Rating the Weight Watchers Points Diet: Advantages and Disadvantages
Weight Watchers healthy eating plans are highly recommended by many diet and nutritional experts. The Points Diet, in particular, is a well-balanced, very easy and convenient way for dieters with busy lifestyles to lose weight healthily without having to count calories or fat content.
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With the Points Diet, Weight Watchers gives all foods and fat/calories content a point value. Dieters are weighed on a weekly basis and then advised on how many points they should aim to consume per day for the coming week. Dieters are also provided with a list of everyday foods and their points value, as well as a chart giving a points value for fat and calorie contents for foods that are not on the pre-pointed list. This allows them to quickly and easily 'point up' all of the food that they eat on a daily basis and make a note of the food and the total points they have consumed each day (this is done using a 'food tracker' which all weight watchers are advised to use in order to log their daily food consumption). As everyday food has already been pre-pointed by Weight Watcher, dieters are able to get on with concentrating on their daily lives without having to worry about reading food labels and calculating fat and calories.
The theory is that, as long as you stay within your points limit for the day or the week, you can eat whatever you like.
The Weight Watchers Points Diet does not exclude any food group or type at all during any period of the diet. And, it's not so much a diet as a re-education of eating habits - a concept made all the easier by the inclusion of all food groups within the eating plans. The theory is that, as long as you stay within your points limit for the day or the week, you can eat whatever you like.
So, junk-food lovers will be happy to know that they can still partake in a Mcdonald's or a bag of chips if the fancy takes them. However, beware as you will probably spend your points for the whole day on just one meal. Dieters can look upon their allocation of points as money. They have a certain amount of 'money' each day, but it has to last them the whole day so they must spend it wisely. The diet isn't overly strict, however. If there is a special occasion and more points are required, dieters can save points from the day before and use them to go out with.
By nature, this diet is very nutritious and balanced. Dieters are able to include carbohydrates, proteins and fats in their eating plan. Also, because they have to stick to their points levels, dieters will find that they will be opting for lower fat foods anyway to stay within their points limit, so the diet, by default, does not encourage consumption of large quantities of saturated fat. Alice Lichtenstein, a Professor of nutrition at Tufts University, states that: "Any diet plan is a way of helping people limit their calorie intake, but it's important that it also allow for optimal nutrient intake. This program attempts to achieve that."
Weight Watchers also offer face-to-face support to dieters in the form of weekly meetings. Here, you can meet with the Team Leader for advice and pep talks as well as meeting other dieters for support and encouragement. More often than not, the Team Leader is someone that has previously had weight problems and has managed to resolve them through adopting the Weight Watchers lifestyle. This gives additional support and encouragement to attendees at these meeting, as they are able to see the result and hear about the ups and downs from someone that has gone through it all and come out smiling. These meetings are also an opportunity for dieters to be weighed as well as iron out any problem areas. The tracker, on which dieters are encouraged to log the food and points they have consumed each day, is also taken along to the meetings. This can then be used as a tool to identify any potential problems. If, for example, a dieter has lost weight one week and then put weight on the following week, looking through the trackers for the two week period can help to identify any changes in food consumption that may have contributed towards the weight gain on the second week.
As well as support, Weight Watchers have brought out a wide range of books, both as support tools and cookery books. Here, dieters can find recipes that are suitable for the whole family and that are already pointed up per portion. Many restaurants and supermarkets also put a Weight Watchers points values on some of their meals and products. This makes if far easier for people on this diet to eat out and to shop for groceries without having to worry about whipping out the points chart.
The advantages of the Weight Watchers Points Diet are quite clear; they include: The diet is nutritionally balanced and does not exclude major food groups
The diet is suitable for vegetarians
This diet easily fits in with bust lifestyles
The diet makes it easy to eat out
Support is offered to people on this diet
There are a few disadvantages as well. These include: The weekly support meetings can work out quite expensive over time
Weight loss is much slower than with other, more restrictive diets
Although this diet as very balanced, it can post something of a problem for dieters who are unsure of whether they have any food allergies. Because the diet is non-restrictive and includes all food groups, there are many more things within the diet which dieters may be allergic to.
It is wise to get a simple test done and check whether you have any allergies to the everyday foods on this diet. It is then possible to devise a plan that does not include foods that could cause a reaction, thus gaining maximum effect from the eating plan.