Weight Watchers Diet Program Basics

Weight Watchers Meeting
Weight Watchers Meeting. Eugene Gologursky/Stringer/Getty Images

The Weight Watchers diet program is rated as one of the most successful by researchers. It is based on matching the food calories consumed with those expended through both exercise and your basal body metabolism. The amount of food eaten and calories burned by exercise is tracked by a Points system that is weighted towards healthier food choices.

There is no secret method, it is based on eating fewer calories than you burn each day. No food is off limits, but the credo is "if you bite it, write it," logging everything you eat and adding it to your daily total. Weight Watchers is always changing and improving its program. 

Weight Watchers Costs

Weight Watchers traditional meetings cost between $10 to $12 per week depending on local variation and whether you select a package or month-to-month option.

The Weight Watchers online program may charge a starter fee of $20 to sign up, then a monthly fee of $19.95 per month, with a discount for signing up for a 3-month package. There is also a 1-on-1 Coaching program that includes the online program but also has personal coaching via phone or text. It is similar in cost to the traditional meetings.

Once you achieve your weight goal and maintain it for six weeks, you become a Life Member. All fees are subject to change, and there may be specials offered. Weight Watchers also has a variety of products and convenience foods, cookbooks, and diet tools for sale, but those are optional. They sell products online and they may be available at Weight Watchers meetings.

Weight Watchers Meetings

Weight Watchers weekly meetings are under an hour long and led by a group leader. There is first a confidential weigh-in to track your progress. The leader and group share tips, recipes, and help guide you through the program. Those uncomfortable with meetings may prefer to weigh-in and leave, or to use the Weight Watchers online or coaching programs instead.

Weight Watchers Online Program

The tools on the Weight Watchers website are available to Weight Watchers online subscribers or as an extra fee for other Weight Watchers members. The online food and exercise diary is a full-featured tool that includes calculators, food search, recipe builder and analyzer, and more to make tracking what you eat easier. For food and meal suggestions they have meal ideas and recipes, including full day plans and shopping lists. There are also message boards for mutual support.

Weight Watchers and Exercise

The Points system allows you earn Points through exercise. This system is good for active people who are trying to lose weight, yet need to avoid eating too little for their amount of activity and suffer fatigue. Weight Watchers encourages exercise and the eTools have several workouts illustrated.


Weight Watchers should lose 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. A leading consumer magazine rated Weight Watchers the best for diet success of several commercial programs. It is based on sound nutritional advice and allows choice and flexibility. It is popular and available almost anywhere. Many restaurants and packaged foods list Weight Watchers Points. Weigh-ins make the dieter accountable and motivate for success.


While the program says that weigh-ins are confidential, often they are semi-public due to the meeting space, and that is a drawback for many. Using the Weight Watchers online program eliminates the need for public meetings for those who desire more privacy and do not feel they need a support group. Counting Points can become tedious or lead to even greater food fixations for some. The Core Foods Plan may help eliminate that drawback.

No Matter Which Diet Plan You Use, Add Exercise

30-Day Quick Start Walking Plan: This is a daily 30-day course for those new to walking. Build your walking time from zero to walking comfortably for over half an hour for health and weight loss. It includes daily walking assignments and walking lessons.

Treadmill Weight Loss Walking Plan: Use this plan to vary your treadmill workouts throughout the week to burn more calories. You'll challenge your body in new ways to encourage it to burn fat and become more lean and fit.

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