Weight Watchers® vs Slimming World®

Written by Tamara Willner
Medically reviewed by 

8 min read
Last updated November 2019

Weight loss programmes can provide a helpful structure for your health journey when you feel out of control with unhealthy habits. They can also be a great way to join individuals going on the same journey, which can be incredibly motivating.

Everyone is different, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a weight loss programme. It ultimately depends on what suits your individual needs and what fits into your lifestyle. Some people want rigid rules and a quick fix, whereas others like more flexibility and a long-term lifestyle change.

This guide compares two of the most popular weight loss programmes; Weight Watchers® (WW) and Slimming World® (SW). Comparisons to the OurPath programme are included. OurPath is a 3-month online programme that helps you to lose weight and make sustainable lifestyle changes.

We spoke to two OurPath members, who have all previously tried Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®, to get an idea of how they compare from the point of view of a user.

The basics

Trustpilot score

Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews and scores reflect overall customer satisfcation.

WW SW OurPath
Star rating 3 stars 3 stars 5 stars
Score 3.1 / 5
read reviews
2.8 / 5
read reviews
4.9 / 5
read reviews

 
Here’s what someone who has tried all 3 programmes had to say:

Trustpilot reivew

Nutrition

WW SW OurPath
Dietary approach Low calorie Low fat Lower carb
Caters to vegetarian
Caters to vegan

Signing up

WW SW OurPath
Free trial
Clear breakdown of costs
Clear cancellation policy
Length of programme All plans ongoing. Meetings: ongoing

Digital: Core plan 3 months + automatic renewal for ongoing subscription.

Core: 3 months.

Sustain (optional): ongoing.

Easy to cancel
(If cancelling within 14-day trial, otherwise you have to call customer support)
Refund policy Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable. Partial refund if cancelled within 14 days (dependent on the number of days since purchasing the programme). Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.
Refer-a-friend scheme
Easy to include family

Support

WW SW OurPath
Tailors the plan around diabetes
Tailors the plan around other health issues
Face-to-face meetings
(for meeting / meeting+ digital plan)

(for meeting plan)
Access to registered dietitian or nutritionist
(unless you email customer support with a nutrition query and label it a ‘medical query’)
Weekend support
available

Programme features

WW SW OurPath
App
(2 apps, 1 for planning and 1 online access)
Award/prize system
Recipe videos in app
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)

(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
Exercise videos in app
(Free exercise videos available on YouTube without signing up)
Weighing scales and activity tracker provided
(on tech plan)
Tracks sleep
Tracks steps
Education of nutrition science
Counting/point system
(Smartpoints® and Fitpoints®)

(Free Foods®, Healthy Extras®, and Syns®)
Food diary feature

Pricing

When programmes provide price plans in different formats, it can be hard to accurately compare prices. To make this easier, we have calculated the price of monthly digital basic price plans on each programme to show you how costs compare over 3, 6, and 12 months (as of June 2019). All admin fees are included in these prices.

Weight Watchers® is marginally cheaper than Slimming World®, and they provide a similar service in terms of support and programme features. On the surface, OurPath seems slightly more expensive, however, your personal coach is a registered dietitian or nutritionist, rather than a previous member or customer service representative. You also have the same coach throughout the whole OurPath programme that you can build a relationship with, rather than an ad-hoc response from a different coach each time (Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®).

Registration to a professional body requires a nationally recognised nutrition or dietetics degree. Weekly face-to-face sessions with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can be very expensive (£40-£100/hour). We have added a column representing this to compare costs (Weekly Nutritionist – WN).

Monthly (basic) digital subscriptions:

WW SW OurPath WN
Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach
The same, personal coach throughout the programme
3 months £16/month £20/month £30/month £300/month
6 months £15/month £20/month £20/month £300/month
12 months £14/month £20/month £15/month £300/month

If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers® or Slimming World® face-to-face group meeting plans it would work out to be more expensive.

Meet the members

Profile cards for three different women, showing name, age and occupation.

What motivated you to lose weight?

Icon of a woman.“I felt unhealthy and older than my years physically. I was worried about developing diabetes and many other health problems, such as female cancers. Every so often I would try some form of weight loss plan, but I was going round in circles.”

Icon of a woman.“Putting on weight since the menopause.”

Did you have fears about losing weight?

Icon of a woman.“That losing weight would mean a joyless existence of counting and measuring everything I ate. [I did not think] that losing weight could equate to enjoying meals or my food in the same way [but rather] would be a life of endless grumpy hunger!”

Icon of a woman.“That I would not be able to lose weight as I had a thyroid problem.”

How convenient was each programme?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“The app was convenient, but the need to count and measure everything was quite oppressive! Following Weight Watchers® did take up a lot of waking thought (constantly working out what I could get with my allowance !)”

Icon of a woman.“The weekly meetings were not convenient.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“Still a fair bit of counting and measuring, but not as much as Weight Watchers®. I still felt that Slimming World® took up a lot of waking thought.”

Icon of a woman.“These weekly meetings were also not convenient.”

OurPath:

Icon of a woman.“Wasn’t too bad to fit into daily life. I spend less time measuring and counting things but do seem to spend more time planning and cooking meals. I think it takes a bit longer to get used to the guidelines, but I don’t feel OurPath is as rigid or takes over my waking thoughts as much as the other clubs did. Knowing I can have a nice and satisfying main meal stops me obsessing about food in between meals.”

Icon of a woman.“I love that OurPath is online, which makes it very convenient.”

What support was available?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“Online diary, recipes, and message boards/chat facilities, plus classes (which I didn’t enjoy as I am not a sociable participant in weight loss clubs!). The magazines (which I bought separately) were a good source of info and ideas that I could read privately. I never accessed any online advice”

Icon of a woman.“Mainly at the weekly meeting. Plus a guide book.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“Online resources felt less developed than Weight Watchers® (although this was a while ago). Classes and magazines were the main support (again preferred magazines).”

Icon of a woman.“Also mainly at the weekly meeting. Plus I was given a guide book.”

OurPath:

Icon of a woman.“The app with recipes plus access to a health coach mentor (either through the chat facility or privately). The small groups of starters and the chat facility was also a support.”

Icon of a woman.“There is mentor support, support from peers, and support through the daily articles, which is all available online.”

What were the main challenges?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“I felt hungry and deprived whilst doing it and did not feel like a way of eating that I would want to sustain long term. I also hated the group meetings.”

Icon of a woman.“Getting to the meetings and counting points.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“I also felt hungry and deprived whilst doing it. The online resources were not as extensive as Weight Watchers®. I also hated the group meetings.”

Icon of a woman.“Working out their system and getting to the meetings was challenging.”

OurPath:

Icon of a woman.“Initially represented quite a major change in eating and cooking style and felt so wrong to use full-fat products but surprisingly it was quite easy to get used to and does feel like a way of eating that I could happily continue in the long term. The 12-week programme covered quite a lot of ground, which takes time to consolidate and learn.”

Icon of a woman.“Probably trying to achieve the exercise goals I have been set.”

What was your favourite aspect?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“That you could opt for an online-only programme and the online resources were good.”

Icon of a woman.“Probably occasionally going to the meetings with a friend.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“That you could eat certain foods quite freely.”

Icon of a woman.“Also going to the meeting with a friend.”

OurPath:

Icon of a woman.“The basic principles were easy to remember. I liked that OurPath looked at all aspects of health and was a more forgiving but long-term approach. The focus was not just on weight loss but how you feel and your well-being. The basic principles were easy to remember. That it is run online and you can get as involved as much or as little as you like.”

Icon of a woman.“I love that I have really learnt so much, which I did not on the other programmes. I feel l now have a real understanding of nutrition science.”

Which was the best value for money?

Icon of a woman.“I would have to say that OurPath has been the best value for money and the ability to drop out and get a refund within the first few weeks was comforting – a no risk trial!”

Icon of a woman.“As I did not stay on either Weight Watchers® or Slimming World® for long, I cannot say they were good value. There is slightly more cost with OurPath, but the amount of support and quality information makes it much better value for money as the outcomes are far superior.”

Did you lose weight and keep it off?

Weight Watchers®:

Icon of a woman.“Yes I lost a bit but did not keep it off.”

Icon of a woman.“I lost a little but put it back on very quickly.”

Slimming World®:

Icon of a woman.“Yes I lost a bit but did not keep it off.”

Icon of a woman.“I lost a little bit did not keep it off.”

OurPath:

Icon of a woman.“I have lost almost a stone and a half in the last 12 weeks. I hope to keep it off as I will not be changing the way I eat. I am confident that I will lose some more!”

Icon of a woman.“I am still on the program and have lost weight and feel that OurPath is sustainable. My mindset has changed my motivation has improved, so I am confident that I will not put the weight that I have lost back on.”

Take home message

  • When choosing a weight loss programme, it is important to consider your goals and what would fit into your lifestyle.
  • Everyone is different and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.
  • Some people prefer having more rigid rules to follow, as with Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®, but others find it confusing.
  • Weight Watchers® and Slimming World® seem to focus on diet, whereas OurPath tackles weight loss from all angles (exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindset).
  • OurPath members seem confident that they have been given the tools to stay on track with their healthy habits in the long term, not just during the programme.
  • Face-to-face meetings (provided by Weight Watchers® and Slimming World®) work for some people more than others, depending on how you’re motivated.
  • OurPath is totally online and app-based, which makes it easier to fit into daily life for some people.
Write a response
carolyn barnes
14 August, 2019

i have done ww and sw i much prefeer slimming world as it gives you incentive ie raffels and best slimmer of week but ww is free on nh prpgramme but no good even for weighing in weekly as leader is useless slimming orld their scale were wrong most of the time so i got to gole but did not really as scaleswere wrong


Jane
14 August, 2019

I see my reply, which was critical of the inaccurate way in which Weight Watchers is depicted, has been removed. This, to me, is further proof that I was correct and that “Our Path” isn’t about actually helping people, it’s all about slamming the competition and making money for yourselves. Why else, instead of addressing critics, would you remove criticisms?


Tamara Willner
14 August, 2019

Hi Jane, thank you for your comment! Feedback is certainly welcome. We want our content to provide people with accurate information so they can make informed decisions. For that reason, we unpublish comments that make claims that are not consistent with our research until we have further explored the issue. We unpublished your previous comment while we investigate it further and accordingly adjust the content. I will email you privately to address your points in more detail and create a forum for discussion.


Elle
15 August, 2019

I followed WW about 17 years ago (I didn’t pay, just took my sister’s books!) and lost 1.5-2 stone easily. I maintained my weight for 10-11 years, but due to a change of job and some personal stuff the weight has crept back on. I’m now on their new plan which I’m finding a bit more strict (chocolate is lot more points than it used to be) but the weight is coming off even if I’m outside of my points on a few days.


Karen Kingston
17 August, 2019

Slimming World allows teenagers do register and they have a separate type of plan. We attend as a family and under 16 are free. There is also promotions of refer a friend.