Q&A Part Two: Working for Weight Watchers

I’ve been working for Weight Watchers for just over three months now, and realize I haven’t mentioned it much on the blog lately. It’s been going great and I’ve been working my Tuesday night meeting each week, so it feels good to be developing relationships with some of the members at the meeting and I’m not sure why I don’t talk about it more!

I did a post almost two months ago with Q&A about working for WW that you can find here, and promised a follow-up post a looooong time ago. I’m finally here to deliver – better late than never, right?

In the first Q&A post, I dealt with mostly logistical questions, like training, money, the different roles, etc. This post delves a little deeper into dealing with troubled members and balancing working for WW and following the program. If you have any other questions that I haven’t addressed, feel free to email me or tweet me (ha did I really just type tweet me?).

So let’s get into it, shall we?

1.) How do you deal with telling people they gained weight?

People obviously come to Weight Watchers to LOSE weight, so telling people they’ve gained is definitely one of the harder parts. At Weight Watchers, we are encouraged to (in a library voice) tell the person weighing in how much they’ve gained or lost, but NEVER say the actual weight out loud, which I think is important.

When someone gains, i usually tell them they’ve gained quietly and ask if that’s what they expected. If they say yes, then it’s easier because they knew it was coming, and I leave them with a smile and a wish for a better week.

If they say no, they weren’t expecting a gain, I try to help them troubleshoot what the problem might be by asking questions about if they’ve tracked, if they’ve had anything super salty lately, or if there’s anything new they tried this week (in terms of exercise, restaurants, etc). We can usually figure out what the reason is, and when people think back about their week they can usually think of at least one thing they can do better.

My main goal is to have people walk away from the scale feeling positive, even when they’ve had a gain. My favorite way to end a “bad” weigh in is to say, “Well at least it’s a fresh start for this week!”

2.) If people ask “Does WW work? or, in some cases, “WW doesn’t work for me”, how do you handle that?”

I have a shiny WW name plate that says my name plus “I lost 52 (more now) pounds with Weight Watchers in 2010.” I try to remember to wear it at each meeting, so that if people do ask that question I usually just point to my name tag and say it really does (which I do believe!). If people say it doesn’t work for them, I try to take the same approach to the above question and troubleshoot what may be stalling their progress. I will say that most people are very positive about Weight Watchers and there’s not too much negativity from the members, besides being frustrated about a less than stellar weigh in on occasion.

3.) How do you deal with people who are frustrated that Weight Watchers is a slower process than some of the “magic solutions” out there?

I usually say “We don’t gain the weight overnight, so we’re not gonna lose it overnight!” When people do get frustrated about “slow” weight loss, I tell them that while it is slower than some of the other programs out there, it is more effective, and more long term. The slower you lose the weight, the more permanent it is because its not just water weight. And of course, I don’t hesitate to tell them that it took me two years, two months, and nine days to lose the weight for me. That usually makes them feel better, but I just try to be understanding and listen when they complain. A lot of the time, the member just wants to vent and doesn’t necessarily want an answer or a solution, so that’s what I’m there for.

4.) Is it hard to work for Weight Watchers while following the program? How do you balance it?

I actually think its GREAT to be following the program while working for them and not a challenge at all. What I should be doing is attending a meeting as a member, and then working my meeting as a worker, but I honestly just don’t have to the time/want to make the time to do that. Following the program myself helps keep it fresh in my head and helps me stay on top of the different ins and outs of the program and better prepares me to answer questions. Sometimes it’s hard because I’m so extraverted and like to talk about myself (let’s be real – I have a blog), so it’s hard sometimes to not want to make it all about me, and I’d say that’s the biggest struggle for me.

5.) How do you feel when WW pushes foods that they sponsor and are processed? Do you feel like you have to support it to?

This is probably one of the hardest things for me. As you probably know from reading my blog, I really try to go more towards unprocessed, whole foods, and most of the WW products are highly processed and not really things that I eat often. When members ask me outright whether I eat the food, I am completely honest with them. A lot of the times though, the members like the convenience of the foods we sell at the meetings, which I respect. My job is not to be preachy or push my views on anyone else, so I help navigate them through the food choices if they have any questions about the products, usually referring to feedback I get from other members since I don’t eat them much myself. I did recently try the WW Cherry Fruitie’s, which are chewy almost like stale gummy bears, which sounds gross but they are actually really delicious. They are filled with sugar alcohols though, so I have to be careful with those or else I’ll have major stomach issues!

What is the wackiest diet you’ve ever tried? Did it work?

28 Comments on Q&A Part Two: Working for Weight Watchers

  1. Angie
    June 10, 2011 at 8:39 am (9 years ago)

    WW worked for me up until a point and I think you just have to find what works for you. I learnt so much from WW and I think that is the main thing of a healthy lifestyle. The processed food thing was what annoyed me, but that’s only one part and think the leader at WW are great and so supportive!
    Happy Wanderings!

  2. Beyond Bananas
    June 10, 2011 at 8:44 am (9 years ago)

    Loved reading these. I admire you so much for working for WW, Beth. I don’t think I ever realized how tough some parts of the job could be.. dealing with struggles, and gaining, rather then losing.

    I am hoping the the successes and the happiness out weigh the bad times though!

    I’ve never really dieted.. just cleaned up my eating.

  3. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    June 10, 2011 at 9:04 am (9 years ago)

    Ugh — too many weird diets to mention: Master Cleanse, grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet, etc. No good!

    I think weighing in people would be really nervewracking at times — I remember when I went to WW meetings I would sometimes burst into tears if the scale didn’t show what I wanted (obviously I was a little too hard on myself!) but my leader was always so nice to me, sometimes giving me a hug and giving me encouragement.

  4. Katy (The Singing Runner)
    June 10, 2011 at 9:10 am (9 years ago)

    My mom did WW for a number of years (back in the 90’s) but she didn’t stick with it. She lost some weight, but not a lot and gained it back.

    She tried it again within the past year and has had much more success! 🙂

  5. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic
    June 10, 2011 at 9:12 am (9 years ago)

    This is so interesting. I went back and read your first on this as well since I’m a new reader to your blog. (The first time I came to your blog was actually your “I’m at Goal” post – I was definitely hooked from there! It’s so exciting that you’ve achieved your goal.) I’m not doing WW right now but I do think it is a great plan. I’ve been on WW in the past and I always felt sorry for the lady weighing me in when she had to say, “You gained 6 pounds.” (Yes, that really happened. I hadn’t gone for about 3 weeks and I’d gained 6 pounds.)

  6. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    June 10, 2011 at 9:15 am (9 years ago)

    I really like the way you handle the gain weeks for members – that can’t be easy, but it sounds like you’re really helpful to them.

    As for slow weight loss, that’s also how you make sure you are losing FAT and not beautiful, sexy MUSCLE. Important stuff.

  7. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    June 10, 2011 at 9:20 am (9 years ago)

    I think the phrase “didn’t gain it overnight, not going to lose it overnight” is so important. Same with training for races- it’s a slow process if you want to do it correctly. I love that people get really really excited to do something healthy and good for themselves, but it’s always important to look at the big picture!

    My diets haven’t been overly crazy (just obsessive calorie counting that got a little out of control- hence the reason I don’t do it anymore).

    However, I did have a roommate who tried the cabbage soup diet.

    I think she lasted until about day 3. I think it was a gas issue… :p

  8. Leah
    June 10, 2011 at 9:25 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks for this post! I’m about to start training and wonder about these issues – I will keep these in mind! I have trouble when people ask me if I think PointsPlus works – that’s always a difficult one. I started on Momentum and have been having smaller but more consistent losses on PP+, so who knows. I’d love it if you could address this in some future WWer post.

    Also, WWer brand foods, I think it’s great that WW designed a program that encourages clean eating even though that should mean fewer product sales. I also like having their snacks occasionally even though I’ve also been transitioning to more clean foods.

    Thanks, Beth! You’re so insipiring and totally helping me as I near the end (33.2/35.4!)

  9. zimzimmie1
    June 10, 2011 at 9:41 am (9 years ago)

    I really like how you approach some of the tougher issues with working at WW! Great insight!! 🙂

  10. DefineDiana
    June 10, 2011 at 10:15 am (9 years ago)

    I love seeing your inside look as a WW employee!

  11. Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    June 10, 2011 at 11:01 am (9 years ago)

    I just tried the Dukan diet. I made it six hours. So no, it didn’t work. Not at all practical. I am so glad all is going well for you with your work at WW!

  12. Marci
    June 10, 2011 at 11:13 am (9 years ago)

    I gave up WW last week. I’m in the “it wasn’t working for me” category. I found the points didn’t work. I would eat my points only or more and change it up and the scale didn’t move. And eating out was just too difficult to guess for me. I am going to see a nutritionist soon to try to customize better. Very frustrating.

  13. SlimKatie @ Runs for Cookies
    June 10, 2011 at 11:31 am (9 years ago)

    The wackiest diet I’ve done? Definitely The Master Cleanse. It was awful! I lost 16 pounds in 10 days, but I was miserable, lol.

    Weighing people in is tough! I used to work at Curves and had to do monthly weigh-ins and measurements for our members. Most of the time, they were happy with the results, but it was so hard to tell someone they’ve gained weight or inches.

  14. Lisa
    June 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm (9 years ago)

    I think the hardest part would be the question about the food WW pushes when you want to eat unprocessed whole foods. That’s like my situation a bit: I lost my weight by eating a lot of low calorie processed food (like Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines) but now I don’t eat those much because I want to eat REAL food!

  15. Amy @ Conquering Self
    June 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm (9 years ago)

    It is so interesting to hear your insights from the inside! Back when I used to go to WW, I used to always think it would be really cool to work there…I’m glad you are enjoying it! I haven’t done anything too crazy to lose my 90 pounds…but it is certainly the truth that it can take a long time to lose it the right way because it has taken me years! But at the same time, I know (as I’m sure you do, too!) that is the way to keep it off long term, too!

  16. cindylu
    June 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm (9 years ago)

    This is really specific. Are you still considered Lifetime if you haven’t been to a meeting/weighed in in nearly a year? I know if I go to a meeting today, I’d have to pay $13 because of the meeting thing and being 5-7 lbs over goal weight. I stayed within goal range for a few months after hitting goal, but most of my Lifetime membership has been out of goal range. I stopped weighing in because I didn’t want to pay $13 for being 2-3 lbs over goal weight.

    • Beth
      June 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm (9 years ago)

      Hi Cindylu! Once a Lifetime Member, always a lifetime member. You never lose your status, and have to pay just the weekly fee (never a registration fee) if you weigh in over 2 lbs over goal, but you won’t lose your status no matter how long its been since you were at a meeting.

  17. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    June 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm (9 years ago)

    I found this super interesting! I lost weight by counting calories on sites like Body by Glamour and Sparkpeople. When my weight loss stalled I tried WW (this was a couple of years ago on the old program) and it really didn’t work for me. I felt hungry all the time and was ALWAYS going over my points. I think this is maybe because I exercise a lot? I also didn’t go to meetings, I just tried the online part with tracking.

    I know my girlfriend has had A LOT of success with the new program and lost about 30 pounds. She goes to meetings every week and says she feels great so I definitely think it can work!

    I think it’s awesome you work there and it sounds like you are really encouraging and helpful to members 🙂

  18. Ang
    June 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve never done anything really out there to lose weight. I did lose over 50 lbs. on Slim Fast and kept it off for 2 years. Then I met my husband and it was down-hill (or up on the scale) from there. lol! I wouldn’t go there again because of gluten issues and a desire to eat less processed. There are some crazy ingredients in those shakes and bars!

  19. Sana
    June 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm (9 years ago)

    Humm, I have actually never been on a “diet” but I am so happy you are so pssionate about WW 🙂

  20. Happy When Not Hungry
    June 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm (9 years ago)

    Great post Beth!!! It’s cool to hear your insights about WW. So glad that you’re happy there too!

  21. Weighting For 50
    June 10, 2011 at 6:25 pm (9 years ago)

    I love reading your insights of working for Weight Watchers!!!! You are a great role model for those of us on the program. Have a good weekend.

  22. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    June 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I think the line “we didn’t gain it overnight and we won’t lose it overnight” is a great one. 🙂

  23. The Teenage Taste
    June 11, 2011 at 9:00 am (9 years ago)

    Reading your answers to all of these questions I can’t help but think that you are the perfect person for the job. You are a walking success story, Beth! 🙂

  24. Paige @ Running Around Normal
    June 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm (9 years ago)

    I love how far WW has gone *away* from the processed pre-packaged foods!
    I agree with #1. I’m a personal trainer and I’m holding a biggest loser contest at my gym. It’s definitely tough to tell someone they’ve gained.

  25. Ashley @ CoffeeCakeandCardio
    June 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm (9 years ago)

    Cabbage soup diet by far. What a horrible, horrible diet!!! I also thought eating only baby food was a good idea when I was a teenager at one point… WoW, what was I thinking?


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Q&A Part Two: Working for Weight Watchers

  1. […] to not be so hard on myself even if the scale shows I’m up a little bit. I try to use some of the same techniques for myself that I use for WW members when I’m working, and think about WHY the scale might be showing a higher number. I will continue […]

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