Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Weight Watchers Diet in the 1970s: No Exercise Required

I was talking in an email thread about the recent study about weight loss and exercise that says women, especially older women, should exercise 60 minutes per day, seven days per week, to maintain their weight without dieting. Depressing. And I said I remembered the 2008 study that said obese women had to exercise 55 minutes per day at least 5 times per week and restrict calories to lose weight.

In 1972 or 1973, my mother, who was 45/46 back then lost 70 pounds on the old Weight Watchers Diet. One of the selling points of the diet is that you could lose weight without exercise.

Yes, I think we should exercise. Exercise is good for you, but I couldn't help but think that this notion that you can't lose weight unless you exercise is faulty. My mother was in her mid 40s and 70 pounds overweight. She was obese, but she lost weight without exercise. And she was not the only middle-aged, obese woman losing lots of weight on the old Weight Watcher's Diet in the 70s. So, either humans have changed or something else in the world has changed.

I suggested in the email thread that maybe humans are changing. Thread participants reminded me that it's more likely that the problem is the food we consume today has changed, not humans.

Yes, I'd considered this as well having watched Food Inc. and also the Oprah show featuring Michael Pollan and Food 101.

Naturally, our increasing consumption of high fructose corn syrup came up in the email discussion, and someone sent this link, "Dishing on High Fructose Corn Syrup."

Yes, we've been hearing about the evils of HCFS for years now, and have you noticed that the Corn Refiners Association is fighting back on all the bad publicity? See, and no, I don't believe the industry's rebuttal. Furthermore, I hate the commercial its produced with the dueling moms.

Later, weight-loss blogger Deb Roby sent a note saying she thinks our weight problem today has more to do with what we eat than it does exercise. Therefore, I shared what I recalled of the old Weight Watcher's Diet.

Yeah. I still remember the old Weight Watchers diet, more or less.

3 pieces of fruit per day (teens and men could have more)
No more than 2 servings of starch (teens and men could have more)
16 oz. of skim milk (24 oz for teens)
4 oz. of meat, fish or poultry at lunch
6 oz. of meat, fish or poultry a dinner (that part may have been teens, can't remember if adult women ate 4 oz again or 5 oz or 6 oz.)
No more than 4 eggs per week, which had to be calculated into a meal as part of your protein
No more than 4 ounces of cheese per week, which had to be calculated into a meal as part of your protein
No more than 3 tsp. of fat per day
At least 2 cups of raw veggies
About 1 cup cooked veggies
No sugar, period.
Protein had to include Fish 5 times per week and lean beef 4 X per week
No frying of anything: Grill, bake, broil or poach
unlimited coffee, tea, or diet soda (My mom drank a lot of diet soda and still lost weight. So did I.)

While you could eat out sometimes on the plan, the crux was either you or someone at your house preparing and measuring your food for you.

I know they changed this diet later, which I've been told was actually the old New York State weight loss diet.
I included the note that my mother and I drank a lot of diet soda because I know some recent studies indicate that diet soda may contribute to weight gain, and I lost weight on the old WW diet as well. I was 13 then and had always been the fat kid. That was the first time and possibly the only time I lost a substantial amount of weight due to effort and not illness.

So, I decided to look up the old diet online and found that someone had posted the full 1972 Weight Watcher's Diet that I remember under "The Way It Was... (1972 Weight Watchers Program)." Actually, I think it may have been Dottie from Dottie's Weight Loss Zone who posted it. She lost 95.5 pounds on the Weight Watchers point system which came later.

Since it's copyrighted by Weight Watchers, I decided not to post the actual text here, and just give the link instead.


Average Jane said...

I remember when restaurants used to offer a "diet plate" consisting of a plain hamburger patty, some cottage cheese and a few slices of canned peaches. Sounds like it matched up with the old Weight Watchers plan pretty well.

msladydeborah said...

I don't do diets of any kind. I find that they are not to my liking. Now I do workout and walk daily. I find that it is benficial to my psyche and my body.

I also firmly believe that the growth additives in food is one of the factors that is blowing people up to some incredible sizes.

I love food. I eat what I like and what is good for me daily. Plus I always have at least one piece of chocolate everyday. (If not more)It is definitely a mood changer and food fit for the Goddess in me.;-)

I think that it has become imparative that people really take time to consider what they are eating. My diet has not changed too much since childhood. Fresh fruits and veggies are a must have at lunch and dinner time.

I still eat three meals during the day. I snack on junk food and also on fresh fruit. I cook for myself at least six days out of the week to help control what goes on the inside. There is a lot of sodium in food products these days. Plus the other additives that are probably not meant to be consumed on a daily basis.

Ms. Jen said...

The big difference between diet sodas today and those 30 years ago is that of Nutrasweet (now) and saccharine (then).

Nutrasweet is a different chemical and reacts with the neuro-system.

Heather Solos said...

I started my site three years ago, I was married, had gone to college, worked in the restaurant industry (including as a chef) for ten years and still felt utterly lost in my own kitchen on a tight budget.
I firmly believe there needs to be a revamping of the educational system to include better instruction in life skills including nutrition. I don't know where it should go, but basic Health doesn't begin to cover the complexity that is our food industry and regulations.
I'm trying to teach people it's better to eat less of real, whole foods than to just stuff ourselves with food formulated to taste and feel good to our senses. I might as well be standing on the corner and shouting.
Still, I often get emails thanking me. It's a hard line to toe, trying to reach people where they are and not come off as some kind of nutritional nut job.
I'm definitely a fan of Michael Pollan.
For what it's worth, one of my best friends is steadily losing weight with the current Weight Watcher's system, she's lost close to 50lbs and is refusing to exercise until she hits a plateau. (I still want her to at least get some minimal exercise in, but I'm not going to hound her)

Will said...

It boils down to exercise and nutrition. I dont even like the word diet. Diets are a temporary fix to a permanent problem. Proper nutrition is what is needed. It takes time to learn because we have never been taught it.

Same with exercise. No one wants to do it because we're not used to it. Our bodies need it. There is so much evidence for this.

Health= what we put in our bodies and what we do with our bodies.

thats the only health care plan we need.

Fitness Achievement

Anonymous said...

I was on the old Weight Watchers plan in 1974. It was more protein based than the carb based one now. I lost 30 pounds in a very short amount of time and had no trouble following the diet and made it to goal. It's funny when I tell people I've been a lifetime member for almost 40 years.

Someone mentioned not cooking scrambled eggs in teflon back then. We had Teflon but it was either so expensive that no one could afford it or it you had it it wasn't as advanced as it is now and EVERYTHING stuck no matter what. I was lucky enough to have a microwave back then and scrambled my eggs in that.

I actually am looking at this again because I need to lose weight and this was the only program that I was successful. It's different that what we're used to now but it works.

Anonymous said...

The "old" Weight Watchers worked. You cannot go around deceiving yourself that you can eat anything as long as you count the points. There are some things someone trying to lose weight should not eat. The 1970's plan worked because it was specific and very real with providing the member a real set of tools as well as social support in their meetings. Lets face the fact that losing weight takes a lot of effort, consistency and yes - deprivation. Did i say a bad word for our society?

Anonymous said...

I have tried the new Weight Watcher diets and I agree the old diet was better. Does anyone have the weekly food planner that we used to keep up with what we ate each week?


E. Jane said...

I also lost 70 pounds in 1974 on the old WW plan. It was a great plan in terms of nutrition and steady, but not too slow weight loss. I also would love to have a copy of one of the old diet plans. It was in a brochure that consisted of several pages and outlined the specific program. It was easy to follow. Anyone have one?

Oldilocks said...

You forgot the LIVER once a week! And remember having to make your own ketchup? ;-)

I was on the Weight Watchers diet in 1972 and lost about 80 pounds. It really changed the way I ate (less bread, more vegetables).

I'm on the new diet now (for months!), but not doing so well (I know, I know -- I'm forty years older :-(. I need the regimentation of the old diet (which had less carbs).

Thanks for posting this!

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

@ Oldilocks. You're right! How could I forget the weekly liver? :-)

Jeff and Denise Hathaway said...

Yes yes and yes! I lost 110 lbs in 1974 on the best WW plan ever. Okay so I was only 22, but still it worked. I am currently trying the poins plus for the third or fourth time and I'm not loosing, hmm! Where are the guidlines, there aren't any... just eat within your points. Ha! Well I know it works, I've seen it work, but I don't know how it works! Why oh why do "they" have to make a simple plan that works and make it so complicated that it takes a rocket scientist to figure out... Oh yeah, it's all about the money not the success of the members! I have vowed to make it work this time but I'm going to find that 1974 book first!

Phyllis O'Leary said...

Hi, I seem to know the old WW plan of 1974 by heart! and also along with having it posted by Dottie, but a few more legal things were added in ketsup (as 1T equals 3 extras). I lost like 50 lbs. on it then..had my first daughter in 1976..ganined some weight but went right back to the paln and lost all of the baby weight and more.

I wish there could be an online support group for all of us who would like ti follow that plan!

suzanne said...

Hello I thought it was 2oz. of proteins for lunch, 6oz. cooked at supper time and 1 oz. in the morning but yes it was in the 1970 the best diet plan with fast results and you were not deprive. Many of us need to be told what we can and can't have, we still had choices but you had to deduct from bonus credit points. Yes it would be so nice for them to give us the choice of the old or new diet plan. Suzanne