As I explained in the first part of this article , the Weight Watchers' Points system teaches you to budget the amount of kilo joules and fat you consume every day.
How many points you need to consume will depend on your weight, height and gender.
There are 3 stages in the Weight Watchers process: the "Fast Track" stage, the "Normal" stage, and the "Maintenance" stage.
If you are a woman, you can eat a maximum of 18 points per day if you weigh 64 kg or under, or up to 22 points per day if you weight more.
If you are a man, you can have up to 18 points per day if you weight 64 kg or less, and up to 24 points if you are heavier.
The Fast Track stage typically lasts for 1 week, and you can expect significant weight loss (2 kgs plus) at the end of that week if you stick to your daily points.
This gives you a boost in confidence, and allows you to stick during the hardest transitional period (the beginning of your journey).
The Second Weight Watchers stage increases your intake by 2 points, but not over 24 in any event.
Once you understand the Points system, the meeting leaders weigh you and record this data in your file, so that you can start monitoring your progress.
The education starts immediately during the first meeting, and they provide you with reading materials (that you should read) to understand what you can expect for that week, and a weekly menu (with the calculated points per meal).
You also learn how to follow your weekly menu, how to - gently - start exercising, and how to choose healthy and tasty alternatives to whatever it is that you eat prior to joining the system.
You'll be shocked to learn the amount of points you normally consume on any given day when you do not watch what you eat.
I've read the criticism that one has to keep tracking points for the rest of your life to keep trim. Well, it is true. But you should not look at this as a negative thing to do. The fact is that tracking the amount of points you consume during the day is easy and fun to do.
And you can also "sin" every now and then and, provided that you return to your tracking, your indulgence should not have any major effects in your weight (unless, of course, you keep indulging on an ongoing basis!).
When you reach your goal weight, you become Life Member, and you only have to attend once a month. If you are within your weight range, you don't have to pay a fee to attend.
But you don't have to reach that goal if you don't want to. If you are comfortable losing a certain amount of weight and want to leave it at that, you can, but you don't become a Life Member.
Some people are able to stick to the Weight Watcher's principles without ever going back to the meetings once they reach their desired weight. Some others, though, find it difficult to stick to it without the peer support you find in the meetings.
I do not attend any more, and I have kept my weight down within reason. But should ever I find myself departing from my current weight range, I would have no hesitation in going back to the meetings.
You can experiment with my recipes, doing 18 points per day for a week to see if you lose weight. You'll be surprised of how much weight you can lose without starving, and by eating delicious and healthy food. However, you should always seek medical advice before engaging into any weight loss regime, as your particular health circumstances may make it unsafe for you to reduce or discontinue certain types of food.