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The Weight Watchers program was founded in the 1960s and has become one of the world's largest and most successful weight management companies. The weight loss plan follows recommendations from the National Weight Loss Registry, emphasizing that lifelong weight management is achieved through a healthy lifestyle. The Weight Watchers' program includes a balanced diet, healthy eating decisions, daily physical activity, flexible restraint (moderate eating control), and group support. In addition to the eating plans, the program helps members develop physically active lifestyles to support long-term weight management. The program also offers group support meetings both locally and online, to help members keep in touch with their goals, plan strategies for weight loss success, and develop new skills and life-changing habits for lifelong weight maintenance.

The Weight Watchers' TurnAround eating plans include the Flex Plan and the Core Plan. The eating plans are based on the Weight Watchers Healthy Eating Guidelines and include all food groups in moderation such as fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. The traditional Flex Plan guides healthy food choices by assigned points based on the food's calories, fat and fiber content. For example, 1 cup of broccoli is assigned 0 points, 1 slice of bread is 2 points, and 1 3-ounce grilled chicken breast is 3 points. The newer Core Plan focuses on eating from a core list of wholesome foods that are low in fat and calories, without counting calories or tracking assigned points. Members learn how to plan and prepare healthy menus, cook at home, and avoid difficulties when traveling or eating at restaurants.

The Weight Watchers program doesn't guarantee a rapid weight loss. Instead, it promises a slow, sustainable weight loss. The goal is to reduce body weight in increments of 5 to 10 percent, with a BMI less than 25. The Flex Plan provides an individualized target Daily Points Range, based on the member's body weight and height. Members can calculate the points value of a recipe or a packaged product by using a Points Finder. Flex Plan members keep track of their food choices with a food journal called the QuikTrak System. Core Plan members use a Comfort Zone scale to gauge their hunger and fullness.

"With Weight Watchers TurnAround, you choose the weight-loss approach that fits your life best," states the Weight Watchers website. "Both approaches make getting started simple because you eat real food, so there's no need to purchase pre-made or frozen meals."

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  7. Weight Watchers: How It Works, WebMD:

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  9. Weight Watchers: What the Experts Say, WebMD:

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  11. Weight Watchers: Food for Thought, WebMD:

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