The first Weight Watchers’ meeting took place over forty years ago, in the living room of founder Jean Nidetch. Since then, Weight Watchers International has become one of the global leaders in weight loss programs. Certainly you’ve heard of it, and perhaps know people who have tried it, but how exactly does Weight Watchers work and why is it so successful in helping people achieve and maintain a healthy weight?

The Weight Watchers program is based on four principles: smarter food choices, healthy habits, exercise and community support. Let’s take a closer look at each of these four weight loss components.

Smarter Food Choices

Like most weight loss plans, Weight Watchers recognizes that proper nutrition is essential to losing weight and keeping it off. But unlike other diets or weight loss programs that emphasize net calories (calories consumed minus calories burned), the Weight Watchers eating plan focuses on the overall nutritional quality of daily food consumption. There are no forbidden foods on Weight Watchers, and no required foods, either. When you join the Weight Watchers program (either the Weight Watchers Meeting program or Weight Watchers Online), you are given a personalized eating plan with a daily PointsPlus target. You can then refer to the PointsPlus food values to make your own daily food choices.

Instead of counting calories, Weight Watchers has assigned “points” to represent the cost or value of different foods. The original points system was developed in the late 1990’s and it essentially accounted for the caloric content of certain foods, with a penalty for fat and a bonus for fiber.

The new Weight Watchers diet, launched in 2010, is now based on the PointsPlus program, which takes into account the type of calories (fat, protein and carbohydrates) that make up each food choice. The Weight Watchers PointsPlus program was developed because of a growing understanding by nutritionists that not all calories are created equal. For instance, a 100-calorie pack of cookies offers vastly different nutrition than does a 100-calorie apple. Because all fruits and most vegetables now carry zero points on the PointsPlus program, the Weight Watchers diet definitely encourages the consumption of more fruits and vegetables and discourages sugary snacks.

Healthy Habits

Weight Watchers has built two different systems into their weight loss program that assist dieters in developing healthy long-term habits. First, the fact that dieters have to track PointsPlus values, forces dieters to monitor and record all of their food choices. This helps to develop the habit of awareness and discourages the habit of mindless eating.

Secondly, if dieters have chosen the Weight Watchers Meeting membership, they attend a weekly meeting where they weigh-in during the weight loss phase, and a monthly weigh-in once the goal weight has been achieved. Weigh-ins are conducted privately and the results are not shared with any third parties, but many members find it motivating to be accountable to another person. Weight Watchers Online subscribers do not attend meetings for weigh ins, you weigh your self.


In addition to food points, the Weight Watchers plan also keeps track of activity points. These are points that can be earned by performing a particular activity (chosen by the dieter), at a certain level of intensity and for a certain period of time.

On the Weight Watchers program, there is quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to choosing the type of exercise and each participant can choose activities that best fit their individual lifestyle. You do not HAVE to exercise, but it can be a very important part of the weight-loss journey. Study after study proves that activity promotes weight loss when combined with improved eating habits. More important, it’s key for keeping weight off.


When participants of Weight Watchers share their success stories, the single most cited reason for success is the emotional support that dieters receive from the Weight Watchers community. Whether they are attending monthly meetings in their local area, or joining the member discussion boards at Weight Watchers Online, participants seem to enjoy the camaraderie shared with their follow members.

Editor’s Note:
Here at Women’s Fitness Today, we enthusiastically endorse Weight Watchers as a healthy and sustainable weight loss program for anyone wanting to lose weight.

Weight Watchers works because it’s not a diet. You’ll learn how to eat right and live healthy. You can choose between two convenient options to learn how to lose weight and keep it off.

At meetings, you’ll find out all the latest information on eating right and living healthy, plus you’ll get the guidance you need to succeed and stay on track. Weight Watchers Online is a customized online weight loss plan that you follow step-by step completely online – manage your results at your own pace, on your own time.

Choose the option that’s right for you and start today!

Visit Official Weight Watchers site.