DISPATCHES: WEIGHT WATCHERS – HOW THEY MAKE THEIR MILLIONS

by Lisa McGarry

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We always look forward to Monday night Dispatches episodes on Channel 4 and tonight’s looks set to be just as engaging as we have become used to from the award winning current affairs documentary series.

This evening’s subject is the famous weight loss club WeightWatchers and in the episode, Dispatches investigates the UK’s largest diet brand.

As part of her research, journalist Jane Moore interviews food and nutrition experts, as well as desperate dieters and scientists working in the area of obesity and weight loss, to find out just how effective the company’s diet plans and food products are.

She looks into whether the club is worth the money laid out and if there is an alternative way of doing things.

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The show hasn’t even aired yet and already it’s stirring up strong opinions online. One commenter posted about the show, defending Weightwatchers and it’s ethos, saying:

“After struggling with my weight for 45 years, trying every fad diet going and getting bigger everytime, I lost 5 stones with Weight Watchers and have kept it off for 8 years. It’s changed my life. Thank you Weight Watchers, keep up the great work!!!”

Another wrote:

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“My daughter and I joined Weight Watchers 2 years ago this month and up until now I have lost 6 stones in weight and my Daughter as lost just over 9 stones. I would say it works and they teach members to eat a healthy and sensible diet along with bringing in more activity. Out class leader is totally committed to helping her members to succeed, we even have a face book support group which involves all of her classes.”

However not everyone was so positive and one commenter disagreed with the glowing testimonials, writing:

“Weight watchers/ slimminmg world and any other diet is a complete fad. What people are unaware of is that a lot of the weight they are loosing is muscle and water and not body fat weight. Also by restricting calories it is slowing the metabolism down which explains why once people can no longer cope on the diet they put all the weight back on and more!!!”

What do you think readers? Leave your comments below…

WATCH WEIGHT WATCHERS – HOW THEY MAKE THEIR MILLIONS tonight, 8PM, Channel 4

9 Comments

  1. Jane Armour on January 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I lost 5 stone 39 years ago after putting on 5 stone while pregnant with my son, I am now 60 years old and did put on some weight last year, I re-joined Weight Watchers in July 2012, to date I have lost just over a stone my leader is really lovely, encouraging and very supportive I also enjoy the weekly classes where I get to catch up with friends I have made and we also exchange recipes and tips. It works keep it up!!!!

  2. Dave on January 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    What an utterly rubbish programme airing? This is a very one sided programme…… Weightwatchers works for me. I am disciplined! I never use my 49 pts extra. Most of the people you refer to, have put weight back on because they don’t track properly, have no discipline and in most case lack the motivation they need! It’s not a diet plan, it’s a means to a healthier more balanced lifestyle and is about ar more than just the food. Furthermore, the people who go to the meetings, don’t have to buy the weightwatchers food, it’s there as a convenience! (When you go into the apple store, would you expect anything less than iPad accessories to be next to the iPad?). It’s only product placement and goes on in any business today. I have confidence that there will be far more people out there it does work for, and have positive things to say. Finally, if my wife was earning 27k a year i wouldn’t have to work so damn hard!
    End of rant!

  3. Paula Mooz on January 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    What an awfully one sided program. I have been on and off weight watchers for 32 years and each time I have used them I have lost weight. The first time was when I was 21 and weighed 17 stone. I’d already tried various methods of losing weight from replacing dripping with Lard to only eating my beloved fish and chips on a friday but nothing seemed to work. Eventually I tried weight watchers and after only 6 months had lost 4lb. Roll forward 32 years, I am now 47 and have only increased in weight to 23 stone (but I look much thinner). People who say I should have just eaten less real food to lose weight and saved money are just thick.

  4. Lois on January 29, 2013 at 11:21 am

    4lbs in 6months?! Ive lost more than that in a week!

    If you have been going to weightwatchers for 32 years and put on 6 stone in that time it only goes to show that it is a failing plan.

  5. Stuart on January 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Not seen the programme yet but will later, I lost 13st on Slimming World and kept it off now 4 years, from 25st to 12st. From breathless walking to running marathons.
    Certainly not a fad diet, taught me to shop, cook and eat healthy to stay at target weight forever, that said, Weight Watchers didn’t work for me, neither did Atkins, neither did Xenical tablets from my GP, but there’s millions who Weight Watchers has worked for, similarly some people find Slimming World hard, what suits one person doesn’t necessarily suit another. Good luck to all of you starting out on your journey to take back control of your life

  6. Martin on January 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    What an utter embarrasement for Channel 4! Weightwatchers has been part of my life for over 14 years. The “Members” interviewed didn’t attend the meetings/joined but didn’t go back after the first week. Why wasn’t Slimming World compared? Jenny Craig/ Lighter Life FORCE the members to buy the products to follow their plan.

  7. Martin on January 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    And Jane Moore, how thick are you?? You had the FREE iphone app and couldn’t work out the Pro Points values in food?? Utter disgrace, And that choir, why weren’t they asked how many had attended Slimming World/Rosemary Connelly etc?

  8. Deb on January 30, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I lost over 10stone using weight watchers in 2004 in my final year of university. As with any plan it’s only as good as your motivation. However weight watchers works because it’s realistic – it fits in with everyday life as nothing is off limits i.e. carbs etc. I tried every diet that involved shakes, or just protein, or just soups with a million other tablets on the side but weight watchers was the only one where nothing was off limits so it worked as I was constantly motivated. It also encourages healthier eating by increasing fruit and vegetables and new recipes and cooking books. It’s not all about their ‘products’.

    I haven’t eaten a ready meal since 2005 – I started weight watchers not knowing a clue about cooking and had previously existed on ready meals and pre packaged food which is pumped with sugar and other rubbish. Weight watchers and their weekly recipes and cooking books encouraged me to learn how to cook and I now cook everything from scratch – even making my own chutneys, condiments, jams and ice cream. Meaning I have much more control over the quality of my food and what goes in!

    If it wasn’t for weight watchers I would probably be even fatter than I was then huffing and puffing and struggling to walk up a hill. Instead I now cycle 35 miles a day as part of my commute and run a marathon every year with a few half marathons ever spring and autumn. My whole life has changed including my work life as I’m much more confident.

  9. Zoe on February 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Extremely one sided therefore little credibility. I have lost weight and maintained through weightwatchers and truly believe in it as a lifetime solution to managing weight. To follow the programme you do not have to buy the food products, it is a choice. The other tools, such as the eat out and shopping guides are well worth the money to me and highlight the differences in points values accross all the main brands to help you chose.

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