Fitness Minutes: (1,594)
102 1/8/13 2:28 P
I lost 25 pounds on WW about a year ago. It can work if you keep track of everything, but I much prefer tracking actual calories, protein, fat, and carbs instead of points and learning to eat REAL food as close to its natural state as possible. Plus, again - eating healthy and exercising and learning to be FIT and HEALTHY (not just skinny) should not cost so much! I'd much rather be able to adapt my family's menu and have more flexibility.
So, no - I won't pay for any weight loss program again. SP (and several other sites) are FREE, focus on BALANCED HEALTH, and have an awesome support system! :-)
My friend started WW at the same time I started SP, so we compared our programs quite a bit to see how they contrasted/worked for us.
One thing that sticks with me is that SP is very health-oriented, while WW is very weight-oriented. All over SP we are encouraged to eat plenty of calories, strength train, get a full mix of nutrients, indulge in things we enjoy for our mental health but in moderation. WW is much more "calories in, calories out". There also was a time when my friend actually couldn't STOP losing weight despite trying to stop and started to dip in to underweight, and when she'd weigh in they'd still say "yay! You lost 5 pounds this week!" She had to stop them and say "no, not 'yay'. I don't have 5 lbs to lose and certainly not in a week. Seriously?"
In my opinion, if you are eating a reasonable, healthy diet, then your diet won't vary much whether it's on WW or Spark. Yes, I eat fruit and veggies, but as long as you aren't overdoing it, you shouldn't have to worry about the points.
I tend to use the WW points system for tracking in addition to using Sparkpeople for advice on my eating habits and food. I just chose to use points rather than calories, but I'll still try to keep to the Spark ranges. Right now, I am starting to double track to help me plan my meals and grocery list (since Spark has a great grocery list feature on the nutrition tracker);/
I did WW several times and wound up stopping after losing 25 pounds. This last time I stopped was because of the lifestyle I chose-- it did not match what WW was telling the members. I went mostly raw and there is no plan on WW for that nor is there one here. I would go to the meetings and share my Weight loss, but the leader would turn to the group and say well all she eats is veggies and fruits. There were some vegetarians in the group, but vegetarianism is very different from the raw lifestyle.
I never agreed that fruits so be at 0 points. It just opened the door to overdoing fruit and people found they weren't really losing weight.
It does cost some especially until you make lifetime. Then at lifetime you only have to weigh in once a month. If you are within your range, you don't have to pay. If you gained, then you need to pay for that meeting.
I joined Weight Watchers three times and failed each time. It seemed expensive and I didn't like it. I felt like I was paying a lot for perky, bright brochures and I didn't like devoting brain space to Weight Watchers' complicated plans and points.
I've read overviews of two different studies that showed people who went to Weight Watchers meetings for a year lost an average of 11 pounds. People who followed the diet plan but didn't go to the meetings lost an average of six pounds. In 2011 a year's membership in the San Diego area cost between $479 and $728, depending on the options and payment methods used. This would make it, at best, $43 a pound. For me personally, 11 pounds lost in one year would be better than nothing, but still pretty depressing. That's only the average, I'm sure some people do much better. But some do much worse.
I much prefer doing my own thing and writing my own diet based on sound nutritional and fitness information, which is why I love Spark People. But not everyone is the same. WW works for some people and I guess if they're successful, more power to them.
One thing that helps is if you have a lot of meetings to choose from. This isn't possible in a smaller town - in a large town or city, it's easier. I haven't see people monopolize meetings, and haven't seen leaders who weren't knowledgeable, but one thing I have done is change meetings until I found a leader I liked. I also like the fact that if the plan isn't working, a leader will sit down with you and go over what you have been eating and doing, until you get an idea what is causing a problem.
WW does go out of their way to help you be healthier. From going to different websites and diets, I can see that there are raging debates (I mean, really angry sometimes!) about what is healthy and what is not. WW pretty much goes with standard nutrition information, which, amazingly, is pretty boring stuff to most people, and they will tell you they already know it. That information is not what saved them from getting fat. Motivation is what failed them, the lack of it.
So, when I go to WW, that's what I go for - support and motivation. It is so true that when I don't go to meetings, I start to doubt I will ever get to my goal. The reason I went BACK to WW was that I tried other plans (which told you a lot about how all your nutrition knowledge is wrong, and x, y, and z are foods you have to stay away from) and I gained weight after first losing some weight. When I looked at a list of my weights over the years, I could see that there was a theme to my success at losing weight - it was when I went to WW. I went, got motivated, lost weight, left WW when my motivation dwindled, and then I gained weight (no matter what I did when I was away from WW- some variation of low-carb- I would lose some weight and put it back on...)
You can follow a menu plan. You can NOT follow a menu plan. You can eat lots of fruits and vegetables, you can NOT eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Bottom line: you have to know how many calories (points) you are putting in your mouth and how LITTLE you move your body. And where that gets you.
Spark People seems to be based on that, too. If the motivation is enough for you, then you know what to do and you don't need WW. I go because weighing in each week is a moment of truth for me, and unlike the variety of scales I've used over the years, theirs are extremely accurate and calibrated well!
Interesting thing about protein: you can find low-fat or non-fat protein, like Greek yogurt, and get your protein there. But most protein has fat in it, which makes it caloric, which gives it points. I have a very difficult time getting enough protein, and am practically a vegetarian these days, using non-meat proteins, which tend to be much lower in fat. I really like fresh fruits and veggies and LOTS of fiber, so I want to eat those. When I 'splurge' on a piece of meat, which is going to have fat in it, no question about that - I enjoy it and it is special. I savor it, because I know I just ate X number of calories (for the same number of calories, I could have had several fresh salads with just a little bit of olive oil in each, topped with greek olives and no-fat cheese)!
Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 1/8/2013 (11:17)
Fitness Minutes: (7,337)
41 1/5/13 5:01 P
Yes you are absolutely right about the same women monopolizing the meeting. And as far as maintenance goes after the weight has been lost. There is none of that. I achieved my goal weight 25 years ago and have never been back at that weight. I raised my goal weight to what is suitable for someone my age now. By the time you try and achieve all the categories such as dairy and whatnot(which I don't usually indulge in) I'm at the end of my points values and left feeling unsatisfied. So far I like the spark plan better. One more thing, with WW, I ended up staying away from the protein because it had such a high points value. Now I realize that the protein keeps you feeling full and fat makes you feel satisfied.
Fitness Minutes: (15,531)
1,170 1/5/13 5:01 P
I've been a WW on and off many years. After several months on SP I find that as a WW I never had to understand nutrition. I prefer to be more knowledgeable.
I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. Got to my goal two times (once was a long time ago and it was in retrospect probably WAY too low of a weight for my body). I always thought the plan was good, healthy and easy to follow. Never had a leader that wasn't knowledgeable or nice. That said, I never really enjoyed the meetings very much. There always seemed to be the group of women that would monopolize the whole thing, and this was in several different meetings with different leaders. Much of the meetings seemed to be about people "fessing up or sharing stories of what they were going to pig out on after the meeting and weigh in, with the leaders trying to rein them in and get back to the meeting topic. The meetings in my area are $13-$14 each, which really adds up. If you aren't a Lifetime member you have to pay for meetings you miss too. From what I understand, the new plan they just rolled out hasn't changed any of the points info, etc...they have just added more tools for the psychological aspect.
I like Sparkpeople better because 1. It's free :) and 2. I can keep a good eye on what I'm using my calories for, as far as carbs, protein, etc. (I'm a vegetarian). Weight Watchers has on-line as well, with a tracker but again, it is not free.
Fitness Minutes: (48,364)
3,128 1/5/13 3:35 P
weight watchers was a great program in the early to mid 90's
every since they introduced their points program, I think it has gone downhill
I much prefer using SP. I tried WW 3 times. I did lose some weight on WW, but the essential education about eating habits were missing. I am learning a ton more on SP, and I feel more in control and like I really know and understand what I am doing and how and why I am need to do it. I really did not like that they added fruit as a 0 point value, either. Just my 2 cents
Fitness Minutes: (70,448)
6,687 1/5/13 1:24 P
I've belonged to WW probably 10 times over the past 20 years. Each time I lost weight. I never reached my goal weight, stopped going and always regained the weight I'd lost and more. I went to regular meetings, at-work meetings and tried the on-line program. I also find it expensive. I felt that I didn't learn very much about nutrition with WW. There was no discussion of balancing protein, fat and carbs the way SP does.
Fitness Minutes: (7,337)
41 1/5/13 1:15 P
I am a life time member and I liked the program better when you had to control your fruit and veggies. That was 25 years ago. My problem is that if I start eating something, I can stop. It's all or nothing for me. I will eat till I'm stuffed.
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