This interaction pretty much sums up how I feel about Weight Watchers:
Jon: “Damn, I’m spilling my points!”
Me: “Good Lord … You’re causing traumatic flashbacks. I think you’re becoming a little too obsessed with the points.”

I joined WW for the first time about 8 years ago. I joined for the last time about 3 years ago. In between, I probably joined 4 or 5 times at 4 or 5 different places and in at least 2 different cities. Strangely enough, I had identical experiences at each one. Imagine that.

I often make fun of the coke cakes and the scale obsessions and the taco soup recipes I’ve received at countless different meetings, but I have more positive than negative feelings about WW, in general.

The positive: The guidelines are simple and easy to follow, you get the information you need to make good choices and goals, and you get all the support and encouragement a person should need.

The negative: I think all the positives can become too comfortable. It seems that WW can become a way of life instead of a guide for a new life, and I don’t think that the gaining and losing roller coaster is a healthy way to live.

People occasionally ask me how I’ve lost weight and I’m hesitant to answer each and every time. Primarily because I don’t think calories in/calories out is the magic answer people are wanting to hear, but also because I just don’t know what to say. I could say that I’ve done it with WW, but that’s not entirely true. I could say that I’ve done it by just counting calories and changing my diet, but that’s not entirely true, either. I could say that I’ve done it by not attending WW meetings, by not opening a single piece of WW literature and by not participating with WW in any way except to count points, but who wants to listen to all that?

The truth is this – I count points. That’s it. I am not cut out for the public humiliation that comes with receiving gold stars or magnets or any of that other wasteful crap. I am not cut out for interacting with a person who lectures about health and nutrition and then passes out recipes that contain diet coke and other disgusting chemical-laden concoctions. (I would say that I’m not cut out for paying someone to tell me how to do something I should be able to figure out on my own, but uhhh … trainer. I think the gain/lose ratio has higher gains in my favor with the trainer, though, and higher in WW’s favor with WW, so there ya go.)

What I AM cut out for is the discipline that comes with points. Portion control. That’s it. I use my raggedy 5 year old points thing and my piece of printer paper stuck to the refrigerator and I count and record the points. I haven’t adopted crazy ways that aren’t doable for the long haul and I sure as hell don’t have one way of eating on WW and one way off. It’s a great tool – if used properly.