Few companies are as widely known or ubiquitous in the world of dieting as Weight Watchers. For more than 40 years, the company has helped millions of people around the world lose weight and begin living healthier lives. While many online diet services are restrictive and can be difficult to stick with, this one gives you the flexibility to eat what you want, promoting the philosophy that you'll ultimately eat less if you opt for healthy, filling foods. The Weight Watchers Online program earns our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award for this notable flexibility among the best online diet plans, as well as an impressive suite of online tools that can help you reach your goals.
If you're not one for counting calories, Weight Watchers' balanced approach to weight loss and its healthy-eating plan may be the route for you. With no food off limits or restrictive
prepackaged meals, the plan strives to teach you how to make healthier food choices and be more active. The program assigns every food a points value, which is based on a scientific algorithm that factors the nutrition of the food and how long it takes your body to burn off the calories from it. The idea is to lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, using the point system as a framework. As long as you stick to your daily PointsPlus target, you can generally eat what you want.
When you sign up online, you gain access to several tools that make it easy to convert to a new, healthy lifestyle. The Weight Watchers website posts the points values of more than 40,000 foods, making it simple to calculate and track the points of everything you eat. You'll also find hundreds of recipes, a handy meal planner and useful tips for eating out and on the go.
Weight Watchers also encourages exercise. Much like it does with food items, the healthy-eating plan assigned a PointsPlus value to various activities, such as cleaning, walking or swimming. The points of a completed activity are deducted from your daily allotment, which allows for an occasional splurge.
While Weight Watchers doesn't require you to eat its own prepared meals, the company does have its own line of food products, including frozen entrees, snacks and desserts. There is no delivery option with these foods, but you can find them at most supermarkets.
Since this online diet service doesn't rely on calorie counting, it does not provide a calorie tracker. However, it does offer tools to track your points, weight, meals and fitness. The PointsPlus system is relatively simple to follow, though it may take some time getting used to since most diet plans focus solely on calories.
Weight Watchers Online boasts a dynamic member community, replete with message boards, blogs and support groups. The program originally started as a weight-loss support group in the founder's home, so community support plays a vital role in the success of its members. You can even peruse the message boards before you sign up for the program to get a feel for the Weight Watchers community.
The one crucial aspect missing from the Weight Watchers Online community is direct interaction with a dietician or personal consultant. With most online diet services, these individuals prove critical to your ability to lose weight; they help you identify, understand and implement the changes you need to make in order to lose weight. Weight Watchers offers in-person support, so if you are looking to lose a significant amount of weight, you'll get the most out of the program if you opt for both the online component and in-person meetings.
Weight Watchers Online offers most of the service features we look for in online weight-loss programs. The most important is its mobile app, which offers easy access to your account and tracking tools no matter where you are. The service also provides educational articles that help you learn more about how to get – and stay – healthy, and a customizable homepage that you can personalize with the tools and features you use the most.
With the flexibility to eat what you want and mobile access to your online account from any device, Weight Watchers Online is the ideal weight-loss program for busy, on-the-go individuals. The proprietary PointsPlus system makes it easy to ensure that you burn more calories than you consume, resulting in actual, healthy weight loss. Although it's disappointing that the online component of the program doesn't include dietitians or consultants, you can always upgrade to the Weight Watchers meetings if you find that the online tools along aren't sufficient to help you reach your goals.
Weight Watchers' proprietary PointsPlus system is a simplified, flexible take on calorie counting. The program gives you the freedom to eat what you want while shedding pounds.
One-on-one support with a trained consultant or dietician is not available through the online-only program; you'll have to sign up for the in-person Weight Watchers meetings for that.
Weight Watchers Online outshines most of the competition in terms of versatility, making it the go-to online diet service if you want to lose weight without sacrificing your precious time.