Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fuck Weight Watchers

Tabitha Farrar recently wrote an insightful blog post about Weight Watchers and the potential harmful effects that can result when dieting starts at a young age. This was in response to Weight Watchers' announcement offering free memberships to teens. Obviously, this company isn't considering the potential harm introducing dieting behavior at a young age can cause, so let me make one thing very clear: Weight Watchers doesn't give a fuck about you. It's a predatory agency that wants to target the vulnerable. I feel like I should insert George Carlin's "The American Dream" here. Big businesses don't give a fuck about you. They don't give a fuck about me, and they want to control where you put your money. They want your money, period. This new idea to lure kids into a weight loss program is called a recruitment plan, which implies that those running the business are looking for people to jump in early and stay for the long haul, not briefly test the waters.

I have addressed the business aspect before in a blog post focusing on Oprah Winfrey. Weight Watchers is a huge corporation owned by H. J. Heinz Company with branches all over the world, a corporation that wants people to believe it has the key to your happiness. The company's survival and the way it makes money is by supporting unrealistic beauty aesthetics, promoting diet culture, and pushing their "magic formula" of success for a price. Remember, if you fail at losing weight, it's because you're not following their program. The idea is that if you just buy their products, pay for their secret systems and plans, and keep coming back, you gotta KEEP COMING BACK (that's why it's great to start 'em young), you can be thin, which translates to happy, healthy, successful, perfect, and beautiful. But it's a fucking lie. Whatever Weight Watcher's is selling is not much better than snake oil.

Why do you think commercials for weight loss products and systems are strategically aired late at night and more heavily after the holidays? Again, weight-loss companies target what they view as vulnerable audiences, and now they are after your kids. 

If you take a look at their products, filled with excess sugar, artificial ingredients, and almost no actual valuable nutrition, you will see that the ingredients do not support health or weight loss for that matter. No sensible diet plan is based on the consumption of highly processed foods containing a lot of refined sugars and almost no quality protein. Look at the statistics on weight loss and dieting and ask yourself if the unspecified "studies" Weight Watchers often cites are credible and accurate. Does a short-term study focusing on adults who lost a tiny bit more weight on a diet plan than those who did absolutely nothing really mean that this company has the answers? Did these people in the so-called study keep the weight off for an extended period of time? Were they truly healthier, happier, and better off?

A healthy relationship with food can be taught, but it doesn’t include obsessively “watching” weight. It includes a focus shift away from beauty aesthetics and toward Heath and feeling good while trusting your body, not trying to have absolute control over it. Teaching people how to discipline themselves and restrict what they eat, stopping at one serving even if the body needs more, is diet behavior, not mindfulness and not intuitive eating, and these behaviors don't encourage health, physical or mental. 

I believe the founder of Weight Watchers, Jean Nidetch, had good intentions when she started her small support group in her apartment. Since she had success on the diet she created for herself, she wanted to share that with others. However, the focus was entirely on weight loss, how to stop eating cookies and slim down. I'm sure some of the advice the organization gives now is sensible, but there's no doubt that this is a business with a primary focus on aesthetics and making money. Though some claim Weight Watchers is an advocate for health, what it promotes and sells is the fantasy of looking a certain way and losing weight, and don't those who own stock in the company know that EVERYONE wants to lose weight?

Yeah, fuck that, Weight Watchers.