Top 7 Most Popular Weight-Loss Programs: Weight Watchers

Offering up a wide variety of diet programs, books, tapes, and an endless line of food and dietary supplements, Weight Watchers is undoubtedly one of the best-known names in the world. Millions of satisfied customers attest to the effectiveness of Weight Watchers’ diet programs, and their new Points Plus program, the updated version of the old Points program, reigns supreme as the company’s most popular.

Weight Watchers was founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch in Brooklyn, New York, and has since crossed the entire globe. Weight Watchers can be found in over 30 countries and is certainly one of the premier authorities of weight-loss and a healthy lifestyle.

In any of the Weight Watchers programs, the philosophy is all about forming healthy habits with eating and exercise, cutting back on meal size and calorie intake, and providing support to people so that they can live with the results permanently instead of simply experiencing them shortly.

In this article, we’ll discuss Weight Watchers’ most popular and more effective dieting program, their Points Plus program. They have others, but Points Plus is the premier weapon in the company’s arsenal.

How Weight Watchers’ Points Plus Works

Points Plus is the replacement to the basic Points program – a diet regimen in which clients works on a “points” system, making sure not to exceed a certain number of points for any given time period. For example: If a food item is listed as 20 points and you need to come in at under 60 points for the day, that food item will make up 1/3 of the points you are allowed with the program.

The scientific formula behind it all can get a bit complicated. Weight Watchers does a great job of simplifying it all with charts and lists of food, but even the science behind food is constantly changing. In fact, it is because of the changing science that Points evolved into Points Plus – we have formed a better understanding of how food affects weight since the 1990s.

The idea is not to exceed a total allotment of calories. For most individuals on the program, the targeted goal is -1000 calories from whatever the person is used to ingesting. This has proven a relatively safe system to be so inclusive, because the vast majority of overweight individuals can more than afford to shed 1000 calories (think one fast food burger and small fries) from their daily diet.

On the Points Plus system, obviously, clients are encouraged to keep careful track of what they eat and are also given a list of foods that they should eat and should avoid. To understand how Points Plus works as a concept, here are some of the food items and their point values:

  • Grilled chicken with pasta – 22 points
  • Corn on the cob – 5 points
  • Medium fries – 12 points
  • Cheeseburger – 9 points
  • Asian chicken salad – 18 points
  • Low-fat brownie sundae – 8 points

We used some fast food items here to show that these foods are technically allowed on a Weight Watchers program as long as you are not exceeding your daily point allotment. Points are based on calorie count, carb count, fat and other factors.

Pros and Cons of Weight Watchers’ Points Plus


  • You do not have to sacrifice the types of foods you enjoy eating, only the amount you eat
  • Full support is offered with Weight Watchers via professionals, support groups, etc
  • Charting your food and charting your progress is a great motivational tool, as every result becomes a tangible milestone
  • For most people, the program is easy to adhere to if they’re serious about losing weight
  • Lists of Power Foods and others Points Plus-specific foods present “treats” for dieters


  • Attending public meetings can be a deterrent for some individuals
  • In order to take advantage of the support and receive all pertinent information, it costs a good deal of money, and that’s not including food if you wish to eat Weight Watchers’ selections
  • The new Points Plus list might change foods from the previous Points list, thus causing some panic in preexisting WW dieters

The greatest aspect of Weight Watchers is that you do not have to be on one of their paid programs to use their services to lose weight. With so many products and alternative plans out there, individuals can simply choose to eat Weight Watchers’ products or seek advice from their community.

For the Points Plus program in particular, it is already being touted as the most successful ever for the company. It’s relatively easy to follow and does not put stringent demands on dieters other than avoiding overshooting the numbers.

Read also the others in our Top 7 Most Popular Weight-Loss Program series:



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