Readers of my blog know I have no love for WW. When I first decided I needed to lose weight, I tried doing my own diet. I showed little success of 3 years of diet foods and OTC diet pills, I moved to WW I believe when I was 16. I had no idea that diets didn't work and thought that if you were fat, you went on a diet, lost weight and everything would be fine. WW didn't ask for a permission slip from my parents but my parents did pay my joiner's fee and weekly fee (at least I got a discount of a whole $2 for being a student). We met in the basement of a synagogue, shared our weight loss successes and our challenges. Every week I was given a fresh booklet to check off exchanges. The team leader was a woman name Rosalie who I believe was one of the rare WW team leaders who lost weight and kept it off. She wasn't famous so she never made it into the ads.
The time I last did WW, I was 24, had done it a number of times over past eight years. Each time it ended with me gaining the weight I loss plus more. This would be my final time because the first week I followed the plan and gained weight. I never went back.
As far as diets being bad for your health WW seems like it's not as bad as the other. They often have ads touting it as a lifestyle change. One January, their slogan was "Diets are mean." And a recent article cover WW's CEO touts that it's not about dieting but behavior modication.
The original Weight Watchers program centered around calorie counting which often led participants to initially lose weight but then later gain it back.
I'm not sure which original program he was talking about. I first did Weight Watchers 25 years ago and there no calorie counting. First it was exchanges, then it was point system then pointsplus, now they have something new called 360. Maybe he was talking about the original plan from the 1970's.
To me WW is the most dangerous plan because it flies under the rader and gets labeled as the "sensible weight loss plan" rather than crash dieting of other plans. WW sneaks into your workplace, your wellness discounts, your insurance plans.
Laura Beck of Jezebel literally has my almost exact same WW story. (And I swear I wrote the part about WW before I read the article.)
I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting when I was 12*. I attended with my mom because she always wanted to lose weight, and I was a fat kid, so it made sense. Of course, I'd been on other diets before, but this one was different, this time I would succeed through six easy meals a day and a healthy new interest in jogging. The weeklyexercise in terror meeting involved sneaking into their offices in a local mall
In the end Weight Watchers isn't a lifestyle change or even healthy eating. Whether you count points, exchanges or apples, it still limits the amount of calories you can eat making it a diet.