If I had to list the number one question I receive from WW members, it would be this, “Why am I not losing weight on Weight Watchers?” Let’s explore this together and figure out how to get your weight loss on track quickly and easily.
- Are You Not Losing Weight on Weight Watchers?
- Why You Are Not Losing Weight
- Create an Action Plan for When You Aren't Losing Weight
- When You are Gaining Weight with WW Points
- Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss on WW
Are You Not Losing Weight on Weight Watchers?
Last week I received this email question from a reader named Sheri.
I’ve been faithfully following the WW program for months and I’m so frustrated that I’m not losing weight. I’m not overeating. I’m walking 3-4 times a week. I need to lose 40 pounds so I’m not even close to my goal weight. One week I might lose a pound, but then the next week I gain it back and I haven’t lost much overall. What can I do? Why can everyone else lose weight and not me?
Can you relate to Sheri?
I know I sure can. It’s so frustrating to feel like you’re doing all the right things and still not losing weight.
Why You Are Not Losing Weight
I’m going to tell you the truth and it is probably not the news you want to hear, but there’s no point in sugar coating it.
You are eating too many calories.
I can hear your but…but…but!!! (And I get it because I do more than my fair share of but-butting.)
But none of those buts really matter.
- You might have low thyroid.
- You might have arthritis.
- You might be in pre-menopause, menopause, or post-menopause.
- You might a lower metabolic rate because you have a history of dieting.
- You might have stinky genetics.
You might be following the WW program perfectly, but if you are eating too many calories for your body, you aren’t going to lose weight.
Weight loss seems complex but at its most basic level it’s super-simple.
If you are stuck and not losing weight, it’s because somewhere, somehow, you are eating too many calories.
It’s not that the WW system isn’t working for you.
And by the way, there is no “starvation mode” according to weight loss research doctors so set that myth aside. If we put you into a deserted island with no food, you would lose weight.
The WW points system is a great way to lose weight, but at the end of the day it’s really just a fancy way of counting calories. Yes, there is a bit more complexity to the WW points system (like higher points for foods with sugar and lower points for foods with lean protein) but ultimately fat loss comes from reducing calories so that your body burns your reserves and you drop pounds.
Create an Action Plan for When You Aren’t Losing Weight
If you are not losing weight on WW, let’s develop an action plan together. Here are the steps to take.
- Get real. This is the grand-daddy solution. Look at your diet like someone from the outside would look at it. Think like a scientist. You’re overeating (for your body) somewhere. If necessary, bring a copy of your food log to your doctor, a dietitian, or your WW leader.
- Get real about when you are NOT tracking. What about the times you DON’T track? Your splurges could be killing your weight loss. Think about the meal after weigh-in, celebration meals, weekends, BLTs (bites, licks, and tastes) while cooking, finishing your kid’s leftovers, those few bites of your husband’s dessert or TV-watching popcorn, and evening or middle-of-the-night snacking. You might dismiss those extra calories, but your body doesn’t.
- Get real about binge eating. This has been a big one for me because I have a history of binge eating. One eating binge can counteract WEEKS (no joke) of healthy eating. You feel like you’re doing great because you have all these days in a row of eating healthy or even under-eating, but a binge or cheat meal or splurge of a couple thousand calories can mean you are still into the range of overeating. If you are binge eating, the WW program is not your problem. Your eating binges are your problem. Focus on fixing those first.
- Weight and measure your servings. A study showed that dietitians underestimated their food intake by about 30% and these people are experts. Research shows that overweight people have an even harder time being accurate, often under-reporting their food intake by 40%. You are probably under tracking something. We all do it, myself included. Start measuring out portions or using a food scale, especially for high-calorie foods like nuts, peanut butter, junk foods, and oils.
- Check your goal weight. Maybe it’s not realistic for you. All our bodies are different. A goal weight of 10-15 pounds above what the charts say might be healthier for you. Talk with your doctor, because WW will accept a goal weight above their range for you with a doctor’s note and you can qualify for Lifetime status.
When You are Gaining Weight with WW Points
For 2022 and 2023, Weightwatchers launched the WW Program for 2023. The program has a set list of zero point foods for all members. (Click here for a free printable list of the zero point foods.) Note that diabetic members have a different plan.
The November before that, WW had rolled out their system called Personal Points. The PP plan gave each member a unique list of zero point foods based on a personalized assessment.
Before PP, MyWW had the Green, Blue, and Purple plans so I hear from a lot of members that want to go back to a previous color plan. Before that, I heard people say they wanted Freestyle back, and I hear people talk about older Weight Watchers plans like exchange plans, Fat and Fiber and SmartPoints. Complaining about the newest system is typical in WW culture.
Every two years WW creates a completely new system and every time we WW members freak out. We are sure the previous system was so much better.
However, I will say that some people are struggle with the Weight Watchers system and I understand their frustration. There is no perfect weight loss system.
Click here to read more about my concerns with WW Points tracking. While I still think it’s a valid system and I recommend it, here are some options if it’s really not working for you.
3 Ways to Lose More Weight with WW Points
If you are struggling to lose weight with the current Weight Watchers plan, or your weight loss is slow, try one of these strategies.
- Try the Holy Mess 3 Day Diet. If you have not tried this free meal plan yet, this is where I recommend you start. The plan is based on the zero point food list. The meals are easy to prepare, taste great, and are filling. When people email me and say they aren’t losing weight or are on a weight loss plateau, the first thing I ask them is if they’ve tried the 3 day diet yet and what were their results.
- Vary how you use your weekly points. If you aren’t currently using them, try using more of them. If you are using all of them, trying not using quite as many.
- Be careful with “eating back” physical activity points. WW used to reward physical activity with giving you more food, and then for years they dropped that feature. I’m interested to see they added it back but I have some concerns. Research shows that exercise is important for health but is not the way to weight loss.
Other Weight Loss Programs Instead of Weight Watchers
If you are really struggling, maybe WW isn’t the system for you. That’s fine. Research shows that tracking is the fastest and most sure way to weight loss, and this has proven true in my own weight loss journey, so check out these other weight loss food log programs.
Try one of these systems for tracking points or calories:
- Track calories on a free app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It.
- Try Healthie (formerly itrackbites) app which is a WW knock-off. They have options for previous WW plans, too.
- Keep a paper journal of what you eat. I recommend tracking calories if you use this method.
- Some people recommend Noom, which has a Green, Yellow, Red food system. I wasn’t a fan of Noom which I reviewed it. There’s a lot of AI (Artificial Intelligence) which was off-putting to me, but I know people have had success with it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss on WW
Finally, don’t give up. I know weight loss stalls can be frustrating, but don’t let quitting be an option. Where will quitting get you? Heavier than ever, and that’s not the answer.
Don’t believe the lie that everyone else is losing weight and not you. I know it seems that way, but if it were true why would I get all these emails from people not losing weight?
Give yourself some grace that weight loss is hard. You will figure it out. I believe you!
How is your weight loss progressing? Share about it in the comments below.
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