Weight Watchers is a well-known company in the weight loss aid market. Instead of calories, points are counted. Advantages and disadvantages of the concept, the most important foods in the point table and selected recipes from Weight Watchers at a glance.
Weight Watchers (WW) is one of the largest diet companies in the market. Today’s global company network was founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch. The American slim down with friends and thus laid the foundation for the Weight Watchers concept: Lose weight together for more motivation. That still applies today – even if the program and the point system have changed.
At a glance:
Counting Points Instead of Calories: How Does Weight Watchers Work?
If you want to lose weight with the help of Weight Watchers, you don’t need to fear one thing: calorie counting. Instead, based on body weight, height, age, gender and the desired weight loss, an individual daily budget of points is calculated that can be used up.
Like the earlier ProPoints, these so-called SmartPoints also take into account the calorie content, but are primarily based on the nutritional quality of food. The exact formula for calculating the SmartPoints is secret. There are now three color categories (green, blue and purple) to which those willing to lose weight are assigned and for which different point systems apply.
Roughly, however, one can say: the more vitamins, minerals and protein foods have, the fewer points are there. If, on the other hand, the content of sugar and saturated fatty acids is high, a comparatively large number of SmartPoints are due. Bananas, for example, are high in calories, but also contain healthy vitamins and minerals. Therefore they have a value of 0 SmartPoints.
Calculating Weight Watchers points – an example
Those who reach for food rich in vitamins and protein have a fuller plate than those who “spend” their points on foods that contain sugar and fat. Most fruits and vegetables can even be eaten ad libitum. An example makes it clear how different meals can be given the same number of points:
1 glass of cola (5 points) + 2 pieces of chocolate (4 points) = 9 points
1 glass of cola light (0 points) + chicken and egg sandwich (7 points) + apple (0 points) + 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt (2 points) = 9 points
“This gives the participant a very clear orientation: What is a food? What is a luxury food?” Explains Andrea Hahn, responsible for corporate communications at Weight Watchers. Chips, chocolate and Co. are not for everyday use, but for special enjoyment. Therefore, sweets now have comparatively more points than at the time of the replaced ProPoints.
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This is intended to encourage a long-term conversion to a healthy diet instead of short-term weight loss. “Nevertheless, everything is allowed. Each participant can decide for himself which food he wants to spend his budget on,” says Hahn. A weekly budget is also added to the daily SmartPoints account. So you have the freedom to go overboard on some days.
Food in the points table
|Most fruits and vegetables||0 points|
|Coffee (black or with 1 tbsp milk)||0 points|
|Cooked ham (100 g)||2 points|
|Toast (1 slice)||2 points|
|Vegetable margarine (1 teaspoon)||2 points|
|Butter (1 teaspoon)||2 points|
|Bread (1 slice)||3 points|
|Tofu (100 g)||3 points|
|Apple juice spritzer (200 ml)||3 points|
|Pasta / whole wheat pasta (cooked, 100 g)||4 points|
|non-alcoholic beer (1 bottle, 330 ml)||4 points|
|Emmentaler (30 g)||4 points|
|Wheat rolls||5 points|
|Smoked salmon (100 g)||5 points|
|Beer / Pils (1 bottle, 330 ml)||5 points|
|Red wine (1 glass, 200 ml)||5 points|
|Milk ice cream (1 scoop)||6 points|
|Avocado (100 g)||7 points|
|Minced meat (100 g, raw)||8 points|
|Oat flakes (100 g)||10 points|
|Salami (100 g)||10 points|
|Leberkäse (1 slice, 130 g)||12 points|
|Mozzarella (100 g)||12 points|
|French fries (frittiert, 150 g)||14 points|
|Potato chips (100 g)||20 points|
|Milk chocolate (1 bar, 100 g)||28 points|
Four pillars of the program
Weight Watchers is based on four pillars:
The program provides for weight loss of up to one kilo per week – with the aim of long-term conversion to a healthy lifestyle. This also includes sport. The ActivPoints consumed per week are calculated using Weight Watchers’ weight and previous activity level.
Too thick? Too thin? With the BMI calculator you can quickly find out whether your body weight is within the normal range.
Those who already move a lot are encouraged to increase their workload and use around eight ActivPoints per day or 56 per week. That is around 80 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day (moderate means: you can still speak, you breathe faster, you sweat a little).
Like the SmartPoints, the ActivePoints can be entered manually in the user profile on the app or on the computer. There is also the option of automatically submitting them using an activity tracker. The ActivPoints, like the weekly SmartPoints, can be used to top up the daily grocery budget if you have exceeded it.
In addition, workouts and meditations as well as coaching on nutrition topics and stress are offered. Since healthy sleep is important, also for losing weight, there is also a sleep tracker in the Weight Watchers app.
Weight Watchers without points: fillers
If you don’t feel like counting points, you can switch to filling days. Certain foods can be eaten at will. In addition to the point-free fruits and vegetables, the list of fillers includes around 130 other foods, for example:
- Chicken breast fillet
- Beef fillet
- Pasta / whole wheat pasta
- Low-fat cheese,
- Skimmed yoghurt / quark / milk
Weight Watchers Membership
Weight Watchers offers two models of membership:
pure online membership for a monthly fee from currently 18,95 Euro plus registration fee
Monthly pass consisting of online membership and real weekly meetings with other Weight Watchers members for a monthly fee of 42,95 Euro. The annual subscription will then be cheaper, which also includes online sports courses and online coaching on various topics.
Who is Weight Watchers not for?
Weight Watchers does not recommend membership for certain groups of people. Those who are already in the lower range of normal weight should not take part: “Your weight must be at least 3 kg above our minimum weight range for your size,” says the website. The program is also not suitable for pregnant women, people with eating disorders or young people under the age of 18.
Benefits of Weight Watchers
- Flexibility in the design of meals (in principle everything can be eaten in moderation)
- sustainable concept through long-term change in diet
- Motivation through weekly group meetings and / or online community
- large variety of recipes (you can also buy corresponding cookbooks online without membership)
- Refrain from counting calories
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) rates the Weight Watchers program as useful from a nutritional perspective. The focus is on foods with a lot of fiber and a high protein content, fat is reduced so that a supply of vital nutrients is guaranteed.
Cons of Weight Watchers
Instead of calories, you count points – so here, too, attention must be paid to exact consumption quantities.
You have to be a member of Weigt Watchers to follow this diet. If the subscription is canceled, the data entered (e.g. weight history) can no longer be accessed in the app.
The group leaders are not experts, but trained laypeople: A nutritional or medical education is described as desirable in order to become a coach at Weight Watchers, but it is not a requirement.
Selected Weight Watchers Recipes
Zucchini and tomato casserole (3 points)
Ingredients for one person:
- 1 small onion, 1 zucchini, 1 clove of garlic (0 points)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (1 point)
- 1 small can of chunky tomatoes (0 points)
- Oregano, Italian herbs, iodized salt, pepper (0 points)
- 50 g light sheep’s cheese (2 points)
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C. Dice the onion, zucchini and garlic. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, sauté vegetables in it. Add tomatoes, season with herbs, salt and pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes. Put everything in a baking dish. Crumble the sheep cheese and sprinkle over it. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
Cheesecake in a glass (3 points)
Ingredients for one person:
- 1 Butterkeks (1 Punkt)
- 1 pinch of cinnamon (0 points)
- 3 tbsp low-fat quark (1 point)
- 1 tbsp skimmed milk yogurt (0 points)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (1 point)
- 3 tbsp fresh berries (0 points)
- 1 teaspoon of low-calorie jam (0 points)
Crumble biscuit and mix with cinnamon, put in a glass. Mix the quark, yoghurt and vanilla sugar, layer on top of the crumbs. Mix the berries with the jam and pour over the yoghurt quark layer.
Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.
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