What You Should Know About Weight Watchers And Similar Programs

November 8, 2017  |  
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Gettyimages.comWoman weighing herself

Programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig have helped a lot of individuals. They’ve managed to get celebrities to sponsor their programs, and Weight Watchers even convinced Oprah to buy a 10 percent stake in the company. Because life is full of so many decisions and so much chaos, when it comes to losing weight, some people just want to be told exactly what to do, at every step. Programs such as these can be very helpful if that resonates with you. But not everybody loses ten pant sizes the way the women do in the commercials, and not everybody is suited for these programs. Compared to cooking for yourself, weight loss programs can be pretty expensive, so it’s important that you know everything you can before starting one. Here are things you should know about Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and similar weight loss programs.

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They’re designed for slow weight loss

These programs are designed for slow weight loss. They’re usually designed by nutritionists, and as such, are made to help you lose weight at a safe pace. They aren’t crash diets, and if you don’t have the patience to lose weight in a healthy way, they may just leave you irritated.

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You may feel hungry at first

While these programs are made to give you the proper amount of food, your body may not be used to that. So healthy serving sizes could actually leave you feeling what you believe to be hunger. In reality, you just aren’t uncomfortably stuffed, the way you used to be after meals. Your body will adjust, but at first, you might think you’re hungry.

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You need measuring accessories

You’ll need some kitchen accessories to successfully carry out a few of these programs. You could need measuring cups, food scales, slow cookers, and George Foreman grills. So the cost doesn’t stop at the recipes, support groups, or prepared meals.


You may need to prepare to cook

Some programs are all about taking work off of your plate, while others are about helping you learn to cook for yourself. You may need to be prepared to cook for yourself. As such, make sure you have plenty of Tupperware so you can store the meals you make for the week.

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Some items have increased in points

Weight Watchers has recently changed its points system and now takes sugar and protein into account. Items that used to be a few points may be more now due to their sugar content. Items that used to be high in points may be lower because of their protein.

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You can typically eat unlimited veggies

Most programs allow for unlimited vegetables. If you don’t like vegetables, it’s time to discover at least a few you enjoy—they’ll be your saving grace when you need a snack and have used up all your calories/points for the day.

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That applies to fruit, but maybe it shouldn’t

Some programs allow for unlimited fruit, but perhaps they shouldn’t. Fruit that’s high in sugar can be a problem for your blood sugar, and ultimately your weight.

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Weight Watcher has fit points now

Weight Watchers now tracks your fit points—the points you get for exercising. In the past, if you exercised, you could earn a few more food points. But the program has changed its system now and does not allow for exercise to gain you extra food points.

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There are useful apps

Most programs have apps designed to help you keep up as normal a lifestyle as possible, like ones that help you find program-approved restaurants or figure out which foods you can and can’t touch at a barbecue.


Not everyone is allowed

Pregnant women, those with eating disorders, or those five pounds or less above their minimum healthy weight are not allowed in Weight Watchers.

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The pre-made meals can be repetitive

If you go for a program like Jenny Craig that gives you prepared meals, just know that the options become tired, fast. At first, you think there are plenty of choices. But after months of eating only the same handful of lunches and dinners, you could be tempted to stray.

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Holidays and special events are awkward

You might have to bring your Jenny Craig food to a friend’s birthday party or stop to punch the guacamole your coworker made into an app before accepting a spoonful.


Don’t compare yourself to other members

Everybody’s body is different. While you and another member could be keeping up with the program perfectly, you may not lose weight at the same pace. Don’t lose patience with the program just because your body responds different than others’.

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You shouldn’t come to rely on it

Don’t think of these programs as a permanent solution to your weight problems. They’re designed to help you be more conscious about what you eat, and learn to be more in tune with your body’s hunger cues. So use them with the goal of getting off of them in mind.

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You have to be a great planner

If you’re not an excellent planner, you could fall off the programs easily. You never know when traffic or a delayed flight could mean you’re left with no food (except for fast food and vending machines). You must always prepare for the unexpected.

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