It has been roughly two months since I signed up for Weight Watchers. I had never been a fan of doing “molded into a box” programs that have been designed for the masses, but I figured it was cheap at $21 a month and I struggled with being accountable for my own actions. Eight weeks in, I’m down roughly ten pounds. January I lost the majority of that, February I fluctuated up and down because of sickness and winter blues, and now that it is March… well I guess we’ll just have to see what this month brings for me.
One major criticism that has been bugging me about this program is that I don’t feel I’m getting what I should out of it. According to this article, Weight Watchers pulled in $253 million dollars in 2012. The article highlights the low wages their employees are getting, which isn’t surprising to find out about since most large corporations pay the backbone of their company like crap anyway. However, I’m sure that profit margin is still reasonably high considering the actual work the company does for each individual client is relatively small.
Once I was registered for my first meeting and my weight and height were popped into the system, I was assigned my point value for my day. There was no personal assessment of the foods I could and could not eat because of health restrictions. There was no measuring of my body fat or even just with a tape measure to my gut. I stepped on the scale, got my sticker with my weight, and sat down with the rest of the stickerfied people ready to listen to our leader.
With all the complains this blog post may have, I do have to emphasize the greatness I have gotten out of the meetings. The meetings are why I signed up for the program in the first place. I didn’t think I needed help with knowing what to eat, especially when I discovered what kind of processed food they suggest (but I’ll get to that another day). What I wanted is a group of like-minded people to get together with and talk about our struggles and accomplishments with our health. So… basically this blog! Haha! But in person. My meeting leader Adrienne is spunky and inspirational and always motivates me to share my own experiences or to get up in front of the group and do a demonstration of food portions or, my favorite, writing on the white board. I have noticed a correlation between my weeks of losing and going to meetings compared to the weeks I gained and NOT going to the meetings, so that’s interesting.
Outside of the meetings, however, I nitpick on the little things that irritates me about the program. Alyssa and I both agree that their smart phone app is horrible in comparison to Myfitnesspal. Their database of food is incredibly small and navigating your way through the app can be slow and frustrating as you discover that you accidentally were searching for a food in your “favorites” section instead of the general search. For such a large company, we feel their app should be flawless and incredibly easy to navigate. If two young women brought up in the technological world of smart phones and computers have issues with the app, what do the people who didn’t spend their teen years with a cell phone in their hands do?
Honestly, I have not counted points for weeks. Because of my hatred of the app and not being home enough to be focused on checking in on the computer every day, I just don’t track my points. I have a basic idea of what I should be eating to stick within the Weight Watchers plan, but really, if I’m not using the app or website…. I am basically just paying to go to the meetings. $5.25 per meeting to me is worth it to see Adrienne and the rest of the awesome people fighting the struggle with me, but is it worth it to everyone?
I hope that the majority of people using Weight Watchers are finding more of a value in it than I am. Maybe if I had no idea of what I was doing I would like it more. Maybe if they bought out Myfitnesspal’s database for their app, I would like it more. Maybe if they sent me an annoying email every once in a while saying “We notice that you have not tracked your points for 37 days,” I would like it more. Myfitnesspal does that and they don’t even charge for their website.
It is unlikely that I will register again after my six months is up in August but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to make the most out of my Weight Watchers experience. It is working for me and I do credit the new support system I have found in the meetings for keeping me motivated. I just hope that Weight Watchers can use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars their pulling in each year to put it back into their products and individualized customer service.
Lots of love,