If you have resolved to lose weight with the popular Weight Watchers diet, you're probably excited about "the new you." However, you might not be sure where to start, especially if you've never done Weight Watchers before. The program makes it relatively easy to get started, with a series of steps you can take the first week to get on the road to weight loss.
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Weight Watchers boasts 45 years of helping people lose pounds and reach their weight-loss goals. Many people are familiar with Weight Watchers' weekly meetings, which allow dieters to support each other as they lose weight. It's also possible to enroll online and follow the program without attending meetings. However, Columbia University notes that the structure of weekly meetings seems to help participants reach their weight goals.
Unlike the competing Atkins and South Beach diets, the Weight Watchers plan doesn't restrict food choices. Instead, it allows dieters to eat what they want, but in controlled quantities. It also emphasizes activity to boost your calorie burning.
When you're following Weight Watchers, the program expects you to lose about 1 to 2 pounds each week. In the first week with Weight Watchers, begin by taking stock of your goals, determining how much weight you want to lose. Also, measure your waist and hips in week 1 for comparison later in the program.
In Weight Watchers, you lose weight by following a system of points for your foods. In week 1, you should begin by learning the points system and implementing it in your own food choices. Under the system, you can eat what you want up to your daily points total, but foods higher in fat or lower in fiber will "cost" you more points – and potentially be less filling and satisfying.
For example, a simple pasta dish with four ravioli and sauce might cost you 10 points, but a pasta dish made with whole-wheat pasta and vegetable marinara sauce also might cost 10 points. For success starting in week 1 with Weight Watchers, you need to learn how to use the points system to satisfy your hunger, which means choosing lower-fat, healthier foods.
In week 1 of the program, Weight Watchers also urges you to become more active, but with small steps, not giant leaps into aggressive exercise. For example, start by adding five minutes of activities such as walking or bicycling to your daily routine and build from there. Go slowly, especially if you haven't exercised in a long time, but if you want to continue with the activity after five minutes, that's fine too.
Weight Watchers offers a nutritionally balanced week 1 program that contributes to participants' success, according to Colorado State University. It also teaches you how to maintain an ideal weight and emphasizes weight loss that is slow and steady, not rapid and unsustainable. However, few participants in Weight Watchers and other commercial diet programs actually keep the weight off long-term, the university said.