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Weight Watchers Diet: Advantages & Pitfalls
by Justin Leonard
Written on February 18, 2002

Recently, I was asked about the Weight Watchers diet plan and its effectiveness. After consulting with several people who had been using the Weight Watchers diet, I found that it could potentially be a good diet. But it also had its downfalls.

In the following article, I will critically evaluate the Weight Watchers diet. I based this article on the following criteria: How does the Weight Watchers diet hold up nutritionally? Does it have the ability to support intense training? And does it have the ability to provide long-lasting results?

How does it work?

The Weight Watchers diet uses a food points measuring system. For example, vegetables are 0 points, donuts are 2 - 4 points, meats are 5 - 7 points, pizza is 10 points, and so on. My numbers may be slightly off, but that's the general concept of the Weight Watchers Diet. The more fat and calories a particular food has, the more points it is.

While on the Weight Watchers Diet, the goal is to eat only the maximum allowable points or less for your body weight and type. The problem is that someone's maximum amount of points can be 25, for example. They can eat nothing throughout an entire day, then eat the whole 25 points [or a good portion of the 25 points] later in the evening to satisfy midnight cravings.

This could be an accident waiting to happen, even if you're under your maximum allowable points! When you do this, your body basically says, "Thanks! You've starved me! Now I must hold onto these fat calories because I feel deprived of what I need! I want to prepare myself for another potential 'long drought' without food."

How does Weight Watchers hold up nutritionally?

Nutritionally, the Weight Watchers Diet is ideal. It offers a good balance of all of the essential nutrients, plus supplementation is advocated to maximize results. But again, the nutrients must be properly balanced or bad things can happen.

Can this diet support intense training?

Definitely! This is true because you can eat whatever you want while in the specified points range. You would only have to ensure you're eating the right foods at the right times.

In the long run, the Weight Watchers diet model can produce quality results as long as you utilize the points system in the proper manner.

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