I’m sure much to the dismay of my sister, I again quit Weight Watchers.

Partly due to me not losing any weight after that initial two weeks while being hardcore about sticking to my “points”, but mainly because I realized how unhealthy it’s become for me and my family!

Instead of learning portion control, I learned how to “budget” my “points”. So instead of one serving of pasta (1 cup cooked), I would figure out how to eat 3-4 servings for dinner simply by not eating breakfast (or having egg substitute instead of an actual egg to “save” points), or not eating lunch. We relied on artificial fat-free products to EAT more to get more bang for our buck if you will. I would feel guilty eating a banana because that’s two points! That could go for fat free bread AND jelly!


I noticed I was exhausted more than usual and yet suffered from insomnia every night. We also never felt full because instead of filling up on protein it was all these artificial ingredients that actually STARTED cravings in us. Every single night I NEEDED my 2-3 CUPS of light ice cream (because I would “save” my points to permit me to inhale that much!), where normally I have ice cream maybe once every few months, because I started to develop a sweet craving which I’ve never had before.


The biggest thing we noticed, was when my oldest son came to me, BEGGING to get “points”. He also would start avoiding fruit and other healthy items. He was picking up on OUR “obsession” over points.

What’s ironic is how healthy we actually do eat. Whole grain breads/pastas, mainly vegetables and fruits, some cheese and meat. Yet while doing Weight Watchers it was better to avoid most fruit, avoid healthy fat (like avocado), use fat free dairy and cheese, and extra lean meat (boneless and skinless especially!), and basically it was better to choose fat free products, even if it was full of chemicals, because again it’s lower points.


We cook 99% of our meals at home, rarely use processed foods (with the exception of Weight Watchers).

So the plan from here is eat WHOLE REAL FOOD. Limit the cheese, breads, and milk for me. As it is last night when I made a big pot of chili, I noticed we ate LESS of it (I even measured a “scoop” and it was less than 1 cup!) and actually felt full! Stuffed even! Where previously the low-fat/no-fat chili I could eat 3+ bowls and still not really feel full an hour later.

Oh yeah, it won’t hurt to eliminate that $40 bill a month either!

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on “diets”, Weight Watchers, if you do real food, traditional food, etc. I also wouldn’t mind any links/blogs/anything else shared!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 1:59PM CDT

I’ve never been on a “diet” per se. I follow the Canadian Food Guide. It is about portioning, but it’s also about getting all of the nutrients and food you need during the day, while also getting the proper amount of exercise.

The recommended portions of food for one person in a day are surprisingly large! The key for me has always been to get my activity in. I’m a lazy girl, so it’s sometimes really difficult for me to get up out of the computer chair and do something.

I don’t work out at a gym, I don’t do work out videos… I just walk or ride my bike or I get some of my friends together for a game of frisbee. It’s also incredibly fun to get the skipping rope out and do some cardio. It makes me feel youthful and fun to skip for a half hour, lol.

When I walk I take the camera with me. I kill 2 birds with one stone, lol. I can’t bring myself to run unless I’m being chased, so I have to be more creative, haha.

Anyway, I think that you are definitely correct in quitting weight watchers especially since it’s effecting the eating habits of your son who is definitely too young to feel he has to worry about what his food intake is. He shouldn’t have to feel that pressure at his age.

Canadian Food Guide: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php

posted on March 28th 2010 at 5:49PM CDT

See our USDA food guide makes no sense at all. It promotes a LOT of grains which is no surprise really since we can create anything out of corn lol.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 1:59PM CDT

I did Spark People last year, which is basically just learning portion control, and how to eat better. I lost 65 pounds in 7 months. Of course, I think I’ve gained most of that back this pregnancy, but I will be back on Sparkpeople.com once this baby is born. I’ve never understood the WW points thing.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 5:48PM CDT

I am going to look up SparkPeople and see how it is!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 3:14PM CDT

I don’t diet. It doesn’t work for me. I’m a cravings person. No matter how or what I eat I’m always going to have a random craving that week for something not planned so why bother?

I definitely wouldn’t pay to diet either lol! It’s not hard to learn to portion control on your own and as you mentioned, you all eat pretty healthy already. Just toss some more exercise and such in there and see how it goes.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 5:47PM CDT

I was never much for cravings until lately with the “sweet” thing which is SO weird for me!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 3:15PM CDT

i question weight watchers methods too. my best friend just lost 40lbs over 10 months on it but she eats at taco bell multiple times a week and i consider taco bell some of the most unhealthy fast food. i’d feel better about eating chipotle any day even if the calorie counts are a bit higher.

like susan, i’ve also used spark people (which is free) in the past and thought it was great for portion control without eliminating real foods.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 5:46PM CDT

Right, I won’t deny that it can work for some people, it worked for me a few years ago, but eating unhealthy to LOSE weight doesn’t make sense and I question on how it would last long term really.

I am totally going to investigate SparkPeople now!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 3:25PM CDT

I am currently doing Weight Watchers and it has been really successful for me. The good thing is that I rarely ate vegetables before, and now I eat far more of them to feel “full”. It fits my hunger perfectly, I even have some trouble eating all my points. I think the perfect diet is the one you feel comfortable with, so don’t hesitate to change.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 5:45PM CDT

I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past and did have some success on it. See I’ve NEVER had an issue with whole grain/veggies/etc. It’s just been too much fast food, way too many carbs.

My issue is more that WW can promote eating more processed foods to “save points” rather than a “whole” food.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 4:57PM CDT

Hi! my husband and I never followed a diet, we eat no sugar-less, no low-fat, no substitutes products… I rarely eat manufactured products, we buy fresh food at the market and try not to eat meat more than once a week.

And I think we’re more healthy than before!

Hope you all the success without a diet!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 5:43PM CDT

Thank you so much! See all the times I’ve dropped large amounts of weight, it was never on a “diet”. Just not eating a lot of fast food, watching the carbs, and that was about it really.

I hope I have that same success now!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 7:12PM CDT

I had the exact same problems with WW, and while I appreciate that they can be very helpful to a lot of people it did not work for me. I found myself skipping meals and eating very unhealthy food in order to meet my point totals. I did lose weight but I felt horrible all the time.

I also started using sparkpeople.com a few months ago and love that site. I find that the things that helped with WW were tracking everything I ate, having a goal range to eat in, and being aware of what I was doing; and I can do that for free on sparkpeople instead.

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:16PM CDT

Right, I had some success a few years ago but it was doing it the same way, eating everything fat free, few fruits, etc.

It seems to be that there’s a lot of fans of sparkpeople!!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 7:40PM CDT

I quit WW for the same reason – I realized I wasn’t doing myself any favors by “cheating” to eat the crap I thought I could get away with eating if I didn’t use my points on chicken and veggies. lol

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:16PM CDT

Right! Plus I just felt SO physically crappy. Plus it’s interesting that I tend to eat LESS per “serving” of most foods if it has some fat in it, because I get fuller, faster.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 7:54PM CDT

Good for you! Eating real food is the best way to be healthy and lose weight as needed. What we put in our bodies is so important and vital to a long and healthy life. Eat healthy fats, lots of fruit and veggies and whole grains and protein sources (especially protein in he morning) and I bet that weight will fall off. I found eating protein in the morning and throughout the day decreases my sugar cravings. Have you found the on-line real food movement? Food Renegade, Kitchen Stewardship and the Nourishing Gourmet are a few sites to get started reading about real food and it’s value. Good luck!

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:18PM CDT

Oh yes! It was very hard to to go from eating as much fruit/veggies as I wanted to “being told” that it was “high in points” so here’s some fat free bread instead.

I know I follow the author of Kitchen Stewardship on twitter, I am going to look up the other sites right now!

posted on March 28th 2010 at 7:56PM CDT

I am a reformed dieter who is slowly making peace with food and and her body. Have you ever read anything by Geneen Roth? The woman is amazing. She talks about how counterproductive diets are and how to find out what’s really going on when binge and when we try to control what we eat. Very interesting stuff. Oprah did an interview with her this month and there’s an excerpt of her new book on the website: http://www.oprah.com/health/An-Excerpt-from-Geneen-Roths-Women-Food-And-God

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:19PM CDT

I’ve not read anything by Geneen Roth, I shall see if the library has anything! How did I miss her on Oprah? I tivo Oprah! Thank you for the link!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama
posted on March 28th 2010 at 9:06PM CDT

I hear you! There’s a big difference between losing weight and being healthy. I remember a diet I was on that recommended lots and lots of sugar-free Jell-O. Completely pointless nutritionally and suspect ethically/chemically, but hey, no calories or fat!

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:20PM CDT

Exactly!! I would rather eat that “high point” avocado than the huge bowl of “low point” ice cream.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 9:24PM CDT

Good for you! I eat like that, and I cant lose weight for the life of me either. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I am just going to be more active with the kids and try to take that route.

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:21PM CDT

Oh yes, being active is a HUGE part too, I need to get back to walking, after spending almost a year on bedrest then c-section recovery it’s like I forgot how lol.

posted on March 28th 2010 at 9:47PM CDT

I think it’s a better idea to just eat healthy foods and just stop when you’re full. It usually works. I think you are doing a smart thing.

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:22PM CDT

Thank you! I agree. An issue with doing WW was that because there was zero or little fat, I was never feeling full.

dysfunctional mom
posted on March 29th 2010 at 2:51AM CDT

OK first, I absolutely LOVE your layout & comment layout.
I came over from SITS.
I think you are 100% on the right track with eating real food, not WW junk. Sometimes people need to just step back and use common sense!

posted on March 29th 2010 at 4:23PM CDT

YAY thank you!!

I agree! No one got fat eating a ton of veggies lol.

posted on March 29th 2010 at 7:07AM CDT

I had the same problem with WW, and got so bored really quickly, I am thinking of giving it another go since my friends have done so well at it…

posted on March 29th 2010 at 5:01PM CDT

See it’s not that I was bored but saw how unhealthy it really can be and how it was affecting my oldest.

posted on March 29th 2010 at 3:27PM CDT

Well, I didn’t want to say anything before, but being on Weight Watchers was the most miserable experience of my life. And it turns out that the way I was eating during that time was completely unhealthy. We had a brilliant nutritionist come to the ICAN meeting last month and she explained in detail all about how Americans are so damn depressed because they keep trying to diet, and eat everything “fat-free”, but in reality, we NEED fat in our diet for a million reasons. She said never, never “diet.” Just eat whole foods and you can’t go wrong. She gave great advice on avoiding all things processed, and telling yourself if your Great-Grandmother wouldn’t have bought it, neither should we. (I think that’s a good test.) She also said we should never go more than 3 hours without eating because it’s terrible on the body (blood sugar jumping up and down.) Then she went on about supplements, and that the vitamins we buy at CVS or whatever are so full of junk that they don’t even work. The day after the meeting I went and bought a whole new style of groceries, and we’re really happy with the way things are turning out. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed, but if I use the whole-food test, then it seems pretty easy.

Oh, and btw, I never lost a pound on weight watchers either! Man, that ticked me off!

posted on March 29th 2010 at 5:03PM CDT

That is GREAT advice!!

posted on March 29th 2010 at 5:12PM CDT

I was on jenny craig for a while and I felt the same way. I asked my “counselor” questions on what i should eat, and she gave me terrible advice!! Told me to avoid foods that are really great for you. It really annoyed me. Plus I got sick of all of the processed junk.

posted on March 29th 2010 at 5:14PM CDT

Right! Plus all the processed stuff just makes you FEEL bad, all those chemicals are just not good for a body!

posted on March 29th 2010 at 5:43PM CDT

I’ve never tried any of the diet programs that have been mentioned here. We don’t eat completely organic, but not everything we eat is cooked from scratch either. I try to have a nice balance of foods in the house. The majority of our meals are at home, so that’s a good thing.

posted on March 31st 2010 at 1:28AM CDT

See for me it’s not so much organic vs non-organic but whole REAL food instead of chemical/processed.

Mandy @ Living Peacefully with Children
posted on March 30th 2010 at 9:50AM CDT

We eat a pretty healthy diet, but we will still be tweaking it in a few weeks when our last baby arrives. We plan on (slightly lossely) following the Eat to Live book, which basically means we will try to follow a biologically appropriate diet. Now that it is starting to warm up, I can’t wait to get our family out hiking again.

posted on March 31st 2010 at 1:29AM CDT

I tried Eat to Live a few years ago but even then, the lack of fat meant I was STARVING all the time.

posted on March 31st 2010 at 3:07AM CDT

Look up Jorge Cruise’s diet plan. It’s all about cutting out excess carbs and sugars. It takes some changes and getting used to, but it’s very healthful.

posted on April 9th 2010 at 10:25AM CDT

I will look up Jorge! I don’t have much of a sugar issue but could probably stand to not eat as MANY carbs overall.

posted on March 31st 2010 at 6:05AM CDT

I spent years trying to make my body be a better shape. Then I discovered the Health at Every Size concept [HAES] and fat acceptance. Some places to start:

posted on April 9th 2010 at 10:25AM CDT

OH what great links, thank you!

Jen, the recovering procrastinator
posted on April 9th 2010 at 9:56AM CDT

This is an excellent post. I’ve never done WW or any other specific diet so I’d never thought about this but it’s so true, how it’s all about calories/fat rather than nutrients.

I second the recommendation for SparkPeople.com. What I liked about it is that you can track nutrients as well as fat/cals/carbs.

posted on April 9th 2010 at 10:26AM CDT

Thank you!

It’s really interesting because overall it’s stated everywhere “calories in/calories out” without considering the QUALITY of those calories.

posted on April 30th 2010 at 2:48PM CDT

Thank you so much! I have been on Weight Watchers and I am finding exactly the same thing you are saying! I have been avoiding fruits and other good stuff to hoard points just so I can have that “ace in the hole” later on in the day. It’s just as compulsive as I was, only in a different way. I will credit Weight Watchers for helping me know what a portion is. I will definitely look into all of these options – especially eating real, whole, good foods. What a concept! Again, thank you all.

posted on April 30th 2010 at 3:35PM CDT

Exactly! WW doesn’t help figure out WHY we are eating the foods we are eating or why we are OVER eating on the “bad” stuff.

posted on May 5th 2010 at 7:52PM CDT

I just googled “doing Weight Watchers while eating real food”, and your blog came up! I love what you said. I lost over 100 lbs doing WW about 3 years ago. I ate the low fat, fat free stuff for years. I couldn’t keep the weight off. I was hungry all the time, I was depressed, my cholesterol was extremely low, my hair was falling out, I was irratable and irrational while doing Weight Watchers. I have since gained back about 50 lbs. During that time, I have learned about real food by reading, doing searches and watching movies such as Food Inc, and Corn King. I want so badly to eat REAL food but lose weight and have had a really hard time combining these two things with Weight Watchers. The meetings push the junk and low fat junk ALL. THE. TIME. I tried switching meetings but same thing. I also became totally OBSESSED with food points. I have come to the decision that I would stick to real foods and dump Weight Watchers. I just can’t seem to combine the two successfully. I did learn many things though like portion control and WHY I eat so that helps but really, we can do this! Good luck!

posted on August 18th 2010 at 7:05PM CDT

I’ve done my own version of Atkins off and on for years, and it works very well for me. I just cut out the processed carbs and still eat potatoes and things that are natural. I have never been one for exercise but a few months ago I decided to change my life and I have been attempting to get at least 30 minutes of cardio each day. Between the two efforts, I have lost 13 lbs in the past 3 months. I am now a convert…exercise is really the only way to keep weight off – without starving yourself.
I am glad to see you quit weight watchers. I tried it in January and I was always starving and never enjoyed anything I ate!!

posted on March 7th 2012 at 1:01PM CST

I’ve tried Weight Watchers at least 3 times since 1990 but they only succeeded in making me hungry. Their boring meetings and constant talk about different delicious foods they sell with various pointless points just made me want to go out and eat.

Also their planted stooge (there’s at least one at every meeting) would constantly interrupt and make the boring meetings even more boring. I am very determined to lose more weight with some proper guidance and encouragement. The last thing I need is a pointless insulting points system. Points, by the way, are basically calories. In other words 1 point=approximately 100 calories. Because my profession deals with mathematics I read up on this and quickly concluded that the points system was nothing more than a money making gimmick.

One last sad but true fact is that weight watchers wants you to fail. Please allow me to explain why. I’ve noticed that once you have some success and lose some weight they tell you you’re now allowed some more points. Why do they do this? Not for a reward but rather to set you up for a setback. If you fail months later and start regaining weight what do you do? Naturally weight watchers knows the odds are you’ll rejoin and give them more of your hard earned money. No thanks weight watchers. I’d rather make up my mind to do it myself. With all the free information over the internet that’s the best way to go. You may or may not lose weight but at least you won’t lose your money while being bored to death at meetings.

posted on April 22nd 2015 at 4:42PM CDT

I’m going through this EXACT same thing. This is my 3rd time on WW with little to no success. I would lose 4 pounds in the middle of the week only to gain it back by weigh in day. I’m currently juicing to rid my body of all the “WW approved” foods, AKA sugar loaded processed crap. After which I’m starting low carb no sugar. I did Paleo a few years back and it was the ONLY time in my life that I’d been successful more than 5 pounds here or there. It’s really come to my attention that WW is kind of a scam. It might work for people but that fact is, all that diet food isn’t healthy or natural. Urgh!

posted on November 9th 2017 at 9:41AM CST

I am a 55 year-old female and I don’t really struggle with weight issues, but I could lose a few pounds around the mid-section. I cook for my family and we generally follow a modified low-carb diet – one that includes rice and potatoes a couple of times per week. My college-age daughter recently joined WW and so I thought that I would try and cook WW style since it must be good for you, right? I can’t believe some of the things they want her to eat on this “healthy” diet. Pre-packaged, sugar-laden, poor nutritional value…just for starters. I googled WW with Real Food and found your blog. I just want to say thanks for pointing out that a point is not a point, just like a calorie is not a calorie!

BTW – I have argued for years that the low-fat diet/high carb diet introduced in the 70’s is the real culprit behind the obesity epidemic, which is further fueled by the explosion of prepackaged, overly processed, chock-full of sugar, but low-fat foods that are sold as healthy alternatives.