In 1961 WeightWatchers founder Jean Nidetch weighed 214 pounds. She started a support group with her friends to help herself stay motivated in her weigh loss efforts. WeightWatchers now boasts more than one million members, who attend 29,000 meetings, in 27 countries. In addition to the meetings, WeightWatchers now offers an online service as well. The online service can be used as a program independent of the meetings, or as a supplement to the traditional meeting based program. I have had experience using the web sight both ways.
As a stand-alone weight loss approach, WeightWatchers.com offers a complete program. All of the instructional and motivational materials presented at meetings are available online along with a weight loss tracking tool to follow weekly progress. The cost is somewhat less than meetings $16.95 per month with a $29.95 sign up fee. With the effectiveness of the tools given, I found this to be an excellent value. Unlike some weight loss web sights there are no early termination fees, you are free to cancel at anytime.
If you are simply unable to attend meetings, are fearful of public weigh-ins, or just prefer to do things on your own this is an excellent option. It will enable you to use the sound principles of the WeightWatchers program to create and maintain your own healthy lifestyle.
I was surprised to find out that there are even some items the web sight offers, that must be purchased for an extra cost at meetings. These include the online tracking tool for daily points and exercise (WeightWatchers uses a point system to evaluate daily intake), a restaurant guide with points values for popular restaurants, a tool which allows you to find the points value of your favorite recipes, and a comprehensive database with the points value of pretty much every food in the planet. Also a database with the points burned by doing just about any kind of exercise based on duration and intensity.
The tools offered on the web sight are top notch and designed to empower you to take control of your own choices. I found them to be invaluable as I worked through the process of establishing a lifestyle that helped me achieve and maintain my fitness goals. They were all easy to use, and very effective. I was very happy not only with my weight loss, but with the educational tools that gave me the ability to make lifestyle changes.
The only difficulty that I had was that the daily journal for points tracking was often unavailable in the early morning or mid-evening hours due to heavy use. Admittedly this was frustrating.
From its conception the cornerstone of WeightWatchers has been its focus on peer support to improve members ability to stay motivated and to improve weight loss efforts through accountability. WeightWatchers.com does have an excellent chat area where users can go to interact with fellow dieters to exchange ideas and inspiration; however my personal experience with using the online program alone and also as a supplement to the meetings lead me to the conclusion that no chat room can really substitute for the positive dynamic that a meeting provides. Along those lines WeightWatchers.com provides a tool to help you find a meeting no matter where you are. (Which comes in very handy if you are traveling and are in dire need of some encouragement to stay on track.)
Personally I found the web sight to be at its most effective as a supplement to the meetings, even though it was an additional cost. However there have been times when I was simply unable to attend meetings due to time or budget constraints, and in those times WeightWatchers.com was a godsend. The web sight alone did provide me with the tools for managing my choices, and making informed decisions that would sustain my long-term goals and was an excellent value for the price.