Before I learnt about nutrition and gave up diets for good, every January I would jump onto the latest diet trend in order to lose my ‘Christmas weight’ but I would end up feeling even worse when I ultimately failed. If you’ve tried a diet like Weight Watchers and failed too, please don’t blame yourself! There are SO many reasons why these diets don’t work, and I want to explain why so you can ditch dieting forever in place of healthy AND sustainable habits.
For those of you who don’t know how Weight Watchers works then you should actually consider yourself very lucky! But for those who remain blissfully unaware, I will give a quick overview. When you join Weight Watchers, you are given an allowance of food ‘points’ which you can consume each day. Every food has a number of points attached to it and the idea is that if you stick to your allotted points and you don’t go over, you will lose weight. Of course, as many of you may already know (myself included) even if you do manage to stick to the points system and lose some weight, it doesn’t last very long.
Now you know how WW works, let's get down to it - here’s everything wrong with Weight Watchers...
1. Nobody wants to count points all day. Not only is counting every single 'point' you consume in a day, wildly inconvenient. It leads you to view food as points rather than what it is - fuel to enable you to do everything you love - play with your kids, walk, run, dance, and much more.
2. It demonizes carbs and fats which if you are a member of TNA, you will know are actually very good for you in the right amounts. Check out my yummy Salmon sushi bowl recipe here which contains lots of healthy fats and carbs.
3. It encourages you to binge eat. When you are restricted to a certain number of points each day, many people will 'save up' their points for later in the day which inevitably leads to binge eating because you get over-hungry from eating very little for breakfast and lunch.
4. It can slow your metabolism. When you 'save up' points for later in the day, skipping breakfast and lunch, your metabolism will slow down and your body will start storing any food it gets because it thinks you are starving.
5. Food is used as a reward for exercising. Weight Watchers allows you to earn more points by exercising which can very easily lead to disordered eating because people start to think they can't eat unless they have exercised (which is entirely false!). In fact, their whole thinking is backwards - you should eat food to have the energy to exercise not exercise so you can eat food.
6. You have to learn a whole new vocabulary for food so you forget how to eat normally. The WW language is confusing, pointless AND prevents you from actually understanding about nutrition, and what your body needs and wants. This leads to a vicious cycle of losing some weight and feeling better while doing WW then coming off it and not knowing how to eat properly because all you know is points. Then you feel rubbish, put the weight back on and start WW again. This is exactly how they make their money because you keep buying their programme over and over again!
7. It ruins your relationship with food. The counting of points can become obsessive and then food stops being enjoyable which I think is very sad because I'm a huge foodie myself!
8. It doesn’t actually even work. Only 5% of people who lose weight with WW, actually maintain their weight loss, so why waste your time counting points when you won't even see the results in a couple of months time?
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