One of the questions I ask on my New Client Profile Form is, “What programs have you tried in the past?” 9 out of 10 people list Weight Watchers.

There’s no doubt that Weight Watchers is one of the most popular weight loss programs in the world. It’s an effective short-term program. What most people don’t find out–until it’s too late–is that it lacks the ability to produce long term results.

Failing at Weight Watchers has nothing to do with the client. As I’ll outline in this article, there are fundamental flaws in the Weight Watchers design.

It does an amazing job of marketing exactly what people hope to achieve. The problem is that it can’t deliver. To unpack why, I’m going to break down the program and explain why specific parts of the program are problematic.

My two sources for this review are the Weight Watchers official website and an article written by a “lifelong member of Weight Watchers” titled, “10 Reasons Why Weight Watchers Works!” (editor’s note: This article has sense been removed from the original source, so we have removed the link).

Weight Watchers Marketing

This is the poster from the Weight Watchers program page. It all sounds wonderful, but what’s the reality? It’s time to uncover the illusion of control, hope, and support that Weight Watchers is masterful at marketing to the masses.

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Eat Real Food. Really…

The lifelong member says: “Weight Watchers is a new way of eating, it’s not just a diet” and, “No food is off limits.”

Pictured alongside the eat real food headline is a slice of pizza. Is pizza a real food? Hardly. It fails almost every aspect of our ANTI-food grading model.

ANTI foods are addiction-feeding, nutrient-poor, toxic, and/or inflammatory. People love our ANTI food grading process because it makes perfect sense and it’s not one-size-fits-all.

Real food is food that is minimally processed. Food that is as close to its natural state as possible. Food that is nutritious and that your biology has a long history of interacting with (from a genetic standpoint).

Real food, as defined by Weight Watchers, means food that’s not healthy. You get to have your cake and eat it too. You can eat whatever you want as long as you eat less of it.

When Weight Watchers talks about “real food,” they’re talking about “everyday food.” In other words, “food ‘real people’ in the ‘real world’ eat.”

You mean the people who are statistically obese and dying from preventable diseases? Yes, those real people.

They’ve molested the term in an attempt to appeal to your emotions and your clinginess to “comfort foods.”

If you want to see healthy recipes based on real-food, EatRealFood.Recipes is a wonderful resource.

For any “diet” to work, it must become second nature. It must be something you can stick to – not just for a few weeks or months, as you loose weight – but for the rest of your life. The Weight Watchers program is just that. Can you honestly say that about a diet that requires you to buy their precooked meals or drink a liquid shake? I don’t think so! So the Weight Watchers plan prepares you for the rest of your life, not just for weight loss! ~ Lifetime Weight Watchers Member

This argument, of course, is a false dilemma fallacy. The choice isn’t between Weight Watchers and precooked meals and liquid shakes. The choice is between Weight Watchers and TRULY eating real food.

People who use these types of fallacies as their argument do so to hide the true alternative in the shadows. Weight Watchers has 50 years of experience perfecting this type of subtle misdirection.

We’ve Got Your Back. Always…

The lifelong member says: “Weight Watchers makes you accountable.”

Believing that you need someone on your team to hold you accountable is erroneous.

I don’t fault people for thinking they need someone to hold them accountable. It’s driven by the myth that willpower and discipline are the keys to success and these are two things that most people complain about not having enough of.

What happens next? They recruit an accountability partner to force them to stay on track when their willpower is gone. When their discipline wavers.

It’s not necessary. In fact, it can be destructive. When you understand the psychology of health and fitness, you free yourself from a lot of these myths. That’s why our clients are successful long-term without willpower or discipline.

Let’s look at what accountability isn’t.

  • Accountability is not support, at least not the type of support you need.
  • Accountability doesn’t heal complex psychological roadblocks.
  • Accountability doesn’t help with addiction and dependency.
  • Accountability doesn’t change your relationship with food, body, and Self.

Even worse, they’re using the scale as an accountability tool just like all traditional diets do…

Having to show up at a meeting on a weekly basis to weigh in makes one accountable. Each week there’s a real person there – a trained Weight Watchers staff member – waiting to record your weight and progress. ~ Lifelong Weight Watchers Member

The process of a weigh-in is fundamentally flawed as explained in my article, The Ten Pound Problem. Weight has nothing to do with this journey and the scale is the most useless tool one can use to gauge success. In fact, the fastest way to exchange your one-way ticket to success for a round trip ticket is to start weighing yourself and pretending those numbers mean something.

Based on Weight Watchers’ slow starvation model, the weight you’re likely losing is due to the cannibalization of muscle. Hey, they didn’t promise to help you lose fat — they promised to help you lose weight.

The Smart Choice is the Easy Choice…

The lifelong member says: “Weight Watchers fits the way you live” and “Weight Watchers is for life!”

Train your brain by learning new routines and great habits, so you can make healthy choices without even thinking about it. ~ Weight Watchers marketing

Counting, tracking, and weighing doesn’t make decisions easy. It doesn’t “train your brain.” It doesn’t “give you great habits.” It makes you obsessive and unhappy.

And what better time to point out another aspect of Weight Watchers that’s billed as “making life easy.” Have you seen their food products?

Weight Watchers subsidizes the cost of their memberships by selling food products that are the antithesis of healthy.

Though no food is technically off limits, the Weight Watchers plan will guide and lead you toward healthier choices simply because of the point system it employs. ~ Lifelong Weight Watchers Member

Really? Is this why Weight Watchers offers microwavable meals, frozen desserts, and other packaged food products filled with corn syrup, aspartame, wheat/gluten, Canola Oil, hydrogenated oils, added sugar, MSG, corn, and GMOs?

Weight Watchers makes millions off their licensing deals at the enormous expense of their clients’ health. That might make things easy, but it certainly doesn’t make them smart.

The smart way is to eat real food while working to heal your relationship with food, body, and Self. You can’t wrap that up in neat marketing with quick-fix promises, though, can you?

Wrap Up

When a weight-loss plan is built for human nature, you can expect amazing. Temptation is everywhere, and science shows us that our brains are hardwired to give in. That’s why we created our program, built on our proven PointsPlus® plan and backed with 50 years of helping real people in the real world lose weight. And it’s changing the face of weight loss.

It’s not human nature to harm yourself. We’re not hardwired to eat poison. And having a points system that helps us eat less poison is not a “real world” process, nor is it effective.

Weight Watchers knows that by restricting how much you eat, you’re going to lose weight. Since they’ve defined success by weight, nothing else matters. They’re not promising health. They’re not promising happiness. They’re not promising a healthy relationship with food, body, and Self. They’re promising weight loss. That’s it.

Does it matter that they’re setting you up for further disordered eating habits?. Not to them. When your disordered eating habits lead to failure, they get to keep you on as a paying member for even longer.

They’ll tell you to double down on willpower and discipline and show up to more “accountability” meetings. It’s always your fault, not theirs.

If you reach your goal weight on Weight Watchers, the program is free and you stop paying. If you yo-yo for a long time and then quit, they make more money on average.

The free membership offer is not a reward, by the way. It’s a dangling carrot they know very few will manage to grab hold of.

Whether they do this on purpose, or its pure negligence, is debatable.

Weight Watchers did finally admit, in 2010, that calorie counting doesn’t work:

We needed a program that recognized that calories are most definitely not created equal. We knew that counting, budgeting and planning still made fundamental sense, but we wanted a better and more accurate currency. We wanted a POINTS formula that was much more “opinionated” about food choices beyond just calories.” ~ Weight Watchers CEO

Unfortunately, their new points system is just as ineffective. They have “50 years of experience” and still haven’t scratched the surface of what it takes to truly help people. Their horrific long-term failure rate proves that.

Combine that with their licensing deals for unhealthy food products and Weight Watchers looks less and less like a program doing it’s best to help people. Rather, it tends to look more and more like a racket.


  • Karen Hunter says:

    I totally agree Kevin. I am glad you are addressing this misinformation that WW puts out there. As someone who has been down the WW road (4 TIMES!) I can attest to how much work it is and that long term it does not work. Each time I was less and less successful and it was harder and harder to do what they were telling me to do. Ugh! So thankful for your program. I am off that train and am happy to be doing something now that works and doesn’t perpetuate that insanity.

  • Kathy says:

    This is great information. As a person who has tried weight watchers many times with only temporary success I get it. It doesn’t work for me because I would satisfy my sweet cravings with some low point ice cream daily which keeps the cravings coming! I’ve recently begun moving toward eating real food and just discovered your site today. I’m excited to see what else I find.

  • Michelle Grosch says:

    As someone who joined weight watchers for the first time at age 16, I completely agree with your article Kevin. Each of the most recent three times I have been on weight watchers, I was buying all of their snacks and frozen foods and downing diet soda like crazy and I was not dealing with my food addictions. I also couldn’t reconcile the idea that it was okay to eat so much processed food. I will never go back -it just doesn’t work for me.

  • Kelly says:

    This article is insanely wrong. I have lost 127lbs on weight watchers. The only time I ever gained any of it back was after surgery that had me bed ridden. Even then, I had only gained 8lbs back, which I lost plus some as soon as I was able to get back into the gym. That was over 3 nd 1/2 years ago. Weight watchers did teach me how to eat, what to eat and how much to eat. About 9 months into my weight loss journey I stopped counting point because at that point I knew how to eat. Because I was able to indulge I was able to truly stick to the program. I think it is insanely immature to bash and rip apart another program. It tells me your program must suck if it can’t stand on it’s own merit. You blatantly bashing another program does one thing and one thing only, it tells me your insecure about the effectiveness of your own program. Does every program work for every person? No of course not, but WW is like everything else on the market, if you truly have the will and desire you will be successful. Unfortunately because of your childishness even if your program is effective many will never know because once you begin acting like a high school mean girl every word out of your mouth is invalidated

    • Kevin Geary says:

      Hi Kelly. Congratulations on your results. This often happens, where I’ll make an argument and someone says it doesn’t apply to them. Of course, no argument applies to everyone. My article was written specifically because your results are not typical of Weight Watchers. The fact remains that it has a 90%+ long term failure rate. Your argument about “will” and “desire” is not accurate and is insulting to those who Weight Watchers has failed. Furthermore, your personal attacks on me will not be tolerated. If you can’t participate without insults, then I’ll turn off your ability to comment.

      • Kelly says:

        If you do not want to be insulted maybe you shouldn’t insult others. Looking at this one thread alone I can tell you are quite arrogant. You were rude and nasty to Linda simply because she disagreed. Maybe your not attempting to come off arrogant, or harsh or rude but you are. I understand translation can get lost when you cannot see a persons body language or hear the persons tone of voice. You need to let your program stand on it’s own. Your attitude alone is a turn off and you will chase potential clients away. Will, determination and desire are the only thing that makes any diet work. It’s obvious you know very little about weight watchers. You need to educate yourself properly before you write an article on something because all it does is make you look like a total fool. There is a reason why weight watchers has been around and no one knows who the hell you are. Grow up. It would help your career.

      • Kevin Geary says:

        I didn’t insult anyone. I wrote an article that is statistically accurate and highly informative. Furthermore, I didn’t do it because of anything wrong with my program, I did it because I believe wholeheartedly in my program and want people to avoid unhealthy, disordered eating driven programs like Weight Watchers.

        You claim I don’t know anything about Weight Watchers when I have a former Weight Watchers director as my client. This is your last warning as far as hurling personal insults goes. If you can’t express yourself in a more productive way, I will prevent you from commenting.

  • Tanya says:

    I know people that have had long term success with weight watchers. Your article just sounded mean and I don’t think that was a very good way to get new clients by putting another program down…. If YOU have personally NEVER TRIED it you can’t say bad things about it. That would be like me reading about your program and then writing an article on how badly it sucked. You need to change the way you are thinking because your not going to be successful acting like a 12 year old boy. Why not support the people who have done weight watchers and teach them to eat even healthier? Work together? Be nice? It’s not that hard. This article is quite frustrating

    • Kevin Geary says:


      Your comment is really difficult to understand. And I apologize for being chippy ahead of time, but instead of spending time helping more people, I’m responding to comments like this. Let me show you:

      I know people that have had long term success with weight watchers.

      I’m not sure that the 9 out of 10 people who fail at Weight Watchers care much about “people you know.” Do you think they should? Do you think they should accept the horrid advice Weight Watchers dishes out simply because Tanya in Nowheresville “knows some people” who succeeded?

      If YOU have personally NEVER TRIED it you can’t say bad things about it. That would be like me reading about your program and then writing an article on how badly it sucked.

      So, if I’m lung cancer researcher, I can’t talk bad about cigarettes unless I also smoke. Is that right?

      A large percentage of my clients are former Weight Watchers members. I work closely with these men and women to reverse the destructive programming that Weight Watchers installs in people. I don’t have to do the program myself to know what its foundational principles are and how much those principles fail people. Do I?

      You need to change the way you are thinking because your not going to be successful acting like a 12 year old boy.

      Let me get this straight. You’re writing this comment because you don’t approve of how I talked about Weight Watchers. And you’re setting the example for how to *productively* write something on the internet by telling me how I *should* behave and following that up with a personal attack?

      Well done.

      Why not support the people who have done weight watchers and teach them to eat even healthier?

      What do you think I’m doing by spending hours a week producing FREE CONTENT in the form of blogs posts, videos, and podcasts? What do you think I’m doing by building the best programs online and supporting people 100% as they work through them?

      Be nice? It’s not that hard. This article is quite frustrating.

      No, it’s your comment that is quite frustrating. The only person on this page who is demanding that others “be nice” is the same person who just finished personally attacking someone. Does the hypocrisy of your behavior bother you at all?

  • Isaac says:


    Hey there. Thank you for everything you do. I appreciate your work immensely.

    I am also someone who uses Weight Watchers and have lost 140+ pounds with it. It’s a good program to follow and really, its about tracking your food and staying within your points allotted. It offers basic education, a tracking tool, friendships you meet along the way and accountability.

    However, remember, I said that it offered basic education? It’s just that: basic. It takes someone who really wants to lose the weight for good and someone who really wants to understand the whys and the whats behind everything that will succeed. At least in my eyes. This is where the extra tools come in (hence: your information).

    So, again, I thank you kindly for everything. This journey is hard enough as it is and to use all the tools you can, use them well, and know when you attain new tools is critical.

    Hope you are well.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving.


  • viv says:

    What a relief to have come across this article!

    It will be almost fours that I had joined weight watchers. I am slowly gaining my weight back. Not because tracking didn’t work. I found it so hard to stick to it.

    1. Once I got to my goal weight, my points were increased and I was trying to find ways to consume all my points ) finding myself over eating many times.
    2. If I had 6 points left in the day (I would have cookies instead of a lean protein)- I am learning now that I was not getting enough protein in my diet.
    3. Well my cravings came back- but so, so much worse.

    WW helped me with basic foundation. I was someone who would have 3 donuts for breakfast. So I learned how to cut back on calories….However, long term, there was a lot I had to learn on my own regarding real food vs “real food”.

    Thanks for this write up!

  • Anderson Faith says:

    I loved your response! Very positive, no negativity, encouraging, inspiring, and congrats on your weight loss. That is awesome!!! Kevin’s negativity, and sarcastic attitude was such a turnoff. Basically all diets work as long as you commit and change your eating habits.

  • James Gough says:

    I agree that their system must be flawed based on numbers. Where did you get the stat for – “Their 98% long-term failure rate proves that.” right at the end?

    I’m looking for stats to help with an experiment and survey I’m doing. It to create a system to help people change thier association with food and health.

    Maybe you would like to help me with it sometime, maybe I’ll come back.


  • Mary Kay says:

    Kevin, your article was spot on. I did WW IN 1986 and lost 35 pounds in 13 weeks. It was a low fat 1200 calorie plan. The depriving 3 little teaspoons of fat caused me to have gallbladder trouble. I tried repeatedly to repeat that weighlòss success and gained my way up to 225 pounds over the next 30 years. I’ve been doing keto for the past 5 months and the weight is finally coming off. I’d love to see how their current point system would calculate my 10-12 ounces of protein, 6-8 TBS of fat and 20 net carbs I eat each day.

  • Ryan Gallaher says:

    You sound like a huge dick. “How many people have you coached?” I wouldn’t trust you to coach me to tie my shoes.

    • Kevin Michael Geary says:

      I guess I should just let people make ignorant statements like, “Basically all diets work as long as you commit and change your eating habits” without being challenged?

      And then people who were committed and still failed can come along, read that, and feel even more poorly about themselves?

      Sorry, Ryan, but being direct with people and correcting the record doesn’t make me a dick. People give us rave reviews because we’re not people-pleasers who thank everyone for their comment. We’re real and they know they can trust us.

      p.s. If you need a coach to help you tie your shoes, you’ve got bigger things to worry about.

  • E. Marie says:

    A friend of mine who’s at WW tried to get me into the plan. After only a couple of days I was so
    stressed out I cancelled. You are so right on when you say the “accountability” system can do
    more harm than good psychologically; and frankly, I didn’t like the idea of having to go each week to
    “air my dirty laundry” with a bunch of strangers.

    Finally, the program costs too much and they want you to buy a lot of their “stuff”.

    Weight Watchers may work for some of us, but definitely not all of us.

  • mike. says:

    So true. WW has unbelievable marketing that makes one believe if they join, then they will automatically
    have the knowledge to lose weight. Weekly meetings and accountability and coaching is nice especially when the advocate tells you how much weight THEY have lost. But I’m not HER. I’m ME.

    I joined did the meetings, bought the books, the products, the kitchen tools. Took off 20 pounds and reached a WALL where I didn’t have the energy to exercise.. let alone move. At this point, instead of increasing better food choices and putting in pre workout and post workout meals ( small but frequent)
    they just went ahead and demanded that I needed to ‘ follow the program’.

    FAILURE… it didn’t work. Gained all the weight back within 3 years. As your article mentioned, WW coaches are all trained to preach the ‘ system ‘. To sell product. To sell membership and attendance.
    To count ‘ points ‘ instead of retraining customers to follow healthy food menu’s.

    In summary… WW is all about making money for WW by marketing a product everyone needs ‘ losing all those excess pounds ‘ instead of teaching ‘ how to eat sensibly ‘.

  • Leslie says:

    Dude, you need a marketing consultant. Most potential customers are not going to be attracted to your service because of your message.

    • Kevin Michael Geary says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Rebooted Body is a very successful business. My content and my comments are designed to do two things:

      1. Let people know that I’m never going to lie to them or feed them nonsense and fairy tales and people-pleasing rhetoric.

      2. Weed out the salty religious dieters and dogmatic thinkers that aren’t a good fit for our programs.

      Surely you realize that it’s extremely boundariless to show up to someone’s property and start telling them what they “need” to do and how they “need” to act?

      It’s understandable that when faced with ideas that contradict your current beliefs, you feel a little defensive. I’m looking for people who are willing to ask questions, re-think their beliefs, and do whatever it takes to identify the information that’s truly going to help them.

  • Kim says:

    Wow!! Hit all the points right n the nose! No pun intended. WW gives a sbconcuous guilt complex. The “freestyle” points is a joke. Making it seem zero points means zero calories, what? Ya, no. Thank You!

  • Angie says:

    Liked the article, I to am a few times failed WW, I do however disagree with the accountability part, I thrive on anything that questions my bad habits, anyhow most I agree, if I have to revisit WW this many times, clearly I haven’t solved the real issues! As another commenter said it’s Okay initially,maintaining is a bitch! Thanks for the insightful article!

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