We tried WW and here’s what we think.

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WW’s flexible approach to dieting is no doubt why it’s one of the world’s most popular diets. Whether your nibble of choice is pasta, ice-cream, bread or steak – you can enjoy it. Well, within reason. Formerly known as Weight Watchers, WW now sports the slogan “Wellness that Works” – a mantra that’s definitely true.

Unlike other popular eating plans, WW teaches dieters to follow a points system which allows them to flexibly eat in moderation. The idea behind this is simple – to teach people how to eat healthily without a focus on restriction so weight loss is maintainable.

As part of this points system – known as WW Freestyle – dieters can even roll over points to another day. Plus, if you exercise you gain points. It’s also worth noting there are over 200 “zero-point” foods you can each as much of as you’d like. A few zero-points foods include skinless chicken breasts, eggs, fish and beans. In short, it’s less about a quick fix and more about a lifestyle change that lasts for good.

Now, this is where it gets convenient. Unlike other diets you can follow WW online, in-person or both. The online platform allows you to track your food choices, exercise and workouts. Better yet, if you prefer one-on-one consultations you can book in for some via email, phone or text.

Alternatively, WW’s in-person group meetings are great for weigh ins as they help boost accountability. In fact, A Consumer Reports survey found that dieters who regularly attended meetings lost more weight and were more satisfied with the overall program.

What Can I Eat? What Can’t I Eat?

One of the biggest advantages of WW is the fact no foods are off limits. If restricting carbs, sugars or fats isn’t for you then WW really is a fantastic diet. Plus, you don’t need to rely on pre-packaged meals.

With the “points system” you can pick and choose what you eat with nutrient dense foods having fewer points than junk foods that don’t fill you up. That being said, it’s best to consume more fruits, veggies and lean protein than traditional convenience foods – however, moderation is definitely encouraged meaning you can still enjoy some high sugar or fatty foods.

Each person is given a different SmartPoints target depending on their body and goals. It’s simple really, all you have to do is eat within your daily points target – whether those points are spent on alcohol or dessert, it doesn’t matter. That being said, of course it’s better to opt for nutritious lower-calorie foods that cost less points.

Difficulty Level: Medium

It’s safe to say there are no ‘easy’ diets out there as all require a change of eating habits. However, WW is definitely one of the easier options as it’s designed to change your habits for the long-term. You’ll need to play around with your lifestyle and monitor certain foods but this is a straightforward process. Realistically, the worse your habits are, the more you’ll have to change.

Food Shopping & Cooking

You won’t need to skimp or buy unusual foods with WW. Just expect to shop for and cook with healthier foods. You also don’t need to buy any pre-made foods online like you do with other diets.

Can I Buy Packaged Meals?

This isn’t required on the WW eating plan.

Do I Need To Attend Meetings?

No, you don’t need to. Meetings however are popular and help WW followers stay accountable with weekly weigh ins.

Do I Need To Exercise?

You don’t need to but it is heavily encouraged. With WW you’ll get a personalized activity goal along with access to the WW app that tracks FitPoints so when you exercise you gain more points to spend on food.

What Happens If I am A Vegan Or Gluten Intolerant?

It’s up to you how you spend your daily points which means you can choose what you want to eat. This makes WW a fantastic diet for vegans, vegetarians or those with certain allergies as you can tailor the diet to suit your needs.

How Much Does It Cost? What Support Do I Get?

You can pick from three WW plans: Online, online with meetings or online with one-on-one coaching via messages and phone calls. Check the official WW website for the pricing as you’ll need to enter your ZIP code for an approximate cost.

Besides from the optional in-person meetings and coaching, WW now has a great online app, community, magazine and website with tips, recipes and more. You can also register online for a newsletter or enjoy WW Connect, a community that’s available on the WW app.

So wherever you are, there’s a form of support at your fingertips.

What Does The Expert Say?

Before starting a diet, it’s great to see what a healthcare professional has to say. Here Brunilda Nazario, MD, gives a quick rundown on the famous WW diet.

Does It Work?

Yes, WW without a doubt works. In fact, it’s one of the most well-researched weight loss programs out there with many studies proving that WW helps you lose weight and keep it off for good. For example, a study from The American Journal of Medicine highlights the fact people that follow WW are more likely to lose weight than those trying to do it on their own.

It’s definitely an easy-to-follow program that’s flexible and gets you results.

Can WW Help Medical Conditions?

Yes, it’s good for anyone but those that consume more nutrient dense foods will find WW helps their blood pressure levels, diabetes, cholesterol and even heart disease. That being said, you need to stay on top of your daily salt intake. If you do have a medical condition, it’s best to check with your doctor and work with them to ensure your progress is healthy. This is especially important for those with diabetes as you may need to alter your medication as you lose weight.

The Final Verdict

For some counting calories, macros or ordering pre-made foods online isn’t a big deal. But for others it is which is why WW is a great weight loss solution. In fact, it’s even great for those that enjoy eating out as the online tool helps work out how many points are in certain meals.

If cooking isn’t your thing, then you’ll be pleased to know WW sells premade meals and snacks. Most of these meals and snacks are now available in nationwide supermarkets. If you are a fan of cooking, then you’ll need to limit portion sizes, but this is a small price to pay to enjoy flexible dieting. Generally speaking, WW pushes followers to enjoy more fruits and vegetables meaning the diet is often high in fiber which keeps you fuller for longer.

Finally, one of the biggest selling points of WW is the website itself. Unlike many diets out there, the WW website is jam packed with advice, success stories, recipes, a thriving online community and other custom tools to help you on your weight loss journey.

Yes, it can be a bit costly if you want to enjoy all of the benefits WW has to offer, but if long-term weight loss and health is your goal, then it’s definitely worth it.