The Four Pillars: Behaviour
By The Weight Watchers Research Dept.
Making changes in behaviour is really at the heart of sustained weight loss, but it does not just happen. There are two specific components of behaviour change that are key components of Weight Watchers: self-monitoring and cognitive skills (cognitive is a scientific term that means how you think).
There are two important pieces to self-monitoring – having a way to maintain awareness about what is being done and including a method to assess weight loss progress. The Weight Watchers approach includes both.
Self Monitoring eating behaviour is a critical component of the Discover Plan™. Because the food plan requires tracking POINTS® values to reach the daily POINTS allowance, the Weight Watchers Tracker (or Track) was developed and is included in your programme materials provided a part of each weekly meeting. This Tracker includes a flexible, easy-to-use log where the specific food choices can be recorded. There is also a chart on the Tracker to assess your level of satisfaction before and after you eat because the ability to recognise your body's signals is an important part of healthy habits long-term. Similarly, subscribers to the WeightWatchers.co.uk website can maintain an online log and use the Plan Manager online tool to search and record the POINTS values for specific foods.
Weight And Accountability
Fundamental to the Weight Watchers meeting experience is a weekly weigh in to track members' progress. The weigh in is confidential and done by a trained Weight Watchers Leader or a member of the meeting room team. Weight information is never shared outside the weigh in. Many people find the accountability of being weighed by another person helpful to their weight loss efforts and the structure of going to a Weight Watchers meeting each week is a way to keep commitment strong. Website subscribers can chart their progress online with the Weight Tracker feature, which delivers a visual representation of their weight loss progress and milestones.
Weight Watchers recommends that weight be taken only once a week during the weight loss process, preferably in a consistent way (time of day, day of week, etc.) to avoid putting too much emphasis on the erratic scale as a measure of progress.
Regular weighing is also a key factor in sustained weight loss. Weight Watchers has a unique system to encourage this behaviour for people who have reached their weight goal by attending weekly meetings. Weight Watchers meetings members who reach a healthy body weight (defined as a Body Mass Index between 20 and 25 or a weight goal prescribed by a qualified health professional) and successfully complete the five week weight maintenance phase of the programme become a Gold Member of Weight Watchers.
People who are Gold Members are asked to weigh in five times a year at a Weight Watchers meeting. When they weigh in within 5lb of his or her Goal Weight, he or she can attend the Weight Watchers meeting at no cost. This unique system allows Weight Watchers to provide to its members two of the elements that are predictive of sustained weight loss in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, including monitoring weight and continued contact with those who were part of the weight loss process.
In addition to monitoring, a series of specific techniques are taught to enhance cognitive behaviour or thinking skills. Called the Weight Watchers Motivate Me, the techniques are proven strategies that restructure internal thought processes in a way that enhances the ability to make long-term positive changes. The techniques enable a person to interact and thrive in the weight-challenging situations and social interactions that make up daily life.