Free Weight Watchers points calculator: If you’re on Weight Watchers, you know that the point system is central to the success of the diet. While the WW app has hundreds of point values for foods (including the 99 most tracked foods) we made a calculator so that you can estimate the points value of any food from the nutritional info.
Recently WW ended their “Points Plus®” system, and changed it to “SmartPoints®” in the new FreeStyle points system.
The (new) Weight Watchers formula for SmartPoints is based on four criteria: calories, protein, sugar, and saturated fat. If you have a product that lists these values, you can quickly calculate the points value! Just enter the numbers below to instantly convert them to a Smart Points number. Try our free calculator below, and if you are thinking of joining WW, use one of our exclusive coupons!
It’s easy to get this info for most products, as it’s listed on the box, bag, or wrapper like this:
Try out our WW points calculator to estimate the Smart Points in your food, and let us know your results!
Weight Watchers: How Many Calories Per Point? (SmartPoints + Points Plus)
As you know, the Weight Watchers program is based on a points system instead of counting calories. This is an important distinction, as they believe that not all calories are equal. In other words, 200 calories from a doughnut is very different than 200 calories from hummus and veggies.
For this reason, it’s very hard to estimate WW points from calories alone. However, here is a ballpark estimate of how to convert calories to Weight Watchers points:
FreeStyle(SmartPoints): 1 WW point is equal to about 30 calories
Points Plus: 1 WW point is equal to about 35 calories
If you are eating healthy, than there is a greater number of calories per point, and fruit and veggies are worth zero points. If you are eating less healthy food, there are fewer calories per point.
Free WW Calculator: Here are the Formulas
“Cause I’m as free as a bird now, And this bird you can not change!” – Freebird
Our free Weight Watchers points calculators use formulas based on weighing nutritional value from the smart folks at calorie lab to calculate an estimated points value for food.
WW Smart Points formula: ((calories) + (4 x sugar) + (9 x saturated fat) – (3.2 x Protein)) ÷ 33 = SmartPoints value
WW PointsPlus formula: ((3.2 x Protein) + (3.8 x (Carbs – Fiber)) + (9.0 x Fat) + (1.0 x Fiber)) ÷ 35 = PointsPlus value
The formulas differ in that SmartPoints rewards higher protein levels and specifically discourages eating saturated fat.
*Disclaimer: Although we believe this WW calculator to be fairly accurate, it is meant only to calculate estimates of Weight Watcher points in food. For this reason, we make no guarantee of accuracy. Also, never eat Tide Pods or take selfies in dangerous locations.
Points list of popular Weight Watcher foods: If you’re on WW (or thinking about joining?) you know that the SmartPoints system is central to the the success of the FreeStyle Program. (How does FreeStyle work?) It’s similar to the old WW point system, “PointsPlus,” but now includes about 200 healthy “free,” zero-point foods including fruits and vegetables.
With Weight Watchers, every food is assigned a point value based on four criteria: calories, protein, sugar and saturated fat. There’s no counting calories with WW, and as long as you stay within your daily points budget, you should be losing weight. (It’s just simple math + science!)
Ever wonder what foods are most commonly tracked on the WW app? We did some research and found what foods people on Weight Watchers track the most, and were pleasantly surprised to see that most of the foods are healthy!
Here’s a free list of the most tracked foods on the Weight Watchers point system in alphabetical order. (often listed like: “eggs, scrambled” or “wine, red”)
This WW points list is just the most popular foods tracked on Weight Watchers, but there are thousands more (including the point values of menu items from popular restaurants) on the app if you’re a member of Weight Watchers:
As you can see from our list of the most tracked foods on the Weight Watchers app, most all fruits and non-starchy vegetables cost you zero points. That’s WW’s way of telling you to eat a plethora of them, and they are a great alternative to bad carbs when you crave something sweet.
Also on the list of zero-point foods are healthy grilled proteins like fresh (wild-caught) salmon, Greek yogurt, plus spices and flavorings like garlic, soy sauce, lemon, and lime. just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy flavor!
Weight Watchers SmartPoints: Proteins
Weight Watchers encourages you to eat lots of proteins, but mostly “lean proteins.” That means healthy proteins like lean grilled chicken, pork, and beef will usually only cost you a few points.
Fresh seafood is great for your daily SmartPoints budget with 3 oz. of shrimp, tilapia, tuna steak, and lobster only costing you about 1 point each. Holy mackerel!
There are even zero-point proteins like grilled salmon and egg whites that you should include in your diet.
Now, when you talk about meat with more saturated fat like hot dogs (6 SmartPoints), burgers, bacon, fatty beef cuts, and sausage (8+ SmartPoints), you’re going to have to pony up some points. So, it’s a good idea to look for smart alternatives to these budget-busting proteins.
For example, since bacon costs you 5 points, consider substituting turkey bacon, which is worth 3 Smart Points.
Weight Watchers Smart Points: Fats & Oil
Did you know that a single tablespoon of butter will cost you 5 SmartPoints? That’s more points than an entire healthy meal or snack!
Fats have a high density of calories, and therefore cost you more points. Surprisingly, on the WW points list this includes nuts, nut butters, and even avocados. When you have the option, save WW points by choosing a low-fat version of fatty favorites like butter, mayo, cheese, milk, and yogurt. (Choose Greek yogurt)
One of the best substitutions you can make is to get vegetable oil out of your diet, and make a habit of using extra-virgin olive oil instead.
Weight Watchers Points List: Sweets & Desserts
There are no forbidden foods on Weight Watchers, but if you want the diet to work consider most sweets to be an occasional treat or reward.
Because a full-size chocolate bar is 12 WW SmartPoints, and a 1/2 cup of ice cream is 7+ points, it makes sense to choose a low-fat option or smaller portion when available.
Worst dessert points-bomb? Probably a piece of iced chocolate cake. At 22+ WW points per slice, it’s not a smart choice unless it’s your birthday.
Also, beware navigating the menu of restaurants like Starbucks, as there are plenty of WW points-pitfalls!
Weight Watchers Points in Alcohol?
Like Nutrisystem, It’s OK to have the occasional glass of wine or beer on Weight Watchers, but not all drinks are equal. If you want to be thrifty with points, order responsibly. When you order, consider light beers and dry wines, and avoid sweet or creamy drinks.
Example: Consider that a glass of red wine will cost you 4 SmartPoints, while a Long Island Iced Tea is 18 Smart Points and 700 calories. (Gulp!)
In case you don’t believe me, consider that a value meal with a burger, fries, and soda can ring-up 30+ points quickly. (Maybe that’s why it’s called, “fast food?”)Pizza is another WW points-bomb and can also ring up a dizzying number of Smart Points.
Full Weight Watchers Points List?
Are you looking for a full list of SmartPoints values for every food? There isn’t a dependable (free) online list of all of the thousands of foods and drinks that you can track on Weight Watchers because it’s too cumbersome to list and maintain online. The best way to see point values for foods is within the Weight Watchers app, which is a central part of the diet.
We also created a Weight Watchers points calculator to help you estimate both the Smart Points and Points Plus (old system) in any food based on the nutritional facts.
If you’ve already joined WW, then that list is right at your fingertips on your phone once you download the app. If you haven’t joined yet, we have a couple of great WW coupons to save up to 50% on membership!
Thanks for checking out our Smart Points list for the most popular Weight Watchers foods!
Weight Watchers points in a slice of pizza? Pizza as we know it originated in Naples in the 18th Century, and was a “food of the working class,” looked down upon by the wealthy as a crude meal sold by street vendors.
That all changed after Italy was unified and Naples got a visit from Queen Margherita who tired of fancy cuisine and took a liking to pizza; specifically the kind made with mozzarella cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil.
Perhaps she also appreciated that this variety of pizza featured the colors of the Italian flag, but either way her appreciation for what later became, “Margherita” pizza caused the food to skyrocket in popularity with all social classes in Italy and later in America when the Neapolitans started flocking to cities like Trenton, Chicago, New York, and St. Louis in the late 19th Century for factory jobs, bringing their love of pizza with them.
Ok, so that’s a brief history of pizza, but if you’re on Weight Watchers, a craving for pizza can really wreak havoc on your daily point total. Why? Well, the average American will eat about 6000 slices of pizza in their lifetime! Pizza is basically dough covered in greasy cheese, which isn’t exactly the kind of healthy food Weight Watchers teaches you eat with their point system.
Knowledge is power, so if you are going to eat pizza on Weight Watchers, you have to be smart about it. Here are the WW points in pizza, plus some advice on how to make pizza fit into your daily WW FreeStyle / SmartPoints budget.
Ordering pizza from popular chains like Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Pizza Hut is going to cost you a lot of points! Hopefully you can find a healthier alternative to ordering pizza from these restaurants, and when you see the point totals, I think you’ll agree! Here are the Weight Watchers points in a slice of (large) pizza
So, how many Weight Watchers Points in a slice of pizza? You can estimate that a piece of pizza (1/8th of a large pizza) from a local pizzaria or restaurant will have 10 SmartPoints, and 8 PointsPlus. It seems to be a little less for most frozen pizzas, largely because the slices are usually smaller.
Toppings: (Add points per slice)
Extra cheese: 3 SmartPoints, 1 PointsPlus
Meat toppings: (Pepperoni, sausage, ham) about 1 WW point per slice
Veggie toppings: 0 SmartPoints
When ordering any pizza, you should also skip anything “meat-lover’s, stuffed crust, deep dish, alfredo, or cheese-lover’s,” and for God’s sake, you don’t need to add breadsticks (4 SmartPoints each) or cinnamon bread twists! (6-8 SmartPoints per serving)
If you really want to stick with the Weight Watchers brand, you can find their Smart Ones frozen pizza(13 Smart Points) at some grocery stores.
Some Advice About Pizza and Weight Watchers
Yikes! So, how can you enjoy pizza without blowing up your diet? Well, you can skip Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and Domino’s pizza, and order something healthier! But, maybe you find yourself at a restaurant, friend’s house, or birthday party, and don’t have a DIY pizza option? Here are a few suggestions for eating pizza on Weight Watchers FreeStyle, or any other diet.
Like a taco salad, white pizza also has an undeserved reputation for being healthy. Maybe this is because it’s a favorite of women who usually are better at making decisions than men? Maybe it’s because we think (wrongly) that white foods are pure and healthier? Or, maybe we believe that putting a little broccoli or tomato on top of anything makes it healthy?
Actually, the opposite is true, as the healthiest part of pizza is the tomato sauce which has antioxidants. To make things worse, most pizzarias brush on garlic oil which is loaded with calories. In fact, a single slice of white pizza can have 600 calories and cost you 12 Smart Points!
Ok, so putting veggies on pizza isn’t going to make it health food, but at least it’s healthier. Skip the sausage and pepperoni and add fresh vegetables like red or yellow peppers, broccoli, and tomato.
The canned Mushrooms most pizza restaurants use as a topping don’t have much nutritional value, but if you have the option of fresh mushrooms, top your pizza with them for extra antioxidants and health benefits. Fresh eggplant is also a great healthy alternative to most meat toppings, if available. Remember, with FreeStyle, most vegetables are 0 Smart Points!
Choose Whole Grain or Thin Crust Pizza
In most restaurants the crust is about as healthy as Wonder Bread, as it’s made with unhealthy white flour and high in carbs. If you have the option of whole-grain or thin crust, you’re getting fewer carbs while still enjoying the same amount of tomato sauce and veggie toppings.
In fact, thin crust pizza has significantly fewer Weight Watchers points than regular or deep dish pizza! Even better, if you’re making your own pizza, try using whole wheat pita rounds or fresh naan for crust.
You’ll also notice that eating a slice of thin-crust pizza won’t make you feel lethargic the way a couple of slices of regular pizza does. That’s because it takes a lot of your body’s energy to burn those carbs from pizza crust; that’s energy that would be better used burning fat!
Make Your Own Pizza! Weight Watchers Pizza Recipes:
So, if you aren’t at a restaurant, party, or friend’s house, you’ll have a lot more options for making healthy choices when it comes to pizza.
Tip: If you’re making your own pizza know that store-bought pizza sauce is high in fat, sodium, and sugar. That means more Smart Points! Instead, try buying a jar of fat or sugar-free pizza sauce, and then mix in some tomato paste to thicken it, and some fresh diced tomatoes.
While Weight Watchers many of their recipes for members, they still have a number of free pizza recipes available, including their recipe for basic pizza dough. You don’t have to just depend on WW for pizza recipes, as there are lots of great Weight Watchers-friendly pizza recipes online, most of which include Weight Watchers points / SmartPoints. Here are a few Weight Watchers pizza recipes to get you started:
So, as you can see, a couple slices of pizza from a chain restaurant like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s can really blow up your weight loss efforts with a diet like Weight Watchers.
In fact, 2 slices of cheese pizza can equal more than half of your entire day’s budget of Weight Watchers points! Unlike diets such as Nutrisystem (view coupons) that plan all of your meals, no foods are off-limits with Weight Watchers or Noom.
For that reason, if you must eat pizza, be smart! Go for thin-crust, limit yourself to a slice, and top with veggies. Better yet, make your own healthy, Weight Watchers-friendly pizza at home with fresh ingredients. Weight Watchers is about
How many WW SmartPoints is a glass of wine? Did you know that wine is the second most tracked beverage on the Weight Watchers app? (behind coffee)
While an occasional glass of red or white wine is OK, don’t drink more than one glass per day, as the points from drinking too much wine can throw a wrench into your weight loss plans. (Does drinking wine make you fat?)
First, let’s talk about how many ounces are in a glass of wine. A “glass” of wine is defined as either 4 or 5 ounces, although the occasional heavy-handed bartender will pour up to 6 ounces.
If you are pouring your own wine, know that a standard 750 ml. bottle of wine will yield six 4-ounce glasses or five 5-ounce glasses. If you’re getting fewer than five glasses out of a bottle, you’re over-pouring. (But, I like your enthusiasm!)
Here’s the Weight Watchers SmartPoints for a 5 oz. Glass of Wine: (*If you are tracking with the old WW point system, (PointsPlus) divide the SmartPoints number in half to get your WW PointsPlus total)
WW SmartPoints Per Glass of WHITE Wine (5 oz.)
*A glass of dry Champagne has 4 SmartPoints (Smaller, 4 oz. serving)
WW SmartPoints Per Glass of RED Wine: (5 oz.)
Wine = 5 SmartPoints Per Glass, or 1 SmartPoint Per Oz.
Actually, Alliecat, you should assume that a 5 oz. glass of wine is worth 5 SmartPoints, while a 4 oz. glass is worth 4 SmartPoints.
Although Red wine has slightly more calories and 1 extra WW point per glass, it’s interesting that there isn’t a wide range for each varietal (fancy word for “type”) of wine. Besides exceptionally heavy or sweet wines, they all work out to be one Weight Watchers point per ounce.
That means that a 750 ml. bottle of wine contains about 25 WW points and 600 calories, although don’t even think about it! You’ll get a nasty hangover and need a lot of hours on the treadmill (and, hopefully no hours in the E.R.!) to make up for that!
Weight Watchers SmartPoint Wine Hack (For People Who Have Stopped Caring)
Let’s talk about how to Weight Watchers recently rolled out their own brand of wine called, “Cense.” It’s a lot like regular wine, but a bit lower in Weight Watchers points. Actually, it’s one fewer WW SmartPoint per glass. It also has only about 85 calories per 5 oz. glass compared to an average of 120 calories per glass for most wine.
So, what’s their secret? At 9.6% ABV (alcohol by volume) he wine has a lower alcohol content than standard wine. However, this Weight Watchers-friendly wine is also about $14 per bottle. Not bad, but after reading reviews I have no reason to think that this wine tastes better than the $9 bottles of wine I usually buy.
So, for that reason (and the fact that I have low standards) I say why not go ahead and buy the cheaper wine at the liquor store and do one of the following hack:
Pour yourself a 4 ounce glass of wine instead of 5 ounce (You can measure it; 4 oz. is 1/2 cup)
Drop an ice cube into the glass and chill out!
What kind of rube drops an ice cube in wine, you ask? Well, one like myself who is married, over 40, and not trying to impress anyone. I like an ice cube in a glass of wine during the Summer, and after the 1 ounce ice cube melts it leaves the wine at a cool temperature with 20% lower ABV, and a couple more sips for me!
It achieves this magic, all while saving you about $5 per bottle compared to the “low calorie wine” which always costs more. (Why does it cost more when they give me fewer calories!)
Ok, 5 SmartPoints per glass of wine isn’t bad, right? Want to know the snaky way that drinking wine can blow up your Weight Watchers points? It’s the food you eat while drinking. In fact, studies show that drinking alcohol makes us hungry, and gives us the wine munchies.
That means that although a glass of wine only has 5 WW points, the dinner roll you picked up and ate has 4 points. And, those pretzels you snacked on have 4 SmartPoints per ounce!(9 pretzels) Ouch! Plus, if you have a glass of wine before or during dinner, you’ll probably eat more.
So, Here’s a Summary + Tips About Weight Watchers and Wine:
White wine has about 4 SmartPoints per glass
Red wine has about 5 SmartPoints per glass
Choose lighter, dry wines with an ABV (Alcohol) under 12%
For 1 fewer point per glass, pour a 4 oz. serving (not 5 oz.)
Worst alcoholic drinks to order on a diet – When you’re on a diet, you work hard to look good in the Summer. However, it’s also the time we make the biggest mistakes when ordering alcoholic drinks.
The typical bar and restaurant menus are loaded with landmines for diets like Weight Watchers, and most men and women have no idea how bad many cocktails, daiquiris, and alcoholic beverages are for their weight loss goals.
Here’s a list of the worst alcoholic drinks that you can order on a diet along with their copious SmartPoints totals. Oh, and if you have type 2 diabetes, please stay at least 5 feet away from these drinks at all times!
1.) Mudslide – (24 SmartPoints)
I wonder how many people google “mudslide nutritional info” like I just did? That phrase is an oxymoron, because when you add kahlua and Irish Cream together, there isn’t much nutrition happening. Actually, the mudslide recipe on kahlua.com encourages you to, “add some chocolate flakes on top, because… who says you can’t indulge?”
Um, I say you can’t! Unless you are planning on enjoying a single, annual mudslide to kickoff the Summer, (or, if an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth) it’s better to spend an entire day of Weight Watchers Points elsewhere!
“Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne…” Escape, Rupert Holmes
“So bring me two pina coladas, One for each hand, Let’s set sail with Captin Morgan, And never leave dry land…” – Two Pina Coladas, Garth Brooks
Good songs, but bad choices! You’re really getting onto a boat with a pirate and two high-calorie alcoholic drinks?
Why doesn’t someone write a song about making a good decision with a sensible drink? It would have been a much better influence if Garth had written the song about decluttering his bedroom while sipping on a Pinot Grigio instead!
As for you, Rupert, I’m glad you like “getting caught in the rain” because those piña coladas are going to rain calories and Weight Watchers points down on your unhealthy ass!
Anyway, frozen pina coladas may be Puerto Rico’s national drink, but they can be more like Hurricana Irma hitting your Weight Watchers points if you aren’t careful.
Pina coladas combine rum, creme of coconut, and pineapple juice for a sweet treat high in sugar and fat. If you have “one for each hand,” you can double the 400-600 calories in each. Also, I hope you like fruit, because you might not have any SmartPoints left over after indulging in a couple frozen daiquiris.
All daquiris are sweet and alcoholic which makes them high in calories and carbs, and a natural enemy of Weight Watchers (reviews), and most diets.
If you’re craving a pina colada, try coconut water and rum on the rocks with a splash of pineapple juice instead.
With a Long Island Iced Tea, rum, vodka, gin, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and cola come together like Voltron (or, perhaps, the “A-Team”) into a pint glass to attack your blood sugar levels (and hips) with 425 calories. Long Island Iced Teas are super-sweet, which is a big red flag for any diet-friendly drink.
There’s just no way to make a real Long Island Iced tea acceptable for diets like Nutrisystem, as they ask you to only have 1-2 alcoholic drinks per week., and an L.I.T would obviously wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. If you’re ordering a Long Island Iced Tea, at least make sure it’s made with fresh ingredients instead of standard sour-mix.
4.) Zombie (12+ SmartPoints)
The zombie, or “skull puncher,” was originally concocted to help people stop thinking so much, and just chill out. However, if you’re on a diet and order a Zombie, you might already be in a thoughtless, half-dead state.
Most zombie recipes call for 3 types of rum totaling over a double-shot (3oz) of alcohol. Most zombie recipes also calls for absinthe, which I believe killed more French people than Robespierre in the 19th Century. By the time this walking dead cocktail is complete, you’ve got a sweet drink with about 400 calories and 13 carbs.
Some bartenders even light the rum floater on the top of this drink on fire. Well, that’s ironic, because you’ll have to burn a lot of calories to get a Zombie out of your system!
5.) Large Margarita (10-12 SmartPoints)
Salty and sweet together with Tequila in one over-sized glass or fishbowl? Yum, how could that be bad for your diet? Assuming a large margarita is twice as big as a small one, you could be looking at twice the 350 calories! The fishbowl variety can go up to 32 oz., so please don’t drink one or you’ll be looking at 32+ Weight Watchers points! (Do people drink out of fishbowls in other countries, or is that an American innovation?)
Actually, the worst part about Margaritas is that you rarely drink just one, and will probably devour a bowl of tortilla chips or nachos in the process. (Why does alcohol make you hungry?) The high salt and sugar content means that if you have a couple margaritas, you’re likely to end up dehydrated with a headache.
There’s nothing wrong with a single, regular-sized margarita without salt, though. Just make sure it’s made with real agave syrup and fresh lime instead of the usual industrial-strength sour-mix you’ll get at most bars.
I love the Big Lebowski, and “The Dude” famously loved his White Russians. I hope he wasn’t on a diet or lactose-intolerant, as White Russians mix vodka and Kahlua with Whole milk or, at worst, heavy cream (Ugh!) for up to 500 calories and a load of saturated fat.
So, once again you’re combining sweet with creamy, which are both no-no’s on a diet. A White Russian will cost you about 9 SmartPoints.
Although they’re a favorite on Sex and the City, Cosmo’s aren’t very diet-friendly. Even though they look small, pink, and friendly, they can pack 300 calories and 7g carbs each. The sugar from the cranberry juice isn’t helpful, and confirms that sweet drinks are usually bad for a diet.
On a Diet, Diabetic, or Counting WW Points? Tip: Avoid Sweet or Creamy Drinks!
You’ll notice a common theme on this list of worst drinks for Weight Watchers: the drinks are all sweet. If you are counting points, avoid any drinks that are sweet and/or creamy in bars and restaurants, and anything made with ice cream or with the word “slushie” in it. (God forbid!)
If you’re drinking at home, stay away from liqueurs, and avoid any sweet or heavy wines and beers. Dry wines and light beers are a good choice for the occasional alcoholic drink, and a simple vodka and soda with a lemon or lime makes for a Weight Watchers or diet-friendly alternative to sweet and fancy options.
Unlike meal delivery dieting programs or ones that encourage dieters to count calories religiously, Weight Watchers attempts to change dieters’ entire relationship to food and fitness themselves.
Dieters track SmartPoints, assigned to foods according to fat, sugar, and fiber content. The result is a less restricted, more flexible dieting routine that emphasizes understanding and choosing smart nutrition.
Weight Watchers’ new FreeStyle program, which it calls its “best program ever,” is its most flexible. It gives participants a low-cost means of tracking SmartPoints, checking in with other members, and achieving their weight loss goals.
Right now, the Weight Watchers’ FreeStyle program costs about $20 per month, and you can add optional meetings for a $50 per month total. These costs are relatively low in comparison to other industry diets, but there are free apps out there like MyFitnessPal. So, is Weight Watchers really worth $20+ per month for the standard dieter?
In general, we think $20 per month is a good value for all of the features you grt! Here’s more insight into why, and what you get for your money.
The Weight Watchers Freestyle Program
Weight Watchers’ new Freestyle Program is ideal for on-the-go dieters who crave diet flexibility and a sense of community in their weight loss goals. All three plans–OnlinePlus, Meetings, and Coaching–include the following:
Food and activity tracking via app and web
Personalized diet and fitness goal setting
Access to the Weight Watchers community via Weight Watchers Connect, meetings, or personal coaching
24/7 online chat support
Syncing with fitness trackers
Access to “exclusive content” (i.e., healthy recipes and knowledge banks)
The Freestyle Meetings plan additionally offers guidance from trained leaders, weekly group meetings, private weigh-ins, and guidebooks. In place of these benefits, the Coaching plan connects dieters with a dedicated coach, unlimited one-to-one phone calls with this coach, personalized action plans, and customized skill training.
In general, all plans are designed to hold dieters somewhat accountable by connecting them to people who are either in their same shoes or have walked a similar path.
The Coaching plan is by far the most personalized and most likely to hold Weight Watchers participants accountable to their weight loss goals. It’s not extremely popular, but a good option for women or men who don’t have time to attend meetings, but benefit from the extra support and accountability. Learn more…
Is WW Online Worth It? – Potential Benefits and Results
Such access to the Weight Watchers community, whether via coach, meetings, or check-ins, is one of the most valuable components of this program.
In fact, this recent Lancet study discovered that dieters are far more likely to increase or even double their weight loss results when they go beyond self-imposed study and calorie-control!
While Weight Watchers does not guarantee specific benefits of the Freestyle program, it does state that participants are likely to lose an average of one to two pounds per week.
Dieters who commit to the program the longest are more likely to show more serious results than those who flit in and out for weeks or days at a time. These dieters are also far more likely to keep off the weight they’ve lost, a challenge many dieters face in the long run.
Most importantly, weight and fat loss via the Weight Watchers Freestyle program can dramatically reduce participants’ risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and stroke. All of this can be accomplished without fitness, too, an aspect of the program ideal for exercise-phobic dieters.
Most Weight Watchers “graduates” succeed in completely altering their relationship to food, finding the knowledge and confidence they need to make healthy choices on their own, long after their program is complete. In fact, some graduates go on to become Weight Watchers experts, leading meetings and inspiring other dieters.
This is often because the WW program does not focus on restriction; rather, it emphasizes community, dedication, and knowledge about healthy food and your own nutrition needs.
The Value of Weight Watchers Meetings & Connections
Look who crashed a WW meeting!
Weight Watchers recommends the Meetings Freestyle program to first-time dieters. Dieters on the Meetings plan get to connect in-person with other Freestyle dieters on a weekly basis, acquiring valuable support and encouragement.
Weight Watchers has thousands of meeting locations, making it easy for participants to connect, share stories, and get inspired. The meetings are led by experts who have lost weight themselves through Weight Watchers, and every meeting will have a different topic for discussion.
But are Weight Watchers meetings worth it?
Meetings give dieters a chance to go beyond their digital, app-based connections with other dieters, and studies show that meetings greatly increase the success rate. However, that’s a moot point if they don’t fit into your schedule, or there isn’t a convenient meeting location to attend. Weight Watchers meetings function much like any other support group–they are there to empower your journey and give you the tools you need to succeed.
In-person connection can also do wonders for accountability, which is one of the most difficult aspects of dieting itself. Meetings can also offer tangible strategies for improvement from people who truly understand your path.
Meetings plan participants also get to do weekly private weigh-ins with a team leader. This can be intimidating at first, but it can also be an empowering supplement to in-person meetings themselves.
If you opt for the Freestyle program’s cheapest plan, OnlinePlus, you still have access to the Weight Watchers community via the program’s app, where you can upload images, share success stories, and seek advice 24/7. This “Weight Watchers Connect” component of the Freestyle program can be vital for dieters who want a little more freedom and privacy yet still crave the support of a community.
Weight Watchers vs. (Free Alternative) MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is an app that’s a good free alternative to Weight Watchers. But is it as good as Weight Watchers? Let’s look at what both of them offer:
A community of dieters with similar goals
An app-based food and exercise tracker
Access to a database of foods and recipes
So, why pay to use Weight Watchers? Well, unlike MyFitnessPal, WW doesn’t simply just count calories. In fact, the basis of their program is their point system which assigns point values to all foods and then gives you a budget to spend, which should result in healthy food choices and weight loss.
Why is this significant? Consider that a jelly donut might have the same number of calories as grilled salmon with vegetables. While MyFitnessPal sees these as the same, Weight Watchers does not. For this reason, I believe that counting points is a superior way to track food than counting calories.
Also, the Weight Watchers “Connect” community is a superior social network of supportive people who are also on the program. In my opinion when something is offered for “free,” the quality of the community and resources suffers as there is no cost or barrier to entry. It’s the same reason why “free” dating sites should be avoided, and “free” public pools in the city aren’t as nice as ones you pay to enter!
Justifying the Cost
We already spend a lot of money on worthless things each month
In determining whether Weight Watchers is worth the money, let’s look at a few other monthly expenses and their cost:
Starbucks coffee: A single ($4) Starbucks coffee each weekday morning sounds like a harmless habit, but that adds up to $80 per month!
Cable TV: The average cost of cable TV just surpassed $100 per month for the first time!
Wine / Alcohol: My husband and I enjoy a bottle of wine about twice a week. Even at only $10 per bottle, that’s an $80 per month habit.
Smoking: Yuck, how do people still smoke in this day and age? Well, smoking half a pack a day will cost you $100+ per month
Lottery Tickets: If you buy 5 ($2) lottery tickets once a week, that’s a $40 per month expense
Personal Trainer: At $50 per session, twice a week, the assistance of a personal trainer is a $400 per month expense.
Meal Delivery diets, like Nutrisystem, replace a lot of your meals but cost $300+ per month
Obesity: America’s obesity epidemic costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars a year. When you calculate the related expenses, doctor visits, and lost days at work, it’s not an exaggeration to assume that being overweight can cost you $1000+ per month! (Wow, now that $20 per month for WW looks like a good investment!)
So, Is Weight Watchers Worth It?
“Is it worth it? Let me work it I put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it!” – Work It, Missy Elliot
All in all, is Weight Watchers worth it for the average dieter?
In general, it usually is!
Many individuals struggling with weight are at risk of serious medical conditions, meaning that they may find themselves facing steep medical bills on a regular basis. In fact, obesity accounts for 21% of American medical spending every year!
Personal trainers, dieting coaches, and meal delivery plans can also be expensive, providing services that total in the hundreds and thousands of dollars. Given the fact that the most expensive Weight Watchers plan clocks in at about $20 per month, ($50 with meetings) the cost comparison is staggering, and makes WW look like a good value.
The Weight Watchers Freestyle program is also unique in its ability to truly connect dieters, helping them discover the accountability and inspiration they need to reach their goals. It can empower participants with knowledge in a way that most programs simply cannot, giving dieters the tools and awareness they need to craft the diet that is best for them.
The Freestyle program also has the potential for high success, particularly for dieters who commit to the program long-term and are invested in changing their relationship to food itself. Dieters who opt for the Meetings plan are especially set up for success, given this plan’s emphasis on community.
From this perspective, the Weight Watchers program offers a holistic approach to dieting that is hard to find elsewhere, and at such a convenient price. We’re not alone in our belief in the value of Weight Watchers, as it’s consistently rated as the #1 weight loss diet in America by U.S. News, ahead of any of the “free” or book-based alternatives.
WW Freestyle Program Review: It’s no accident that WW (formerly, “Weight Watchers”) “Wellness that Works™” is the number one name in weight loss. In fact, it was recognized again this year as the “Best Weight Loss Diet” by U.S. News.
But exactly how does WW work, how much weight can you lose, and how does the new “Freestyle“ program work? Let’s see what we can we learn from all of the reviews and ratings online by examining the following:
What is WW, Wellness That Works™? (formerly Weight Watchers)
Got 2 minutes? The video above is a great overview of WW, “a lifestyle, not a diet,”learn more.
WW isn’t just a diet, and for decades their weight loss plan has evolved and taken millions of women and men on a journey of positive, lasting change.
In fact, they challenge you to, “move more, eat well, connect with others, celebrate victories, overcome challenges, and reach what you never thought was possible”
Wow, that’s really inspiring, did Oprah say that?
How Does WW Digital (formerly Weight Watchers OnlinePlus) Work?
OK, apparently everyone is losing weight, I get it. But, how does WW work?
WW is based on a science-backed SmartPoints system that assigns every food and beverage a points value based on nutrition. Foods that have more saturated fats, sugar, and empty calories get assigned higher point values while foods high in protein and “good” carbs have lower point values. No food is off-limits, but you’ll have to limit portion sizes make good food choices.
Each day you have a certain number of points called, “SmartPoints,” to spend on food, which helps to teach you good eating habits. For example, grilled salmon with asparagus will cost you zero SmartPoints, while a cheeseburger is going to cost you 12 points! See where we’re going with this?
WW’s new Freestyle program adds more flexibility and healthy foods that cost zero points. This encourages you to eat more fruits, veggies, and lean protein, while skipping foods high in sugar and bad carbs. Freestyle also lets you rollover unused points to other days (think travel and vacations) when you need them more.
Most diets end in failure because they are based on food restriction which tends to make your cravings for unhealthy foods even stronger. The philosophy of Weight Watchers is to teach you good eating habits so that you enjoy sustainable long-term weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.
*Changes made in the new Freestyle program are a bit controversial, which we discuss in the reasons for negative Weight Watchers reviews below.
3 WW Plan Choices: Online Plus, Meetings (Studio), or Personal Coaching
While all WW FreeStyle plans include Digital (formerly Weight Watchers Online Plus), you may want to consider adding the personal interaction and motivation that you get by adding Studio (formerly Meetings) or Personal Coaching. Here’s what each of the WW plans offer:
WW Digital(formerly, “Online Plus”): The cheapest option, but still full of features, and helpful tools. WW Digital includes the WW app to track your food and daily Smart Points anywhere at anytime. You also have access to their thousands of searchable online recipes plus encouragement from the WW online community with “WW Connect”
WW Studio (formerly “Meetings”): Choosing WW Studio will cost more, but significantly increases your potential success rate. Attending meetings adds the powerful component of personal support, motivation, and accountability. *More: How do WW meetings work?
WW Coaching: If you like the idea of meetings, but it doesn’t work with your schedule, consider adding personal coaching. You have all the features and tools of WW Digital and the phone and text support from a personal coach of your choice. Your Coach will create an action plan that works with your lifestyle and personality
Really, which plan you choose is a personal preference. Although studies suggest that adding meetings increases the success rate, you shouldn’t feel that meetings are required, especially if they don’t fit into your busy schedule!
How the WW App Works:
The WW app is central to their entire program, as it’s what you’ll use to track your points, and access their resources such as WW Connect. (formerly “Weight Watchers Connect”)
WW Connect is their social network consisting of thousands of other women and men who are using WW to reach their weight loss goals. It helps to provide you with support and motivation, two crucial factors in successful weight loss. You can access Connect right from your phone to share photos, recipes, weight loss updates, posts, and more.
Here’s how the WW app works:
The app looks a little different on Android / Samsung, but basically the same.
Does WW Work?
In order to determine whether WW really works, let’s look at ratings and reviews from users and experts to determine a success rate.
Because there are no published WW success rates. However, WeightWatchers.com emphasizes the fact that most participants lose at least one pound a week if they stick to program requirements. , but do they really?
For a better measure of success rate, lets look at Weight Watchers’ satisfaction ratings from hundreds of (honest) customer ratings on ConsumerReports.com:
Customer Satisfaction / Success Rate:
The best source of honest WW customer ratings is ConsumerAffairs.com, so let’s look at how 1050 users rated WW: (Updated 1/02/19)
Assuming that 4+ stars means that WW (no longer “Weight Watchers”) worked, we can assume an 80% success rate based on 1050 user ratings.
These customer ratings are consistent with a 2017 Lancet study of WW efficacy which concluded that long-term participants lost over twice as much weight than individuals who sought short-term intervention and self-help weight loss solutions. These participants committed to the program for at least a year and were also able to maintain their new weights more effectively.
It should also be noted that WW success stories focus on one thing: WW as a permanent solution for long-term change. Many dieters are able to keep their new weights because of conscious lifestyle modifications; most stay with the program for months and even years, going on to become WW mentors and personal coaches.
From this perspective, WW is highly successful; usually working for those who are receptive to its principles and commit to long-term healthy lifestyle choices.
How Much Weight Can You Lose on WW?
The goal of WW is to lose weight at a sustainable pace of about 2 pounds per week or 6-8 pounds per month. Depending on your starting weight you could lose more in your first month as your body reacts to your healthier food choices and fewer bad carbs.
You should also note that weekly weight loss can fluctuate, so the monthly weight loss total is most significant. Now, let’s look at how the experts rate WW.
WW: Expert Ratings
Let’s look at how WW rates compared to other diets. Here’s how a panel of weight loss experts rated WW in several key categories: (2018 U.S. News)
Rated #1 in: Best Commercial Diet Plan
Rated #1 in: Best Fast Weight Loss Diets
Rated #1 in: Best Long-Term Weight Loss Diets
Ranks #2 in: Easiest Diets to Follow
Ranks #3 in: Best Diabetes Diets
In the important, Easiest to Follow category, (rated #2) experts stated that,
“Weight Watchers outperformed most of the other ranked diets on this measure. Why? You’ll get enough to eat, you don’t have to eliminate any favorites and there’s a strong emphasis on emotional support, which tends to lead to a higher success rate”
For their rating in the all-important, Long-Term Weight Loss category, (rated #1) they also added,
“Thanks to WW (Weight Watchers) emphasis on a balanced diet with no restrictions, experts named WW No. 1 in this category. They also appreciated the program’s support system, which helps dieters keep the pounds off.”
More Expert Ratings:
To support the claim that WW does work, let’s look at more expert ratings from professionals and credible authorities.
“WW (Weight Watchers) is one of the most well-researched weight loss programs available. And, yes, it works.” – Brunilda Nazario, MD
That sounds pretty promising coming from a doctor! Here’s what the American Journal of Medicine found in their study, specifically noting the effectiveness of adding WW Studio:
“In summary, this study found that participants in a community-based, intensive behavioral counseling program demonstrated significantly greater weight loss at 6 months compared with participants in a self-help condition…
These findings suggest that the WW program is effective in promoting significant weight loss in community-based settings and is a viable referral choice for clinicians’ patients diagnosed with obesity.”
*Credible Study: A study by Indiana University concluded that in a study of 225 obese adults with pre-diabetes, those who used WW (formerly Weight Watchers) lost “significantly” more weight (and more improvements in their health) than a control group of people who attempted to lose weight on their own. Although no actual success rate was published, the results seem to affirm that WW works.
*WebMD says: When asked if WW works, WebMD reported that, “Overall, (Weight Watchers) is an excellent, easy to follow program because it does the work for you… great for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and even heart disease.”
In conclusion I would say that when followed properly, WW does work and results in significant weight loss, especially if you add meetings with WW Studio, and use the app.
Why WW (Usually) Works:
OK, an impressive majority of customers and experts agree that WW works, so let’s talk about why it works. There’s usually a very significant emotional component involved in eating. For this reason, a DIY approach to weight loss usually ends in failure, because in a sense you’re fighting yourself. (that’s a battle you can’t win!)
Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on the principle that “a great personal addiction or struggle requires an attention shift away from the “self” to a higher power with the support and fellowship of others.”
I believe that adopting a healthy lifestyle can be a similar struggle, and requires some degree of support from others. WW offers “WW Connect” as a supportive app-based social network to their members, as well as optional in-person weekly meetings for fellowship, connection, and accountability.
Those who embrace the social component to the WW program enjoy a much higher success rate, and I believe that is the “secret sauce” of why WW works.
WW (formerly Weight Watchers) Customer Reviews:
Honest customer reviews are probably even more important than how doctors and weight loss experts review WW.
Consumer Reports: It’s worth noting that WW is the top-rated commercial diet with Consumer Reports readers, earning an impressive 74/100 score, and an “excellent” score in 4 out of 6 categories.
Now, let’s take a look at customer reviews from ConsumerAffairs.com and examine common complaints and positive praise for the diet:
WW: Negative Reviews
There’s a lot to like about WW, and plenty of testimonials out there, but let’s look at why WW didn’t work for a lot of people. When people complain or want to write a negative review, they often do so at ConsumerAffairs.com. Let’s look at the nearly 1000 reviews and 500 ratings to see what customers complained about:
So, how is it that the #1 rated commercial diet gets so many online complaints? Here are the top 5 complaints we found in negative WW reviews:
Freestyle (New Points System) “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Bert Lance. The most common complaint in recent WW reviews is that customers don’t like the new Freestyle program. Specifically, a lot of long-time members say that Freestyle encourages them to eat too much, and they aren’t losing enough weight. Even though FreeStyle still uses “SmartPoints,” a lot of people feel the old points system was more structured, more effective, and that there are too many new ZeroPoint™ foods. For a lot of current members, adapting to the new Freestyle program was an unwelcome disruption to their routine.
Tech Support “For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” – Alice Kahn. WW is most effective when you take advantage of the online features and tools and the WW app. A number of people had frustrating tech problems including with the WW app, synching WW to FitBit, and accessing the Coaching feature.
Misleading Fees / Billing – When you sign up as a new customer you get a lower, promotional rate for up to 6 months. After the promotional period ends, you are automatically billed at a higher price. For OnlinePlus this is $19.95/month, and for WW + Meetings it’s $54.95/month. You are also responsible for buying all of your own food, so most of the actual cost of WW is in your grocery bill. If you prefer prepared meal-delivery, you can consider plans like Nutrisystem or South Beach Diet, although with these diets you’ll pay for your food all at once each month. ($300+ monthly)
Early Cancellation Fee “If you have purchased a subscription and are currently on a 3-month plan your subscription is non-refundable except according to the special refund circumstances policy and subject to law…” – weightwatchers.com refund policy. Most people join WW by taking advantage of the 3-month Savings Plan for new customers. What they don’t often realize is that your initial signup is a contract and therefore non-refundable or has an early termination fee of $39.95. However, if you stay with WW past your initial commitment, you can cancel any time.
“Just Download a Free App Instead” – A number of negative reviews mention regret for having not just downloaded a free weight loss app instead of paying for WW. There are some great free or cheap weight loss apps out there including MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, FitBit, and Lose It! Of course, you should consider the value of the WW community, recipes, support, and the highly-rated WW app for tracking and counting points. It can get a little lonely on some free apps!
WW: Positive Reviews
OK, there are lots of good reviews and testimonials out there too, so let’s try to be fair and balanced like Fox News (um, right!?) So, here’s what customers like best about WW:
WW FreeStyle Program – Yes, customers biggest complaint is also their favorite part of the program, so you could say the Freestyle plan is a bit controversial among members. For all the people who wrote negative reviews about it, there are a lot more people who really like it and think it’s an improvement. While change is often hard, a plethora of reviews champion the new flexibility… even Oprah! “The Freestyle program has made WW easier than ever. ZeroPoint™ foods are what keep me full, with pointed-foods there to supplement and make it fun. I don’t feel like I’m on a “diet” at all.” Bea of Miami, Fl
The Price – WW is probably the least expensive commercial diet, consisting of online resources, tools, recipes and community with optional meetings. This means that at $20 per month, WW OnlinePlus can fit into any budget. A lot of customers think it’s a terrific value, even with Meetings and Coaching costing more (about $50 / month).
The WW Community – “Now you see me going through it, you may think there’s nothing to it, but I simply cannot do it Alone! – Velma Kelly, Chicago the Musical Reaching your weight loss goal (estimate yours!) is more likely when you get support from others. Positive reviews often praise their supportive online community, Connect. A number of people even mentioned making long-lasting friendships online and in meetings.
“Easy to Return To” – Many reviews are from women and men who tried WW (when it was, “Weight Watchers”) years ago and are returning. “I am a returning member to WW. When I quit, thinking I can do it on my own, I gained most of my weight back. When I returned, not only was I welcomed but I was also not judged. This encouraged me to get back on the right path and the Freestyle program is perfect for me. I’m happy to be back.” Margaret of Washington, DC. Since the cost is minimal, ($20 / month) you can quit Weight Watchers after a number of months or years and come back again in the future.
The Meetings – “I love the leader of the meeting and feel the meetings really inspire, and push me towards my goal!” Karen of Rocky Hill, CT “I’ve done online only, but the only thing that really works for me is meetings combined with online/app. I have lost weight with other “diets” but truly feel that WW is a lifestyle and not a diet.” – Debbie of Tulso, OK Are you the type of person who benefits from personal interaction? WW Studio (meetings) offers both encouragement and accountability, and are proven to increase the success rate of WW up to 50%.
“WW Not Just a Diet” – “I feel like I have a whole new life. WW is great, because I’m learning how to use real food for a healthy lifestyle while staying active. I cook my own dinner, go out to eat, eat pizza, and I am still on program. It is something I can do for the rest of my life!” – Meredith of Chapel Hill, NC
Well said, Meredith, and a healthy lifestyle with better food choices is the core of the WW plan.
WW Testimonials (Video)
Personally, I think it’s inspiring to know that thousands of others are facing the same challenge that I am. That’s why real testimonials can be motivational to watch. Such is the case with the testimonials from actual members that are posted on weightwatchers.com. Here’s an inspiring video testimonial of a women who made a lifestyle change with WW:
WW “Wellness that Works,” isn’t a miracle pill or a weekend cleanse, it’s a lifestyle. It’s more than just losing 10 pounds for a wedding, and asks you to challenge yourself to live a healthier lifestyle. That’s why it’s rated the #1 commercial diet, and has helped millions of men and women reach their weight loss goals and live a healthier life without giving up the foods they love!
Does WW really work? The Weight Watchers diet currently ranks as the #1 diet for weight loss and #4 overall diet, according to U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Weight Watchers offers dieters one of the safest and most nutritionally sound dieting programs available.
Weight Watchers has maintained this reputation for quite some time. Yet this hasn’t kept prospective dieters from wondering if it truly works.
Does Weight Watchers really work, and who is likely to benefit most from this dieting program? Well, here’s the short answer: Weight Watchers works for most people, delivering an average weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. However, there are a number of variables to consider including your starting weight, commitment to the WW program, metabolism, and activity level that will ultimately determine how much weight you will lose.
Read on for insight into success rates and more for this renowned diet. (*If you’re interested, check out our exclusive coupon for up to 50% off!)
How does Weight Watchers work?
Weight Watchers is a dieting program designed to help dieters lose weight by adopting a new mindset of health consciousness. This mindset keeps nutrition at the fore, encouraging participants to “watch their weight” by becoming deeply aware of food’s nutritive makeup and its role in their lives.
Instead of tediously counting calories, a process nutritionists find increasingly detrimental to weight loss goals, Weight Watchers participants count points assigned to foods based on their nutritive value. Ingredients with higher fat and sugar content will have more points–i.e., “cost” more–than those low in saturated fats and high in crucial proteins.
Weight Watchers’ new FreeStyle program assigns a daily SmartPoints value to dieters according to their biometrics, gender, and age, which you then track daily on the WW app.
Dieters thus have the freedom to eat what they choose during the day, provided the total points hover at or below their daily SmartPoints value. In general, the Weight Watchers diet rewards dieters who consume foods high in protein but low in saturated fats, bad carbs, and processed sugars.
In addition to mindful eating, Weight Watchers programs incorporate fitness goals to help you meet your goal weight. The FreeStyle program costs about $20 per month, and helps hold dieters accountable to their goals by connecting them to personal coaches, meetings, and more. You can begin your Weight Watchers journey at any given time, and many participants stick with the program beyond its “completion.”
Weight Watchers claims that most dieters lose 1-2 pounds per week when following program guidelines. This is not a guarantee by any means, but many participants are able to lose up to eight pounds per month or more when following the Weight Watchers diet.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, but remember, WW aims to achieve sustainable long-term weight loss through healthy lifestyle changes that become lifelong habits. This is not a fad diet, or just a way to lose 25 pounds for a wedding next month. You could even think of the weight that you do lose as a welcome side-effect of living a healthier life.
Participants who tackle their fitness program in addition to their eating choices are more likely to lose more weight over time, although Weight Watchers emphasizes that regular exercise is not critical to achieve weight loss.
Who is likely to benefit from Weight Watchers?
Individuals who are looking for a lifestyle change with respect to their holistic health are likely to benefit the most from Weight Watchers, and find that it works with their lifestyle. Time and again, the most incredible Weight Watcher success stories discuss dieters’ desire for a new claim on life.
On their website, Weight Watchers states the potential health benefit to losing 10% of your body weight, including:
A healthier heart
Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Self-confidence & motivation
The program can be particularly essential for people facing compromising to severe medical conditions and health issues on account of their current dieting and fitness habits. Overweight or obese individuals are at greater risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, making them ideal candidates for this program.
Weight Watchers can be the dieting solution for people who want the freedom to eat what they choose without needing to restrict calories. In fact, no food is off-limits in the Weight Watchers program; dieters simply have to ensure they stay below their daily SmartPoints value.
WW also doesn’t require participants to exercise every day or even exercise to lose weight. People who hate exercising or are resistant to fitness will welcome Weight Watchers’ approach to weight loss, which believes that healthy eating choices alone can promote fat loss.
Lastly, Weight Watchers is suited for people who are willing to commit to their health. The Weight Watchers program is easy to follow but it does require that participants constantly manage and maintain their weight loss efforts–and communicate about them!
Why does Weight Watchers Work for Some People (and not others)?
Real customer being asked whether Weight Watchers works by authority figure
Weight Watchers is less ideal for people looking for quick fat loss or short-term dieting solutions, or prefer the convenience of a meal-delivery diet like Nutrisystem. Because it emphasizes an evolving mindset about the nature of food and fitness, it is not likely to be successful for individuals seeking dramatic weight-loss in the span of a few weeks.
This diet does require a high level of commitment, although the program and community are incredibly nurturing, supportive, and intensive. Participants who don’t feel ready to match this commitment or don’t like monitoring their nutrition intake will likely experience lower success rates than others.
Some people also prefer to count calories, restrict certain foods, and lose weight quickly via alternative methods, like exercise programs or “fat-blasting” diets. Weight Watchers is truly suited for those who genuinely want to alter their approach to food and health for good. Learn more…
Weight Watchers success stories are plentiful. But what is the overall success rate of this dieting program?
As of this time, there is no definitive, universal success rate for Weight Watchers dieters. A 2015 study noted that WW dieters lost 2.6% more weight than individuals who implemented portion control. Weight Watchers itself emphasizes the fact that most participants can lose at least one pound a week if they stick to program requirements.
Yet the many WW success stories focus on one thing: Weight Watchers as a permanent solution for long-term change. Many dieters are able to keep their new weights because of conscious lifestyle modifications; most stay with the program for months and even years, going on to become WW mentors and personal coaches.
A 2017 Lancet study of Weight Watchers efficacy concluded that long-term participants lost over twice as much weight than individuals who sought short-term intervention and self-help weight loss solutions. These participants committed to the program for at least a year and were also able to maintain their new weights more effectively.
From this perspective, Weight Watchers is highly successful for those most receptive to its principles and keen for long-term aid.
Final Thoughts: Does Weight Watchers really work?
So, given the evidence, does Weight Watchers really work?
Although WW has also rated been the #1 Weight Loss Diet (by U.S. News) for several years in a row now, the answer to this question will hinge on every participant’s unique relationship with food, health, fitness, and lifestyle. Commitment to change, dieters’ biometric makeup, and fitness goals inevitably influence success rates of any dieting program, most especially Weight Watchers.
However, Weight Watchers is an effective dieting solution for individuals seeking a long-term solution to unhealthy or medically compromising lifestyles. It’s a wonderfully easy alternative to calorie-counting or restrictive diets, and it does not require a new exercise regime for success.
In fact, the diet’s new Freestyle program gives dieters a refreshing and fun perspective on healthy, transformative eating habits. Learn more about this program and its reviews here, or click below to see toay’s offer for new customers:
How Weight Watchers calculates your goal weight: Women and men of all types join Weight Watchers, so how does WW determine what your goal weight is?
When you first join Weight Watchers, you’re encouraged to first set a goal of losing 10% of your starting weight, with a minimum weight goal of at least 5 pounds less than your joining weight.
On WeightWatchers.com they state that, “Losing just 10% of your body weight means lots of great news for your health.” They then add that the many health benefits of slowly losing 10% of your body weight include:
Reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Improves blood sugar control
Can improve sleep and energy levels
Can improve breathing
Decreases risk of heart disease and certain cancers
and so on
Using a weight loss goal of 10% of your body weight is a good start, but a pretty rough estimate of an actual healthy goal weight for your height. Here are 3 better ways to estimate your long-term Weight Watchers goal weight:
#1. WW Goal Weight Calculator:
So, you want a better estimate of what your Weight Watchers goal weight is? Everyone has different goals based on starting weight, personal goals, lifestyle, and metabolism, but we can calculate a healthy weight based on a few simple questions. We made this sharp little calculator to help determine your goal weight:
What’s a healthy weight for your height and body type?
So, for example:
A 5′ 6″ female with an average frame will have an estimated WW weight goal of 135 pounds.
If you’re a 6′ 2″ man with a large frame, your WW goal weight would be about 185 pounds
This calculator should give you a quick Weight Watchers goal weight estimate. Ok, still not a precise number until we take into account other factors like your BMI, but a pretty good estimate!
If you sign up for Weight Watchers they will give you a more accurate goal weight. (see below)
#2. Setting Your WW Goal Weight:
Here are questions to ask yourself when setting a WW weight goal:
Is there a weight that you have weighed previously that felt comfortable on your frame? If so, this might be a great starting point in determining your goal weight
Has it been more than 10+ years since you have been at this comfortable weight goal? If so, you may want to adjust your goal weight to account for subtle changes in your body due to aging
If you’re close to your goal weight do you find it difficult and uncomfortable to lose more weight? This may be your body telling you that it has found a stopping point for your weight loss
As you near your goal weight can you still enjoy life? Are you still able to dine out and enjoy food, or do you resent being on a diet?
When you’ve found a goal weight, ask yourself if it’s realistic to be at this weight in 10 years. Choosing a realistic goal weight helps make weight loss sustainable long-term.
As you get closer to your WW goal weight, it’s a good idea to set small goals. If you are down to the last 10 pounds before your goal, consider setting mini-goals every 2 pounds!
#3. Get Your (Precise) Weight Watchers Goal Weight
WeightWatchers.com has a free BMI calculator. This simple tool calculates a healthy weight range based on your height, and is available here.
There’s also a good calculator for determining a healthy goal weight here.
Now, that doesn’t take a number of important factors into account, so it’s more of a rough estimate of your potential goal weight. Want a better answer? Learn more:
How The WW (Weight Watchers) FreeStyle Point System Works
The current WW program is called, “Freestyle,” and it uses a point system based on counting “SmartPoints.”
FreeStyle’s point system assigns a point-value to every food based on nutritional content including calories, protein, sugar, and saturated fat content.
When you join WW you’re given a points “budget” based on a number of criteria including your height and weight which you spend each day on food. Members then track their food in the WW app after each meal, and your new point balance is instantly calculated. Although no foods are off-limits, you’ll need to make good choices to stay within your points budget.
As you can guess, healthy foods cost fewer points, and unhealthy foods will cost more. In fact, WW believes that there are a number of healthy foods that shouldn’t cost any points at all. As a result, the FreeStyle point system has introduced “Zero-Point foods.”
Another significant update to the points system is called, “Points Rollover.” WW learned that people’s daily eating can vary, and that their plan had to be more flexible to accommodate this. Now you can roll over up to 4 unused Daily SmartPoints to Weekly SmartPoints for later that week when you need more, like travel, holidays, eating out, of happy hour. These Weekly SmartPoints don’t rollover to subsequent weeks, so use them or lose them!
Here’s a 90-second video about how SmartPoints work, and why the WW point system is superior to counting calories!
How WW (Weight Watchers) SmartPoints Work
Not all calories are equal! Simply counting calories doesn’t account for nutritional value, which should be the foundation of a healthy diet. However, Weight Watchers point system uses SmartPoints, making healthy eating simple. Learn more:
Every food is assigned a SmartPoints value in the WW FreeStyle point system based on its nutritional content. Calories, sugar, and saturated fat increase the SmartPoints value of a food, while positive factors including protein reduce the number of points in food. (Protein is good!)
The WW app contains a database of thousands of foods and drinks as well as menu items from popular restaurants for easy reference and point-tracking.
For example, grilled salmon with a baked potato and veggies might only cost 7 SmartPoints, while a cheeseburger and fries will cost you 25 points. (Yikes!)
The point system is WW’s way of encouraging smart food choices, and healthy eating habits that should last a lifetime. Just stay within your points budget and the math says you’ll lose weight!
WW FreeStyle Point System: “Zero Point Foods”
The most significant change to the Weight Watchers points system with FreeStyle is the addition of “zero-point foods.” Healthy foods like most fruit, non-starchy vegetables, beans, and fish are free in the new point system, which includes a total of 200+ zero-point foods!
This is Weight Watchers way of encouraging you to eat lots of free foods like fruits and veggies. Remember, the Weight Watchers point system isn’t based on calories or cutting all carbs. It’s about developing healthy eating habits!
How Many WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) Points Do I Get?
When you first join Weight Watchers, you’ll be asked a few questions about your weight, height, and age, which will help them better understand your metabolism and dietary needs.
Based on this information WW then calculates an optimal daily SmartPoints allowance for you, with a minimum allowance of 30 SmartPoints per day. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn extra points each day if you’re active.
Exercise can earn you “FitPoints,” which can automatically be converted to extra SmartPoints in the WW app. You’ll get about 1 extra SmartPoint for every 10 minutes of exercise.
When you sign up, you’ll get started immediately, and If you stay within your points budget, you should experience steady weight loss at a healthy and sustainable pace. Typical weight loss on Weight Watchers is about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
So, how many Weight Watchers points per day?The number of daily WW points each person is allotted is usually between 35-45 depending on your specific situation and weight loss goals.
Track Your Points on the WW App:
The most important habit to develop when you’re on Weight Watchers is accurately tracking your Smart Points every day, preferably after each meal. WW has made this a snap with their app; here’s how it works:
You can also access all of WW resources from the app, including the “Weight Watchers Connect” community. It’s a social network of supportive women and men who are on WW just like you.
WW has a huge database of foods, including popular restaurant menu items. Just tap the “+” on the app to track your food after each meal.
The corresponding SmartPoints will be calculated and tracked, so you’ll always know your current point totals.
Hey, that’s not bad for only 22 points, especially because most people have a daily budget of 35+ points! In this case you could rollover your unused points to the weekend when you might need them!
It’s easy to track points, and when you join Weight Watchers you get access to thousands of recipes that include SmartPoints values and preparation tips!
WW Point Systems: Smart Points vs Points Plus (What’s the Difference?)
So, what’s the difference between PointsPlus and SmartPoints?
The PointsPlus point system ran from 2011-2017, but as of 2018, the standard WW program is FreeStyle, which uses the SmartPoints point system. This new point system replaced the old system, which was called PointsPlus.
It seems that with the new version of their program, WW is trying to get dieters to eat less sugar and saturated fat and more protein. Because of this, they scrapped the Points Plus system and introduced the new “Smart Points” formula for calculating points.
The new FreeStyle program (using SmartPoints) also gives 200 foods a zero-value in the point-system, including fruits and vegetables. This is their way of telling you to eat more of them!
The WW Point System: The Key to Success on FreeStyle
Around since 1963, the WW plan has helped millions of people around the world lose weight and successfully keep it off. Ironically, one of the biggest reasons for the plan’s success is that it is based on the premise that diets usually don’t work.
Unlike other commercial diets, like Nutrisystem or Medifast, prepared meals are not delivered, and no foods are off-limits. (they’ll just cost you more points!) The cost is also a lot less upfront, but you’ll be buying all your own food
Want to learn more? We have good and bad WW reviews here, plus exclusive coupons if you consider joining: