Last updated: Feb 28, 2008
Your first trip to Weight Watchers includes an enrollment fee, some paperwork, and your first weigh-in. They give you a little book that kind of looks like an old-fashioned savings account passbook, and you bring it each week so they can record your attendance, weight, and payment. They keep the same info at the meeting site on a card in a big box. For one of the world's most popular weight-loss plans, it's all very quaint and so 1970s, with the hand-written system and monthly pass mailings.


Our meeting leader was very outgoing and grandmotherly, in that modern way that includes wearing cute t-shirts and sneakers. Although mom and I don't consider ourselves "joiners," she quickly had us in the mix reporting on foods we had trouble controlling (me: sandwiches; mom: chips 'n queso) and reasons we'd like to lose weight. After the meeting, she welcomed mom and me and taught us the system.

In addition to the ubiquitous POINTS (Flex) Plan, there was a new Core Plan that reminded me a little of South Beach. Mom and I both decided to stick with POINTS for now. We're both generally bigger fans of portion control, because we'd rather have smaller quantities of yummy foods than unlimited amounts of, well, healthy ones. Our leader found our daily POINT allowance and explained the system. Mom was a little miffed that she got less POINTS than me, so I told her to get fat if she wanted more. She demurred.

After the meeting, we headed straight for the grocery store to stock up on new diet food. Neither one of us usually cooks for ourselves, so we bought pretty much every variety of Smart Ones and Lean Cuisine frozen entree, all the new Weight Watchers muffins and little cakes, and controlled-portion snacks like the 100-calorie chip bags. My haul looked exactly like what a fat person would eat—chocolate cake, cheesy chicken paninis, Doritos—except each had a manageable POINT total. Would I lose weight on a diet of chips and chocolate? Only time would tell...

Current weight: 187