Posted by: dietingnow | July 6, 2007

Weight Loss – The Group Approach

People are social beings, so for many of us, it doesn’t make sense to try and lose weight alone. Many people do better in a group program such as Weight Watchers. In fact, Weight Watchers has been one of the most successful weight loss programs around for many years now. It operates on a simple, yet ingenious formula that makes weight loss simple for the majority of people.

The first element is the grading of foods according to points. The key is that it’s a simple system. Different foods are given a different number of points based on their fat and calorie content, and you are given a daily ‘allowance’ of points depending on how active you are and how much weight you want or need to lose. This means that you don’t need to stick to pre-planned menus, you don’t need to buy special foods or supplements, and you can eat the foods you love. There are no forbidden foods.

This is very different from a lot of other diets and weight loss programs, which tend to target a particular type of food and blame it for everyone’s weight problems. For people who subscribe to the low –carb approach to weigh loss, simple carbohydrates are the ‘enemy’. For fitness guru Susan Powter, fat is the enemy. The problem is that all of these diets lose their appeal after you have been on several different ones, and they all tell you different things. In fact, as a society, we almost expect a new approach to eating to come along every year or so, just to confuse us!

At Weight Watchers, though, they just let the numbers speak for themselves without judging the foods. Some foods are simply higher in calories, so if you want to eat them, you have to eat less in order to lose or maintain your weight. It’s very simple. So, for example, if you want to plan to have dessert, you can cut back on some of your other food for the day, or just exercise a bit more.

Another thing that makes Weight Watchers so successful is the group approach. Everyone comes to meetings together, a little bit like AA or any other support group. There, everyone is weighed in public, though there is no scolding or shaming, Psychologically, though, that really does make people try harder to lose weight. People know that if they slip up, everyone will know. Everyone will probably be very understanding, but by the same token, everyone is likely to applaud you when you do stick to the plan and lose weight.

Weight Watchers is the original, but there are many other weight loss programs that are based on this group approach. It’s very helpful to many of us, much as exercising with a friend can be much easier than doing it on your own. Basically, eating is a very social thing, and one of the reasons why people fail to lose weight may be that they feel the need to participate in the social aspect of eating.

Weight loss groups deal with this need very constructively. You have the opportunity, on a regular basis, to be with a large group of people who are in the same boat, so to speak. Weight Watchers also has qualified counselors on hand to help you with any trouble you might be having with your weight loss plan. That kind of support is definitely well worth the very reasonable fee you pay for joining.

Weight Watchers is a diet, not a way of life – you set goals, and when you meet them, you’re ‘finished’, so to speak. However, one of the aims of this program is to teach you certain skills that you will be able to keep for life. These include a sense of portion control – because we are often served huge portions of food in restaurants, for example, some of us seem to have lost touch with what a reasonable portion of food looks like, or what it feels like to eat it. This, in and of itself, leads to a lot of weight problems. Weight Watchers and other similar weight loss programs help you reinstate the sense of portion control by limiting the amount of food you eat at a single sitting down to a more reasonable size.

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