Weight Watchers diet

History and Philosophy

Weight Watchers began in 1963 when Jean Nidetch and a group of friends began gathering to discuss their weight loss. Since then it has grown into an international business, operating in over 30 countries. Weight Watchers' goal is to assist in developing good long-term habits regarding both eating and exercise. Foundational to the program, is providing support for people attempting to lose weight through face-to-face meetings or via the newer online community tracking. One of the most interesting parts of the company Weight Watchers is that each employee has been through the process and has attained his or her goal weight.


In 2010, Weight Watchers revamped their Points system into what is now known as Points Plus where point values are assigned to food. As it has been since the beginning, the point system creates a caloric deficit to drive weight loss but now the system also accounts for foods that are scientifically better choices than others. In fact, fruits and vegetables are zero-point items to help encourage people to make this healthy choice. This is particularly vital now as many studies that have shown that most Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.

Points Plus

Point Plus values for foods are determined by several factors including:

The amount of protein and fiber compared to the carbs and fats

The amount of sugar and sodium

How filling the foods are

How healthy the foods are

After you have signed-up, you will be assigned a daily point total based on your age, sex, height and weight. Daily point values range from 26 to 71 points, and you will take in at least 1200 calories. On this plan, you are also allowed 49 weekly points to be used at your discretion. One of the benefits of Weight Watchers is that you can eat any food you want. You can also easily account for it and determine the point value. For example, you can check the point value of foods by using an online database, a cell phone app, a pocket guide or a Points Plus calculator.

Weight Watchers has also designated certain foods as Power Foods. Within a category of foods, like bread or pasta, Weight Watchers determined the extent to which they are healthy and filling. Power Foods are the healthiest choices which include whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Using your points with Power Foods can help you optimize your results.

Another way that Weight Watchers encourages a healthy lifestyle is through exercise. When on this plan, you are awarded additional points for any exercise you complete. Weight Watchers uses activity points to recognize any physical activity you might participate in from walking and running to tennis or even bowling. This helps support one of the key components of Weight Watchers which is to develop healthy habits for a healthy lifestyle.


Weight Watchers began by stressing the importance of community and working together to achieve a goal. As a result, when signing up for Weight Watchers, you will be attending a weekly meeting typically housed in a Weight Watchers center or in a community building. The leader might not be a nutritional expert, but has been a successful member of the Weight Watchers program. Each week will focus on a different aspect of the program, and each week you will confidentially weigh-in to track your progress.

Weight Watchers also offers an online program. Although there are no weekly meetings, you have the accessiblity of support 24 hours a day through message boards. You can also find customized plans and a number of recipes with the Points Plus values. The online tools also encourage you to chart your progress, your weigh-ins and your exercise. Many people prefer this approach because of the flexibility, tracking features and mobile app.


The new version of Weight Watchers addresses the primary concern that many people had with the original program - points could be used for any food. The new Points Plus system is based on a calculation that values healthier, more filling foods over higher fat, higher calorie foods. Weight Watchers has been found to be most successful when dieters are held accountable through group meetings and by tracking all food and points. Overall, the Weight Watchers program encourages healthy eating and exercise and creates a calorie deficit where weight loss can be expected.

Last Updated: August 05, 2014