I Do Weight Watchers and Would I recommend WW to a child? F*ck No
I began WW when I was 25. I knew all about WW because my Mom & Grandma had done it on and off for years. I knew that I was pretty good about following "rules" so I figured I'd give it a shot.
To begin with, it was definitely a learning curve for me. I really had no idea how to "eat healthy" except that my mom ordered everything without cheese on it. It was a big wake-up call to how much sugar I was actually consuming.
Over the course of 6 months, I lost almost 40 pounds and it was during that season that I actually began running because of the FitPoints you could also accumulate.
Here are the positives I took away from my time with WW:
It enforced that no food should be off-limits. If I wanted ice cream, I could have it, I just had to sacrifice the points for it. Part of what enticed me about WW was that it seemed sustainable long-term.
It gave me a good baseline for healthy eating. From someone who would regularly consider a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese a solid dinner, it helped introduce me to vegetables & fruits as part of my daily meals and helped me focus on lean meats instead of all the fried foods.
Here are the negative impacts of my experience with WW:
I learned nothing about nutrition. When you log a food in the app, it assigns it a point value using who KNOWS what calculation. I learned to see food as a number instead of as fuel (i.e. seeing grilled chicken as a 0 instead of seeing it as protein). Being an avid runner now and training for a marathon, I feel like I had to go back to school to learn basic nutrition and how to fuel myself because point values don't translate to real life.
It reinforces the idea of cheat days or cheat meals, which I personally don't agree with. Everything in moderation and a balance, right? You are allowed a certain amount of points per day (I think I got 23?) and you also get a certain amount of "flex points" per week that you can dip into (I think I had 40 to use). It ended up creating a guilty mentality or the belief that I was weak if I had to use my flex points, but it's okay because "cheat days are okay". I also attended some of their in-person meetings and there were ALWAYS conversations around cheat days. A common practice for a lot of WW members is to use their weigh-in day as a cheat day once they've weighed in, which only encouraged a binging habit. This conversation was all over their connect app, too.
It was ONLY about the number. Yes, they encouraged an active lifestyle by giving you FitPoints for exercising, but your progress was simply tracked by a weekly weigh-in. I don't think I need to go too far in depth on this point. You and I both know it's about more than the number on the scale.
So, all in all, am I glad I did it? Yes. Was it part of how I made a 180 in my life and adopted a healthy & active lifestyle? Yes. But, is it the best way? Absolutely not. Would I recommend it to someone looking to lose weight? No-purely for the fact that points don't translate to the real world. Everyone's body is different and I would rather someone learn how to fuel their body, not fill a bank of points.