Weight Watchers® Online: Reached the Dead End

March 26, 2013

By Karen

Part 8 — WW Offers Zip for Success

At Christmas, I was within 10 pounds of my Weight Watchers® goal when I hit a horrible plateau. Since then, I’ve averaged about 0.6 lb. a week, losing zilch MANY of those weeks — extremely frustrating.

But yesterday I FINALLY hit 130 lbs. In fact, I saw 129 on the scale for the first time in many years.

In case you’re just joining us, I’ve spent 10 months losing 48 pounds using only WW’s cumbersome, TMI-gathering website. I stuck it out with the site believing I would ultimately achieve “lifetime membership” and get breaks on future fees if I ever needed WW again.

Upon reaching my goal, the site showered me with stars, but the next step, this tiny token — lifetime membership — was conspicuously missing.

They buried it well, but I finally uncovered  this little nugget…

Lifetime membership is only for Meetings members.


My theories on why WW deems online members unworthy…

1. Online membership is cheaper than meetings, so our obesity isn’t profitable enough.

2. WW doesn’t trust us. They need to personally weigh us to believe PointsPlus® actually worked.

3. WW knows their plan rarely works long-term (which is why they have “lifetime” members in the first place).

Well, I intend to beat the odds by staying slim. For the good years I have left, I don’t want to be fat. Besides, replacing my wardrobe has been expensive.

The bottom line: I invested $189.50 in WW online for 10 months and dropped 27% of my total body weight. It has transformed my life and my outlook in amazing and priceless ways.

In the same period, I could have spent this on food from…

Nutrisystem® – $4,125 (or $2,500 on sale)

Jenny Craig – $3,655 ($85/week)

Since those plans don’t teach you how to deal with “real” food, once off their controlled meals, you’re at great risk of regaining.

WW online has been relatively economical, but it would have been even cheaper if I’d realized sooner there’s absolutely no payoff for reaching goal.

WW is the biggest loser here. I’m a walking advertisement that even post-menopausal women can succeed on their plan. And now they’ve lost me forever with a penny-wise, pound-foolish policy.

If you’re considering Weight Watchers Online, go for it! But just stick around until you master tracking and gather all the points information you’ll need (most of it is available free on other sites, anyway).

Then cancel.

The WW site layout is a pain, the content redundant, with too much no-brainer info, you’ll find better recipes elsewhere, and the member message boards really suck.

WW products in the grocery store (ice cream snacks, Smart Ones® frozen meals) contain no magic. You get as much/more taste for the same/fewer points with The Laughing Cow® and Lean Cuisine®.

In case you’re curious, read the benefits for WW lifetime members.

UnFoodie Joins Weight Watchers Online

July 26, 2012

By Karen

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®.

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