Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers is one of the longest-running (over 50 years) and most renowned weight loss programs around.

The longevity of Weight Watchers is testimony to its continual success as a balanced weight loss program.

It is one of the few commercial diet programs that is backed up by clinical research (see references), and is consistently ranked as the best program by US News & World Report.

The Basics of the Weight Watchers Program

Weight Watchers encompasses healthy nutrition, effective calorie control, and livability. The goal is to lose weight and keep it off.

  • Learn simple ways to make healthier choices
  • Weight loss plan based on current nutritional science
  • No required foods
  • Flexibility for indulgences

The Weight Watchers approach believes that food intake is just one part of long-term weight management. A healthy body results in a healthy lifestyle (both mental, emotional, and physical health). Weight Watchers does not tell you what to eat, but provides the information, tools, and motivation to help you make good eating decisions.

This holistic approach is aptly name 'Beyond the Scale' and encourages members to look at every facet of life in their weight loss journey.

Recent changes to the program provide an even more comprehensive support structure that will suit different needs as well as different budgets.

How the Program Works

Follow the program entirely online with OnlinePlus and get 24/7 support, mobile apps and more.

Choose Personal Coaching and get all the benefits of Essentials plus get personalized support from a coach.

You can also attend Meetings and develop skills and strategies while benefitting from the power of the group. Or combine all the support we offer with Total Access.

Weight Watchers Plans

You can now choose from four plans. Each plan offers varying levels of support. These are listed in order of price (lowest to highest cost). Note that we cannot list prices here as they vary depending on your location.

This is an all digital way to follow the program. There are no meetings. Subscribers have access to 24/7 Chat, a tool that provides real-time support from a team of trained coaches.

Meetings (includes OnlinePlus)
Subscribers will get guidance and motivation (in-person) from a trained coach. They will receive inspiration, support, and experience the power of the group. Plus, they will also receive all the benefits of OnlinePlus. This offer is available in participating areas only and prices vary depending on location.

Personal Coaching (includes OnlinePlus)
Subscribers will receive one-on-one guidance from their coach. They will have 1:1 phone sessions and be able to connect with the coach as often as they need. Also includes all the benefits of Essentials. Note that clinical research shows that personal coaching combined with a good weight loss program is the most successful.

Total Access
This is everything: Personal coaching, Meetings, plus all the benefits of the Essentials program.

What the OnlinePlus Base Plan Covers

  • Nutritionally it is based on the SmartPoints system that calculates your optimal food intake. This is supported by various digital tools (including smartphone apps). SmartPoints uses the latest nutrtitional research to convert a food into a points value. It takes into account the macronutrient makeup of the food, including sugar as a factor.
  • A huge resource of recipes and customized meal plans.
  • Comprehensive video learning system.
  • Ability to sync with various fitness devices.

What About Exercise?

Weight Watchers strongly encourages exercise. Essentials allows exercise activities to be logged, and calculated into your daily SmartPoints values. The Weight Watchers website also has a large number of workout plans and exercise information.

Does Weight Watchers Work?

Weight Watchers is a sustainable and workable program that has been successful for over 40 years. It is common to see a number of people try different diet fads, only to return to Weight Watchers when things don't go so well. It is also refreshing to see that Weight Watchers will NOT accept people who are on (or 5 pounds above) the minimum weight range for age and height.

The Essentials base plan works out to about $5.40 per week (with a 3 month plan) - which is actually quite comparable (if not better) than some competitors (if you compare feature for feature).

The program has withstood extensive scrutiny from academic research, and routinely comes out as the best choice for weight loss.


Virtually none to think of. No diet program will work for 100% of the population - but Weight Watchers is most certainly one of the best choices you could make.

Weight Watchers Sites

See More at Weight Watchers

  • Ahern, A. L., Olson, A. D., Aston, L. M., & Jebb, S. A. (2011). Weight Watchers on prescription: an observational study of weight change among adults referred to Weight Watchers by the NHS. BMC Public Health, 11(1), 434. Link
  • Djuric, Z., DiLaura, N. M., Jenkins, I., Darga, L., Jen, C. K. L., Mood, D., ... & Hryniuk, W. M. (2002). Combining Weight-Loss Counseling with the Weight Watchers Plan for Obese Breast Cancer Survivors. Obesity research, 10(7), 657-665. Link
  • Dansinger, M. L., Gleason, J. A., Griffith, J. L., Selker, H. P., & Schaefer, E. J. (2005). Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial. Jama, 293(1), 43-53. Link
  • Carlson, J. Of the Most Common Weight-loss Programs, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and Medifast, which is the most effective?. Link


Freedieting.com is an advertising partner of Weight Watchers.

Last updated 14 March 2016