Part 2 – Meetings vs. Online
I’ve joined Weight Watchers® twice before, pre-Internet, attending weekly weigh-ins and listening to some ex-fattie-turned-evangelist extol the virtues of celery, à la Betty Draper on Mad Men.
Both times, I stopped going after amassing the literature needed to follow the plan alone. And it worked — until I stopped counting points. Then pounds came back, plus.
At meetings, what always struck me as odd was their effusive welcomes for returning members who were fat again.
Those people weren’t heroes. They were walking advertisements for failure.
Maybe I’m just too cynical.
But for years after I left WW myself, I’d periodically receive mailings begging me to come back, as if they KNEW I was regaining.
So now who’s cynical?
I’ve never needed clergy or some born-again stick figure to shepherd my spiritual progress and tell me in a group setting what’s good, what’s bad, how to think, and what to eat, so this time I opted for Weight Watchers® online.
So far I’m fine. It’s also cheaper — $18.95 a month. (Couldn’t find meeting pricing on the site, but a monthly pass is $42.95, where available.)
The site isn’t without issues. And the mobile apps are iffy, including iPad incompatibility thanks to heavy reliance on Adobe Flash, so can’t really use them.
For example, the cornerstone of Weight Watchers® is tracking and assigning points to every blessed thing you consume. The window for this task is small and not resizable. You can’t see a full day without scrolling. The pane of your past foods list, from which you can supposedly drag and drop to save time, requires so much scrolling, it’s usually quicker to just retype. It’s all very annoying.
So I track on paper and enter sketchy info on the site to make the “You’re not tracking!” exclamation point go away.
For speed, you’re also supposed to be able to group things into “meals” so they’re one entry. I’ve never gotten that to work.
The tracking itself goes into overkill. In addition to food and exercise (for Activity Points), there’s a grid for number of glasses of liquid, dairy servings, fruit and veggie servings, vitamins, healthy oils, and activity (again).
This has nothing to do with points, but merely earns checkmarks or smiley faces on your progress reports. If you need affirmation to such a fine degree, go for it. I abandoned the grid after a few weeks. Life’s too short.
The site is the repository for PointsPlus® values for lots of generic and name-brand foods. It’s virtually impossible to calculate P+ yourself. Exercise 4 Weight Loss is an unaffiliated and far superior source of WW points for restaurant food, listed conveniently by restaurant.
Next, I’ll explain PointsPlus®.