcohol or dessert.

Of course, healthier, lower-calorie foods cost fewer points. Some are even free.

Level of Effort: Medium

Weight Watchers is designed to make it easier to change your habits long-term, and is flexible enough that you should be able to adapt it to your life. You’ll be tweaking your dietary and lifestyle habits, many of which have been years in the making, and creating new ones.

As a result, how much effort it takes depends on how much you’ll have to change your behaviors. 

Cooking and shopping: Expect to learn how to shop, cook, and dine out in ways that support your weight loss goal without sacrificing taste or requiring unusual foods. 

Packaged foods or meals: Not required.

In-person meetings: Optional.

Exercise: Weight Watchers encourages you to exercise and make it fun so you stick with it.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Because you choose how you spend your daily PointsPlus, Weight Watchers can accommodate various dietary preferences, including vegetarians, vegans, and people who need to limit salt or fat.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: Weight Watchers offers several payment options. If you do the diet online only, it's $48.90 for the first month and $18.95 for each additional month. Or you can sign up for a 3-month savings plan, which costs $65 for the first 3 months and $18.95 for every month after that.

If you want to go to meetings, the prices vary depending on where you live. You’ll need to contact Weight Watchers for the cost.

You can also buy a monthly pass (as long as you’re over 18), which gives you unlimited meetings and access to the online tools. Again, the price varies depending on where you live.

Support: Besides the optional in-person meetings, Weight Watchers has an online community, a magazine, and a web site with tools, recipes, tips, success stories, and more -- including a section just for men. You can also sign up online for Weight Watchers' newsletter.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 01, 2013
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