I’m not losing weight on this program!
It can be frustrating when the scale doesn’t cooperate. We'll help you sort through the reasons why, and give you some smart fixes.
Whether you’re new to Weight Watchers or have been with us before, chances are you had one main goal in mind when you signed up: Lose weight. So, it’s frustrating when the scale doesn’t cooperate after all your hard work, even if you’re sure you did everything right.
Before we go into what you can do about it, first just take stock for a moment. Everyone on a weight-loss program has periods of time when the scale doesn’t seem to cooperate. There are so many possible reasons that you can drive yourself crazy trying to identify them. If you’ve lost weight before, tThink back: Did you have other periods of where your progress slowed, or even stalled weight-loss? What helped you then? Many times, it’s just a matter of time, and just like a traffic jam on a highway that inexplicably clears up without any apparent reason, you’re losing weight again. Just stick with the PointsPlus® program. Our research has shown, time and time again, that it works.
And secondly, don’t confuse slow weight loss with no weight loss. People following the PointsPlus program can expect to lose between .5 and 2 pounds per week. But for some — especially those closer to goal — it can be at the bottom of that range, if not a little below it. Give it time. Even .2 of a pound per week adds up to more than 10 pounds in a year.
What you can do about it today
Avoid the first common pitfall
Are you guessing the PointsPlus values of the food you’re eating? Guessing PointsPlus values is a common mistake many of us make. Guessing means you’re not accurately tracking, which isn’t the best set-up for success. Go through the packaged food in your pantry, calculate its PointsPlus values and write them on the box with a black marker. Scrutinize nutrition labels and become intimately familiar with the PointsPlus Tracker. Measure out your portions like you’re learning them for the first time in home economics class, and calculate the exact PointsPlus values. Invest in a food scale so you’re not eyeballing what you think might be only 1 ounce of cheese, but is actually 2 — for an extra 3 PointsPlus values!
Even more fundamentally, make sure you’re actually tracking diligently, trying not to let meals or days go by untracked. Be honest with yourself. Are you starting out perfectly, but come the evening getting a little sloppy and maybe “forgetting” the extra little pour of wine?
Don’t avoid foods
Swearing off an entire food group such as carbs just because they’re higher in PointsPlus values won’t do you any good. You could feel deprived, lose motivation and fall off track. And missing out on the essential nutrients you get from different food groups is just plain unhealthy and unsustainable.
Perhaps during your first few weeks on the Plan you were focused on tracking your food. Now that paying attention to everything you eat and drink is becoming second nature, you can add more activity to your daily schedule. We recommend getting at least 30 minutes of any type of exercise each day. Walking around the neighborhood, gardening, and cleaning the house all count. Take the activity assessment to get your weekly activity PointsPlus goal, then start using the Activity Tracker — make exercise a new healthy habit, and the scale should respond accordingly.
But I’m already active!
If you’ve settled into a regular exercise routine, perhaps it’s time to get unsettled. Switch up the pace, length, or type of exercise you’re doing. Your body might be accustomed to the same old thing, and stopped shedding pounds like it did when you first started. You might even be taking it easy without realizing it. Try a new class at the gym or set a new distance goal for your morning jog. Your muscles and your mind will benefit from the break in monotony.
Also, be realistic when you’re tracking your activity PointsPlus values. If you’re keeping up a brisk pace and breathing hard, you’re exercising at moderate intensity. High intensity is when you’re praying for death’s mercy. A 150-pound woman exercising at a high intensity for 30 minutes will earn 5 activity PointsPlus values. At moderate intensity, that number goes down to 2. If you’re not realistic about your intensity level and you’re using the activity PointsPlus values you earn, you could be eating more than twice as much food as you should. Most of us exercise at moderate intensity most of the time but if you’re still in doubt, consider using a heart-rate monitor for more accurate feedback on your workouts.
Diversify your food, too
Not unlike your workout routine, switching things up goes for what you’re eating, too! Even prison inmates don’t eat the same food day after day, so why would you stick to one menu just because you’re trying to lose weight? Remember: Weight Watchers is not a diet – you probably realized that as soon as you started. Having the freedom to eat what we like is one of our favorite parts of the plan, so use that freedom to try new recipes, meals and snacks, as well as treating yourself to old favorites. Figure out the PointsPlus value of your favorite dessert and find a way to work it into your PointsPlus budget. Punch it into the Recipe Builder and look for a healthy substitution. The magic is in the tracking and staying in control.
That said, if the tracking part is tripping you up, then it also might be worth trying the Simply Filling technique for a day or two, especially if you’re going to be travelling or in any other situation in which tracking’s going to be tricky.
When you’ve tried everything…
If you feel strongly that you need to make changes to the amount of food you’re eating, then there are some adjustments you can make, but it’s not something you want to do lightly. You can get more information here. But it’s important that you’re confident that you’ve tried to be awesomely accurate in your adherence to the Plan. If you make too many changes in a bid for improvement, it can be hard to figure out which one of them is actually doing the trick!