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A Look At Weight Watchers

In the early '60s, Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch began inviting friends into her Queens home once a week, to discuss how best to lose weight.

Today, that group of friends has grown to millions of women and men around the world who use the products and services of Weight Watchers to lose unwanted pounds. Maggie Jerchau visits The Early Show to talk about this popular program.

Weight Watchers is known for its Points Weight-Loss system, in which every food has a points value based on fat, fiber and calorie content. Dieters are not told what to eat; instead, they are encouraged to stay within a daily points range. Every Weight Watchers member is assigned a daily points range based on their current weight.

Winning Points is their enhanced approached to their Points Weight-Loss system. It is designed to encourage food variety and portion control and it meets the nutritional recommendations of many health organizations in North America.

To achieve their goals, the program offers members information to help them make the decisions that are right for proper nutrition and exercise. The system is not just about losing pounds but also aims to maintain good health and create good habits.

To help members "spend" their points, Weight Watchers offer food lists or a points-finder, which resembles a sliding calculator. It enables members to calibrate the points-value of a recipe with nutritional information and packaged goods using the Nutrition Facts label. No food is off limits.

The weight loss journey starts with the basics followed by a self-assessment of your "Dieting Personality Profile."

According to Weight Watchers, knowing one's dieting personality profile is one of the pieces needed to help solve a member's weight-loss puzzle. It provides a personal framework for applying all of the learning materials, motivational tools and support that comes with Weight Watchers membership.

A simple self-assessment quiz fits you into one of three dieting profiles:

  • "Dedicated" includes those who are disciplined and want a very structured diet.
  • "Adapter" includes those who like a mix of structure and freedom.
  • "Individualist" includes people who resist rules and restrictions.

Over the course of several weeks important components of weight loss are explored with suggestions for adapting them to suit the member's lifestyle. As members learn more about themselves, Winning Points equips them with appropriate tips and strategies given their dieting preferences.

Weight Watchers "Tools for Living," is an innovative set of techniques designed to help you get what you want in life by empowering your personal thoughts and behaviors as you address weight-related issues.

To earn extra points Weight Watchers has a Points Activity system. Members are encouraged to reduce sedentary behavior and progressively increase activity throughout Winning Points.

The Points Activity System is designed to complement the Points Food System. Based on a proprietary formula that includes body weight, time, and intensity, all types of physical activity can be assigned a Points value. Weight Watchers members are provided with a Points Booster to calculate activity Points on their own.

Members also get group support and guidance by a Weight Watchers leader. It has been the cornerstone of the Weight Watchers program for over 40 years. Each week members learn practical skills, which are effective in dealing with common dieting obstacles.

Research shows that people who go to Weight Watchers meetings are much more likely to lose weight than people who try to lose weight on their own. To learn more about Weight Watchers and use the Meeting Finder, visit or for information about Weight Watchers meeting locations, call 1-800-651-6000.

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