In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.

Weight Watchers

Also called: Points Diet, Winning Points Diet, TurnAround Plan

- The basics
- Upside
- Downside
- Is It for You?
- Sample Menu
- Our Nutritionist Says
- iVillagers Say

Reviewed By:
Lynn Grieger, RD

Weight Watchers basics

Weight Watchers DietAfter years of the tried-and-true Winning Points Plan, Weight Watchers adapted their plans to include two approaches to weight loss: the Flex Plan and the Core Plan.

Weight Watchers is one of the longest-lived weight loss plans. After years of the tried-and-true points approach, Weight Watchers has adapted their plans with two paths to weight loss. The Flex Plan is a revamped version of the old points system, designed to be flexible enough to fit any busy lifestyle. If counting points isn't your style, the Core Plan is based on a list of healthy, satisfying foods that you can enjoy without worrying about their point value.

The Core Plan doesn't require counting. Instead, calories are controlled by limiting food choices based on their energy density and the risk of overeating. For example, you can eat dry cereal (and then only four specific brands) only with milk or yogurt, because too many people snack on dry cereal and overeat. For the same reason, nuts and seeds aren't included even though they have proven health benefits.

In contrast, the Flex Plan includes any food you can dream of, each with a specific number of points assigned. You can choose to splurge and blow a large number of points on a decadent dessert to satisfy a craving or eat a larger volume of lower-calorie, and therefore lower-point, foods. Points are assigned based on your weight. As you lose weight, your point number drops to allow continued weight loss.

Both plans include activity guidelines and encourage participation in either weekly group meetings or online support for optimum success. Both also include a “weekly allowance” for non-plan foods.

Upside of the Weight Watchers Plans

  • Core Plan focuses on new eating habits and eliminates food that contribute to overeating.

  • No counting or measuring in the Core Plan.

  • Flex Plan does not forbid foods, but can teach how to budget temptations in to a healthy eating plan.

  • Weekly meetings can provide support and improve adherence to the plan .

Downside of the Weight Watchers Plans

  • It may be hard to govern the use of Flex Points, which can sabotage weight loss.

  • The sensible approach may mean more gradual weight loss than some people expect .

page 1 of 3 | Next Page

Review Date: 11-08-2007

While the exact causes of high blood pressure can remain unknown, it's clear that two...

Playing the Wii is different than playing the sport being portrayed,...

Astronauts who spend 6 or more months on the International Space...

Yoga may help ease some of the turmoil of going through treatment for...

Many people who say they don't have time for exercise spend an hour watching TV every day.

Eating red and processed meat could increase your risk of death,...

News from Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Helpful tips and information on health and weight loss

Get the information you need


Home  |  Health Centers  |  Health A-Z  |  Staying Healthy  |  Diet & Fitness  |  Woman & Family  |   |   |  

also on iVision:  |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

 |   |  Site Map  |   | 

Copyright (c) 2000-2009 iVision Inc. All rights reserved. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.