'So although I think it is possible to lose weight on WW, they have no financial interest in getting their dieters down to goal and into maintenance. It's a conflict of interest for them. IMO this is the fly in the ointment of the entire dieting industry.'
I think the opposite of this is true. WW can't survive on people trickling in to try out the program. They survive on word of mouth and the presence of weight loss winners in the group meetings. If WW told you that it was important to show up for meetings (and they do stress that all the time!) and you went to meetings and never saw weight losses occurring in the members who follow the plan, you'd be too discouraged to continue.
What's the ever present carrot (as in the carrot and the stick) is reaching your goal and maintaining long enough to be a lifetime member. I have a friend who's dream is exactly that - she wants that lifetime membership. She has friends who have made that and even a friend who is a lifetime member and now a WW leader!
Every WW meeting, the leader congratulates people on whatever goal they achieved that week, whether it is related to weight loss or not. It may seem childish to get a star for gaining weight that week but resisting overeating at a company party, but that's what gets rewarded. The emphasis is on one step at a time, small changes adding up to big changes over time.
Every WW meeting theme (some goal to tackle or some attitude to change about food and how it leads to eating too many calories) is shared at every WW meeting across the country. If they talk about changing behavior - for example, eating more slowly to enjoy the taste of your food more - then that same topic is being discussed at all the other meetings that week. There's a small pamphlet that's given to every member who attends the meeting, about that topic.
There's nothing radical there. All the steps are small and manageable for most people. And if not manageable for you, then the meeting is the place that is discussed. Or the leader can discuss it with you right after the meeting, and offer suggestions and ask pertinent questions. It's not rocket science. They do everything they possibly can, and if you still need reinforcement, there's an online website for members. Complete with every kind of meal planning, recipe, and support forums.
I'm a dieter who knows how to work loopholes in a diet.I still haven't figured out how to beat the math of just adding up what you eat and owning up to it. By the way, Fitday does the same thing when it reports your running deficit (your goal calories for the day, how many calories you've eaten and what you have left)! Which is great.