Carb Counting and Weight Watchers

Does anyone have any thoughts/advice/experience with making Weight Watchers program work with counting carbs? I am new to both and am not sure how to make them both work.

It’s tough to make them work together…I tried for a year, and couldn’t make it happen for me. But that’s not to say it can’t for you. I had to decide points or carbs. I went to the carbs because they are listed on the sides of packages I buy at the store, I didn’t have to figure them out with the slide rule; I could find somethings in books for carbs, and some sites had foods listed, but it was easier when putting meals together, like casseroles which we eat many of, to go carbs rather than points. I still went to meetings, I still weighed in, and participated in the discussions. THAT part of WW was wonderful for me and helped me to lose 60 lbs and counting. But don’t drive yourself nuts, pick one, and then stick to it…much easier.

I went to WW about 4 years ago, and I left the meeting in tears! Being on a pump, which requires me to count carbs before eating and dosing, the thought of counting points, too, just threw me into a fit. I felt like I was going to have to do calculus every time I ate! I decided to give it another chance and went to another meeting, where I was told about the “basic” program, which apparently was just that…very basic food plan and no points, but not very helpful if you’re having trouble sticking to the same boring foods for every meal. That and the fact that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the two meetings I attended were all hyped on this point system, so I didn’t feel much support, plus all the tips people were exchanging involved recipes and meals that were based on points.

On the other hand, I do have a couple of friends who were borderline, and went to WW and lost enough weight to keep from having to go on medication.

Have you been given info re counting carbs, and is that what your health team wants you to do? And are you on insulin and counting carbs to determine pre-meal insulin doses? I think WW is just a bit much with carb counting, but if it’s not mandatory for you, then you may want to try WW.


I also think it’s difficult & confusing to do both. WW tends to be higher carb & that’s not a good option for diabetics.

To lose weight (& count carbs to control diabetes), low carb meals are very effective.

I must be at different WW meetings, or have a different makeup of the group. Weight Watchers has a diabetic program, which many people don’t know about, they support (or at least here in SD they do) diabetics who come to their meetings. I have never been to a meeting, where points were “pushed” at you. “You do what your health professional wants you to do and we’ll be here for support and encouragement” is the line I have gotten. My doc wanted me to count carbs, it is what she knew, but she also knew that I had been at WW long enough to know points better than carbs. So until my scholarship ran out, I was counting points, watching what foods I was eating ---- few carbs. No one tells you what you MUST eat, it’s all a suggestion or recommendation…yet, for diabetics, some of those suggestions won’t work. For people who are gluten intolerance, lactose intolerant, some of the suggestions don’t work…so what’s the difference. I think we all need to find something that works for us, and that we can and will stick to, whether it’s WW, South Beach, carb counting, etc if it works for you do it…but don’t be afraid to look at other things just because you heard it won’t work for them. I haven’t lost weight counting carbs, I’ve gained…so I’ve incorporated what I know about points from WW and put carbs in the picture, now I lose weight, and am slowly getting my numbers back to normal. They weren’t out of whack because of food, they were out of whack because of arthritis meds…something food can’t help. Schucks.

Thanks so much for the input! Right now I am using WW points, but also checking the carbs. I just take one insulin shot at night, so I don’t have to plan for meals, that may make it much easier for me. I’m sure just getting my weight down will help me out a bunch.

I have done WW but not while dealing with diabetes. However, I agree with Cathy, there are a lot of leaders and a lot of different styles of meetings. The first group I was in emphasized what I call fake foods (low fat this and artificial that). The second group emphasized exercise and overcoming emotional obstacles. I’m sure you can talk to the leader in advance and get advice too. Maybe a different group that she knows about would be better for you. Two things that I learned in WW that really help today are portion control and an adaptation of a phrase that we often used in WW: Nothing tastes as good as being at a healthy weight modified to nothing tasts as good as having steady blood sugars.

My experience may be somewhat dated, but here it goes… I was always an extremely thin child. But, when I started suddenly gaining weight (without changing my eating habits) due to Hypothyroidism and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (two autoimmune metabolic illnesses that went undiagnosed and ignored by my parents until I was 15 years old, and nearly dead from the lack of energy), my mom put me on all kinds of fad diets… And eventually, she put me on Weight Watchers. I lost a good amount of weight on Weight Watchers, but I was always ravenously hungry – and I got stuck in weight loss. Back then, they relied more on their frozen meals, then they do on points… and well, I binged, and failed.

Here are some things I have since learned from my little experience:

1.) Any diet that only emphasizes some basic stats to give people an average caloric intake is NOT going to work. You will be starving, and you will binge. These diets seem to think everyone’s the same, whether they’re a male adult who is 6’4, or a male adult who is 5’2… Or one who exercises 3 times a week vs one who doesn’t exercise at all… They do NOT provide a realistic way to deal with how our caloric intake will vary, especially for life changes (menopause, aging, etc.) They only focus on gender and whether you’re an adult or a kid, and that’s simply not enough.

2.) When I was at WW, they didn’t teach us how to properly construct a meal… They just had us eating so many portions of whatever food group, and we had to check mark the little boxes by them, before the day ended. Eat, eat to make the marks – no real clue why we need to eat that, or how to construct meals. Sure, some portion control guidelines were given, and that was good… But it wasn’t real in-depth portion control learning, either.

3.) People with metabolic illnesses, such as a Thyroid impairment, PCOS, and Type 2 Diabetes, should NOT follow a high carb, low fat diet. We can’t metabolize those carbs as well as other people, and eventually, we will get stuck… Not only that, but we will be hungry all the time… because our metabolisms don’t really know what to do with all those extra carbs, except maybe raise our glucose, and lipid profiles, because they retain them as fat. For people with metabolic illnesses, the weight loss in these diets is mostly from fluids… Not from fat. So, when you’ve lost most or all of it, you get stuck and don’t lose anymore. You can lose more, if you exercise, but then you have to exercise a LOT more than any other normal person to keep it up. There might be a few people who get lucky with this and do it, but throughout my life, these have been few and far between… and most of them are overweight again.

4.) If you carb count, why not just have your own diet at home? Why pay someone else for doing your own carb counting? It’s probably cheaper to go to a nutritionist to learn about carb counting and servings, and use your own glucose meter to determine what carb count is best for you, and your meals… Heck, since I don’t like nutritionists because they always push high carb diets (which they call low carb, but I don’t believe 60 carbs a meal is low carb), I just did this all on my own… I learned carb counting, online, through various websites, and I use my meter as my guide of how many carbs I should eat… I even ordered some carb counting flash cards for $7, and there are some sites which can tell you how many calories you should consume, based on many aspects of your life… Hey, I’ve lost 62 lbs, so far, and I’m happy with my ‘diet’ because I pick my own foods, no one else is bossing me around, or making stand up to announce to people if I gained or lost weight, or whatever… and I’m never hungry. It’s great. :slight_smile:

5.) There are other support groups which help with losing weight, and don’t have to tell you how to diet, or take all the money, and crazy nonsense of a merchandised diet plan does… like TOPS – Taking Off the Pounds Sensibly, etc. I believe we have a member here, SEAGATOR, who goes to TOPS… He could tell you more about it.

Anyway, these are just things I have learned… YMMV. :slight_smile: