By Jackie Stinson
Weight Watchers can work for everyone, including men. Women and men are different in practically every way, including the way we approach things like diet and exercise. As someone who has lost nearly 70 pounds using the Weight Watchers plan*, I understand the struggles. Weight Watchers has more than 50 years of science behind the program they’ve developed, so it’s no surprise that they’ve taken into account the specific things that men need to be successful too.
*(People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.)
Weight Watchers for Men: What is it?
As a man you can follow the Weight Watchers program with Weight Watchers Online, a customized plan that you can follow either completely online, or by attending meetings. You decide what works best for you. Whichever option you choose, there are a few things that stay the same. You’ll get a ton of support, strategies, and tips to stay on track and lose weight. For me a combination of meetings and online tools led me to success. You may find that you want to use just the online tools. Even that part is customized by you.
What can I eat?
My first question when I started the program was not, “What can I eat?”, but rather, “What am I not allowed to eat?” That might be your question too. The answer: nothing. You can eat all of your favorite foods. Nothing is forbidden or off limits. You’ll use your PointsPlus budget (you’ll learn about that next) and choose the foods you want to eat. Do you like beer? Cool, have one. Do you like tailgating with your friends? You can still eat everything that makes you happy. You will learn to make smarter choices. You’ll continue to eat what you love and you may even start to enjoy foods you never knew you loved.
How does it work?
Weight Watchers is all about the science behind weight loss and health success. What’s great about that is that they’ve figured it all out for you, so there’s not the inconvenient counting of calories or trying to figure out if a particular food is okay to consume.
When you join, you’ll get a personal PointsPlus budget. What that means is that based on your height and weight, you’ll be given a number, which is your target PointsPlus value for the day. Every food has a point value based on its calories, fat content, and fiber content. You’ll eat throughout the day and once you reach your PointsPlus budget, you’re done. Based on this calculation, you can obviously see that high fat, high calorie foods like French fries or ice cream have a higher point value than, say a skinless chicken breast and a side salad. Does that mean you can’t have the French fries? It most certainly does not. You’re in control. You can see, however, that having a PointsPlus budget for the day will help you make healthier choices.
There are online tools to track what you eat and drink, as well as any exercise you do. Again, your only job is to eat, drink, track, and stay within your PointsPlus budget. You’ll track your food and activity each day and weigh in once a week. It becomes a routine and it’s fun when you can actually see the progress you’re making.
Why Weight Watchers?
The simple answer here is, clearly, that Weight Watchers works. Weight Watchers has been around for over 50 years. That doesn’t tend to happen unless you’re doing something right. Unlike other weight loss programs or products, Weight Watchers is not a fad. It’s based on science and the success of its members, including me, is a testament to why it’s still around. Rather than trying to change your life in every way to accommodate a diet or eating plan, Weight Watchers allows you to tailor your eating plan to your life. For me, that made all the difference.
Maybe you’ve been overweight for years and have decided it’s time to change that. Maybe you used to be in terrific shape, but have since put on some extra weight and need a boost to get back on track. Maybe you’re at a place in your life where you’re unhappy with your weight or overall health and you know that things like illness or medication may be waiting just around the corner for you if you don’t make some changes right now. Weight Watchers can help you make the changes you need to make to live healthy and happy for the rest of your life.
What about exercise?
Do you love going to the gym for hours? Great, Weight Watchers will work for you. Do you hate the gym and avoid it at all costs? Great, Weight Watchers will work for you, too! Just as we’re all different with what we like to eat, our activity and exercise habits are different as well. Maybe you love to go to the gym, but are getting a little bored with your current routine. Weight Watchers Online has a ton of workout ideas you can try to challenge yourself and get out of the boredom rut. If you’re not an avid exerciser (I was not), maybe it’s because you haven’t found anything that you love. Weight Watchers has ideas and demos to try, in the comfort of your own home. You’re sure to find something you love.
Another bonus of exercising is that you’ll add points to your PointsPlus budget. The more vigorous the activity, the more points you’ll earn. That means you can eat more. It’s perfect for an upcoming special event or a time when you know you might indulge. Sweat it out and get some extra points to use.
What does it cost?
Weight Watchers Online – The standard monthly rate is $18.95. But there are promotional discounts available. There are different ways to pay and options available for what you choose to do.
Weight Watchers Meeting – You pay only $42.95 per month for the Monthly Pass. That's less than $10 a week on average.
Depending on what you choose to do, there may be a signup fee or it may be waived. Typically, there are options to pay monthly or for several months at once. The second option usually costs less. If you attend meetings, there are more options as well. Some members pay a specific amount when they attend each meeting. If you sign up for something like the Weight Watchers Monthly Pass, there are discounts and you will not need to pay for per meeting you attend. It’s best to first figure out how you plan to use Weight Watchers, and then check out the payment options and program cost for what you decide.
eTools –Internet companion for meetings
Weight Watchers eTools will become your best friend. I used them every day. It’s the place you’ll go to log in your food and activity each day, but it’s more than that. If you need some inspiration for dinner, there are thousands of recipes to browse. There are also cheat sheets, so you can easily make quick and good choices. Should you have the IPA or your favorite Irish brew? There’s a cheat sheet for that.
There are mobile apps (whether you happen to be using an iPhone, iPad, or Android), so you’ll never be without your eTools.
The Restaurant Guide is one of the tools I found most useful. Maybe you’re at a restaurant someone else chose and didn’t plan properly. No worry – you can use The Restaurant Guide to find the best menu choices. You’ll always be able to stay on track.
Weight Watchers Meetings– What you should know
Meetings can be a great way to find support. You can simply enter your zip code to find your area’s closest meeting. There are usually several times from which to choose, so you can work them around your schedule.
If you’ve never attended a meeting before, they can be a fantastic resource for your success. You’ll meet members – both men and women – who are going through the same things you are. Share your story if you’d like, but there’s no pressure to talk. Just go and listen if that’s more your style. The meetings are led by former and current members who have had weight loss success with Weight Watchers. eTools is included when you attend meetings, so you can use a combination of the two to never veer off your course to permanent success.
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