Last Updated on April 6, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
Weight Watchers is probably one of the longest lasting mainstream diet plans anyone can sign up with. However, is it really that much better than trying to lose weight on your own? Or is it a good way to tap your grocery budget?
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of success stories on the Internet regarding Weight Watchers. On the other hand, you could probably get a similar effect by being self-reliant and saving your money.
The Basics of All Diets
Nearly every diet plan on the market has two inescapable elements: eating healthier and exercise. This is a bit of a simplistic view, but it’s true. It’s the basis behind losing weight and building a healthier body.
In that sense, just about any approach has potential to work as long as you put in the effort.
Want to start losing weight today? Change your eating habits. This should be the first step to any routine, including Weight Watchers. In fact, I dropped my first 10 pounds almost immediately just by cutting down on my intake.
I wouldn’t say I am the healthiest eater on the planet. I still eat a lot of the same stuff I did before. The difference is I cut down on how much of it I eat. Instead of wiping out half a pizza in one sitting, I now have one or two slices.
It’s all about managing your intake versus output. If you eat more than your body will use, it’s going to pack on as fat.
Any diet or pill supplement comes with the caveat of getting more exercise. Unfortunately, a lot of people’s eyes glaze over at the mere mention of it. The truth is, exercise will burn calories and fat while strengthening other parts of the body.
For example, I started increasing my walks and physical movement after my heart stopped. I haven’t had a problem since while building up my cardiovascular system.
Don’t think of exercise as some mundane activity to do every morning. It’s not about push-ups or sit-ups. It’s about keeping the body in motion while creating more dense muscle mass.
I’ve lost most of my weight simply playing the Xbox Kinect.
No diet is going to work for if you don’t approach it with the right mindset. What if you hate the idea of doing Weight Watchers? Then you will often find yourself frustrated, stressed and more likely to cheat or quit on the diet plan.
The best way to approach diets and exercise is by self-discovery. Find something that works for you and stick with it. If you go into it half-assed, you’ll get a half-assed experience.
Weight Watchers Meals at the Store
A lot of meals prepared by Weight Watchers do look tasty. But are they really all that much better than their cheaper counterparts? In many instances, this is a resounding, “No.”
Compare the Freezer Isle
Before you buy the Weight Watchers meal, compare its nutritional value to others in the same isle. In many instances, the overall health value is comparable for a lower price tag.
For instance, I pretty much live at Trader Joe’s. The meals I cook from frozen packages I get cost less than $1.50 after portioning it out in most cases, compared to almost double from Weight Watchers.
True, there are often more carbs in the dishes I make. But I also keep myself as active as possible, which burns up those carbs and why I have lost almost 70 pounds so far.
Cooking it Yourself
When you buy any dietary product, whether it’s Weight Watchers or Trader Joe’s, you’re essentially paying for convenience. If you really want to lose weight and save a lot of money over the long-term, buy a healthy-meal cookbook and do it yourself.
Personally, I like coming up with my own recipes. Then again, I love to cook.
What Makes Weight Watchers Successful?
If it’s possible to lose weight on your own, how is Weight Watchers online so popular? Because it has an amazing marketing department and offers an engaging platform that is attractive for many.
One of the more powerful elements behind Weight Watchers is the social mindset it presents. It reminds me a lot of Alcoholics Anonymous but with more pleasant undertones. In fact, the company often supports group meetings and other social connections.
You can connect with others online, in person or hire a coach to help you through the weight loss journey. The prices vary depending on your location, but it looks like most are just under $10 per week.
Like most other successful businesses in any industry, Weight Watchers often hires some of the most empowering speakers to put in front of people. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. In fact, it’s a practice anyone in business does on a regular basis.
Why do you buy products your favorite celebrity shares?
If you’re capable of making an audience feel empowered and hyped about a product, you can easily make money. And you can’t fault a business for wanting to keep the bills and employees paid.
As Weight Watchers has been around for a very long time, you can find all kinds of success stories. However, you can also find failures if you look enough. But, you can’t really argue with results.
Part of the reasons why the company has been around for so long, even though other mainstream diet plans have melted away, is because of how well it works and its community.
Then again, I am living proof that fad diets are not necessary if you can keep your mind in the game.
What Can You Do On Your Own for Free?
Looking to lose weight for free because you really can’t afford the expenses of Weight Watchers? Perhaps you just like the idea of building confidence by knowing you did it all on your own.
What ever your reason, here is what I suggest for those who want to slim down and live healthier.
1. Use MyFitnessPal
I should be a spokesman for MyFitnessPal. I use it every day to monitor the amount of food I eat compared to my calorie burn. It works even better if you connect a Fitbit Charge 2 to keep track of physical activity.
This is a free app that will show you just how much you’re putting into your body. The first time I entered a “meal deal” from Taco Bell, I was beyond shocked.
No wonder why so many people are obese in this country.
I also like the social element of MyFitnessPal. It’s not as fancy or as robust as something like Facebook, but it works well to connect with others who are trying to live healthier.
2. Change Eating Habits
Once you’re online with MyFitnessPal, it’s time to start changing the eating habits. Record every morsel of food and drink you put into your body. The system will count everything for you from calories to protein.
But, it’s not enough to just keep the calories, carbs and fats low. You also have to change what kind of food you eat on a regular basis. For example, I used to eat a lot of fast food until I started paying attention. Now I cook at home more often.
Add vegetables, fruits and other healthier elements. Not only will they deliver the vitamins and minerals you’ll need to survive, but they also fill the stomach on fewer calories.
You don’t have to go vegan or anything like that. I still have chocolate, cookies and ice cream in the house. Just use proper portion sizes and add healthier alternatives to some meals and snacks.
3. Get More Physical Activity
Want to kick your weight loss into high-gear and strengthen your body? Get more physical activity. I’m not just talking about aerobics or heading out the gym three times a week.
Any activity that will increase your heart rate and make you sweat is good.
Here are just a handful of things I do to burn calories:
- Play tennis on the Xbox Kinect
- Turn on the music and dance while sweeping and mopping my floors
- Ride my bike around the neighborhood, now that I have air in the tires
- Go to the driving range at the golf course
- Exploring the city on foot and discovering new shops
- Walk to the grocery store
My point is getting my activity in your life will help you lose weight while boosting self-reliance. There are a lot of practical benefits to keeping in shape outside of looking like a model on a cover of a magazine.
4. Join Online Social Groups
The Internet is full of social groups for those who want to lose weight without feeling judged. Facebook, MyFitnessPal and others all have sections ready for engaging others who are like-minded.
Why are social groups important? Because they can help boost esteem while giving you a platform to vent. Remember what I said about Weight Watchers seeming a lot like Alcoholics Anonymous? It’s because of the group benefits of connecting with others.
You never know…you may even meet a few new people and make some friends who share your same interests.
5. Change Your Mentality
The biggest step to losing weight at home for free is going to be changing your mindset. You can’t approach health and fitness in a negative light or it’s going to be more difficult to get into a positive groove.
The more excited you get about any activity, the more you’re going to enjoy it. Well, most of the time anyway. It’s all about getting yourself psyched and ready for each day.
You’ll get more out of any experience if you put in the effort to accomplish goals. This is true with most anything in life.
Don’t think of losing weight as a way to fit into smaller clothes or look sexy on the beach. Think of it as a way to keep yourself from dying.
It’s what I do.
It’s All About Personal Effort
I’m not saying Weight Watchers is a bad idea. Most of you could probably get quite a bit out of the experience. However, it’s not for me. I’d rather save the money and do it on my own. After losing nearly 70 pounds with a half-assed effort, this is what works for me.
Find what works for you and give it your all whether that’s Weight Watchers, Atkins or doing it yourself.