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March 21, 2012 9:21 AM
Generally speaking, what are the pros and cons to Weight Watchers compared to just counting Calorie intake?
March 21, 2012 9:30 AM
It's not better or worse, just a different perspective. It all comes down to what works for you, and what you can be consistent with. I did WW for years and lost my first 10 with the new Points+ plan.

I liked the meetings, I liked the accountibility and support from them. It was a weekly re-motivator. I liked that fruits and most veggies were "free." I liked (still do!) the online community. I liked the simplicity of counting to 30 instead of counting to 1200. I liked the new plan's greater emphasis on macro nutrients and health. On the downside, it's expensive ($40 a month). Now that I am focused on net calories, I am beginning to think that I never ate enough on WW when I was really active. Their emphasis remains to be "eat less, move more" and I don't necessarily think that is the best approach for my body (at least not with the more I learn about nutrition). I have come to prefer counting calories (and protein, carbs, fat, etc) but I still think WW is great for a lot of people. My mom has lost 115 lbs with it, so I've personally seen that it works really well.

I came to MFP because I needed a break. I haven't been able to attend a WW meeting yet this year, so the cost no longer made sense. My motivation and WL started to stall out, so I wanted to shake things up and save some money in the process.
March 21, 2012 9:33 AM
i did weight watched and what i found was the only difference was that you are not "counting calories" on WW verses on MFP you are. there is a different approach to WW that kind of makes it less stressful because you not consumed with the calories you eat. i liked WW however i didnt like having to pay for it. which is why i switched to MFP. I like MFP because, well its free, but its relativly the same as WW.
March 21, 2012 10:55 AM
I have done WW online (off and on) for the past 5 yrs, somewhat successfully (30 lbs lost, with two pregnancies during that time period). I am considering switching over to MFP only for cost--online is $18/mo. I find WW tracking easier, b/c I don't have to track fruits and veg. And WW new points plus seems to be really focused on getting you to eat your calories from a more balanced perspective, as the points take into account carbs, fat, protein, and fiber. I also like the healthy goals tracker (oils, water, fruit & veg, vitamin).
March 21, 2012 10:59 AM
Have many years with WW, but I like this better so far. I like knowing the breakdown of food I eat. I am working on reducing my sugar intake to hopefully avoid the big D
March 21, 2012 11:01 AM
I do both WW and MFP.... I use WW for the meetings (group support) and the weigh ins (accountability). I lost over 100 pounds on the old Points system, but had a hard time with the new Points Plus. From what I've read and from different conversations I've had with people that have done both Points programs, that some people who are at their goal weight or close to their goal weight have had a hard time maintaining with the new Points Plus. Not sure why... it could be the "zero" points fruits and veggies, or something else.

Someone on the WW community suggested MFP to count both calories and points to see if I could spot the problem. It didn't take long for me to figure out I was eating way too much. So, I decided to keep counting calories, and continue with the WW meetings. The best of both worlds. happy
March 21, 2012 11:12 AM
Weight Watchers is such a great company, and I am such a big supporter. I don't do Weight Watchers anymore, but I will always recommend it! I can't afford to do it right now, or else I probably would. You can technically do it on your own, but it wouldn't be the complete program.

The community aspect is wonderful. If you find a good meeting that you really enjoy, you can make some wonderful friends. And if you find a leader that you really like, that's helpful too. I find that I can achieve a similar environment here with MFP though. Community support is everything with weight loss.

Weighing in each week was HUGE. You couldn't lie to yourself about the number. You can't avoid it (unless you skip the meeting). It is always there, and it always holds you accountable. And someone is the one weighing there is no fibbing. :) There is something about weighing-in like really, really holds you accountable.

You learn about having an appropriate relationship with food.

Each week, there is a new topic to learn about - and because there are others there, you get to learn ideas from them as well.
You are celebrated each week if you have a non-scale victory or a scale victory. It's really nice to hit milestones too (they give you a key chain for certain milestones).

You learn tips and tricks that help with hunger, cravings, working out, preparing food, etc. It's a little bit like the tips and tricks you find here on the MFP forum.

Rather than counting calories, you count "Points" - which pretty much works the same way as calories. It's just a different "currency." This is a pro because it really helps some people. Foods are "weighted" different. Some foods (even though they're higher calorie) might not be high in points because of the other nutrition things that they offer (like protein or fiber). It forces you to learn about healthy options rather than just limiting portion sizes. It's very helpful in terms of learning about food and nutrition.

There are "extra points" that you can use throughout the week if you need to. This comes in handy when you have events to go to (like a party or a wedding). Obviously, you can do something similar with calories, but somehow, the points thing worked out differently in my head, mentally.

If money is an issue, then Weight Watchers might be a little pricey to you. (Although, it can definitely be worth it.)

Calculating points can be a little harder than calculating calories. With points, there is a math equation involved (so you'll need your Weight Watchers calculator or the book which lists most food in it). You can't always look at something and just KNOW how many points it is. With calories, you know many calories it is because it says so right on the box.

In the end, I think you should do whatever you think will help you be most successful. I absolutely LOVE MyFitnessPal. I really love Weight Watchers as well. You can do one, or you can do both! It's easy to be members of both at the same time. You'll find great success with either method - as long as you are committed and you are honest with yourself. Good luck with your choice! :)
March 21, 2012 11:19 AM
March 21, 2012 11:23 AM
I've done weight watchers on and off, it's a good program and can really motivate you. The main difference is WW figures out what you "should" eat every day and puts it into a daily points allowance. I had 29. I had no clue how many calories that was a day or fat or anything which kind of bugged me. I actually like MFP better because you can give them your goal and they will tell you with exercise how many calories you need to eat and burn off to get to your weight loss goal. It also advises on others like fat and carbs which I like.

I have a two year old and would stress out if I couldn't make a meeting, and having to pay for them I didn't see the value anymore. I'm happy I finally tried MFP. Also MFP database is way more extensive; if you trust the info other members entered.
March 21, 2012 11:25 AM
I think it's a little cheaper compared to other weight loss programs plus it teaches you how to cook instead of having ready made meals. On the other hand, maybe some people might need ready made meals in the beginning to help get them motivated and started and then learn how to cook and eat with WW.
When I attended the meetings a while ago it seemed like they contradicted themselves. On the one hand they would talk bad about cookies and that you shouldn't eat them but then on the other hand they were telling you that you could eat them and anything you wanted if you kept track of them. Obviously some things are going to be more calories then others so you won't be able to eat as much if you choose high in calorie foods. This will mean that you have to overall eat less. (OBVIOUSLY)
March 21, 2012 11:29 AM
I did not 'click' with Weight Watchers. It felt like everything was focused on points rather than nutrition. For example, more fiber means less points, rather than an adult needs x grams of fiber for nutrition, etc. I felt like I learned how to lower the points on recipes but I never learned how to up the nutrition or what different nutrients do. Also, they were always hocking their products.

I am not a social person so the meetings were annoying (everyone clap for .25 lbs and you get a sticker yay) but my mom enjoys them. I like MFP - I feel more support from friends, no one is selling anything, and we are all just doing the best we can.
March 21, 2012 11:30 AM
i would have loved weight watchers, except for the cost. I read online where a group of friends did their own weight watchers and were succesful. they had meetings weekly, weigh ins, discussed choices and recipes.. set goals.. had a money jar and even paid a dues, I forget how the dues was "won" at the end of a set time...

it's the accountability to someone else and the comraderie. Unfortunately, I have no one in my life who gives 2 figs about getting healthy.. at least seriously anyways. I guess I could make a weight watcher group.. tell myself all about my week and weigh in.. O wait!! i already do!! duh!! LOL
March 21, 2012 11:38 AM
i loved weight watchers theirs no real cons to it its a good all around program it only takes you sticking to it i live in the country so its hard to get to the meetings sometimes and right now i'm tigh with money but i would tell you to join and enjoy makes some new friends good luck
March 21, 2012 12:16 PM
I did well on weight watchers...for a while. But, like most things, I stopped because my husband had no desire to lose weight so there were 2 different meals. MFP has me actually seeing what I eat, with the food diary. I am painfully honest with what I eat on it, so have actually made the decision to eat smaller portions. I even eat off a smaller plate. I do not deny myself the little indulgences, like chocolate love but have cut down from a whole bar or "3 pieces=serving size" to only one piece. I do not feel deprived.
Edited by cimmera1969 On March 21, 2012 12:34 PM
March 21, 2012 12:27 PM
Having done both WW and MFP, I much prefer MFP. Since I don't eat "points," but calories, this just makes more sense. And it's freeeeeee!
March 21, 2012 12:35 PM
Cudos to the Star Trek ticker!
March 22, 2012 8:21 AM
I had success with a previous version of Weight Watchers, and successfully lost about 22 pounds (and kept most of it off!) for about 2 years without tracking points too religiously. Over the past year, I've put back on about 5-7 pounds (depending on the day) and had started being more diligent with my point-tracking, but my weight was staying pretty constant, so I figured something must be off. I don't know if it was that I was eating too much fruit (sugar and calories even though they are now considered "free" foods, unless you eat more than 5 servings I think), but I was looking for a change. My friend introduced me to MFP and I couldn't believe how I'd never heard of this amazing and FREE tool! I've been tracking calories only for the past 5 days and I'm already down from my initial weight. Granted I know some of it is water weight, but I'm thrilled and it's interesting to see the breakdown of the carbs/fat/protein/fiber and other nutrients (like I noticed how I had too much sugar yesterday! I am a sugar addict), so while WW is a great program and has a proven track record, I'm really liking MFP so far :)


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