Why am I not losing weight on Weight Watchers (WW)?

Avocado toast on a plate

Justin. Why are you writing an article that answers the question, “Why am I not losing weight on Weight Watchers?”

Don’t you have a coaching program? Why would you want to help people that are doing Weight Watchers?

I don’t care if you work with me or not. I want you to be successful and if you like Weight Watchers and it’s working for you, great! I want to help you understand what drives weight loss and how you can troubleshoot when that’s not happening using WW.

That’s also why I wrote articles for Peloton, Tonal, Pilates, Kettlebells, Orangetheory, F45, and probably other ones I’m forgetting.

Why am I not losing weight following Weight Watchers

How diets work

To lose weight you have to take in fewer calories than your body needs. Or you have to use more calories than your body needs. Usually, it’s a combination of both.

If you’re not losing weight it’s because you are not in a consistent calorie deficit over time.

All diet methods, nutrition protocols, and systems help you lose weight in the same way. They put you in a calorie deficit. If you maintain an average calorie deficit over time you will lose weight.

The only difference between them is how they get you to do it. Some of them get you to restrict calories indirectly. This means you are restricting them without realizing it. Others have you restrict them directly.

For example, keto has you restrict a food group (carbs). Carbs have 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate.

Let’s say you eat on average 2,000 calories per day and you’re maintaining your weight. Within these calories, you eat the following carbohydrates every day.

  • Breakfast: 2 slices of toast (200 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 apple (80 calories)
  • Dinner: 1 cup of rice (200 calories)
  • Total calories: 480

If you restricted carbohydrates you would not be eating 480 calories. You are now eating 1,620 calories per day. This puts you in a calorie deficit and if you do not replace those calories you may start losing weight.

Weight Watchers is a simplified calorie-counting system by assigns points to various foods that have calories. You reduce your calories by reducing your points.

If you’re following Weight Watchers and not losing weight it’s most likely because you are:

  • Overeating zero-point foods. Zero-point foods still have calories.
  • It feels too restrictive and you’re overeating later
  • Not tracking points accurately and eating more than you realize
  • Are not being consistent with it for a long enough period
  • Are losing weight and not looking at your weight trend over time
  • Are focusing too much on scale weight and not enough on body stats and photos to measure fat loss.
Weight loss with trend line
Weight trend over time. Notice the natural spikes up and down. Most people freak out when the see it go up. Look for a down trend over time.

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • Start resistance training: If you are not to avoid losing lean muscle while losing weight. You want as much of your weight loss to come from body fat as possible. Losing muscle will affect your metabolism.
  • Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, PCOS, or hormonal imbalances, can impact weight loss. If you suspect any issues, see a specialist in those areas.
  • Stress and sleep: Lack of sleep and high stress levels can affect your body’s ability to lose weight. Tired and stressed people tend to move less, eat more, and have lower levels of motivation to work on those things.
  • Check your steps: It’s natural for steps to decrease when it is a weight loss phase. It’s a natural adaptation your body goes through. The fewer calories coming in the more energy your body wants to preserve.

Pros and cons of Weight Watcher (WW)

Every diet or nutritional approach has its pros and cons. For Weight Watchers, some of the pros may include:

  • Flexibility: WW encourages flexibility in food choices. Instead of restricting specific foods, it assigns SmartPoints to foods based on their nutritional value, allowing you to make choices that fit their preferences.
  • Behavioral support: WW provides behavioral support through meetings, online communities, and digital tools. This support can be beneficial for you if you like community and need help with motivation and accountability.
  • Structured program: The program provides structure and a point system that helps you make healthier food choices while still allowing for treats in moderation.
  • Education: WW offers educational resources on nutrition, portion control, and healthy habits, helping you make informed decisions about your food choices.
  • Adaptability to different lifestyles: WW can be adapted to various dietary preferences and lifestyles.
  • No food elimination: Unlike some diets that eliminate entire food groups, WW does not require the exclusion of specific foods, promoting a more sustainable and balanced approach to eating.
  • Online tools: WW provides digital tools and apps that make it easier for you to track your food intake, activity, and progress.

There are also some cons:

  • Cost: Depending on your budget and what you value in a coaching program. It can be relatively expensive, especially if you opt for in-person meetings or personalized coaching.
  • Dependency on points: Some argue that the point system can lead to a focus on numbers rather than the nutritional quality of food. People may choose low-point but less nutritious options.
  • Potential for overeating: While the point system encourages portion control, some might interpret it as permission to eat low-nutrient, high-point foods in excessive amounts. Or overeat “zero” point foods that still contain calories.
  • Not a quick fix: Weight loss with WW is gradual and may not provide quick results. This can be discouraging if you’re seeking rapid changes.

How can I speed up weight loss on Weight Watchers 

nutrition importance

You can speed up weight loss on Weight Watchers the same way you would speed up weight loss using any other method. By creating a bigger calorie deficit.

However, most people don’t need to do this nor is it in their best interest. A larger deficit usually means more restrictions. This can make adhering to your diet harder over a longer period. If you can’t adhere to your diet you can’t be successful.

If you’re losing between .5% and 1.5% of your body weight most weeks you’re making great progress. There is no need to speed it up.

If you’re not making any progress look are your adherence first.

  • Stay within your SmartPoints budget: Adhering to your daily and weekly SmartPoints budget is crucial for weight loss. Be mindful of portion sizes and choose nutrient-dense foods to stay satisfied within your allocated points.
  • Prioritize whole foods: Opt for whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. These foods tend to be more filling and provide essential nutrients, helping you stay on track with your weight loss goals.
  • Include lean proteins: Protein-rich foods can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Include lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu, beans, and legumes in your meals. Plus, there is a larger thermic effect when you eat them.
  • Load up on vegetables: Vegetables are low in SmartPoints and high in fiber, making them a great choice for weight loss. Fill your plate with a variety of colorful vegetables to add volume to your meals without consuming excessive points.
  • Limit processed foods: Processed and highly refined foods can be higher in SmartPoints and may not be as satiating. Limit your intake of processed snacks, sugary beverages, and other high-point items.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is essential for overall health and can also help you feel full. Sometimes, feelings of hunger can be confused with dehydration.
  • Incorporate physical activity: Regular exercise is important for weight loss and overall well-being. Find activities you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine. Aim for a mix of cardiovascular exercises and strength training.
  • Be mindful of emotional and stress eating: Pay attention to emotional triggers that may lead to overeating. Develop alternative coping mechanisms, such as going for a walk, practicing mindfulness, or talking to a friend.
  • Track everything: Be meticulous about tracking your food intake, including snacks and treats. This helps you stay accountable and aware of your choices.
  • Review and Adjust: Regularly assess your progress and adjust your approach as needed. If you find that you’re not seeing the desired results, consider consulting with a registered dietitian or coach to help you troubleshoot.

How long will it take to lose 25 pounds on Weight Watchers

Rates of progress
Credit: Precision Nutrition

The rate of weight loss varies from person to person and depends on several factors, including your starting weight, age, gender, metabolism, activity level, and adherence to the Weight Watchers program. Or any program that you’re on.

Generally speaking, reasonable and safe rates of weight loss per week according to experts, research, and governing bodies suggest the following.

Extreme (per week)

  • 1-1.5% of body weight
  • Men: 2-3 lbs
  • Women: 1.65-2.5 lbs

Reasonable (per week)

  • .5-1% of body weight
  • Men: 1-2 lbs
  • Women: .8-1.65 lbs

Comfortable (per week)

  • .5% of body weight
  • Men: <1 lbs
  • Women: <.8 lbs

Assuming a steady and healthy weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, it might take approximately 12 to 25 weeks (or about 3 to 6 months) to lose 25 pounds. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and your results may vary.

People like to freak out when they’re not losing weight as fast as their friend, brother, sister, significant other, or random person on the Internet who is talking about their hashtag fitness journey. You may not lose weight at the rates described above and that is ok.

Something to keep in mind is that weight loss is often faster when you first start, and when you have more weight to lose. The more weight you lose, the slower the rate of weight loss.

Ultimately, how fast you can lose weight depends on how consistent and patient you can be with the program that you’re following.

How long does it take to see weight loss on Weight Watchers

According to the company’s website, members can expect to lose 0.5–2 pounds (0.23–0.9 kg) per week. However, results will vary from person to person

The time it takes to see weight loss results on Weight Watchers or any other weight loss program can vary from person to person. Several factors influence the rate at which individuals lose weight, including:

  • Starting weight: People with higher starting weights may see more significant initial weight loss.
  • Metabolism: Metabolic rates vary among individuals, affecting how quickly they burn calories.
  • Dietary adherence: Adherence to the Weight Watchers program, including staying within SmartPoints limits, can impact weight loss results.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise can contribute to weight loss and overall health.
  • Genetics and hormones: Individual genetic factors and hormonal influences play a role in weight loss. 

I dive deeper into how fast you can expect to lose weight in this article.

Ultimately weight loss depends on several factors. 

  • are you in a consistent calorie deficit?
  • does the approach you’re taking make sense for your goals
  • are you enjoying the process (or at least not hating it to the max)
  • your current starting point (a lot of weight to lose or a little)
  • adherence to the plan

When working with clients I often find that it’s not a lack of progress for them that’s frustrating. It’s that they started with unrealistic expectations, don’t understand why they can’t sustain the results they got when they started, or a combination of the two. Make sure you have a good grasp on these before you start freaking out.

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Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

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