FOR decades, WeightWatchers devotees have gathered in church halls and community centres across the country to encourage each other to live a healthier lifestyle.
But now the organisation, which was founded in New York in 1963, is moving on to the high street and opening a chain of shops.
The radical shift in thinking is designed to pull in working mothers and anyone else who is keen to fit in a weight loss consultation during their busy day.
The Lifestyle Centres will offer group sessions as well as one-on-one support, including “express weigh-ins”, to help dieters stick to their weight loss plans. Visitors will also be able to buy products such as “grab and go” meals.
Spokesman Chris Stirk said: “The centre will offer a more personalised and flexible service for busy people like working mums and office workers who can pop in when they have time.
“With many of us working longer hours and demanding a more personalised, flexible service, we continue to adapt and enhance our products and services to meet the needs of the community.”
The first WeightWatchers centre has now opened in Reading in the UK and is selling meal deals and 150 other food products that meet the rules of the company’s point system plan.
Weightwatchers already has stand-alone stores in the U.S., Australia and China and there are now plans for a chain in the UK with sites in London, Birmingham and Leeds.
The Weightwatchers regime is based on a points system that allows people to identify the healthiest food choices.
A recent independent study published in The Lancet medical journal found people using the WeightWatchers programme lost twice as much weight as those who relied solely on advice from a GP.