In this article, I refer to the company as both Weight Watchers and WW. The official name used to be Weight Watchers, but they recently rebranded to just WW. A lot of people still refer to the company by the long name, so I’m using both interchangeably.
I wrote a few days ago about my decision to count calories. Or, if not count calories, at least track everything that I eat.
This decision comes as I realize that I need to take my health (and the health of my lower back!) seriously. Not so much focused on a number when it comes to weight loss, but on my back feeling less pressure, feeling strong and healthy.
I’ve Tried WW Before
At the end of 2011, I was about as heavy as I am now. In 2010, I had surgery on my lower back which eliminated running from being my principal exercise.
In 2012, starting a new life in a new place, I decided to try and make some changes. I signed up for what was then Weight Watchers, which is now officially WW.
In the first week, I felt seriously hungry. I remember breaking down in tears at the thought that this was my future: feeling hungry all the time.
It Got Better
Gradually, it got better and just by tracking and eating less (not exercising regularly), I did manage to lose a good 10kg in about nine months.
I noticed, though, that Weight Watchers steered me heavily towards low-fat and low calorie options, and encouraged a lot of fruit consumption (high in sugar).
I was doing WW online, and I liked the app and the relative ease of tracking. However, putting all my recipes in (since I do mostly cook from scratch) was pretty tedious, and the database of known Canadian ingredients wasn’t huge.
At one point, when I had hit a plateau and wanted to try and re-motivate myself, I attended a couple of meetings.
Meetings Were a No-Go
The meetings heavily pushed Weight Watchers products. There were always arrays of packaged “healthy” foods: treats, salty snacks, prepared meals, all branded.
That was a bit of a turn-off. Also, the focus of the meetings didn’t seem right to me.
Instead of talking about making healthy lifestyle changes, the leader and other members seemed to focus on how to “cheat.”
They were constantly looking for ways to try and fool their taste buds or their stomachs into thinking they had eaten something they craved, or eaten more.
I stopped attending after two meetings.
Eventually, the whole process lost its charm, and my use of the app and tracking fizzled out.
I have actually twice signed up again for WW, only to let it drop. Once in 2018, when we were living in Germany. It is not huge in Germany, and I was using the American site. Tracking the ingredients and foods I was eating there was very difficult, and I soon gave up.
A second time was earlier this year.
Rebranded from Weight Watchers to WW
In early 2020, I tried again. Weight Watchers is now WW and the rebranding has included a revamping of their points system.
You are assigned a color, and based on your color, some foods are “allowed” and others are not.
If you are purple, you get fewer points for eating potatoes than if you are blue, for instance.
I also tried attending meetings again (this was pre-pandemic). But once again, though there was more sharing of tasty recipes in this group, there was a lot of talk about “fooling” yourself into think you’re eating what you’re not.
Already a bit skeptical, when the pandemic hit I didn’t bother to try the virtual meetings. I also found that their points system didn’t work for me, and I gave up tracking again.
Eventually, I canceled my membership yet again.
An Individualized Approach
After thinking about it and wondering why I found it so hard to stick with WW, I have come to a couple of conclusions.
- Firstly, I don’t like being told what to do by someone (or some entity) I don’t know and respect. With the online version, I don’t have any personal interaction (minus the online discussions, and let’s not even go there). And in the face-to-face meetings I attended, I couldn’t respect the person leading.
- Secondly, despite having lost weight on WW before, I wasn’t really building lasting habits. I don’t think any app or program can do that for me, and WW certainly didn’t. I lost a lot of weight, looked great in the photos at my wedding, and then went back to old habits.
It’s not like I don’t know what I need to do. And it’s not like I am a weak-willed person who cannot discipline herself enough to build new habits.
But I think that I need something more personalized and more tailored than Weight Watchers offers.
That’s When I Tried Noom.
I’ll tell you about that another time.
(Spoiler alert: IT SUCKED.)