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The Weight Watchers Diet

Understanding the Weight Watchers DietWeight Watchers is one of the most well-known diets. This is due to how long it has been in existence and its advertising efforts. Is it the best diet for you? Before beginning a new diet, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor.

What is the Weight Watchers Diet?
Weight Watchers is a diet that uses a points system. Recently, Weight Watchers changed their points system to a new one called SmartPoints. Their new points formula looks at the type of fat in a given food, with saturated fat pointed more heavily. Lean protein has fewer points than other meats. Sugar and carbohydrates are now calculated separately. Fruits and vegetables still get zero points.

There has been changes made to the Daily and Weekly points allotments. The new formula is said to be more accurate for folks who are overweight. Weekly points reflect a person’s metabolic rate. Users now have an intake goal and a physical activity goal (and have the option of using their activity points as food points).

Weight Watchers has meetings that people who are doing the diet can attend. This may be beneficial for those who need a weight loss/exercise buddy, or for those who need accountability as a form of motivation to stick to a diet and exercise plan.

Where did the Weight Watchers diet come from?
Weight Watchers started in the early 1960’s. Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, started by having meetings in her home with a group of friends. They discussed how best to lose weight.

Who Should Not Use Weight Watchers?
The Weight Watchers health notice states that children under the age of 10 are prohibited from participating. Children under the age of 17 need written medical permission to join Weight Watchers meetings.

Others who are prohibited include: people with an active medical diagnosis of bulimia nervosa, people whose weight is less than 5 points above the minimum weight of the Weight Watchers Weight Ranges, and people who are pregnant. Those who are being treated for an illness, taking prescription medication, or are following a therapeutic diet to treat a disease are asked to talk to their physician before joining Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers Controversies
The Weight Watchers health notice states that their plan is designed for a safe rate of weight loss – up to two pounds per week (after the first three weeks). Some feel that their advertisements are misleading because they state the total amount a person lost on the Weight Watchers plan (but not how long it took them). It has been said this presentation can mislead people into thinking they can use the diet to drop a lot of weight very quickly.

Image by Mike Mozart on Flickr.

Related Articles at Families.com:

* Weight Watchers

* Pack a Healthy Lunch

* The Weight Loss Buddy System