The Four Pillars: Behaviour

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).
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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.

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 staff member. 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. Web site 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 six-week weight maintenance phase of the program become a Lifetime Member (LTM) of Weight Watchers.

People who are LTMs are asked to weigh in once a month at a Weight Watchers meeting. When the LTM weighs in within two pounds of his or her goal weight, he or she can attend Weight Watchers meetings anywhere in the world at no cost for that month. 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 that enhance cognitive behaviour or thinking skills. Called the Weight Watchers Tools for Living, 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, which include Tools like Motivating Strategy and Storyboarding, enable a person to interact and thrive in the weight-challenging situations and social interactions that make up daily life.


The Four Pillars: Supportive Atmosphere >>
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