Weight Watchers meetings can provide an important source of emotional support and encouragement while dieting, as well as information on nutrition and exercise, healthy cooking and supporting lifestyle skills. The weekly weigh-in promotes accountability and monitors progress. The downside is the cost, which may dissuade those with very tight budgets.
Weight Watchers originated in the 1960s. As of 2015, its current version emphasizes learning healthy eating patterns and using a point system to track consumption and ensure a balanced diet. Weight Watchers does not forbid any foods and does not require purchasing any special foods, although the organization markets a line of prepared meals and snacks. The philosophy of the program encourages slow, steady weight loss.
As of December 2014, Weight Watchers meetings required a registration fee averaging $30. Dues vary by location but average $13 per week. There is no long-term contract required, and members may cancel their memberships at any time. Members in some locations have reported experiencing pressure to buy Weight Watchers products, but the program does not require purchases to maintain membership.
Weight Watchers also provides an on-line meeting option for those uncomfortable in groups and those who do not have a live group available at a convenient time or within a reasonable distance. The on-line option provides a usually less expensive alternative to the live meetings.