5 Things You Should Know Before Starting WeightWatchers

I just finished up month 2 of WeightWatchers and I love it! I have lost 7 lbs so far, and I’m pretty happy with that. Especially since I’ve had multiple weekends where I stopped counting points because I’ve been out with friends, etc. The main thing it has taught me is portion control. Turns out I was majorly overeating before. And the actual portion size of pasta still makes me sad…

I wanted to share with you all a few things about WeightWatchers, and hope it might be helpful if you’re considering joining or know someone who is. I love it and for some reason it has much easier for me (and holds me more accountable) than simply counting calories. I really can’t explain why but I think it’s so much easier this way, even though I realize it’s essentially the same thing.

The main thing I like is that you count your points and have a set number of points for each day, AND you get bonus weekly points so you can splurge a little on things you want. So anyway, here are 5 things you should know before starting WeightWatchers:

Here are 5 Things You Should Know Before Starting WeightWatchers | http://reach-yourpeak.com

You might be really hungry in the beginning

There is definitely an adjustment period, which can be said for any new nutrition plan you might start (IIFYM, Paleo, Whole30, counting calories, etc.). Especially if you have been overeating, like I was. I felt like I was always hungry, and still starving after my dinners. But that goes away in a week or so. Your stomach needs time to adjust. When you’re hungry, eat some fruit if you need to, which is 0 points. Nowadays, I find that I can stick with 3 meals and 1 snack before a workout, whereas in the past I would have a snack every 2 hours or so. Not that there is a problem with that, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to know what your total daily intake is, no matter what plan you’re on.

There’s a new points system

I did WeightWatchers in the past with their PointsPlus system and liked that, but now they’re using SmartPoints which is even better. When calculating points, it takes into account protein and sugar. So if something is high in protein, it will lower the points value (since we know chicken, fish, etc. are great sources of protein and should be encourage), and if something is high in sugar, it will really up the points value. I used to buy the WeightWatchers mini cakes and snacks (because I have a major sweet tooth) and loved that they were only 2 points for a little mini carrot cake. However, now those cakes are 4-5 points…so not worth it! There is more to this new point system I’m sure I’m leaving out, but I wasn’t an avid user in the past so I don’t know everything that has changed.

Activity points doesn’t mean you can eat more

This is another aspect of the new points system that a lot of people had opinions on. In the past, if you exercised, you were able to eat back those points. So if running was 5 activity points, I had 5 extra points daily to eat. Now, activity points don’t count towards food. WeightWatchers wrote on their FAQ page:

In a nutshell, no. Exercise doesn’t cancel out food choices, so moving shouldn’t be an excuse to eat more. If you don’t do any exercise at all, you can still lose weight on the Your Way Program. But doing both is of course optimal. Watching your FitPoints™ add up and hitting your weekly exercise goal can be great motivators and there are so many health benefits to gain from regular activity.  

However, if you’re doing high-intensity workouts (for example, training for a marathon or attending multiple spin classes) at least three to four times a week, you might want to swap some of your FitPoints™ for food to account for the amount of energy you’re expending. 

At first I was like, “But I exercise daily I need extra calories!” But like everything else, you adjust. Now if I will be exercising twice in one day and hour long sessions or more, I don’t feel guilty about eating extra, and that’s what those weekly bonus points are for anyway. I think what they say makes sense, and I know I’ve been guilty of thinking runing 45 minutes means I can eat extra…when in reality those 45 minutes only burn 300-400 extra calories. 

There’s a great support system

There are many online forums for WeightWatchers users, but the app itself has its own social media platform. It’s a great way to connect with like minded people and get any questions answered from other users. You can upload photos as well, and it’s almost liek a combination of Facebook and Instagram. The WeightWatchers website has a lot of resources and recipes to help get you started. And of course, you can find a myriad of recipes on Pinterest! Oh also, the app gives a lot of values for popular restaurants. You might be shocked to know how many points some of your favorite entrees have. I was when I found out French Onion Soup is around 20 or so (insert crying emoji).

It’s flexible and non-restrictive 

I think this is my favorite part of it. I can’t believe that even with weekends of drinking and eating whatever, I’ve still lost 7 lbs. in 2 months. I mean, I’m also exercising but I haven’t been able to lose weight in  years and have just been stagnant. Since you get weekly bonus points (around 28) it really allows you be flexible and still indulge. I usually try to save almost all of those for weekends when I know I will be going out with friends. Or you can also have extra points daily if you want to have that sweet treat after dinner or a glass of wine :) According to WeightWatchers, even if you use all of your weekly bonus points, you should still lose weight.

So that’s that! I will continue to use WeightWatchers until I hit my goal…another 10-12 lbs. to go! It has taught me good portion control and even when I’m out and not tracking, I still know how much I should be eating and about how many points everything has. 

What do you think about not counting activity points towards extra calories/food points?

Do you find you eat more when you workout and justify with “Well, I worked out today sooo….” :)


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  1. Great article for anyone that has never tried Weight Watchers, my mom has had great success with it and loves the flexibility!
    Stephanie recently posted…Running * Lifting * WonderingMy Profile

  2. This is a great post, thank you for sharing! As a trainer, I’ll admit, nutrition is not my strong point (I’m an ultra runner and I eat A LOT) so I’m often referring clients to other programs. This is a great post to share with those interested in WW!
    RFC recently posted…The Convertible HDL: Run Safety, Stats, & Social MediaMy Profile

  3. I always say WW is the best program around. It actually teaches you how to each and portion size. Great job, Patti!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Big Sur Marathon Training Week 9My Profile

  4. I did not know much about Weight Watchers so thank you for all of this great info. So many tips and things to learn. I have heard from friends though that they have had great success with the program!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Run with PRracer. PRracer Kickstarter for the Convertible HDL!My Profile

  5. Congrats on the success! It is a great program if you stick to it. Happy it is working for you!
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted…Spring Fling 10K RecapMy Profile

  6. Congrats on your weight loss so far!! All of this stuff is really good to know, and think the Smart Points program is definitely the best one yet. High protein and low sugar is the best way to go, in my opinion. I didn’t know they got rid of activity points – that’s great! Now people can workout to workout and not workout to eat. Go, Weight Watchers!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…How To Know If You Have IBSMy Profile

  7. I haven’t done Weight Watchers, but I’ve only heard good things about it. Congrats on your success!
    Michelle Rogers recently posted…How to make Glazed Blueberry Muffins (regular + gluten free)My Profile

  8. A friend of mine is one the program and loving it but wishes the old system was still available. Glad to hear it’s working well for you!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Grown Up Grilled Cheese & Baked Polenta FriesMy Profile

  9. Great post. I have been a lifetimer for many many many years and am now a meeting room receptionist (for the past 3 + years). I haven’t talked to any members yet who are not fans of the new program. I am glad we are now targeting Daily Points as well as Weekly Allowance Points to each person based on their own statistics and I am also glad we are concentrating on limiting saturated fats and sugars, and increasing proteins. I am glad to hear you are doing well and pleased to read your post! Keep up the great work!
    Elle recently posted…Avocado and Egg SaladMy Profile

  10. I’m so glad you found something that you like and that is working for you! It’s so hard to find just the right program, and I’m so thrilled to hear you are happy with Weight Watchers! Keep up the great work!
    Jenn recently posted…weekly recap: 3/27– 4/2My Profile

  11. I know several people who have had great success with Weight Watchers, and they’ve attributed that success to the support system that WW provides. Its hard to make significant changes to your life without any sort of support.

  12. I know tons of people who love this program. Thanks for explaining some of the changes.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…TOTR: Running word of the moment – rebuildingMy Profile

  13. I have had a couple of friends have such success with Weight Watchers! It sounds like such a great system with balance. I love that you can still have fun in your life with food and still lose weight.
    Great post!
    Natalie recently posted…Boston Marathon Training Recap: 2 Weeks Till Race Day!!My Profile

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