Differences between Weight Watchers Meetings and Weight Watchers Online

In this article you will read about the differences between Weight Watchers main options, Meetings and Online, and you will be advised by our expert dietitian, Holly Klamer (HD) how to choose the right plan for you.

What’s like at a Weight Watchers’ Meeting?

Watch this video to have a peek into a Weight Watchers meeting.

Weight Watchers is a popular weight loss plan that involves choosing foods based on a points system and the ability to create a customized individual plan for your weight loss goals.

Weight Watchers is known for its success with weekly weigh-ins and meetings.  Many people have successfully lost weight with this program.

These meetings offer support, education and accountability.

Weekly meetings consist of confidential weigh-ins, help with goal setting, chance to meet others, learn new tips and get encouraged or inspired.

Meetings are guided by leaders who have lost weight with Weight Watchers, and they can offer practical suggestions and support.

How can you find a Weight Watchers Meeting location?

Meeting sites can be found easily on their website, weightwatchers.com.  On the home page, there is a small text on the top of the page that says “Find A Meeting”.  Clicking on this will take you to a page to enter in your zip code or city and state.  From there, a map will come up with meeting sites around you with the times they meet.

What is Weight Watchers Online?

An alternative to Weight Watchers weekly meetings is to do Weight Watchers online.  This option allows you to design a customized weight loss plan and have access to it anytime and anywhere over the internet.

Watch this video to see what you get when you sign up to Weight Watchers Online.

On Weight Watchers Online there is an online tracker for food, exercise and progress in reaching your weight goal.

Who is Weight Watchers Online for?

This option would work well for people who are unable to make the weekly meetings, are self motivated and enjoy spending time online and receiving information this way.

Weight Watchers online is also good for people who like to keep detailed track of their food intake and exercise and can enter their information easily on a computer or mobile phone.

Which option is better for you?

For people using Weight Watchers for the first time, I recommend going to the weekly meetings if possible.  As a dietitian working in weight loss, accountability is a key factor for many people for success in reaching weight goals.

The interaction in a group setting through the meetings is a great way to ask questions and get ideas for continued success in weight loss.  If you feel uncomfortable talking in a group, that is not a problem.  You do not have to talk.  The group support and accountability is a valuable part of success in weight loss.

If you cannot make any meeting times, then the online option would work best as you can access it anytime.  You can even use it on your smart phone, so this option would work well for people who are attached to technology and are constantly on the go.  It can help you find the best choices at the grocery store, stay on track while dining out and log exercise time at the gym!

However, Weight Watchers Online offers limited personal support or accountability compared to Weight Watchers Meetings.

Either option can work as long as you follow your plan for eating your allotted food points and exercise.  Weight Watchers explains their food points system and guidelines for tracking and exercise suggestions for both options.

Weight Loss Tip: The weekly meetings may have an advantage of offering accountability and support from others for any barriers that come along the way.

Do You Need to Exercise to Lose Weight With Weight Watchers?

Have you wondered if exercise was necessary in order to reach your weight loss goals while using Weight Watchers? Well look no further. I am going to tell you how it incorporates into their program, why it is a good idea to keep moving and offer you some tips to help you keep exercise a part of your life whether dieting or not.

As a fitness professional I have heard every reason imaginable as to why it is so challenging to maintain an exercise routine. For some people it is the disdain for physical discomfort that goes along with working-out. For others it’s a matter of not enough time in the day. I am going to share a few tips with you to help you connect to the process of getting and staying fit for good.

To get the best results and stay consistent, it is wise to figure out what makes you tick. Do you like to jog? Are you a dancer? Has swimming always been your passion? Doing what you love is the easiest way to stick with a routine because it is enjoyable. Once your chosen form of exercise has transformed from being a chore to a privilege, long term success is in your favor.

Does the Weight Watchers Plan include training and workout?

Weight Watchers makes it easy to find out which type of fitness program works best for you by offering a variety of quizzes that enable you to better understand your own unique needs and desires. If you want to workout from home, I recommend purchasing a set of adjustable dumbbells. While exercise isn’t mandatory, it is definitely encouraged. Their website is filled with a wide range of resources such as video demonstrations for specific exercises, personalized work-out routines and celebrity trainer, David Kirsch’s “anytime, anywhere work-out” to keep you inspired. There are numerous articles available in various subject matters ranging from how cardio and strength training differ to how to include your loved ones in your quest to be fit.

Learn why exercise is beneficial

My advice for getting the most out of this program is to read the articles, watch the videos and partake in some self-assessment before getting too wrapped up in the “how”. Learn why exercise is beneficial beyond burning calories and become acquainted with why bringing your dog along on your walks is a win-win situation for both of you. Once you understand how fitness enhances every aspect of your life you’ll begin to appreciate the journey rather than get too caught up in the end result.

I am going to share with you some of my favorite moves as far as getting more bang for your buck in your work-out. Multi-muscle group exercises not only burn more calories since there are more muscles being used at one time, but they can be huge time savers if you are in a hurry. I highly recommend perfecting form before adding weights to the routines.

How to do the Chopper

This exercise can be used with no weights as a warm-up and later used with external resistance such as a medicine ball. In addition to the fact that this can be done anywhere, it takes little time to break a sweat while the change in direction offers neuromuscular adaptation benefits along with the many muscle groups being utilized. Your hip, knee and shoulder joints are all involved here making this a great way to burn a lot of calories. Check out this video for a short yet accurate demonstration.

How to perform an Anterior Reaching Lunge

Now before you panic, this is not an actual lunge! This exercise is extremely functional because you will get the benefits of developing strength in the hip joint while learning how to properly bend down to pick up a (light) object from the floor in addition to stretching tight hamstrings. Once form is mastered you can make this more challenging by adding weights or incorporating an overhead press to include the shoulder and elbow joints.


Push-ups are beneficial for developing upper body strength along with working the core and glutes. I like this particular video because she demonstrates the various progressions involved in developing your ability to achieve this challenging, yet extremely rewarding exercise whether you are a beginner or not. Once you have mastered this you can feel free to show off in front of all the men in your family who didn’t think you had it in you to be so strong!

Remember…when fitness is used as a tool for well-being and healthy living, your body won’t be able to help but get strong, toned and fabulous!

How does Weight Watchers Online Work And When will You See Results

Weight Watchers has been on the scene for about 50 years offering people with meal plans, products and support to assist them with weight loss. Weight Watchers offer two approaches to weight loss – the Online program and the in person Meetings. They are both separate and usually the online participants are not eligible to go in for the monthly meetings. This video gives you an introduction to Weight Watchers Online.

What are the principles behind Weight Watchers Online?

The online program of the Weight Watchers uses the same principles as the in person program. The online program allows flexibility in its usage.

You are not tied down to a weekly meeting and weigh in sessions.

The online program helps you keep your identity private and allows you to access numerous tools and resources that may not be available to in person participants.
How does it work?

Weight Watchers is based on scientific principles and if used correctly you will see success with your weight loss or weight maintenance.

The online tool allows you to keep track of your food intake and point system.

You can get support by participating in the message boards, get approved recipes from the website and get tips for incorporating physical activity in your life.

The Point system calculates a 1000 calorie deficit for weight loss and once you get to your goal, you start a maintenance phase where you slowly add back calories until you no longer gain or lose weight. This phase lasts for six weeks typically.

The point value of each food is based on its macronutrient content and fiber content. The foods with higher fat and carbohydrates are higher and you get credit for a high fiber food.

Depending on your goal weight you have 26 to 50 points to spend. Fruits and vegetables have 0 point value. You also get some additional weekly points.

Where can you find support?

The online program requires motivation and dedication on your part. Since you will be missing out on monthly meetings with the counselor, you must be self-driven. You should also be particular about logging in your food intake. You can contact other dieters through message boards and get support. However, for the most part you are doing it by yourself. As long as you stick with the plan and follow the guidelines, you will be able to achieve your goals without meeting with a counselor.
Is Weight Watchers Online only for the USA?

The Weight Watchers online program is very popular in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. In addition, it is available in 30 other countries. The point system is slightly different for each country depending on the nutrition label, but the basic principle remains the same.
What is the cost of Weight Watchers Online?

The Weight Watchers online is about $18.95 per month with a signup fee of $29.95. If you buy 3 months at a time, you may get a discount.
Is the price justified?

The cost factor is what keeps most people away from Weight Watchers. However, this approach for dietary and lifestyle changes keeps you accountable and helps you with your weight loss goals.

It allows you to choose your foods without any restrictions and it does not tout a certain food group. You can easily fit this plan into your lifestyle as long you keep track of your food budget.

This program also helps lay foundation to lead healthy life.
When will you see results?

The online tool is self-paced and therefore you will see results at the pace you set. The program is as good as you make it work for you. If you are diligent with your intake and you stay within your allowed points each day, you will see results sooner than if you were to not follow the plan.

Tip: Adding exercise to the mix will speed up your metabolism and you will see better results sooner.

In a nutshell, the Weight Watchers online program is convenient and customized to fit your need. It does require work from your part but is easy to follow. The plan is based on scientific principles and encourages you to make changes that will stay with you for a long time.

How Step-Ups and Lunges Will Help You Shed the Fat and Shape Your Body

In this article I am going to discuss how step-ups, lunges and side lunges will not only help you get smaller and more defined, but will give you needed strength and stability in your hip joint…which is more important than you may know.

Shaping the lower body – like JLos

Let’s face it…ever since JLo and Beyonce hit the scene it has been all about the booty!

When it comes to wearing bathing suits and form fitting clothing there is nothing like feeling as though you look your best. Going out and socializing becomes a lot more fun while clothes shopping takes on a more satisfying feel to it.

3 exercises good for shaping the lower body

These three exercises are beneficial for shaping the lower body because they work all of the major muscle groups from the hips down. Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, inner and outer thighs and even your calves will morph into a shape you have always dreamed of and for this reason alone I’m betting you would give these moves a fair shot.

Providing strength and flexibility to your hip joints is an added benefit to these exercises. The possibility of the knees, back and shoulder joints overcompensating and becoming injured due to lack of proper range of motion from tight hip flexors (thanks to sitting for long periods of time daily) is often dealt with yet not understood.

As always, if you are new to strength training or a specific exercise in general, I highly recommend you to begin with no external resistance (no weights) to learn proper form and then progress to a more challenging version only when you have mastered the movement itself.

1.  Step-Ups

Step-ups are great because they not only provide amazing cardiovascular benefits and burn plenty of calories, but since steps are a part of life and we never know when the elevator may be out of order…why not be prepared? Begin light by using a single step in your home or somewhere steps are present and get used to the repetition.

Once you are comfortable, feel free to increase the intensity by either adding height or light weights.

Check out this video by Livestrong.com for a visual demonstration of how to do this exercise properly.

2.  Lunges

Although lunges aren’t easy, they do offer wonderful benefits. While this exercise strengthens the glutes, quads and surrounding muscles, once done properly lunges have the ability to help you control gravity’s impact on downward movement.

I recommend beginning with a stationary lunge with the option of holding onto something to help you with balance as you build up the strength required to support your body weight.

For a visual set of instructions, watch this.

3. Side/Lateral Lunges

While regular lunges are effective for shaping and strengthening the entire lower body, side lunges offer the same benefits yet feature the inner and outer thighs more prominently.

As you step out laterally to do the lunge, you are working the outer hip using hip abduction and bringing it back to starting position using your inner thigh, otherwise known as hip adduction.  Your standing leg is working to stabilize the movement, so it is also reaping the rewards of this exercise.

Adding side lunges to your routine enables you to get benefits from using multiple planes of movement. In life we move in a variety of different directions, so it only makes sense to incorporate multi-directional forms of fitness into your routine.

See the demonstration here and give it a try!

As always, start slow, master your form and add resistance as needed for proper progression. If you are consistent, you will shape your body into something you have only dreamed about J

Why Skipping Meals Does Not Help With Weight Loss

Are you guilty of skipping meals? If so, you aren’t alone. It seems to be a pretty common misconception in regard to weight loss tactics. But what if I told you that in fact by NOT eating you were doing much more harm than good and setting yourself up to actually gain weight later on? If you are doubtful, read on.

Muscle helps determine metabolism

Let’s say you have hired a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals. This trainer has you doing all sorts of strength training 2-3 times per week. They are helping you build lean mass (muscle) because they understand that muscle helps determine metabolism. They want you to feel good about the hard work you’re putting in and the results you are on your way to seeing. With all of the time and money spent on what you are doing in the gym, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your results will last? Well…if you skip meals they won’t.

Skipping Meals Does More Harm Than Good

We need glucose (blood sugar) in our bodies at all times to fuel even the most passive activity. Every 3 hours or so we use up whatever glucose we have available, so if we go longer than that without food, our bodies go into starvation mode and begin the process of something called gluconeogenesis…which I will simply define as “creating glucose (blood sugar/energy) out of non-carbohydrate matter, such as muscle”.

Glucose is the only source of energy our nervous system relies on and if there isn’t any available through food, the next best place to release it for use is our lean mass.

Why your body must not “eat” muscle – and why you need muscles to lose weight

Figure a pound of muscle burns approximately 50 calories a day at rest. Skipping meals causes this lean mass to be destroyed in order to fuel your body when food isn’t available.

Every pound of muscle destroyed creates fewer calories to be used per day, so in essence you’re teaching your body to slow down and store more fat.

Building and maintaining muscle is an absolute must if fat loss is what your heart desires because by age 40 or so, we naturally begin to lose it at a rate of about 8% every ten years and this rate accelerates even more by age 75 or so.

When you realize that the shape you want…the body you have worked so hard for will begin to weaken all on its own, it should begin to make sense that keeping blood sugar stable will allow your body to maintain the muscle you build.

Why you should be eating 5-6 small nutrient meals per day

Eating smaller, nutrient dense meals 5-6 times per day allows you to stay fueled without depleting your body of the energy needed for survival. This allows your muscles to stay intact rather than have to be used instead as a substitute for the food you would be better off consuming.

If you partake in a consistent resistance training routine that continues to build lean mass, eat to stay fueled often enough to ensure you get to maintain what you build during your work-out.

In plain English…your body eats muscle in place of missing food. I kid you not…it really is that simple.

Eat foods rich in fiber, lean protein and healthy fats

Now don’t get me wrong…this doesn’t mean it’s ok to eat junk 5-6 times per day. I’m talking about wholesome and nutritious foods. Foods rich in fiber, lean protein and healthy fats. These are the foods that dissolve guilt because they promote a positive and empowering mindset when it comes to nutrition.

Keeping yourself properly fueled allows you to stay alert and sharp because your nervous system is functioning at optimal levels. Your mood is optimistic because you feel alive and have energy.

Those pesky carbohydrate cravings that used to overpower you is an issue of the past now that you keep your blood sugar levels regulated. Your body stays strong, lean and shapely because you have now learned the secrets that will help your metabolism remain quick and efficient.

Now doesn’t this sound better than starving?

Big Lessons Learned from Weight Watchers Stories

Weight Watchers isn’t the most popular weight loss plan for nothing. Why is it so popular? The answer is very obvious. Because it works!

The company will be celebrating their golden anniversary next year. They’re still going strong after nearly 5 decades, thanks to their well-structured program that has been yielding reproducible results.

The results are nothing short of spectacular. There are members who were able to conquer chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Some decided to make a living out of being physically active whereas moving a finger was too taxing for them before they joined the program. And some were able to love themselves for the first time.

Why do so many succeed on Weight Watchers?

No matter what the success stories are, they all have a commonality—gradual, steady weight loss.

In other words, people learned the type of weight loss that can be sustained and maintained.

The Weight Watchers mantra is: “slow and steady wins the race”.

If you check out the success stories on their website you will read the note that those who follow the program will lose one to two pounds a week. Members find this goal very doable and realistic, increasing likelihood of long-term adherence to the program.

The problem with fad diets is that they tend to over-promise with their results. “You’ll lose 14 lbs in 7 days!” is not an uncommon pitch you’ll hear from them.  It is possible to lose that much weight in a week, depending on your baseline weight and how desperate you are. The question is, are you able to sustain the weight loss after doing the diet? And was it fat that you lost?

It’s usually water weight and muscle tissue that are lost in rapid weight loss diets. Not good because losing too much water weight can lead to dehydration. And losing muscle mass is a bad idea because it’s muscle that will turn your body into a strong, youthful, fat-burning machine. Fat loss is more guaranteed when weight is lost gradually. This is something achieved when you combine smart eating and exercise on the Weight Watchers program.

The proof of the pudding

Okay, now let’s take a look at 3 Weight Watchers success stories.

Success story # 1: Deborah the ex-smoker

What enabled Deborah to kick the nicotine habit was regular exercise. She was able to get the addictive and toxic substance out of her system through sweating. She also mastered portion control (which she learned from Weight Watchers Meetings) and devised a good battle plan on how to pre-empt unhealthy snack attacks.

Success story # 2: Valerie, a former emotional eater

Valerie was an emotional eater, but Weight Watchers taught her to be sensible. She realized that food wasn’t the solution to anything. She practiced discipline by sticking to the points system and exercising no matter what. She also attributes her success to the support she got from her husband and Weight Watchers Online.

Success story # 3: Kim, who went from obese to sexy

After two years on the program Kim was able to fit into her 21-year-old daughter’s jeans. How did she do it? She finally decided to attend the meetings regularly. She also stuck to the points system, which “forced” her to eat healthier foods. Eventually it washed her taste buds clean and eating healthy became second nature to her.

The secret Weight Watchers’ winning formula

These 3 stories reveal to us the secrets behind Weight Watchers’ success as a weight loss program.

  • Weight Watchers teaches its members to practice a lifetime of healthy habits (portion control, exercise, whole food choices).
  • The Meetings provide invaluable support and guidance (the ones who yo-yo are those who are irregular with their attendance).
  • The program inculcates discipline and responsibility which both empower women to take charge of their bodies and lives.

What will your success story be like? Perhaps you can find out by joining now.

Is Soy Good for Losing Weight?

In this article, Betsy Thurston (RD) explains why there are several controversies related to the health benefits of soy.

Soy is very popular with people following vegan or vegetarian diets. Soy is a complete protein that has a low glycemic index and has low saturated fat content as compared to animal sources of protein. Soybean is a species of legumes and has been consumed for years in several Asian cultures.

The protein content of the natural Soya chunks is very high. It has about 52 percent of protein and only 1.5 percent of fat. This combination makes it a good choice for fat loss. Consuming protein can help you feel full faster and stay sated longer. The proteins from animal sources may introduce saturated fat in your diet that can increase the risk of heart diseases. The lean protein in the soy products can help you build muscle mass that will increase your metabolism, which in turn causes weight loss.

Can soy based products help reduce weight?

The National Center for Biotechnology Information carried out a study in 2003 involving 100 obese adults. The study group was given a soy based diet for 12 weeks and the control group continued to have a regular diet.

At the end of 12 weeks, the research showed that the participants of the study group lost almost double the amount of weight when compared to the control group. The study group also lowered their cholesterol levels significantly. This study did not find any side effects related to consuming soy products. The study concluded replacing regular foods with soy based products can help reduce weight.

Soy products approved as cholesterol lowering food

FDA has approved soy products as a cholesterol lowering food. Fermented soy or tempeh has been proven to reduce the LDL cholesterol.

The American Heart Association does not however, recommend taking isolflavone supplement. (Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in plants of the bean family) Isoflavones are the soy phytoestrogens.

Using soy products along with other heart healthy products and exercise can lower your cholesterol levels.

Are genetically modified soy beans harmful?

Genetically modified soy beans use fewer amounts of pesticides when compared to the regular crop.

The herbicides used for genetically modified soy is not harmful to humans. The genetically engineered soy is easier to cultivate and it preserves the soil content. There have been some reports of developing food allergies by consuming genetically engineered soy products. Several allergists recommend avoiding genetically engineered food including soy.

Is Soy a cause for thyroid enlargement?

Soy is considered a goitrogen which promotes the formation of goiter (enlarged thyroid). Several grains, vegetables and plant food fall into this category. Several factors affect the formation of goiter, such as iodine deficiency, presence of other goitrogens in diet and defects of hormone production. Soy alone is not a cause for thyroid enlargement.

In the event that a person does have hypothyroidism, they may have some difficulty with weight loss.

Thus soy protein is a complete protein that can be successfully incorporated into your diet. It has more health benefits rather than harmful factors. Some studies have linked soy beans to cancer in rats, but the results are not conclusive. Over cooked soy transforms to textured vegetable protein or TVP. This product is carcinogenic and should be avoided. Roasted soy nuts should also be avoided as it can become rancid and carcinogenic the longer it stays on the shelf. More studies are definitely needed to draw conclusions.

In conclusion, soy is a good substitute for animal protein. When used along with other wholesome foods, it can be helpful in lowering weight and cholesterol levels. Despite the controversy surrounding soy, it is a good product when consumed as part of a calorie controlled and planned meal.