Kay asked in a comment on my last post if I like counting calories or Weight Watchers better. I would say that for me, calorie counting with Lose It! (MyFitnessPal is another, similar app, and a lot of people love that one too) is better for me now.
The first reason is that Weight Watchers has changed. Weight Watchers was great for me when I first joined. I was pretty clueless about portion sizes, calories, etc., and I was not about to do all the math necessary to count calories. This was in the olden days (2002) when we didn't have so many great calorie-counting apps available. Weight Watchers also was a different plan then, Winning Points, which I loved because it was simple. There were no Weekly Points -- each day was a new day. If you missed your target one day, you turned a page and started over the next day. I learned to love vegetables, since they were free. I loved the cookbooks, and still use them quite frequently.
I never did as well when Weekly Points were added in, because half the time, I'd use up my weeklies in a few days and then be panicking about how to get through the rest of the week without them. I also didn't like the switch to PointsPlus -- it was no longer simple. I couldn't just take my slider to the grocery store, I had to have a gadget. And the shift in the way that points were calculated made it even harder for me to stick to the plan. The "free" fruit did not make up for the fact that everything with carbs in it suddenly cost a lot more points.
I think the number of calories Weight Watchers allows is too low for a very active person like me with less than 30 pounds to lose, because I made Lifetime in record time (I think I dropped 20 pounds in 16 weeks, or something crazy like that), but never got the hang of maintenance. I just couldn't stick to the plan long-term. I tried a lot of times, but I never had the same success as in the early days. I hated weighing in in front of a receptionist, too. Most of them were nice, but every now and then I got a mean one who smirked when I gained. Meetings also got more formulaic and dull. I had fallen out of love with Weight Watchers, and it was time for me to move on. I still recommend it to people who are new to weight loss, especially people with a lot to lose, but I find that most people end up wanting to move on to something else when they are in maintenance mode.
What I like about Lose It is that I'm in control. I bought the premium version, which is $39.99 for a year, less than one WW Monthly Pass. I can set my own goals and personalize my plan so that it works for me. If I don't like the calorie goals that the app sets for me, I can change them. With the premium version, I can also add goals for other things, like fiber or hydration. I don't feel any less accountable weighing in solo than I do weighing in front of someone else -- I just don't feel humiliated if I have an up day. Because I'm not paying by the week, I don't feel a rush to hurry up and get to goal so I can stop paying, either, which I always did with Weight Watchers. Joining the DietBet actually has added in a little extra fire to my motivation, and that has been fun. I had to ante up $25, but I have a chance to win it back, maybe with interest. I also feel like I get more support from the blog community now than I used to get in most meetings.
I guess for me, the difference is that a corporation is no longer in charge of my weight loss, I am. I don't say that this solution is best for everyone, but it's best for me. I understand what Kay is saying about feeling "like a WW failure," because at one point I loved Weight Watchers and really wanted to get back to Lifetime so I could attend meetings for free forever. I don't feel like a failure, I just feel like I have moved on.