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April 06, 2006




Anyone who has ever even thought about dieting has undoubtedly heard of the Weight Watchers plan and it is amazing to see that what began as a get together between a few friends in the house of Jean Nidetch in Queens to discuss dieting ideas and tips has grown into a large publicly quoted company employing nearly 50,000 people and operating in more than 30 countries worldwide.

But just why has Weight Watchers become so successful and why does the company continue to expand after more than 40 years in operation?

The answer lies in the fact that Weight Watchers does not simply offer a diet plan but is based upon the philosophy of dieting as part of an overall plan to set and maintain a healthy lifestyle in term of physical, mental and emotional health.

Consequently Weight Watchers does not just provide you with a diet sheet and tell you what you can and can't eat, but provides you with the information and advice necessary to make the best decisions about your diet.

Further, and very importantly, the Weight Watchers plan gives you a level of support and motivation that is essential to your success and that is lacking in so many other weight loss plans.

Locally held group meetings, which many people who have not benefited from the Weight Watchers experience often dismiss as simply a waste of time, are, in many ways, the key to the Weight Watchers plan. Not only do these meetings provide a wealth of advice, information and tips, but they also allow members to offer each other encouragement and support which is critical to the long-term success of any diet.

Additionally, the fact that you will need to meet with your fellow members on a regular basis and show them your progress, or lack of it, is a very good way of helping you to stay on track as, occasionally, you are tempted to stray from the path of your dieting plan.

Underpinning Weight Watcher’s philosophy of dieting there is of course a basic diet plan, or to be more precise, two plans - the points plan and the core plan.

The idea behind the points plan will be familiar to anybody who has tried dieting. Members are given a weekly points allocation depending upon their present weight and the weight they are aiming for and are allowed to eat anything they like up to this points allocation.

The strength of the points system is that a points score is given to any food imaginable and there's no limit on the types of food that you are permitted but only on the quantity which you can eat dependent upon that food's points score. This is in sharp contrast to many other diets that ban some foods completely or require that particular foods are included in your diet.

The points plan also provides you with a great deal of flexibility by allocating negative points for exercise. So, if you decide to go over your points allocation you can do so as long as you take enough exercise to compensate for the additional points consumed.

The core plan was created in response to the popularity the South Beach and Atkins plans. Under this plan a wide variety of foods including whole grain foods, lean meats, fat free airy products, lean meats, and whole grain foods are classed as "core" foods and there is no limit on the quantity of these foods that you can eat, other than the provision that you should only eat these foods to satisfy your hunger rather than eat them until you are "full".

Any food item that is not included on the "core" list is then allocated a score in the regular manner and members are given a weekly allowance of 35 points for these foods.

There is nothing new of course in either the points plan or the core plan and many of the hundreds of diets available follow the same sort of pattern. The strength however of the Weight Watchers plan is not to be found in the underpinning diet itself, but in the need that all dieters have for information, advice, help and, above all, support in what is typically a long, and at times difficult, struggle to remove those stubborn pounds.

Operating largely as a "club", Weight Watchers has gone from strength to strength over the years and, as long as it continues to provide so much more than just a diet plan, it will doubtless continue to flourish in the future.


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10) No, you won't end up looking like the latest hot young model/singer/actress!

Let's face it: your body is your body. It's the only one you've got. Can you still look great? Sure! But there are some things you can't change. You can't make your legs longer or your feet smaller. You can't grow five inches or elongate your torso. You have what you have, so work with it! Concentrate on making a healthy and fit you instead of wishing you looked like someone else. You don't have to be perfect to be attractive. A strong, fit body as well as the self-confidence it brings can make any person attractive!

9) It's better to be muscular and weigh more than to be flabby and weigh less.

I've said it so many times: I'd much rather be 135lbs and muscular than 120lbs and flabby. I've been both, and 135lbs with a lower percent of body fat was definitely better! I was smaller, stronger and had much more energy. So, don't always seek that magical number on the scale, but look at your total body composition instead.

8) You can't get fit in a week.

Okay, well, you can, but only if you're one week away from being in peak condition and you keep working out. Otherwise, forget about it! If you want to look good for that class reunion or because you'll be in a bikini soon, then get moving way before that. Or better yet, get moving for your own health and not for "things" like reunions and bikinis.

7) You need to put some effort into it.

You want to get fit? You have to work at it. You have to plan it, you have to schedule it, and, most importantly, you have to do it. No excuses. Sitting on the couch, telling yourself you should be doing something will not burn up a lot of calories. If nothing else, get out there and start walking. And while you're out there walking think about a plan of action for a healthier you and get started on it today, not tomorrow!

6) You need to exercise.

Can you lose weight just by diet alone? Sure, you can! But if you want to get fit, you need to exercise those muscles, including your heart. And that heart won't get any exercise if you're sitting on the couch, eating broccoli. Lose the weight that you need to lose and you'll just end up with a thin, but flabby, body. Get moving! Weight training is ideal, but if you're really not into weight training, find an activity you like to do that work all your major muscle groups.

5) You need to eat properly.

Putting aside any low carb/low fat/high protein controversies, the simple fact is, if you want a fit body, you need to nourish it. Protein, carbs and fat are important, but vitamins and minerals are key elements that your body needs, too. No matter what way of eating you're following make sure you're getting enough vitamins and minerals.?Add a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit to your diet. The next time you go grocery shopping, linger around the produce section and not only pick out some old favorites, but experiment a little by trying something new!

4) You can't lose weight overnight.

You didn't gain it overnight -- or in two months -- and you're not going to lose it overnight?-- or in two months. Think of getting fit as a train leaving the station: you start off slow, gather speed and then off you go! Patience is the key here. Look for consistent trends. If you're really not losing fat and getting stronger after a couple of months, then you need to sit down and honestly analyze what you're doing. Keep a journal to help you know how you're really eating and exercising.

3) You can't spot reduce.

Genetics will decide where the fat will come off. Doing 1000 crunches won't reduce your belly fat. Nor will 1000 leg lifts get rid of the fat on your inner thighs. Your body does not burn the fat it needs from the body part that you're exercising. Your body will burn fat much like an onion is peeled, a layer at a time, if you will. So, don't overdo it on the exercise for one specific body part and look to getting your whole body in shape.

2) There are no quick fixes.

That's right, you heard me. There are no quick fixes. None. Put all those pills, potions, contraptions and miracle diets in the garbage where they belong. Learn the basics about how your body gains muscle and loses fat, so you won't get sucked in by another scam again.

1) Fitness is a lifelong commitment!

So, you faithfully work out and eat properly and you've reached your goals. Now what? Well, now you've got to keep doing it for the rest of your life, that's what! You can't just work your way to being fit and then stop, because you'll end up exactly like you were before. Fitness is a lifelong commitment? And, you want to know a secret. It isn't easy! And anyone who says it is easy is trying to sell you something. Make fitness a lifelong ambition and you'll reap the rewards of a long and healthy life, filled with energy, strength and an overall sense of well being

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