Weight Watchers

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I probably shouldn’t be laughing about this, but I can’t help myself.  When a group of Weight Watchers members in Sweden got together recently for their regular weigh-in, the floor collapsed.  As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.  Here are some quotes from the online news story:

“We suddenly heard a huge thud; we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air,” one of about 20 group members said to the Smalandsposten newspaper. “The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls.”

After the initial collapse on Wednesday evening, the floor started to cave in other parts of the room, and the stench of sewage crept into the clinic, which is in Vaxjo, a city in south central Sweden. The group is looking for an alternate location for future meetings, Weight Watchers consultant Therese Levin told the Swedish paper.

 Since they were able to break the floor badly enough to stir up some sewage, I’m guessing these people were 1) brand-new members of Weight Watchers or 2) long-time members of Weight Watchers.

I’ve known a handful of people who joined Weight Watchers at least once — all women, by the way.  They all lost some weight.  And they all gained it back, usually with a few extra pounds as a going-away present. 

Given what Weight Watchers believes constitutes a good diet, I’m not surprised.  Their entire program is based on the belief that the federal government’s nutrition guidelines are actually based on something resembling science.  So Weight Watchers preaches the same guidelines:  fat is bad, a bit of protein is okay, and carbohydrates are wonderful.

I never joined Weight Watchers, but before I knew better, I did try living on their low-fat Smart Ones meals (along with Lean Cuisines and other diet meals I could nuke.)  By the end of the day, I’d be famished.  Eventually I’d give up and then, like most dieters, blame myself for not having any discipline.  Now I understand the problem wasn’t a lack of discipline; it was a lack of good nutrition.

To illustrate the problem, I went to the Weight Watchers site and put together a sample diet for one day.  Since I’m a male, I allowed myself about 1700 calories.  Figuring three meals and couple of side dishes, I chose a breakfast sandwich, angel hair pasta with marinara, chicken enchiladas, chicken on grilled flatbread, mac and cheese, and rice and beans.  That’s a pretty fair sample of the kind of meals I chose back in the day.  Here’s how they add up:

Total Calories: 1673
Fat: 37 grams
Protein: 77 grams
Carbs: 258 grams

As a percent of total calories, it works out to 20% fat, 18% protein, and 62% carbohydrates — just what the FDA prescribes.  It’s also a prescription for hunger.

If you’re a regular reader or have seen Fat Head, you already know that fat is the most satiating macronutrient …  in addition to being cricual for mood, hormone formation, vitamin absorption, etc.  I won’t go into the many wonders of fat here, except to say that this diet contains far too little of it.  That’s one reason I was so hungry.

The diet is also too low in protein.  The FDA would approve, but not the people who actually know what they’re talking about, like Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades.  According to their calculations, I need more like 120 grams of protein per day.  Eating too little protein produces exactly the kind of physical effects dieters don’t want.

For one, it’ll make you hungry — never mind the calories.  Research shows that primates eat until they satisfy their protein requirements.  If the food is low in protein, they’ll eat more of it.  Here are some quotes from an article on the subject:

Nutritional ecologist Professor David Raubenheimer’s just-published collaborative study with international colleagues found the Bolivian rainforest spider monkey regulates protein intake by eating greater quantities of low protein/high carbohydrate foods when protein-rich foods are not available.

“This is interesting because our experiments show that humans do the same,” says Professor Raubenheimer from the University’s Institute of Natural Sciences at Albany. The consequence is the current obesity epidemic.

Professor Raubenheimer has been involved in a range of similar studies on other primates, as well as human subjects in Australia, the Philippines and Jamaica, to observe how the protein content of their diets influences energy intake.

The findings, published in the latest issue of the journal Behavioural Ecology, reinforce the theory that humans and other primates are physiologically predisposed to maintain a constant level of protein in their diets. But when the range of foods available to them is low in protein (yet high in fats and carbohydrates) they are compelled to eat greater quantities in order to maintain correct protein levels.

Trust me, I definitely felt compelled to eat greater quantities.  I just didn’t allow myself to, at least until I couldn’t stand it anymore. 

The other problem with eating too little protein is muscle loss.  I’ve heard some researchers claim people lose the same amount of weight on almost any diet if the calories are controlled — that hasn’t been my experience, but let’s suppose it’s true.  So what?  The point of dieting isn’t really to lose weight, it’s to lose fat.  Digesting your own muscles is a lousy idea.  In Protein Power, Drs. Eades & Eades wrote:

On typical low-calorie, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets, protein intake is often marginal, and as a result as much as 50 percent of weight loss can be muscle weight.  Each pound of active muscle mass lost reduces your rate of metabolism.

Now, a pound of muscle loss isn’t going to dramatically affect your metabolism, but I don’t think most people — especially men — go on a diet hoping to shed a few pounds off their biceps and pecs.  Muscle makes a body look good, whether the body is male or female.

The biggest problem with the diet is, of course, the 62% carbohydrates.  If you’re insulin resistant — and most fat people these days are — all those carbs are going to drive up your insulin and tell your body to store a disproportionate share of the 1673 calories as fat.  Then you’ll starve at the cellular level and really feel hungry.  Keep it up, and you’ll probably make your insulin resistance worse.

And as I learned from an excellent article by Dr. Doug McGuff, insulin resistance can also shrink your muscles.  Dr. McGuff wondered why so many fat people have weak muscles — they are, after all, hauling a lot of weight around.  That ought to make them stronger, but usually doesn’t.  Here’s an edited version of what he figured out (the full article is worth the read):

The key to the paradox of the obese-yet weak client was insulin sensitivity. The modern Western diet is very high in refined carbohydrates when compared to the diet in our evolutionary past. In the face of very high carbohydrate intake, one’s glycogen stores will become completely full. Once the glycogen stores are completely full, glucose will begin to stack up in the blood stream. The evolutionary-based response is to increase insulin to drive more glycogen storage. However, pushing more glucose into a cell whose glycogen stores are full can be very damaging.

In the chronically overfed state, the body protects itself by decreasing the sensitivity of insulin receptors on the muscle cells and preserving (actually increasing) insulin sensitivity on the fat cells. By this mechanism blood sugar can be held in check without making the interior of the cells a syrupy mess, and energy is stored for future starvation (which never comes). The problem is, insulin not only controls glucose homeostasis, it is a major hormone for nutrient storage and all of the anabolic processes of the body. In the state we describe above, a vicious form of nutrient partitioning begins to occur. Nutrients used for growth and differentiation are shunted away from the muscle and the liver and are diverted to body fat. The muscles become smaller and weaker and the liver becomes infiltrated with fat as it desperately tries to produce VLDL.

Not a pretty picture, is it?  I know, because by the time I was 14, I was a fat kid with skinny muscles.  I finally started reshaping my body a bit when my older brother bought some barbells and more or less insisted we work out together.  Our high-school health teacher also us to cut back on sugar, potatoes and bread if we wanted to lose weight, so I did.  Then the low-fat diet craze hit, and I got stupid all over again.

Now I’m at least smart enough to know that Smart Ones aren’t going to help most people lose weight and keep it off, and neither will Weight Watchers.  They claim a success rate of nearly 50%, based on a study they funded.  But it’s interesting how they came up with that figure. 

First off, the study only included people who were already lifetime members.  To become a lifetime member, you have to reach your goal weight and stay there for six weeks.  That means all the people who yelled “I’m starving!” and quit after a month or so were excluded …  as were all the people who stuck it out but didn’t reach their goal weight.

After five years, most of the lifetime members included in the study had regained at least half of what they lost —  but Weight Watchers defined “success” as weighing 5% less than when they first joined.  So if you started at 200 pounds, reached your goal weight of 170, and went back up to 190, you were counted as successful.  Wow.  Sounds like “budget-cutting” in Washington.

A blogger analyzed the study, crunched his own numbers based on Weight Watchers’ enrollment figures, and calculated something closer to 6% of all members ever reaching their goal weight and staying there for six weeks … and when he crunched them again, counting only people who stayed at their goal weight for five years, he calculated a success rate of about two in a thousand.

I’d say the best thing Weight Watchers could do is reinforce their floors.

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90 thoughts on “Weight Watchers

  1. Eileen

    Too bad there’s no “share on Facebook” link for your post. Many of my coworkers (most all of them on Facebook) do Weight Watchers. And they are all fat. And starving.

    Reply
  2. William

    Hey Tom, do you have a list or know a site that has a list of foods rich in protein? My friend and I have been running and working out together and I have been doing ok losing weight but he wants to quit losing weight and start gaining muscle. He has restricted his diet to cut sugars and calories but I would like to convince him there is a better way.

    I’m not aware of any sites specifically dedicated to protein, although there are many with overall nutrition information. Has you friend considered adding whey protein shakes to his diet?

    Reply
  3. Pippa

    >>To illustrate the problem, I went to the Weight Watchers site and put together a sample diet for one day. Since I’m a male, I allowed myself about 1700 calories.<<

    Tom,

    Do you try to stay in the 1700 calorie range when you are losing weight on a low-carb diet as well? I seem to remember you tried to stay around 2000 calories in “Fathead”? I’ve been reading “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig and love their concise, easy-to-understand section on fats. They have 2 weight-loss diets, one at 2500 calories and their fast weight loss diet at 2000 calories!! This seems such a high calorie count for weight loss. I was thinking for a woman, it should be less. It’s a bit confusing.

    I was taking a stab at a figure WW might suggest for a male trying to lose weight. I don’t calories anymore, but I’m not actively trying to lose. If I were, I’d eyeball my food and watch my portion sizes, as opposed to strictly counting calories.

    Reply
  4. Tina

    Great post Tom. My best friend is a weight watchers girl. But she just can’t stick to it. I tried it for a couple of weeks one time and gained about 6 pounds.

    And I’m sure your friend probably blames herself.

    Reply
  5. Pippa

    >>To illustrate the problem, I went to the Weight Watchers site and put together a sample diet for one day. Since I’m a male, I allowed myself about 1700 calories.<<

    Tom,

    Do you try to stay in the 1700 calorie range when you are losing weight on a low-carb diet as well? I seem to remember you tried to stay around 2000 calories in “Fathead”? I’ve been reading “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig and love their concise, easy-to-understand section on fats. They have 2 weight-loss diets, one at 2500 calories and their fast weight loss diet at 2000 calories!! This seems such a high calorie count for weight loss. I was thinking for a woman, it should be less. It’s a bit confusing.

    I was taking a stab at a figure WW might suggest for a male trying to lose weight. I don’t calories anymore, but I’m not actively trying to lose. If I were, I’d eyeball my food and watch my portion sizes, as opposed to strictly counting calories.

    Reply
  6. Tina

    Great post Tom. My best friend is a weight watchers girl. But she just can’t stick to it. I tried it for a couple of weeks one time and gained about 6 pounds.

    And I’m sure your friend probably blames herself.

    Reply
  7. Dr.A

    I have John Yudkin’s book ‘This Slimming Business’..
    his comment on WeightWitches:
    “It is a pity that the excellent idea of giving incentive and support to slimmers by regular meetings is so badly marred by this sort of silly dietary instruction.”

    Very well put.

    Reply
  8. Dr.A

    I have John Yudkin’s book ‘This Slimming Business’..
    his comment on WeightWitches:
    “It is a pity that the excellent idea of giving incentive and support to slimmers by regular meetings is so badly marred by this sort of silly dietary instruction.”

    Very well put.

    Reply
  9. Chris H

    An excellent post, well worth the read, in particular I LOVED the last line.
    I have ‘done’ Weight Watchers at least 6 times so far in my life, actually you can double that!
    In my last attempt I lost 61 kilos (135 POUNDS)… That took me 19 months. I attained the ‘Lifetime Membership’ and then………. gained back 35 kilos (77 POUNDS) ! Yep, THAT worked for me.. NOT.

    I am never going back to Weight Watchers. There must be a better, permanent, non-surgical way. So, I’m going to try upping the protein and dropping the carbs, it seems to work for so many people.

    That’s what I’ve seen with people who go to Weight Watchers … lose, gain, lose, gain. I guess if you count your points forever, you’d keep the weight down, but it doesn’t strike me as a good way to live.

    Reply
  10. Chris H

    An excellent post, well worth the read, in particular I LOVED the last line.
    I have ‘done’ Weight Watchers at least 6 times so far in my life, actually you can double that!
    In my last attempt I lost 61 kilos (135 POUNDS)… That took me 19 months. I attained the ‘Lifetime Membership’ and then………. gained back 35 kilos (77 POUNDS) ! Yep, THAT worked for me.. NOT.

    I am never going back to Weight Watchers. There must be a better, permanent, non-surgical way. So, I’m going to try upping the protein and dropping the carbs, it seems to work for so many people.

    That’s what I’ve seen with people who go to Weight Watchers … lose, gain, lose, gain. I guess if you count your points forever, you’d keep the weight down, but it doesn’t strike me as a good way to live.

    Reply
  11. Katy

    “Now on the day when I had the high sugar diet — the diet we should all avoid — my blood sugar stayed the same, which you’d expect from someone without diabetes. But my insulin level was through the roof, my pancreas was working overtime [HELLO!] to try and maintain my blood sugar at that level,” says Andrew.

    But his system did cope — despite the binge, his blood sugar level stayed normal [this time!], and that means eating sugar is not a direct cause of diabetes.

    But if Andrew kept that high-sugar diet up, he could develop insulin resistance and he’d certainly put on weight, which is a major problem.

    “So there are many causes of diabetes but we’re happy to report that sugar isn’t one of them. But does that mean you can stay in a lolly shop and gorge yourself? No, because if you eat too much sugar then you’ll put on weight and obesity is a risk factor.”

    No beta cell burnout from a high-sugar diet? Only fat people develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes? No, a few sugar binges won’t give you diabetes, but over time, one Big Gulp at a time, how can it not be a contributing factor?

    I got ya. I read it right after writing a post, a little bleary-eyed from staring at the screen, and managed to miss a couple of key lines.

    Reply
  12. Katy

    “Now on the day when I had the high sugar diet — the diet we should all avoid — my blood sugar stayed the same, which you’d expect from someone without diabetes. But my insulin level was through the roof, my pancreas was working overtime [HELLO!] to try and maintain my blood sugar at that level,” says Andrew.

    But his system did cope — despite the binge, his blood sugar level stayed normal [this time!], and that means eating sugar is not a direct cause of diabetes.

    But if Andrew kept that high-sugar diet up, he could develop insulin resistance and he’d certainly put on weight, which is a major problem.

    “So there are many causes of diabetes but we’re happy to report that sugar isn’t one of them. But does that mean you can stay in a lolly shop and gorge yourself? No, because if you eat too much sugar then you’ll put on weight and obesity is a risk factor.”

    No beta cell burnout from a high-sugar diet? Only fat people develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes? No, a few sugar binges won’t give you diabetes, but over time, one Big Gulp at a time, how can it not be a contributing factor?

    I got ya. I read it right after writing a post, a little bleary-eyed from staring at the screen, and managed to miss a couple of key lines.

    Reply
  13. Dan

    I spent years and countless $$ in WW for a weight rollercoaster ride. I eventually gave up on trying to lose weight until I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Thank God I found low carb.

    Week after week, I saw people like me who kept coming, but were making no noticable progress. There were a few that made their goal, but most didn’t and they all seemed obsessed with food. A neighbor down the street became a “life member,” but it seems she has not regained the weight.

    As they say, insanity is doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results.

    I’d like to know what the dropout rate is. I could only find guesses, not hard data.

    Reply
  14. Dan

    I spent years and countless $$ in WW for a weight rollercoaster ride. I eventually gave up on trying to lose weight until I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Thank God I found low carb.

    Week after week, I saw people like me who kept coming, but were making no noticable progress. There were a few that made their goal, but most didn’t and they all seemed obsessed with food. A neighbor down the street became a “life member,” but it seems she has not regained the weight.

    As they say, insanity is doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results.

    I’d like to know what the dropout rate is. I could only find guesses, not hard data.

    Reply
  15. Ivy

    I am so happy I found this site. I was about to join weight watchers for the 5th time again and I now realize I need to go back to low carb. I have to tell you how frustrated I got with weight watchers the last time I joined I counted points but I lowered my carbs and I was lost almost 10 pounds the first week and I can remeber getting a lecture from the women that weighed me in she said I had to eat all my points yada yada and I was eating all my points I just wasn’t eating a lot of carbs and I was really working out. I agree…. you are nothing but hungry because your not eating enough protein and the leaders can’t explain why your not losing they just tell you to not give up (keep giving weight watchers more money)

    Yup, I’d dump WW and eat a whole food, low-carb diet.

    Reply
  16. Ivy

    I am so happy I found this site. I was about to join weight watchers for the 5th time again and I now realize I need to go back to low carb. I have to tell you how frustrated I got with weight watchers the last time I joined I counted points but I lowered my carbs and I was lost almost 10 pounds the first week and I can remeber getting a lecture from the women that weighed me in she said I had to eat all my points yada yada and I was eating all my points I just wasn’t eating a lot of carbs and I was really working out. I agree…. you are nothing but hungry because your not eating enough protein and the leaders can’t explain why your not losing they just tell you to not give up (keep giving weight watchers more money)

    Yup, I’d dump WW and eat a whole food, low-carb diet.

    Reply
  17. Nora

    And here I was about to sign up for WW *again.* My own history should be my guide.
    I was a NORMAL weight when I first joined WW at age ~30. Lost ~22 pounds.
    Gained them back plus about 60 more. Joined again. Lost the 60. Was 11 pounds from my original start weight.
    Gained back 110 (do you see the pattern here?). And YES, I did (and maybe still do?) blame myself.
    So I started WW at 174 pounds in 1987-ish. It is now 2010 and I weigh over 290.
    I really wish I had never ever started WW in the first place, and I feel like in doing so I completely set myself up for type 2 diabetes, which, to the best of my knowledge, does not exist anywhere in my family history.
    When I went lo-carb for three months, I lost about 30 lbs. I was not hungry at all, and I felt GREAT. Unfortunately, I tend to freak out when I hit certain weights on the way down, and I started sucking up the carbs again.
    Reading this just fueled my determination to do the RIGHT thing for MY body. Never mind that I’ll also be saving myself some $480/year, as well as the non-stop conversations revolving around foods, eating, and how to adapt recipes to make them “point-friendly.”

    Best of luck. Since going low-carb, I find my weight is remarkably stable, and I never have to be hungry.

    Reply
  18. Nora

    And here I was about to sign up for WW *again.* My own history should be my guide.
    I was a NORMAL weight when I first joined WW at age ~30. Lost ~22 pounds.
    Gained them back plus about 60 more. Joined again. Lost the 60. Was 11 pounds from my original start weight.
    Gained back 110 (do you see the pattern here?). And YES, I did (and maybe still do?) blame myself.
    So I started WW at 174 pounds in 1987-ish. It is now 2010 and I weigh over 290.
    I really wish I had never ever started WW in the first place, and I feel like in doing so I completely set myself up for type 2 diabetes, which, to the best of my knowledge, does not exist anywhere in my family history.
    When I went lo-carb for three months, I lost about 30 lbs. I was not hungry at all, and I felt GREAT. Unfortunately, I tend to freak out when I hit certain weights on the way down, and I started sucking up the carbs again.
    Reading this just fueled my determination to do the RIGHT thing for MY body. Never mind that I’ll also be saving myself some $480/year, as well as the non-stop conversations revolving around foods, eating, and how to adapt recipes to make them “point-friendly.”

    Best of luck. Since going low-carb, I find my weight is remarkably stable, and I never have to be hungry.

    Reply
  19. Patio Lantern

    I can’t believe all of you whiners and Weight Watchers haters! Good grief! Just eat normal foods and normal portions for gods sake. I lost 45 lbs on Weight Watchers, have kept it off and found it really easy to do actually. I realised that I just ate too much before joining and once I learned portion control, it all made sense. Never once did anyone promote eating carbohydrates or telling me I couldn’t eat any fat. That’s just rediculous! I have no idea where you guys are all going, but it all sounds absurd to me and not my experience with Weight Watchers at all! I love the program and now that I am at my goal weight, it is so easy and even though I keep track of what I eat, I eat whatever I want…protein, fat or carb and now naturally eat the right amount for my body and never feel deprived or hungry. Actually during my weight loss I have to say that I never felt hungry either. I never once deprived myself and have continued to eat fats, proteins and carbs & whatever else I feel like and even have a bit of chocolate everyday too! Sorry guys…but I love the program. Just don’t dwell on food and carbs, proteins, fats, whatever…just eat sensibly, move more, don’t deprive yourselves and the weight will come off. Forget all this low carb, high protein crap and just eat a normal diet with lots of variety. Afterall…we all know that variety is the spice of life!!!

    Glad it’s working for you. But you’re a rarity. Their long-term success rate is dismal.

    Reply
  20. Patio Lantern

    I can’t believe all of you whiners and Weight Watchers haters! Good grief! Just eat normal foods and normal portions for gods sake. I lost 45 lbs on Weight Watchers, have kept it off and found it really easy to do actually. I realised that I just ate too much before joining and once I learned portion control, it all made sense. Never once did anyone promote eating carbohydrates or telling me I couldn’t eat any fat. That’s just rediculous! I have no idea where you guys are all going, but it all sounds absurd to me and not my experience with Weight Watchers at all! I love the program and now that I am at my goal weight, it is so easy and even though I keep track of what I eat, I eat whatever I want…protein, fat or carb and now naturally eat the right amount for my body and never feel deprived or hungry. Actually during my weight loss I have to say that I never felt hungry either. I never once deprived myself and have continued to eat fats, proteins and carbs & whatever else I feel like and even have a bit of chocolate everyday too! Sorry guys…but I love the program. Just don’t dwell on food and carbs, proteins, fats, whatever…just eat sensibly, move more, don’t deprive yourselves and the weight will come off. Forget all this low carb, high protein crap and just eat a normal diet with lots of variety. Afterall…we all know that variety is the spice of life!!!

    Glad it’s working for you. But you’re a rarity. Their long-term success rate is dismal.

    Reply
  21. char

    I am a believer in moderation. I am on Dr. Gott’s no sugar, no flour diet. From my understanding , it is a moderate low carb diet. As in, yes to potatoes and no to cookies. I have lost 6 pounds in 3 weeks. I did not count calories at first but I am now. Cutting out bad carbs ( sugar, flour) keeps me from being hungry. I am a vegetarian but eat cheese, milk and eggs. I also eat nuts and meat substitutes. I did WW when I was a teen in the 70’s. The Canada’s food guide back then only suggested 3-5 servings of bread! Now it is 6-7. I lost weight I did not need to lose. Now I have 50 pounds to lose and I am not going anywhere near WW lol. I would rather listen to an actual doctor who seems to know what he is talking about.

    Moderate carb is what I’d like to see most people adopt. Give up the sugar and the white flour, and we’d go a long way towards solving our obesity and diabetes issues.

    Reply
  22. char

    I am a believer in moderation. I am on Dr. Gott’s no sugar, no flour diet. From my understanding , it is a moderate low carb diet. As in, yes to potatoes and no to cookies. I have lost 6 pounds in 3 weeks. I did not count calories at first but I am now. Cutting out bad carbs ( sugar, flour) keeps me from being hungry. I am a vegetarian but eat cheese, milk and eggs. I also eat nuts and meat substitutes. I did WW when I was a teen in the 70’s. The Canada’s food guide back then only suggested 3-5 servings of bread! Now it is 6-7. I lost weight I did not need to lose. Now I have 50 pounds to lose and I am not going anywhere near WW lol. I would rather listen to an actual doctor who seems to know what he is talking about.

    Moderate carb is what I’d like to see most people adopt. Give up the sugar and the white flour, and we’d go a long way towards solving our obesity and diabetes issues.

    Reply
  23. Vickie

    I am really glad I found this site…I just turned 50 and have put on about 20 pounds that I need to shed as well as some inches around the waist and hips. I have been eating nothing except WW Smart Ones with an occasional addition of a side salad with low or no fat dressing or cottage cheese. I have been doing this for about two months…I have lost 3 pounds during this whole time. I feel like I constantly want something to eat. I also stopped smoking January 15th and so I was blaming it on “that oral fixation” that everyone says ex-smokers have but now I’m thinking maybe WW isn’t for me. Here’s another thing, may be related may not…I can eat even a small amount of food, piece of fruit anything and my stomach almost instantly becomes bloated and I am miserable most of the day. How should one start a healthy moderate carb diet? Thanks for the info!

    If you want to go with a low-carb diet program, I’d suggest picking up the book “A New Atkins For a New You.” If you want to go more paleo (more restrictive, but perhaps the best diet of all for health), I’d suggest Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint.” I also like Dr. Steve Parker’s book “Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes.”

    While waiting for one of those to arrive, my advice would be to shoot for no more than 50 carbs per day to start, and to base your meals on meats, eggs, seafood, green vegetables, low-sugar fruits (mostly berries), a few nuts, and a bit of full-fat dairy.

    This will all be a lot easier if you pick up some low-carb cookbooks, too. Two of the best are “1001 Low-Carb Recipes” by Dana Carpender and “Carb Wars” by Judy Barnes Baker.

    Reply
  24. Vickie

    I am really glad I found this site…I just turned 50 and have put on about 20 pounds that I need to shed as well as some inches around the waist and hips. I have been eating nothing except WW Smart Ones with an occasional addition of a side salad with low or no fat dressing or cottage cheese. I have been doing this for about two months…I have lost 3 pounds during this whole time. I feel like I constantly want something to eat. I also stopped smoking January 15th and so I was blaming it on “that oral fixation” that everyone says ex-smokers have but now I’m thinking maybe WW isn’t for me. Here’s another thing, may be related may not…I can eat even a small amount of food, piece of fruit anything and my stomach almost instantly becomes bloated and I am miserable most of the day. How should one start a healthy moderate carb diet? Thanks for the info!

    If you want to go with a low-carb diet program, I’d suggest picking up the book “A New Atkins For a New You.” If you want to go more paleo (more restrictive, but perhaps the best diet of all for health), I’d suggest Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint.” I also like Dr. Steve Parker’s book “Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes.”

    While waiting for one of those to arrive, my advice would be to shoot for no more than 50 carbs per day to start, and to base your meals on meats, eggs, seafood, green vegetables, low-sugar fruits (mostly berries), a few nuts, and a bit of full-fat dairy.

    This will all be a lot easier if you pick up some low-carb cookbooks, too. Two of the best are “1001 Low-Carb Recipes” by Dana Carpender and “Carb Wars” by Judy Barnes Baker.

    Reply
  25. Nicole

    I have tried all sorts of diets over the last 8 years and I constantly take off weight and put it back on. Usually low carb diets. I recently started WW online and I love the program! I can have anything I want in moderation. There is no fixation or cut off from certain food groups. If I am hungry I pick up something to eat the difference is I think about its nutritional value and if its worth the points. You can have all the fruits and veggies you want and lean meats are low in point value! The higher the carbs (that are not loaded in fiber) the higher the point value. If you are true to the program and fill yourself on healthy foods instead of high point value foods that are high in fat/carbs then the science makes sense and you won’t be hungry!

    Reply
  26. Nicole

    I have tried all sorts of diets over the last 8 years and I constantly take off weight and put it back on. Usually low carb diets. I recently started WW online and I love the program! I can have anything I want in moderation. There is no fixation or cut off from certain food groups. If I am hungry I pick up something to eat the difference is I think about its nutritional value and if its worth the points. You can have all the fruits and veggies you want and lean meats are low in point value! The higher the carbs (that are not loaded in fiber) the higher the point value. If you are true to the program and fill yourself on healthy foods instead of high point value foods that are high in fat/carbs then the science makes sense and you won’t be hungry!

    Reply
  27. Jacqui

    Just what I expected! I joined WW in town and paid for 8 weeks (what a meat head I am) and am into my third week and have been famished! Last time I lost weight the healthy way, by eating things like salmon, almonds, peanut butter and veggies ~ a good piece of salmon has 14 points, when the min. you get is 29 points that is most of your meals with one piece of fish?! You are praised for diet drinks (can anybody say aspartame = cancer) and I did purchase the “complete food companion” booklet, $8. (stupid, stupid, stupid) and tried to look something simple as 7-up……not in there, 20 diet sodas I have never heard of but no 7-up. I also joined the YWCA and with working out and the WW plan, a measly 2 pounds gone and I have starved!!!!

    Screw WW, I’m going back to the healthy weight loss and if asked how I lost it tell the members the truth, I’m sure they will not give me my money back. There are poor souls that have been in there for months on end and are excited for losing 10 pounds, bless their hearts.

    Do not sign up for WW, it is an unhealthy waste of your money. Eat right and exercise, the old fashion way is still the best.

    Reply
  28. Jacqui

    Just what I expected! I joined WW in town and paid for 8 weeks (what a meat head I am) and am into my third week and have been famished! Last time I lost weight the healthy way, by eating things like salmon, almonds, peanut butter and veggies ~ a good piece of salmon has 14 points, when the min. you get is 29 points that is most of your meals with one piece of fish?! You are praised for diet drinks (can anybody say aspartame = cancer) and I did purchase the “complete food companion” booklet, $8. (stupid, stupid, stupid) and tried to look something simple as 7-up……not in there, 20 diet sodas I have never heard of but no 7-up. I also joined the YWCA and with working out and the WW plan, a measly 2 pounds gone and I have starved!!!!

    Screw WW, I’m going back to the healthy weight loss and if asked how I lost it tell the members the truth, I’m sure they will not give me my money back. There are poor souls that have been in there for months on end and are excited for losing 10 pounds, bless their hearts.

    Do not sign up for WW, it is an unhealthy waste of your money. Eat right and exercise, the old fashion way is still the best.

    Reply
  29. Cathy

    Hi fathead. Loved your movie – watched it on netflix. But i did the fast food diet before you and lost around 10 pounds over the summer. Except it was the summer i graduated from high school 40 years ago. I ate a hamburger (with the bun)nothing else every day at 4pm. Then i went out every night with my friends drinking and partying. I should have made a movie.
    My husband and i follow low carb now- sometimes it seems to take a long time to lose weight, but i lost 2 pounds over the holidays and im a size 10 (down from a pudgy 12)AND
    I went to quite a few parties too (but not like when i was 18).

    Losing weight over the holidays is an accomplishment.

    Reply
  30. Cathy

    Hi fathead. Loved your movie – watched it on netflix. But i did the fast food diet before you and lost around 10 pounds over the summer. Except it was the summer i graduated from high school 40 years ago. I ate a hamburger (with the bun)nothing else every day at 4pm. Then i went out every night with my friends drinking and partying. I should have made a movie.
    My husband and i follow low carb now- sometimes it seems to take a long time to lose weight, but i lost 2 pounds over the holidays and im a size 10 (down from a pudgy 12)AND
    I went to quite a few parties too (but not like when i was 18).

    Losing weight over the holidays is an accomplishment.

    Reply
  31. Emory

    Enjoyed the article and I couldn’t help but notice the 650 mg sodium in one 310 calorie portion of the WW meal. If I hazard a guess that the 650 is average for one WW entree and multiply that by 6 ( to equal 1800 calories), I come up with 3.9 grams of salt. Considering, the average intake should be 2 gr or less, that’s quite a lot of sodium.
    No wonder the fatties don’t lose weight.

    I don’t worry about sodium intake at all.

    Reply
  32. Emory

    Enjoyed the article and I couldn’t help but notice the 650 mg sodium in one 310 calorie portion of the WW meal. If I hazard a guess that the 650 is average for one WW entree and multiply that by 6 ( to equal 1800 calories), I come up with 3.9 grams of salt. Considering, the average intake should be 2 gr or less, that’s quite a lot of sodium.
    No wonder the fatties don’t lose weight.

    I don’t worry about sodium intake at all.

    Reply
  33. linn

    I first tried WW online (points plus) last year, and joined up again this year.

    I find it is a good way to reign the body back in with portion control once I get off track for a long time period. It also re-teaches me how to cook healthy meals and take time to eat more veggies and fruits.

    However, for me it is NOT for the long term. I actually found this post cause I was out googling the conventional wisdom of WW. I get REALLY annoyed with the point system because it DOES favor low fat, high carb. I also think it works better for very fat people, not people who are only a little overweight like me. If you have a lot of weight to lose, the mere portion control of the points is going to make you lose weight, no matter if you are eating the cardboard box the food comes in.

    I eat whole foods and occasional pre packed ones though rarely WW foods.

    Since my latest WW points plus endeavor, I have found it to work for me. But in sticking with what I KNOW works for me and not their ‘conventional wisdom’ I cheat a little. I record my whole milk as 2% milk (a difference of one point) and I halve the points for mayo and things like this where I’m not really indulging. If the calorie difference is small between the whole food and the low-fat version I don’t feel bad cheating in this regard and figure it helps me to get more satiating foods while also controlling my portions in a meaingful way. I just started doing this so can’t say how well it works, I suspect much better for me as I get literally angry when I see how high some points are for things compared to others which I know are bad!

    Reply
  34. linn

    I first tried WW online (points plus) last year, and joined up again this year.

    I find it is a good way to reign the body back in with portion control once I get off track for a long time period. It also re-teaches me how to cook healthy meals and take time to eat more veggies and fruits.

    However, for me it is NOT for the long term. I actually found this post cause I was out googling the conventional wisdom of WW. I get REALLY annoyed with the point system because it DOES favor low fat, high carb. I also think it works better for very fat people, not people who are only a little overweight like me. If you have a lot of weight to lose, the mere portion control of the points is going to make you lose weight, no matter if you are eating the cardboard box the food comes in.

    I eat whole foods and occasional pre packed ones though rarely WW foods.

    Since my latest WW points plus endeavor, I have found it to work for me. But in sticking with what I KNOW works for me and not their ‘conventional wisdom’ I cheat a little. I record my whole milk as 2% milk (a difference of one point) and I halve the points for mayo and things like this where I’m not really indulging. If the calorie difference is small between the whole food and the low-fat version I don’t feel bad cheating in this regard and figure it helps me to get more satiating foods while also controlling my portions in a meaingful way. I just started doing this so can’t say how well it works, I suspect much better for me as I get literally angry when I see how high some points are for things compared to others which I know are bad!

    Reply
  35. Scarlet

    I have to say that everyone I’ve known on Weight Watchers has eaten a lot of junk like cereal bars, “cheese” singles, processed soy burgers, and fat-free potato chips day in, day out for months on end. I do know people who have lost weight on it in recent years, but all have regained at least half of it back. Considering the amount of muscle they might have lost, their body fat composition is probably not any better than it was before.

    Reply
  36. Scarlet

    I have to say that everyone I’ve known on Weight Watchers has eaten a lot of junk like cereal bars, “cheese” singles, processed soy burgers, and fat-free potato chips day in, day out for months on end. I do know people who have lost weight on it in recent years, but all have regained at least half of it back. Considering the amount of muscle they might have lost, their body fat composition is probably not any better than it was before.

    Reply
  37. Tim

    Hey, Jan, nice post up! Good luck! Try the Eade’s new “6 Week Cure”, and consider repeating weeks as needed to kick start. I think Tom has a few “6 Week Cure” posts on Fat Head Movie Blog. Then go to straight up “Protein Power” recommendations.

    Do “6 Week Cure” precisely as written up, and you’ll be far ahead of your WW classmates at that 6 week point. You’ll be shocked, so will they if you bother to go back in to WW to gloat.

    Reply

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