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Weight Watchers New Freedom Plan Reduces Stress and Boosts Energy

Study Finds That Weight Watchers Members Lost 2 1/2 Times More Weight
 Than Do-It-Yourselfers

WOODBURY, N.Y., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- New research has revealed that stress is a leading factor in America's ongoing battle against weight gain. According to a recent market research study by CLT Research Associates, Inc., many women cite stress as a primary culprit in their efforts to lose weight. In response to this data, Weight Watchers has specially designed their new Freedom Plan with an eye on stress reduction and energy enhancement.

"When people feel overwhelmed by stress and sluggish from a lack of energy, research shows they're less likely to achieve their weight loss goals," said Karen Miller-Kovach, M.S., R.D., general manager of program development for Weight Watchers International. "Our new Freedom Plan was created to keep stress to a minimum, so that members can expend their energy in the most productive way."

On another positive note, The National Study of Weight Loss Methods, conducted by Weight Watchers International, found that people who joined Weight Watchers and received group support lost 2 1/2 times more weight in the first four weeks than those individuals who tried to do so on their own. The same study found that the Weight Watchers members actually increased their levels of vigor and vitality by substantial amounts over the do-it- yourselfers.

"By going it alone, self-helpers often take on a bigger stress burden, which may be why Weight Watchers members lost 2 1/2 times more weight in the study than the do-it-yourselfers," explained Ms. Miller-Kovach.

Some of the stress-busters that have been built into the new Freedom Plan include: free fruits and vegetables -- for the first time ever, Weight Watchers has added fruits to their list of "all-you-can-eat" foods so that members can snack without worry; the "Weekend Freedom Option" -- which allows members to have their little indulgences on the weekends while remaining within the framework of a healthy eating plan; and "family friendly" meals -- delicious, family-pleasing meals which require a modicum of effort yet keep members on track with their weight loss goals.

"The Freedom Plan makes the weight loss journey as easy as possible for our members," said Ms. Miller-Kovach. "For example, instead of worrying about preparing two separate dinners -- a 'regular' meal for their family and a low- calorie meal for themselves -- we've provided a one-step solution with our family-friendly meals. The less stress, we've found, the better."


Another stress-reducing aspect of the new Freedom Plan is that it requires absolutely no weighing and less measuring than previous Weight Watchers food plans. Instead of using food scales to determine the appropriate portion sizes, the Freedom Plan provides members with an easy portion system which eliminates the need to pre-weigh food or separate portions from the family meal. By emphasizing good judgment instead of scales, the Freedom Plan makes it simpler than ever to join family and friends for dinner.


During their research, Weight Watchers also learned that one of the biggest reasons people cite for not adhering to a weight loss plan is that they feel "hungry all the time." To that end, Weight Watchers increased the portion sizes in the Freedom Plan to quiet the gnawing feeling which can lead to overeating.


In addition, because everybody is different, Weight Watchers has made a direct connection between activity and food intake. With the Freedom Plan, members will be free to increase their food intake with increased activity. In other words, the more active members are, the more they can eat. It's their choice. This "activity trade-off" component of the Freedom Plan is based on a simple equation: To succeed at weight loss, people must balance how much they eat with their level of activity.


Weight Watchers philosophy has always been based on the premise that dieting alone is not a solution for long-term weight management. The Weight Watchers program is a multi-dimensional, comprehensive approach to learning how to lose weight based on the belief that to lose weight safely and sensibly, a person must learn to eat more healthfully, increase physical activity and handle the challenges encountered in the process of behavior modification.

Since its inception 34 years ago, Weight Watchers has taught more than 23 million members how to lose weight. Currently, approximately one million members attend 29,000 weekly Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries, worldwide. The majority of these members are in the U.S. with about 600,000 members attending 19,000 weekly meetings, nationwide. For more information about the Weight Watchers Program and services, call 1-800-651-6000.

NOTE: A four week study of Weight Loss Methods was conducted by Weight Watchers International, July 1996. A total of 985 women participated in and completed the four-week study which compared the effectiveness of two weight loss methods -- Weight Watchers and Self-Help. Subjects were recruited through newspaper ads, screened and then randomly assigned to one of the two study groups. Measurements taken pre-and-post study included body weight, percent body fat and five valid and standardized psychological variables related to quality of life. Data was independently tabulated and analyzed by Uniscore, Inc. and by Michael R. Lowe, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Allegheny.

SOURCE Weight Watchers International
 -0- 12/19/96

/CONTACT: Cory Butler, Weight Watchers International, 770-395-7820/

CO: Weight Watchers International ST: Georgia IN: HEA SU:

KW -- ATTH014 -- 7455 12/19/96 15:29 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 19, 1996
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