Yup, I said it. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and ’tis the season to say something about it out loud before people dive in whole hog, only to get their feelings hurt when they don’t get the results they were looking for. To be fair, it’s not just Weight Watchers. It’s all the “hype diets”. Although, before I get to the bigger picture, I do have a bone to pick with Weight Watchers in particular.
A colleague of mine is dead set on losing weight, and a lot of it. He’s really committed to changing his appearance. Again. He really wants to do it! Again. So much so, that he’s back on the ole wagon. Again. And he’s using Weight Watchers to do it! For at least the dozenth time in the two years we’ve worked together. Oh, have I tried! “…it’s a lifestyle change that you’ll have to commit to, not a fad diet…” and “…balance your diet, eat clean foods, and move your body around a few times a week, that’s all you have to do…”. But after Jennifer Hudson’s endorsement of Weight Watchers, he’s more gun-ho than ever to stay the course. That is, stay the course with his daily microwave egg/cheese breakfast sandwich on white english muffin, some variety of a microwave salt-lick for lunch, sugar rush of whatever’s at arm’s length at the mid afternoon crave time, and I shudder to think what dinner consists of. In fact, during the crave times, I’ve offered some of my nuts, or muesli, or figs. But he declines (siting “points” restrictions), and eats the leftover double chocolate chip cookie from the lunch room, because he’ll “just add it to [his] points for the day, and still come in under what he’s allowed”. Allowed. Nice. One day he was going to burger night at a local dive, noting: “I ate very few points all day, so I could have a cheeseburger and 2 beers tonight!” Should I have congratulated him? I should also note that during his on-again, off-again relationship with Weight Watchers, I’ve haven’t seen whole grain number one, nor have I seen any semblance of a leafy green, outside the iceberg ones covered in caesar dressing. Now, I know I have higher expectations for veggie consumption than the average bear, but come on! That just hurts my feelings.
If I can try and be academic for a moment, the Weight Watchers dilemma is clear. It simply doesn’t train the mind nor the body to make good choices with food. Instead, it surrenders to the learned societal need for the limitless amounts of salt, sugar, grease, alcohol, processed foods, etc. Eat all of it you want! Just stay inside of the “points” we’ve allowed you, and you will lose weight. PS. No avocado or nuts (seriously. Also hurts my feelings!). Admittedly, people do lose weight with the program. My colleague has, a dozen times. He’s also gained the weight back, and then some an equal amount of times. I can’t imagine he’s alone. And to broaden my thoughts here, this indeed applies to most fad diets. It’s been proven time and time again, the ONLY sustainable, and reliable method to weight loss is to pay attention to our bodies, eat whole foods, and commit to a lifestyle change, void of all the pitfalls that many fad diets allow, promote and sell.
I don’t know, I think the Weight Watchers of our world should have a little more faith in the ability for people to change and learn new things in terms of diets. Otherwise, it’s kind of an endless cycle, right? Big business marketing tells us what to eat. So we eat it. We become addicted to it. We crave it. We get fat. So then the fad dieteers (die-et-ears) create diets which emulate our bad habits and reinforce the legitimacy of them. We lose weight, and quit the fad diet, but the fad dieteers aren’t worried because they know we’ll be back. So what to do?
I guess I just wish people would eat more colorfully, that’s all. Any soldiers want to join me?