The Weight Watchers Diet is easily one of the most well known dieting programs in the world. It has been around for decades and has helped millions of people to build a better relationship with their lifestyles. This diet is not about telling you what you can and cannot eat. If you love ice cream, cheesecake, steak, pasta or anything else, you can have it. That said, you will become very aware of the impact those food choices has on your body and on what you can eat throughout the rest of the day.

In this way, the Weight Watchers Diet is designed to naturally guide its followers toward healthier food choices. The newest version of its program is known as the WW Freestyle. It is based on a points system that allows you to earn more points through exercise, save some and add them onto another day that week, and enjoy as much of over 200 “zero point” foods as you want. Those zero point foods include options such as fish, eggs, skinless chicken breast and beans.

In this way, the program is meant to act more as a lifestyle altering plan. The hope is that followers will develop the types of habits they can maintain over the long term so their lost weight will never return.

The Weight Watchers Diet also places a high priority on physical activity. Not only does it encourage you to work out on a regular basis, but it also allows dieters to earn more points so that they can eat more depending on the amount of exercise they’ve done in a certain day.

Every type of food (except the zero point foods) is assigned a certain number of points, known as SmartPoints. Every person on this diet is allowed a certain number of points per day. It functions as a simplified and altered version of calorie counting that allows the follower to be able to make more direct choices without having to do quite as many calculations regarding calories and macronutrients. Instead, they just tally up their points and make sure they don’t exceed their limits. In this way, no food is forbidden, but the dieter will become more aware of what a reasonable portion of each food looks like. This naturally builds the need to eat more lower point or zero point foods in order to avoid hunger.

The Weight Watchers Diet includes additional in-person participation that are voluntary. These include group meetings, daily weigh-ins and other resources meant to help to motivate and inform. There is also an extensive website that provides a wealth of workouts, recipes and other helpful information for people who would rather keep up a self-guided program and not have to try to keep up with regular meetings.

That said, a survey conducted by Consumer Reports indicated that among the people who followed the Weight Watchers Diet, it was the members who attended the meetings who expressed a higher level of satisfaction with the program as a whole. Moreover, those members also lost a higher average amount of weight than the individuals who guided themselves exclusively with the online tools.