The WeightWatchers plan is based on the SmartPoints system, which gives a value to foods and drink based on protein, carbs, fat and fibre content. It is essentially a calorie-controlled diet where you get a personal daily SmartPoints allowance, which you can use how you like. There’s no limit on the amount of fruit and most veg you can eat. You also get a weekly SmartPoints safety net in case you go over your allowance, as well as an individual exercise plan. The weekly meetings and confidential weigh-ins provide support and extra motivation to encourage long-term behaviour change. The plan is designed to help you lose up to 2lb a week.
No foods are banned, so you can eat and drink what you want provided you stick to your points allowance. The SmartPoints system is easier to follow for some than calorie counting, and less restrictive than other plans. This is because it introduces a safety net of points, which can be saved up for a special occasion, such as a night out, a small amount of alcohol, or treats.
When you begin, working out the points system can be just as time consuming as simply counting calories. Some people feel pressured into purchasing WeightWatchers-branded foods.
The SmartPoints plan is generally well balanced and can be a foundation for long-term changes in dietary habits. The support group approach can help keep people motivated and educate them about healthy eating. But it’s vital that you make the connection between the points system and calories if you want to avoid putting the weight back on once you leave the programme.