It is much easier to lose weight if you have support and encouragement
WeightWatchers is the most popular of the diet 'clubs', with thousands of meetings held every week around the world. There is also an online version if you can't, or don't want to, attend meetings.
There is a lot of useful free information on the website and a subscription service where you can sign up for the benefits of full membership. There are mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad, and a useful integrated barcode scanning app.
The WeightWatchers program is a low-fat, low-calorie option. This highly successful
diet has had a makeover and changed from the original points and core plan
and now incorporates a ProPoints plan. A ProPoints value
is given to any food and drink, based on the amount of protein, carbohydrate,
fat and fibre in the portion. This allows the dieter to calculate a budget
that creates a calorie deficit for successful weight loss. There are also Relaxed
Counting Days with the Filling and Healthy option
if you want to take a break from counting.
Each dieter is given a target figure, this is a number based on their gender, age, weight and height. There are over 35,000 food options, over 1,000 delicious recipes and 60 workout demonstrations available.
The points plan allows you to eat and drink anything within the limits of your daily points allowance. All foods and drinks are assigned a points value which is calculated to a formula which takes into account the amount of fat, calories and portion size. When you join, your group leader will tell you how many points a day you should eat to lose weight.
The group leader (or calculator in the online version) will take into account a number of factors including your gender, activity level, starting weight and height. You'll receive a list of points values for foods and drinks and information on how you can increase your daily points allowance (for example by exercising).
The core plan lets you choose from a list of healthy core foods. You're allowed to eat as much as you want ( within moderation) from a list of food which includes fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, chicken and eggs, carbohydrates such as brown rice and potatoes and lower fat dairy products.
You are allowed three main meals a day and you can eat until you feel reasonably satisfied. Dieters are weighed weekly and then advised on how many points they should consume the following week.
When you first attend a meeting, or join the programme online, you'll receive an initial assessment where you'll be able to discuss your weight loss goals and decide how best to achieve them. The assessment and weigh-in are confidential.
In subsequent weeks you'll be weighed to see how you're doing, and then be
able to discuss your progress with the course leader. Many slimmers find that
the weekly weigh-in gives them a real incentive to stay on the straight and
narrow. There is also a group discussion covering weight loss related subjects
where members can share tips and ideas.
Consult your doctor or medical professional before beginning any diet or exercise plan.
A days eating on the WeightWatchers diet might look like this:
The diet does not exclude any major food groups.
The Weight watchers diet plan makes allowances for eating out and is flexible to fit in with lifestyles.
It offers an easy to follow diet system with the flexibility to swap between the two diet plans to find the options that suit you best.
Most people who use weight watchers are appreciative of the huge amount of help and support they get, from both the meeting leader and from fellow class members on a weekly basis.
If you have willpower problems (and who doesn't now and again!), the extra boost you get from being part of a 'club' and meeting other slimmers with the same goals as you, can make all the difference between the success and failure of your weight-loss program.
There is an online option, with helpful apps for mobiles and iPads.
Exercise is factored in the diet program with extra points awarded for activity
Need to carefully learn portion sizes to be able to calculate points.
Payment to be a member can prove expensive if continued for a long time.
Some healthy meals you might like to try.
Pasta with Mushrooms
Yes, even pasta is OK in small amounts!
This serves one and is a quick and satisfying main meal.
Take 2 - 3 ounces of fresh pasta and boil for 5 minutes (or as directed) in water, to which a dash of olive oil has been added (stops pasta sticking together).
While this is happening, fry up a couple of ounces of chopped mushrooms and a crushed clove of garlic in a little olive oil.
Strain the pasta into a serving bowl and add the mushrooms, stir the whole lot together with a little low-fat fromage frais.
Sprinkle with a pinch of your favourite cheese (use a strong flavoured one like parmesan, as you'll need less).
Cooking time and preparation time - 20 mins.
Bacon and Peppers
If you have a craving for something savoury and spicy, this one will hit the
Take two peppers and remove the seeds and cut into small pieces. Zap them in the microwave for a minute or two, then trim the fat off a couple of bacon rashers and cut them into small pieces and fry them. (For an even lower fat version use turkey 'rashers' )
Add the peppers and stir fry for a couple more minutes. Serve with some salad and wholemeal bread, or a little rice.
Cooking time and preparation time - 10 minutes.
Soak two level teacups of rice. Crush a couple of cloves of garlic and mix with some finely chopped parsley.
Soak a dozen dried mushrooms in water until soft, then chop them finely and drain.
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a saucepan, place on the cooker to heat, then add the garlic, parsley, and mushrooms, add half a tin of tomatoes and cook for 20-30 mins.
Drain the rice and put in a saucepan, adding a little vegetable stock, half
a cup at a time, to keep from burning, and add, stirring constantly, the other
ingredients, cooking until the rice
is fully cooked.
Cooking time and preparation time - one hour.