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Posted at 08:04 AM ET, 12/03/2012

Weight Watchers launches new program

How many decisions about food do you make each day?

If you’re the average consumer, you probably think it’s about 15. But according to research cited by Weight Watchers in support of the new program it’s launching Monday, it's actually more like 200.

The premise of the new Weight Watchers 360° approach is that we are constantly bombarded by food temptations to which our brains are hard-wired to succumb (a phenomenon that’s been labeled “hedonic hunger”).  Given that situation, some of those 200 daily food decisions are bound to be less than optimal for our health – and our waistlines.

Weight Watchers 360° still requires people track their food intake and physical activity through the PointsPlus regimen that Weight Watchers introduced in 2010. But it also offers tips and tools for helping folks manage their “food environment” to limit exposure to and learn to better resist food temptations. The approach incorporates the findings of Brian Wansink, the Cornell University professor whose research has shown that people tend to eat mindlessly (which results in overeating), and offers clever ways to alter daily routines to avoid that mindlessness.

Wansink, who two years ago advised me during my Me Minus 10 weight-loss effort, conducted the research noted above regarding the number of food-related decisions we make.

Weight Watchers 360° builds on Wansink’s observation that we’re less tempted by unhealthful foods when they’re out of sight – and that we eat more healthful foods when they’re kept in plain view. So the program promises to help people change the way they organize their office spaces, home environments, their cars and even their purses to keep healthful foods readily at hand; it also offers ideas for avoiding hedonic-hunger-based eating at parties and restaurants and while traveling.

Weight Watchers meetings and software are being updated to accommodate the new approach. But the Weight Watchers hasn’t raised its rates: a monthly pass is still $42.95 per month (that offer isn’t available everywhere, and prices may vary depending on location, according to Weight Watchers press materials). That fee covers meetings and eTools, including the mobile app. Weight Watchers Online is $65 for the first three months and $18.95/month after that.

Do you do Weight Watchers? What do you think of this new approach?

By  |  08:04 AM ET, 12/03/2012

Tags:  weight loss, diets

 
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