Weight Watchers is one of the most respected names in the weight loss industry. Unfortunately, the more basic tools provided by their nutrition therapy service pales in comparison to some of our higher-ranked products. Weight Watchers Online does not offer custom meal plans, shopping lists or exercise programs. They do encourage exercise however; their online program only provides a few tips and articles about exercise programs and regimens.
The focus of this popular program has always been food related, like eating better and staying full longer. They are traditionally known for the “point system.” Each food is assigned a point designation and your job is to only eat your allotted points.
Their online program includes thousands of recipes, meal ideas, a meal tracker, dining out guide and more. Although they give you the freedom to make your own nutritional choices, we would like to see an option for them to customize a meal plan for you. To some dieters having something that tells you what to eat and when is easier. The Weight Watchers program highly encourages all members to exercise. The Fitness and Health section provides tips, stories and news about fitness and working out. It helps you understand the importance of fitness, but they do not help you create custom workout regiments like our higher ranked services.
This program has always been about support and community. The support you would get from going to weekly meetings has been carried over to their online nutrition therapy service. The strongest aspects of the online program are the message boards, which allow you to swap recipes and get to know other dieters in your area.
You can also find blogs, groups, and challenges. Although we would like to see a little more “online” community in the form of chat rooms, live chat and professional guidance, we suspect Weight Watchers is reserving that kind of interaction for their weekly meetings and would rather you participate there than online.
One of the best tools offered by Weight Watchers Online is the ability to access your account through your smartphone or portable device. This includes iPhone and iPads, tablets, android devices and Blackberrys. It has the most comprehensive portable support out of all the online programs we reviewed. For more information on the iPhone app read our Health and Fitness iPhone Apps Reviews.
However, we were a little disappointed at so few additional tools. Weight Watchers Online does include a weight tracker and BMI calculator, but we were surprised they didn't’t include a daily journal or shopping lists. They emphasize their point system, but we would have liked them to include some additional calculators for calories, carbs and protein.
We found this service friendly and easy to use. However, like many other nutrition therapy services, they do not provide you with much access to the website and features without signing up for a membership first. There are two subscription plans, monthly and quarterly.
After your first three months, if you signed up for the three month plan, you are automatically switched to a monthly plan with monthly billing. If you would like to continue your three month billing cycle you will have to manually change it in your settings. Should you decide to drop the service, there isn't a long term membership requirement, so you can cancel at anytime.
The Weight Watchers Online nutrition therapy service is not a bad program, but it seems they would rather you do the traditional program that includes meetings in your local area. The online program and meetings program are not interchangeable and payment for one does not constitute permission to use the other. However, if you decide to sign up for the meetings program they do offer eTools similar to the online program.
One of the most effective long term weight loss programs.
Online tools aren’t as savvy as other nutrition therapy services.
The Weight Watchers Online nutritional therapy service is not a bad program, but it seems they would rather you do the traditional program that includes meetings in your local area.