1- What can/can't I eat?
No food is off limits. Seriously. You can eat anything you want. Of course the AMOUNT of food is likely to change; but you get to pick what you eat. You are not forced to eat things you dislike and you are not forbidden anything.
2- How does it work?
There are 2 plans: FLEX and CORE:
- On flex, you get a set amount of points per day (based on your age, height, current weight and daily activity). You also get extra points from activity AND 35 extra points for the week that you can use some or all of. Treat all points as CASH - Is whatever food item
"worth" x number of points to you? Great, go ahead and have it. WW gives you books that explains points values of food and how to determine points from a nutrition label.
- On core, you are slightly more restricted regarding food choices- you get to pick from a set list of food. Mostly natural stuff and don't have to track points. You are supposed to "eat till you are comfortable" (not ALL YOU CAN EAT!) and you get 35 additional points for the week which you can use on non-core foods.
- When you first join, it's hard enough to restrict the amount of food you are consuming, I do not suggest you restrict the types of food too (not yet)
- You need to learn what a true portion size is. On flex, you need to weigh or measure to get the hang of a normal healthy portion. Learn these portion sizes!
3- What does it cost?
The cost varies by location and plan. Typically, there is a registration fee- but it is waived several times a year. Aside from that, you pay weekly. It is between $10 and $12, which comes out to $40-$60 a month. However, if you buy the monthly pass, it is only $40 for a full month (regardless of how many weeks are in that month). And in addition to that, the monthly pass gives you full access to the website and e-tools (a section of the website where you can track your points online). Separately, you can subscribe to e-tools for 13 dollars a month. In the interest of saving money, I do the monthly pass. (note: the monthly pass accepted at most, but not all, locations).
4- I'm scared/nervous. Help me be more comfortable!
The staff at Weight Watchers of course varies by location; but I have had wonderful, supportive staff at all of them. Everyone that works there is a WW lifetime member (meaning they attended meetings and hit goal). They are friendly, supportive and have been through what you are going through. No one judges or makes fun of you. And they are usually understanding if you don't want to speak. It's a very friendly atmosphere.
5- What are they going to try to sell me?
They do NOT try to sell you anything there. You are only responsible for paying the weekly fee. They do sell some snacks, cookbooks and other products but you are under no obligation to purchase them.
6- How often do I need to go?
You are required to attend one meeting a week. You may attend more often if you wish, and can usually go to any other WW location. You are also required to get weighed once a week. But if you choose not to get weighed for whatever reason, they are usually good about letting you not weigh in. (I've weighed in many times but not looked)
7- What goes on in the meetings?Each week is a new topic that your leader will discuss. It's an open forum for questions and input. My leader always asks us who has upcoming challenges and we brainstorm suggestions for the other members. My leader also gives awards at the end of every meeting (ex: every 5 pounds gets you a gold star sticker. 25 pounds gets you a magnet. 10% of your starting weight gets you a silver key chain)
8- What kind of people go to a WW meeting?
Picture the demographic of your city- that is who you will see at the meeting. It's usually 95% women; but the ages, ethnicities, professional levels and amount of weight to lose will vary from member to member.
9- Does this mean I can't eat out/Drink/Attend a wedding, etc?
These are challenges and there are a lot of strategies for them. I have a lot of my own, which I will blog about. The website is also a fantastic resource for ideas. And in the meetings, the other members will have ideas for you too.
10- Will I lose weight every week?
Wouldn't that be nice? No - you will not. And that's totally normal. Your weigh-in is affected by so many factors. You must remember that the number on the scale is NOT the only measure of your success. The trick is to keep going regardless of that weigh in. If you keep at it, it WILL come off. (there will be a blog on this too)
11- Do I have to exercise?
You are not required to. However, if you do, you get to eat more (you earn points). And I can tell you from experience that if you do exercise you will have better results and feel amazing, so I highly suggest it.
12- Will I be hungry?
Depends - you might be. Especially the first week or first few weeks. You are eating much less than you are currently used to, so it is to be expected. I promise you, it gets easier as your body adjusts after a short period of time. In the meantime I suggest making sure you drink LOTS of water (I drink almost a gallon a day) and squeeze in a few zero point items when you need a snack.
That addresses most of the questions I get from non-WW people. Of course, if there are any others, please leave them in a comment.