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Who understands Weightwatchers?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, May 18, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Some years ago, my sweetheart put on several stones and became alarmed. She joined Weightwatchers, did a lot of exercise and managed to get to her goal in about six months. During this time, she ate quite a lot of Weightwathers meals, supplementing them with Weightwatchers desserts and snacks.
    More recently she lost weight to the point she didn't look well and I've been doing my best to build her back up to a healthy weight.
    It seems we've slightly overdone it because despite her good looks, she says she is 9LBs overweight and has rejoined Weightwatchers.
    Each time she attends a meeting, she returns with stuff she wouldn't normally eat. Snacks like low fat crisps crisps and healthier chocolate bars. I'm certain this entices her to consume more.
    What's it all about?
     
  2. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Some years ago, my sweetheart put on several stones and became alarmed. She joined Weightwatchers, did a lot of exercise and managed to get to her goal in about six months. During this time, she ate quite a lot of Weightwathers meals, supplementing them with Weightwatchers desserts and snacks.
    More recently she lost weight to the point she didn't look well and I've been doing my best to build her back up to a healthy weight.
    It seems we've slightly overdone it because despite her good looks, she says she is 9LBs overweight and has rejoined Weightwatchers.
    Each time she attends a meeting, she returns with stuff she wouldn't normally eat. Snacks like low fat crisps crisps and healthier chocolate bars. I'm certain this entices her to consume more.
    What's it all about?
     
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I've never attempted to understand it but from what I know about it, it's based on calorie control which is the only way to ever lose weight safely, yet is written as a series of food plans that save the dieters from having to calculate the calorie differential themselves.
    My main issue with it is that (and I'm gathering this from the ladies at work who constantly talk about it [isn't it strange that people who are perpetually on diets never seem to lose any weight?]) is that it talks about certain foods as "sins". I can't help feel that this is inherently wrong. No food should be be considered a sin. No food is bad - it's the quanities that some foods are consumed in that causes the problems. To consider any food as "sinful" is very dodgy ground, in my opinion.
    Besides, the main consideration regarding weightwatchers or any sort of diet is that we spend more money than ever on "diets". The slimming industry in Britain is worth something like £850m a year. Yet we are fatter than ever. It doesn't take a genius to work out that diets are a load of bollocks, then. Yet so many people are continually taken in. People think that because they are spending money on it, then they're halfway there. Crazy.
    The only way to lose weight successfully and long-term is to adapt lifestyles completely. And the only way to do this is calorie control. The majority of doctors and scientists all agree that the only proven way to lose weight is to burn off more calories than you consume. It makes sense. Anything else is nonsense. Whether you do that by counting the calories, or by guesswork (eating less butter and running more, for example) is up to you and what works best for you.
     
  4. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    Lol Syns is Slimming world. WW used to be about the calorie and fat content. Now it is based on protein, carb, fat, fibre...you can earn extra points for activity but IMO this defeats the point of subjecting yourself to it anyway x
     
  5. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    This is my concern. I strongly believe my wife was able to lose weight so rapidly last time was through eating lots of fruit, something she hadn't previously been doing. She doesn't normally eat a dessert and never normally snacks, yet this is what Weightwatchers appear to want her to do.
    I guess it would be more difficult to sell Weightwatchers brand fruit and veg than Weightwatchers brand snack bars and crisps, and less effective at producing rapid weight loss and long-term revenue.
     
  6. WW uses a point system. Depending on your starting weight and your target weight, you are allocated a certain amount of points a day.
    This can be done with normal food. However, as it is complicated to work out, they provide their own products, which IMO is a waste of money.
    SW works differently - you have syns (naugthies) and you have green (carb) and red (protein) days and/or meals, plus healthy extras.
    SW is much, much more suitable to normal eating, IMO. However, my mother found the WW system easier to deal with.
    Generally, as a rule of thumb, WW concentrates on low fat, SW concentrates on low sugar (although both overlap).
    Low sugar is generally better, IMO, for most wanting to lose weight. Low fat products are deceptive, as the fat is replaced with sugar.
    Basically, both systems try to teach you to eat healthily and adapt your eating habits long term. Some will find the WW system easier, some will find SW easier, and some will find a low GI diet easier.
    You need to find a longterm eating habit you can live with - GI is one I can live with easily. I could not count points or remember whether it is a green or red day or whether I have points left or whether I have some syns.
    Others will find WW more adaptable to their lifestyle, or SW.
    ALL the recipes are good.
     
  7. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Yes, GI makes some sense at least and is the only one that I would consider to be sustainable, but it still requires a lot of thought as low GI foods can still be high calorie. You can eat all the low GI foods in the world, but still put on or maintain weight if calorie consumption is too high. A rib eye steak with a baked sweet potato with a rocket salad will be a low GI meal but it will still be high calorie, and if the baked sweet potato is swimming with butter and the salad with oil (which are both zero-GI!) then you're never going to lose weight.
    It frustrates me that many dieters refuse to consider the idea of calorie differential, given that this is the only way to lose weight that's recognised and approved by the NHS and the General Medical Council. My MIL and FIL are constantly trying out new diets in order to lose weight - and they do need to lose quite a bit. Every other month they try a new one, and every other month they give up, claiming that they are just big people and will have to live with it (conveniently ignoring the fact that 30 years ago they were both skinny and have pictures to prove it). I was amazed to hear a few months back of a diet they were following that allowed them to eat as much butter, cream and cheese as they liked but had to omit oats and bran (it wasn't Atkins, but something similar)! FIL sat there and poured over half a pint of double cream over his strawberries as they told me! Ludicrous!
    Their problem, like most perpetual dieters, is a refusal to tackle the problem sensibly, believing that spending money and talking about it will do half the job for them; and a refusal to acknowledge that a total lifestyle change is required. Either that or accept responsibility for their actions and be happy with their weight.
     
  8. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    WW has a new system this year. Two foods can have the same calorie value but a different number of points. Apparantly foods with more protein or fibre get lower points than those with more carbs or fat. And all fruit (including bananas) are point-free. From what I hear, opinion is divided on the new sysytem - I know someone who claimed to have put on weight by following the plan slavishly - including loads of no-point fruit - in one day she ate 6 large bananas, 2 mangos and a whole melon (in addition to her meals and snacks!)!
    The GI system makes sense to me. It is similar to the F2 - high fibre not-a-diet that I like. The main 'disadvantage' is that there is less chance to rely on ready-meals. Not a problem for me, but I know people who claim they have no time to cook, and they rely on microwaveable meals.
    I can't understand restrictive diets like the Dukan or Atkins. I don't like the idea of omitting/restricting a whole food group.
     
  9. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    They don't really pressurise you into buying the products, but you queue up to pay and get weighed. While you are queuing (it's always a long, slow queue), you walk past the "goodies", which are stacked high. Most dieters will not have eaten before weighing in, so are starving hungry and you know that inevitable scenario where you go to the supermarket hungry and come home witha trolley full of bits and bobs, but nothing for dinner? Well, it's like that but magnified, I guess.
    There's a woman in my staffroom who eats only WW products as far as I can see- the frozen meals, the cakes, crisps, the lot. She is simply too stupid to use the slide rule type thingy that works out how many points are in "real" food. That, and she has never in her life cooked a meal from scratch. She often tells me (with pride) as she watches me heat up my homemade broth for lunch, that she has been married over 30 years and has never made a pot of soup of baked. I fear she is not alone.
    I have bought a lot of WW cookbooks over the years but find the recipes bland and pretty uninspiring. I just use my own recipes and "point" out my portions appropriately. It may seems silly to have to do this, but I know that when I don't count it meticulously, I fall back into bigger portions and the weight goes back on. As I've admitted before, ultimately, I am greedy.
    To be fair to WW, the literature they give you each week is very much aimed at changing eating habits for good, and finding out what is the cause of your weight gain. Have a look at the bumf your wife got from her first meeting and you'll see that the WW philosophy is actually very sound.
     
  10. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    That's one of the tyhings I said Si.....portion control. I used to load my plate until it spilled over, and eat the lot! Now I'm far more aware of how much I eat. I don't count calories but I do try to eat my 5 a day and have gone to brown rice, pasta and bread. It's working.
     
  11. I think the WW system is ok provided people use it to change habits - by becoming more aware of portions and which foods are healthier you can create filling, balanced meals and not go overboard.
    Where systems fall down is the where they present an easy option. By having 'free' food you allow some forms of overeating to become acceptable. There was also a woman at a previous place I worked that spend periods of time eating only WW products. This meant that she never learnt to produce her own food and never managed to work out what it was in her everyday diet that was causing her to gain wieght. She also wanted a quick fix so she would consciously eat far less points than recommended (10 under the old system - not sure how this compares to recommendations but she was always so pround that she ate so little) but after 2-3 weeks of effectively starving herself she would then fall off the wagon and put on everything and then some after just a week.
     
  12. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    ]
    Yes, I have known someone similar...she used to eat a bowl of light cereal with skimmed milk for breakfast, no-point soup at lunch (in the staffroom and telling everyone it was no-points!) and a no-point curry at night. So she had only eaten about 2 of her 10 points! Then she would have wine and/or chocolate to take her up to about 8 points each night. The weight fell off her but first of all she looked so old! Her skin/hair suffered under this regime - and she always put the weight back on...and started the 'diet' again. In the few years I saw her doing this, she never once learned a thing about healthy eating.
     
  13. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'd agree with all of that. I understand that WW works, and it's the best of the bunch, I think, as it appears to be based around sensible calorie control by understanding foods and portion sizes, and it makes perfect sense for someone who wants to take control over their diet but doesn't want to think about calories. But the ready meals and other products are awful - I do have serious doubts over any low fat food that's usually a full fat food (other than yoghurt and creme fraiche, where the low or zero fat versions are very good) - I can't help but think that they wouldn't be satisfying and would have the dieter reaching for the biscuit box an hour after eating.
    And I have a little difficulty with the ethics of a diet industry making so much money out of something that is making people extremely ill and stands to cripple the country. Not far removed from the pharmaceuticals industry, in that case. Wouldn't it make sense for the government to offer something like a sensible diet plan for people to follow, similar to WW, something that offers practical solutions and workable eating plans, rather than just plugging away at the 5 a day mantra?
     

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