Screw You Weight Watchers

The only thing you need to wear a sleeveless shirt is shoulders - and we can get around that if necessary!

Sleeveless clothes are for anybody who wants to wear them!

Unfortunately this week I had the misfortune of seeing an ad for Weight Watchers. Now, I understand that they are in trouble financially and so all I can hope is that the expense of these ad campaigns drive them to bankruptcy.

We know that, based on their own numbers, Weight Watchers does a horrible job of helping people lose weight long term – with participants maintaining only a 5 pound loss after 2 years (and paying about $254 per pound in meeting fees alone for the privilege – not counting WW branded food, cookbooks, diet scales etc.).   We also know that they have to disclaim their products’ success every time that they claim it works because they’ve lost deceptive trade practice lawsuits brought against them by the Federal Trade Commission.

The thing that they seem to have going for them is an uncanny ability to convince their clients to credit WW with short term weight loss and blame themselves for the weight regain that almost everyone experiences, and convincing people to keep coming back for multiple rounds of the same  (me included – I’m a 6 time WW veteran.)  When I speak out about Weight Watchers I always get fat people who say “You shouldn’t say it doesn’t work, their program worked for me six times!”  These people have a different definition of “worked” than I do.

The truth is that almost everyone can lose weight short term on almost any program, and almost everyone gains their weight back long-term even if they are able to maintain their diet behaviors, with many people gaining back more than they lost. What WW has managed to do is take credit for the first half of a natural biological response, and convince their clients to blame themselves for the second half of that response.  Sure it’s disingenuous, but at least it’s highly profitable!

This new ad  has actress Ana Gasteyer singing about how she can finally go sleeveless.  So they’ve doubled down on the body shame by getting specific – not only is my fat body generally something I should hate, but I better check out my arms – if they jiggle when I clap then I need to keep them covered – for everyone’s sake.

Screw you Weight Watchers, with your marketing that’s designed to (as CJ Legare says) steal my self-esteem, cheapen it, and sell it back to me at a profit , and your commercials that try to convince me that instead of appreciating my amazing body and everything it does I should hate it for not meeting some arbitrary standard of beauty.  All so you can sell me a product that you know good and well doesn’t work.  So the plan is that I pay you a ton of money to be left the same size as when I started and hating my body more than ever.  Seriously, I can’t say this enough – screw you.  I hope I get to watch you go bankrupt and out of business.  And when that day comes I will dance while my fat arms jiggle in a sleeveless shirt in your honor.

If you’re feeling a little activist today, why not post a picture of you wearing something sleeveless – to the comments below, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.  Or on WW’s Facebook page.   Tell WW that we will not give up the right to bare arms!

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Published in: on May 2, 2013 at 10:02 am  Comments (136)  

136 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ha! Snap! Funny you should talk about Weight Watchers today. I’ve been reading their annual report this morning, thinking about writing an article on what I found. One of the more interesting things is a list of the food companies they partner with across the world – you know, the people who make their branded food for them. The companies are some of the biggest processed food makers on the planet, known in many cases for engineering foods in a way that disguises the poor quality of the ingredients.

    What WW SAY about lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and how their offering is scientifically and nutritionally sound etc etc is directly at odds with the foods that they’re pushing at meetings for profit. There have been media reports that Weight Watchers staff are compelled to offer these products, even when they don’t believe in them personally.

    Also of interest is the amount of direct mailing they produce to reactivate old customers – e.g. customers who presumably need the treatment all over again.

    • I was in a low-pressure, low-shame, supportive group that emphasized the Seven Healthy Habits and taught me a lot about paying attention to my own body. But still, it was WW. To get into the meeting room, you had to walk past tables piled with boxes of WW snack foods and shiny WW cookbooks.

      My verdict on the “healthy” snack foods: If you want a burst of flavor and something to munch or chew, they’re not bad, but they will not satisfy hunger at all. Likewise, the WW frozen desserts are nice for sick days when your throat hurts, but the fat content is so low that if you have any appetite at all you will want “too many” of them. And I used to buy WW frozen dinners for busy days when they went on big sale until I realized that I wasn’t saving any money. I always had to eat two! I can get the same satisfaction for less from a can of chunky soup and an apple.

    • I’m always starvin’ like Marvin after eating Weight Watchers entrees. I used to blame myself for being such a “disgusting glutton” because I was unsatisfied by their paltry offerings. Now it’s clear to me that nobody can really be satiated off these meals.

      • More than likely they do that on purpose so you 1. buy more, 2. feel guilty and spend more money on membership.

  2. In this world of fat is ugly, your blog is refreshing. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve done all the diets that I could afford, which do not include WW. I even had a gastric bypass. I lost a ton of weight (165 pounds), but got pregnant with my 2nd child. After a ton of emotional and personal issues within the family, I ended up gaining a lot of it back. I love how you encourage us to love ourselves, including the “wings” we carry under our arms. I myself do NOT care what others think. I wear sleeveless tops and dresses. I should be able to be comfortable, regardless of what others think. Bravo!

    • My arms are still something of a sore point with me, although I have found that it’s actually less about appearances and more about the fact that for whatever reason I find sleeveless clothing uncomfortable. This is strange to me, as I tend to run “hot,” and one would think the less fabric the better. Oh well, I’ve never been accused of being normal.

      • I once heard a motivational speaker talk about how women hate various parts of their body. She explained “When you see a tree, do you appreciate the beauty of all of it? Or do you say it would be pretty if it’s limbs were skinner. If it’s leaves were a better color. If it’s roots weren’t so thick and ugly?” No, of course you wouldn’t! So why do you do it to your body? Gods perfect creation? Take the time to water, feed and give sunlight. And stop to appreciate the beauty🙂. Just food for thought!

        • That tree statement really hit me. I have been looking for diet foods and systems to follow because I’m 18 5’4 and 200 pounds. I still haven’t had a boyfriend and I feel so ugly. Reading everyone’s blurbs on hear really makes me happy. The tree statement is great thanks for sharing, you brightened my day

          • Caitlin, I’m 385 pounds, 44 years old, and have an amazing boyfriend who loves me for me. He actually loves all my curves just as is. I was approximately your size at your age. I look back now at my pictures and I’m stunned to see how sweet and pretty I was. I hope you have the joy of being able to open your eyes to that now while you still have a complete life ahead of you and don’t cheat yourself out of the amazing love you could have for yourself. ****hugs**** No matter what your brain tells you when you look in a mirror, trust that you are beautiful just as you are, Because I guarantee you – you are beautiful.❤

  3. I’m with you on WW. Ugh. Here’s my blog post on my experiences with them, http://fitisafeministissue.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/i-hate-you-weight-watchers/

  4. My husband and I reach for the remote simultaneously as soon as any of the current WW commercials come on. He’s of average size and has never battled with his weight, whereas I have. But he’s been watching to me, listening, and thanks to you, Ragen, we have learned so much about what is wrong with our former views on dieting and the diet industry. I never did WW the traditional way (as in attend meetings and such) but I did it’s on-line version as well as South Beach, Atkins and whole bunch of faddish, home remedy type solutions through the years.

    The most recent big band-ishcommercials along with the “I’ve got the Power!” Jennifer Hudson commercial anger me more than any of the WW commercials heretofore. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I love the genre of the Big Band era and the Snap! song is one of my favs from the early 90’s. Maybe I really hate them taking some of my favorite styles and turning them into WW commercials?

    Thank you so much for your blog and all that you do. I’m really starting to feel more comfortable in my skin and am rocking better self esteem. I’d like to tamp the anger response to the WW commercials, because I do not wish to link that anger with Big Band or my 90’s music I love.

    • I had the same reaction to the commercials where she sang Feelin’ Good. You see, I was in a production of the play that comes from once (The Roar of the Greaspaint, the Smell of the Crowd), and I know precisely what that song is about. It’s an anthem by someone who has just opted out of a game designed to keep him subservient and powerless. So the idea of singing THAT song to celebrate WW? Offended my entire sock collection off me, and baby, I love my socks.

      • I knew as soon as I heard the first few bars that I’d probably love the song–now I’m almost certain I would! But my feeling of disgust with regard to the WW message is so strong I could not possibly allow myself to watch the commercial to listen to it. I so desperately do not want to link such a cool sounding song with something I dislike so much!

        I have heard of the play, my Great Uncle was a Professor of English and Theater. He and his wife were my “real” grandparents growing up. His daughters and sons in law are in “the business” both in the theatrical and Hollywood realm out in LA.

        Do you know where I can find recordings of the songs/the production itself? I’m thinking I might really like it! I trust your opinion, you rock!

        • I don’t know where to find a copy of the entire score, though there was an original cast recording done of it way back when. It’s not a show that’s remained popular.

          OTOH, Ray Charles did a killer, jazzy version of the song that’s readily available. I’m sure you’d be able to find it on iTunes or on a disc of Mr. Charles’ greatest hits.

          Twistie sez: check it out!

          • I have some Ray Charles at home. Wouldn’t it be absolutely nuts if I own a copy of that song and just didn’t realize it? I guess I’m just really quick with the remote!

            Totally searching collection tonight. I absolutely adore Big Band and “old” jazz. I played the trumpet and flugelhorn in my youth. If a trumpet is involved I get goosebumps.

            I still plan on looking to see if I can find the whole score. Thanks!

        • Nina Simone did what I consider the definitive version. Check you tube.

      • Reading your description of the meaning of the lyrics and what it’s about really makes me want to hurl things at the TV for WW’s abuse and misuse of that song. What blasphemy!

        • That’s exactly how I felt about it, lusciouswords.

      • I have never seen that one, oddly enough, but I am so with you.

  5. If you’re fair like I am, you might want to use sunscreen before you bare your arms.

    • I deliberately wore long sleeves today because it’s sunny, and the sun hates my skin.

      • I thought I was in the shade yesterday… now I’m a crispy critter. It’s 40 degrees colder too. Damn you WI

  6. How do we get your genius out of the blogs and just us lucky people, and out to those who repeatedly spend $200 plus per pound over and over again?

  7. I just joined WW about three weeks ago. My heart has been ripped in two that I am considered morbidly obese. I just got my surgeon’s records and almost on every page it refers back to my weight and those two words. I am not losing weight quickly and I cannot be active due to my lupus and handicapped knees.
    I am getting cheers of support for joining WW from friends and family. How do I settle this surge of depression and learn to love myself and let others know this is my appearance now…deal with it.

    • I think it’s important not to beat yourself up over medical terminology. Clinically, I, too am considered morbidly obese, but I just call it fat. I am finally, at 55 years old, learning to divorce my body size from my self esteem.

      What makes you YOU, the special person that you are, has nothing to do with your weight. The fact is we live in body size obsessed culture. It makes no sense as the majority (66%) of Americans are “overweight”, but there it is.

      To counter the depression and the opinions of others I would tell yourself and them that you are concentrating on becoming as healthy as you can, and body size is NOT the be all and end all of health. In my opinion, self loathing is far more destructive than fat. So hang in there and remember that you deserve to be happy.

      • Mairi,
        Thank you so much for the advise. I really needed it.

    • Read Fat!So? by Marilyn Wann. Seriously, that book completely changed my view on my body and the world and I’ll be forever grateful to the fat stranger who recommended it to me while I was trying (and failing) to lose weight at WW.

      • crookedfinger
        I was just online looking for a book to read. Thank you.

        • I think you’ll enjoy reading the book. It’s one that is what I consider an essential part of my fat education library.

      • Yes, I thought that was an excellent book.

    • scooby, I feel your pain. Remember one crucial thing – categories like “morbidly obese” are arbitrary. The standard on which they are based is the BMI, which was never intended as a measure of health. I have been morbidly obese by those standards for most of my life. I have hated my body for many, many years. Until Ragen, I never looked at what my body could do or how much it serves me every day. It’s taken me just over a year to find a new person in me – one who speaks out, who doesn’t take other people’s shit, who just lives my own life. It will probably happen on its own for you in time. Lifelong ingrained beliefs rarely change overnight, so give yourself time to adjust to these new thoughts and feelings. Experiment by talking with the family or friends you feel most confident with. Expand that circle as you feel more comfortable and see where that gets you. My life is so much better now than it was then. I’ll bet yours will be, too. GOOD LUCK!!🙂

      • “Lifelong ingrained beliefs rarely change overnight, so give yourself time to adjust to these new thoughts and feelings.”

        This is the truth. I’ve learned so much since following this blog and I feel I’ve made huge strides in self acceptance. My husband has noticed too and it thrilled. But I have days that I start to fall back into my old ways of thinking. I’ll suddenly be critical while standing in front of the mirror. Or I’ll catch myself saying something negative. Or I’ll see a photo of myself and feel myself spiral into that dark pit of self loathing. I’ve even had a few times where I almost hopped back on a diet or started counting calories, convinced that THIS time will be THE time. That mind set and those habits are hard to break when it is all you’ve known.

        It is a work in progress. When I have those moments I read this blog, or check out Rolls not Trolls on FB, or seek out HAES blogs. And as weird as this sounds, I follow pinterest boards that highlight curvy women in cute clothing and lingerie. We are bombarded with images of skinny as sexy so I purposely bombard myself with fat as sexy images to remind myself that all body shapes can be sexy–even mine. It works.🙂

        • @AmeliaJade, I have a few favorite curvy women that I like to admire when I’m having those days, which have become the exception rather than the rule. Like you said, it helps to see those curvy women in cute or sexy clothing, to remind us that all shapes and sizes are beautiful and should be appreciated.

        • That’s not weird at all. Lots of us do that for the same reason.🙂 I did that a lot, too. I’m now at a point where I put a feminist spin on it. I don’t have to see the sexualized pics to see the beauty. Beauty and sexy are not the same thing and we are just as beautiful in a T-shirt and jeans as in lingerie.🙂

          • I find the whole “beauty” thing quite disturbing. As a Radical Feminist, I refuse to base my value as a human being on something as insignificant as my physical appearance. One aspect of the Fat Acceptance movement that I am irritated with is the whole “But, but… fat women can be hot too!11!” rhetoric. Well, what if I don’t want to be “hot”? What if I’m trying to escape Lookism completely? What if I’m too busy improving my mind to worry about this crude flesh? What if the only way to eliminate many different types of prejudices that are based on our external selves (sexism, racism, fat hatred, ableism, ageism etc) is to stop looking at bodies, and start looking at brains? Why must I be a walking bag of flesh, evaluated for my ability to give men erections? I fail to see equal objectification as a form of progress. As far as I’m concerned, all of those Victoria’s Secret models have a much lower quality of life than I do. They are used & abused by men who see them as nothing more than a sperm dumpster. Those women have been completely dehumanized…why on Earth would I want to be like them?! I want to save them, not emulate them! Male approval is the least of my concerns.

            Sorry for the lengthy rant. I just don’t understand why being externally “beautiful” is even important.

            • That’s an interesting question: why do people want to be beautiful so badly? My guess is that the real need is to be loved, and unfortunately there is a confusion between love and beauty. We tend to see beauty in people and things we love (e.g. you get to know and to like someone, and then the person starts to appear more beautiful in your eyes) so there is a “when someone loves me they see me as beautiful” idea, which is probably not bad. It’s about subjective beauty, beauty that is seen with the heart’s eyes. The problem comes with the idea that “if I’m not beautiful, people will not love me”. This one is really sad, and no one should have to feel that way, or experience that. It’s about being deprived of love if you don’t fit into some mold.
              My maternal grandmother was unfortunately an appearance-focused, fat-shaming lady. We were never good-looking enough for her, there was always something to criticize about our appearance. Recently in a conversation with my mother, my mother told me: “Maybe if I had been thinner, my mother would have loved me more”. She said that with such sadness, and I thought it was heartbeaking. Such a shame that she had been made to feel that way. And of course, it includes the idea that thinness equals beauty, but it’s the same phenomenon, isnt’t it?

  8. I’m a WW veteran, too. The new ads drive me BSI (bat-shit insane) because I know it’s false advertising, and as @Tara mentioned, they are ruining some of my favorite songs. “Fever” has a special place in my heart because it’s one of my favorite bellydance songs. (It’s a signature song for me, in fact.) Hearing it twisted to encourage people to hate their bodies rankles. I’ve become quite adept at reaching for the remote and hitting mute. I’m with you in hoping they go bankrupt soon.

    I should add that I’m working through some anger and resentment toward my parents over my high school graduation gift – a six-month membership to WW. At the time, I thought it was great and wonderful. Looking back, I realize it gave me the message that my parents, who were supposed to love me unconditionally, were giving me the message that my body was imperfect and as a result, I was imperfect. Just one more way my parents helped society drill body hatred into my brain.

    • I may have to steal BSI–for that is probably the best way to describe my feelings when I hear any of those horrid commercials start. I hadn’t listened long enough to the Big-Band ones to see if I could recognize the tune, Snap’s tune is instantly recognizable to me. Grrarrrr! I hate WW.

      • Feel free to steal BSI or its sister BSC (bat-shit crazy). The moment I hear Jennifer Hudson sing, “I’ve got the power…,” I cringe and scramble for the remote. Thanks for nothing, WW. You’ve ruined several good songs with your latest campaign. Just bite me on my fat bare arm!

    • Ha! When I read WW veteran, my mind automatically translated it as world war veteran. Which makes sense, since it seems at times as if the whole world is at war with those who don’t fit a cultural stereotype of what is an acceptable body.

      • Ha! Until you commented, I hadn’t thought of it like world war veteran. But you make a good point. All around us are family members, co-workers, advertisements, magazine articles, employers, doctors and other medical personnel who are quick to tell us we are imperfect and not worthy of love as fat people. And here we are, a small but united front of fat people, who refute their illogical nonsense.

    • Reclaim the song for your dancing (if you feel up for it!)🙂 We need to retake the good songs for ourselves!

      BTW, while I totally dig the intent behind BSI or BSC, using “insane” or “crazy” does a huge disservice to folks that have mental illnesses. I know some are trying to reclaim those words like fat is being reclaimed, but it is still used with a lot of venom.

      • Thanks, Casey. It will happen.🙂

        And thanks for the thoughts on using crazy/insane. I will keep that in mind.

      • Maybe I’ll just change it to BSP (Bat Shit Pissed). Somehow that seems more appropriate overall, given how I feel about WW and their perversion of good songs.

  9. Another veteran here! Last time I joined WW, I lost 152 pounds (and stilled weighed in the 190’s. I took me three years to lose the 152 pounds – along with enough exercise to kill a person (and destroy my knees). When I came to a screeching weight loss halt, I cut points, I exercised more, tried food combinations, etc., etc. After two more years of battling the same 10 pounds, I finally threw in the towel. How many times did the counselors ask me if I was eating something wrong and not believe me when I said no? I can’t count it – they finally quit talking to me about it. All of the sudden, my weight started climbing and climbing and climbing. Right back up to over 300 pounds (especially after I had both of my knees replaced). I felt like the biggest failure of all time. I started avoiding people so they wouldn’t see that I gained my weight back. I was so ashamed. Now, I realize that my body does what my body is going to do and I cannot control it. Thanks to people like you, Ragen, I have come to be in a place where I can be somewhat comfortable with myself and let people see me again. If they don’t like what they see, I just don’t give a damn!

    • I also avoid people because I hate that shocked look when they see me. I have had both knees replaced and still having problems with both. I can only hope that comfortable feeling is down the road for me.

  10. I’m in WW right now. I hate that commercial, I hate a lot of what gets said at meetings, but I really like the woman running the meeting I go to. And I like feeling in control of my body. I’m 25, and was diagnosed with celiac disease about seven months ago. After decades of trying and failing (I felt like a failure!) to lose weight, it’s possible now.

    I guess it’s ironic, but making an effort to lose weight has made me so much more conscious of fat acceptance and body positivity. I’m trying really hard to accept myself no matter what size I am. I don’t like when all the plump middle aged ladies at my meeting say they’re doing this for their health. Be honest, ladies. You want to be more sociably acceptable. But I don’t mind that. Not everyone has the strength to be fabulously fat in the face of prejudice. I’m not sure if I do. Do I want to wear straight size clothes for the first time since middle school? Yeah, I do. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    I’m not making much sense, I guess my point is that it’s all right if people want to lose weight, and it’s all right if people want to gain weight, and it’s all right if people want to stay exactly where they are and not care at all! It’s no one else’s business. And that’s what hurts, for me. That everyone makes my weight their business. Back off.

    I talk about HAES and body positivity in my WW meetings, and my leader and fellow members are very receptive. For me, it’s important to do my best to love myself and my body at every stage. I’m not putting myself on hold until I reach a goal weight. I’m exploring diet and exercise and seeing what happens, what I’m capable of. For the first time in my life I feel really healthy, because of the gluten intolerance thing, and every day I amaze myself at how much I can do!

    Anyway, thank you so much for this blog, and your presence as an inspiration to women and girls and men and boys who can’t quite find the strength to be comfortable in their own skin.

    • I’m glad that you enjoy the WW meetings. Because of your celiac disease, it can be nice to meet with other people who are also following a specific diet. Moreover, I’m proud of you for your ability to view things objectively at the meetings, like the talk of health vs. the reality of seeking conformity.

      However, if you’re not fitting into ‘straight’ size clothing now, you’re probably not ever going to do so – not unless you become very ill and stay very ill.

      I’m fat for the same reason that I’m left handed and have blue/gold eyes: that’s my genetic programming. No behavior got me to this weight, and no behavior will change the size of my body.

      As much as I would have hated to read/hear something like that when I was dieting, I wish someone would have cared about me enough to tell me the truth. It would have saved me a lot of time and money over the long run.

      • It is good to hear someone say that it is o.k. to diet to loose, o.k. to diet to gain, o.k. to stay the same. I like that it is our own business and our choices are ours. Sometimes I get caught up in the frustrations of fighting fat haters that I forget I don’t have to give up my personal body goals to work towards HAES or being treated fairly. I know many of us here think this way… we just don’t always type it out.

  11. When I saw the new one I was very close to throwing something at the tv. The dumbass I know as my father started going on and on about how I should go on WW. I looked at him as if he was nuts, and said “And pay an obscene amount of money to lose what 5lbs? If you watch carefully, their other spokes person Jennifer Hudson is already regaining the weight she lost (look at her thighs and chest you will see it, you could also see it when she was on Ellen). So how about this? No. Hell no.”

    Then again this coming from the idiot who thought a gym membership to a gym that promotes weight loss only and a diet scale were great gifts for a birthday.

    • Kudos to you for standing up to him when he made that suggestion. I think The Underpants Rule needs to be made into law…except that might be breaking the rule.😉

      • Thanks, I have actually been doing it a lot more then I used to. My mom hates arguments so I grew up letting the jerk say whatever he wants. A lot of what he says is considered emotional and mental abuse. I’m not sure if it is the PMS, stress of school and/or work that got to me when he said it but it came out and yes argument there was but in the end my facts overthrew his bs.

        It should but I do agree that would more then likely breaking the rule.

  12. Weight Watchers is the SINGLE most insidious thing I have ever done to myself in the name of weight loss. It tells you over and over that it’s “not a diet, but a lifestyle,” and that it is SO easy and you can eat ANYTHING. You feel like a fool when it inevitably fails, not to mention if you chose to go to meetings (and the online option was new the last time I joined), you get to be weighed by a virtual stranger who absolutely judges your success for the week.

    I joined and quite Weight Watchers 10 times in as many years. In the beginning, I’d lose 10 – 12 pounds in the first week. By my last attempt, that was down to 6 pounds, and I believe the yo-yo dieting that utterly defined my WW experience was partly to blame (in conjunction with a thyroid condition).

    The WW commercials make me SO bloody angry. I lose respect for celebrities willing to do it, because let’s face it, we all know they aren’t doing JUST WW, or at least not the way a “normal” person does. They have trainers, chefs, and they have the time and odd desire to devote their entire lives to weight loss.

    When I did WW, my life was utterly consumed by Points. I obsessed constantly. If I had an event of any kind, I’d skimp all week to save the bonus points, and then I wouldn’t eat all day so I had ALL my points – and the bonus points – for the event.

    I tried all the variants. The Wendie Plan… my own variations based on in depth analysis of my weight charts and food trackers.

    I have IBS and vegetables are an issue for me. They make me feel sick. I love them, so this really sucks. A lot of fruit does, too. And ofc, those are the 0 – 1 point foods WW leaders tell their members to pig out on. Never really an option for me, unless I wanted to feel horribly ill. So, I found the lowest point snacks I could. I ate so many crappy boxed Rice Krispies Treats that today I can’t even look at a box in the store without wrinkling my nose.

    The last four or five years of my Weight Watchers attempts were horrible. I’d lose around 25 pounds, usually having started around 380 – 390. I’d get the stupid rewards for 25 pounds… and then that was it. The breaks went on. At one point, when I was about 26, I was working out at a gym three – four times a week for up to an hour each time. I was counting points diligently. I, at first, really loved how the exercise made me feel. Then I stopped losing weight, and suddenly forgot about the other benefits I was getting from the exercise. Oh, I kept doing it, but I went from feeling invigorated and hopeful to feeling like a horrible failure. I could tell my skinny counterparts – this was Manhattan, where I was far and away always the fattest, and most of the other members were probably already near their “ideal” BMI based weights – didn’t believe I was doing everything right. But I was. I did it right for weeks without success, and then ultimately the crushing sense of failure triggered the worst of my eating disorder behaviors, and I’d be back to binge eating… and gaining weight far faster than I lost it.

    Every single WW attempt left me fatter than I was at the start. It also made me feel like I must be the dumbest, fattest, biggest failure in the world because they hyped how easy their program was, and how it wasn’t a diet to the point where the alternative was clearly that I’d fucked it up… AGAIN.

    So yeah. I think WW is pure freakin’ evil, and learning from your blog how they define “success” has made me furious. Utterly and completely furious.

    • I’m lucky enough to never have gotten into WW to begin with – though, if I had ever had the money, I probably wouldn’t be able to say that now!

      But, I feel you on the veggies & fruits thing. I’ve got the same problem, and even without WW, the pressure to eat loads of them – especially in public – can get unbearable. Because, you know, eating tons of something that makes you feel sick is super healthy.

      (Also, hi from a fellow SL-er)

      • Oh, hi!!! I’m never sure how I am commenting. Haha. I was logged in to the SL blog, so that’s what came up. Heh.

        Yeah, it’s incredibly frustrating w/the fruits and veggies. I love both, especially fruit and with summer coming… people are horrified to know how little of either I eat. I’m just like, I would LOVE to eat them, you preachy morons. I’m just not willing to feel sick all day.:/

        • What is the SL-blog you are referring to?

  13. One of the things I talk about with my foods and nutrition students in January (beginning of the semester and the nutrition unit) is for them to notice how many ads are on t.v. and radio regarding weight loss. We get loads of delicious ads through the holidays and then SNAP, the calendar flips over after those New Years Eve parties and we are bombarded by ads to help us find ways to loose those winter pounds, loose the holiday bulge, get ready for summer… etc.
    I try to work with teens about analyzing the messages in these ads and to become aware that they are being manipulated. I hope some of this sinks in.

    As for the stars being the spokespeople for WW… I feel sorry for them. They must be hurting in their profession to have to sign on to WW for money….

    • Heck, just look at Woman’s World, that weekly that’s stocked at every supermarket checkout in America. Every week, they have photos of fancy cakes or other desserts, and a photo of somebody who lost weight on the latest sure-thing diet, next to each other on the cover. Every.Single.Week. “Don’t eat this because it’ll ‘make you fat,’ but feel free to drool over the pictures!” What a messed-up way to think.

      • OMG I’ve been saying that about Woman’s World for YEARS. It makes me utterly insane. I mean, other magazines do it, too, but not to the same extent.

        • Yeah this week it was the “starbucks diet”????? WTF product placement anyone

          • The menus tend to look alike too; generally they’re just common recipes with the fat pruned out and the portions made small. For all I know they’re composed by the copywriters at WW.

            WW in general reads like what they used to call “hen dope,” which was copy thrown into newspapers “for the ladies” that was written with the assumption that “the ladies” were a bit dim and their concerns were not worth taking seriously.

          • I saw that copy at the store today too, and I’m wondering what the Starbucks diet is: do you only eat their baked goods that have been sitting out to dry and turn hard all day? Drink loads of coffee? I’ll pass.

            • I bought the issue (the magazine is my guilty pleasure now that I feel no guilt about snacking on chips). It’s just about picking “good” food from the menus of your local fast food joints, because if it’s made of “good” ingredients (or at least low in calories) and pre-portioned, you’ll eat less and lose weight. (Because the idea that people eat because they’re hungry is just unpossible!)

              I also note that the woman in blue on the cover is just a model. She appears again at the beginning of the article. The person who is actually featured in the article gets a much smaller before-and-after pic right at the end. Why? Oh, well, she has this little problem. She’s smiling, confident, nicely dressed, but, you know . . . old. Can’t have that.

              Starbucks Diet aside, I picked up the previous issue as well and dang it if the same menu wasn’t there as in just about all the other diets that have ever appeared in the magazine! Same dry omelet and dry toast or tiny portion of cereal for breakfast, same meat and greens salad with a measly teaspoon of vinaigrette for lunch, same fatless cut of meat or chicken with vegetables for dinner. This time the “new” “improved” version was to eat nothing but homemade protein shakes and raw vegetables and fruit all day for one day per week. But aside from that and the brand name changes, the same thing was being printed in the magazine ten years ago, with, oh, I dunno, green tea or something as the magic bullet.

              Hen dope.

  14. Sigh. Sadly the only marketing tool weigh loss companies and products use IS shame and sadly, it works. But .. Shame on them!

  15. Yes.. i remember the first weight watcher’s group i went to.. it had to be in high school.. or college.. and i never went back again.. the whole shaming thing of standing you on a scale in FRONT of everyone and weighting you and then OUT LOUD announcing the weight and if you lost or gained.. I knew right then.. it was shaming.. and never went back ever and won’t even consider WW, but there are others I succumbed to.

    • I will never for the life of me understand public weigh-ins. For medical reasons (not BMI-related, just medication), I weigh myself — same time first thing in the morning pre-coffee or food, same scale, same birthday suit. My weight can fluctuate up or down 2-3 pounds in a day. I swear I have never done enough “sleep cardio” to drop 2 pounds overnight. So…. how are you supposed to go to one of these things with different clothing on at different days, maybe you ate something different one day or the next… and then be elated or sad because you lost or gained one pound?

    • I had a similar experience in college, the woman weighing me absolutely humiliated me.

      Plus, she told me that my goal weight was 110 lbs and when I said no, my goal weight was 150 lbs, she said if I cared about my health, it should be 110 lbs, but I knew if I was ever 110 lbs I’d be skeletal and even though I’ve done A LOT of unhealthy things in the name of weight loss, but that was just too much for even my crazy weight loss obsessed brain.

  16. I’ve lost count of the number of times I tried WW… along with a bunch of other crazy-ass weight loss plans… and regained weight each time. (Sometimes when I think about the amount of money I wasted on weight loss attempts, I feel sick to my stomach.) My thyroid quit on me last year so I just said “screw it” and decided to eat what tastes good, get regular exercise (when my energy is low, exercise seems to help perk me up), and throw the scale in the dumpster. I feel better than I’ve felt in years, and all of my health numbers (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.) are fine. I’m fortunate to have a doctor who “gets it” — I know not everyone does — but the thing that has helped me the most has just been working to shed that internalized message of shame and self-doubt that the snake oil/weight loss peddlers like to force onto people. Ragen, I raise a bare arm (holding a cocktail, of course) in solidarity! Weight Watchers can BITE ME!

  17. I have a co-worker currently doing WW. I am supportive of her, but I try to send her posts from DWF as often as possible because I think she’s beautiful as is. I can’t send her this one unfortunately (not without hurt feelings anyway.)

  18. Yay! Now we just need to hope and pray for Jenny Craig’s demise!

  19. Damn. The camera is broken. Just know I’m here in a tank top raising my middle fingers on high to WW.

  20. My last attempt at Weight Watchers was a WW at Work program. The leader was one of those who was obsessed with substitutions — finding low-point replacements for “bad” foods. Which usually meant crappy manufactured food products. She completely lost me when she said to mix a box of fat-free, sugar-free chocolate pudding mix into a tub of fat-free Kool Whip. It’s just like chocolate mousse with none of the guilt, she burbled. Bitch, please.

    I did not renew my membership.

    • I was told by a “wellness coach” once that low cal prepackaged protein/cereal bars like those Special K things were better for me than unsugared dried fruit. I didn’t stay with her long.

    • A little chocolate mousse made from scratch ounce and a while (it’s rich, not very easy to make and good chocolate is not cheap), might do less damage than the sugar free/fat free whatever. Course if anyone comments on how “bad” the ingredients are for you you can always say you “burned” lots of calories whipping the egg whites and heavy cream by hand lol. Now I want chocolate!!!

  21. I am sleeveless right this moment! I have disproportionately massive upper arms – I feel strong because of them!

  22. Had managed to ignore WW for almost 40 years, ever since I met the crazy lady who started the whole ugly thing. She turned up at a party in the home of a mutual friend; I noticed the dye job & the fact that she wore a TON of jewelry in broad daylight, with a look that said “I’m wearing it to show I can afford it!” I spent most of an evening sidling away from this nutjob (had no idea who she was), because she kept talking about food: how she never ate certain things and used to be “fatter than YOU!” Now, back then, in the Dark Ages, we didn’t use the term “fat shaming” ; we just called it RUDE. Once I learned who this twerp was, I vowed to NEVER go near WW or let it happen to any of my friends.

    Fade out…fade in 40+ years on, to the glorious voice of Jennifer Hudson issuing from the tv. Then she started to talk & I wanted to throw a brick through the screen. I’d thought she was a pretty smart gal — obviously I was wrong. What the hell will she do when ALL the weight comes back, huh? Is there a way to lead her to the light of DWF and all the wonderful FA spaces? There MUST be a way to help these people, ’cause all of you who commented on the processed food angle are SO right: none of that stuff is healthful for anyone.

    Sorry to rant on. Ragen: you’re brilliant & like all your other readers, I SO appreciate what you do. I’m flapping an arm to you as we speak: long may we ALL wave!

    • I’m not at all sure if this is true but I read it somewhere and it stuck with me. But supposedly Jennifer Hudson was quoted as saying losing weight on WW was the single most successful think she’d ever done. She counts it as her greatest accomplishment! This has just stuck in my head because how can a girl with so much beauty, talent, professional opportunities, who is a Grammy winner–count something like weight loss as her greatest accomplishment? I mean really? That is what you are going to take from your life. That is what you are going to look back on and say, “I did it!” ??!!!??? Mind boggling!

      Also, when googling Hudson’s name, the first thing that pops up is weight loss crap. *rolls eyes*

      • I’ve seen that notice and it made me SO sad. What is it going to be like for her when her “greatest accomplishment” falls apart? Her talent is huge and she just negated every drop of her work with one statement.

      • So, what she’s saying, then, is that it’s easier to land the lead role in a major Hollywood movie, or to win a Grammy than it is to lose weight.

        Wow! Who knew?

        Well, maybe that will shut up all those morons who say I should “just lose the weight, already.”

        Oh, and high-fives to all the other thyroid-folk on this site. Mine can’t decide whether to be hyper or hypo. At one point, my doctor told me it was BOTH at the SAME TIME!????? No wonder I was always dizzy and seeing stars.

        I want to exercise, but not for losing weight. I miss being able to walk a mile. I miss being able to walk a 5K. I miss DANCING! I hope, someday, to strengthen my back and hip again, to the point where I can dance without hydrocodone. As it is, I find myself dancing in the bathroom, in front of the mirror, to the music beating in my brain, while I’m on hydrocodone, and when it wears off, I say, “Now why am I hurting, all over again? Oh, shoot! I did it again!”

        I never take it unattended, because while it dulls the pain, it also makes me incredibly stupid, and I frequently do stupid things that hurt me, while I’m high. Sigh.

        I really miss my belly-dancing. Even before I discovered FA, belly dancing made me feel freakin’ SEXY! And this was with full-wall mirrors! My teacher said I was really good with my hips, and I have these tremendous breasts, so the chest rolls were just, well, tremendous.

        Keep up the good work, DWF and Ragen!

        • I’m with you, although I can’t even bellydance on hydrocodone😦 I had spine surgery in January to fuse my L5 & S1 vertebra that slipped and compressed a nerve, but my chances of bellydancing again are seeming low. Bellydance made me feel FABULOUS and it was a great way to see (before I found FA too) that all bodies had some way of moving that was awesome🙂

          Here’s my YouTube link for my first solo….at least with the internet, I get to keep dancing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pJRgUQVra8 (if the link doesn’t work, type “Arabian Spices” and find the fat dancer with bare arms and stomach with a skirt & fringe!)

          • Oh, wow! You are so good! Or, at least you were. I’m so sorry to hear about your accident.

            I wish I had video of myself dancing, but I never did get any. I never did a solo, either. I was always just a beginner.

  23. Ugh, Weight Watchers… I tried them out for about 4 months, mainly to fit in with my new coworkers, a group of whom were doing it and going to the meetings. Biggest waste of money ever. The only positive thing to come out of it was knowing that I wasn’t fat because I was overeating — the number of “points” I was supposed to eat in a day was way too much food for me unless I ate junk — so I could stop blaming myself for that.

    Luckily, a hip fat stranger in my exercise class pointed me to fat acceptance literature and changed my life.

  24. I think I was around 12 or 13 when I first started WW and that was in 1972 so since then I’ve been recruited to fight that war about 20+ times!!!!! I still look at food today and see it in “points” and it drives me insane! I hate the new commercial too it makes me ill but not only am I seeing the “thin arm” thing with WW but also it appears that Michelle Obama has made it hip to have her tight little arms so it’s the #1 plastic surgery women are going for these days to get Michele’s arms!! Makes me ill once again!!!

    • Plastic surgery is for reconstruction or really bad genetic issues, such as a nose as long as your foot. It is not to get somebody else’s body parts.

      “Give me Michelle’s arms, Jackie O’s nose, and Marilyn’s lips!” Ugh.

      I’m glad it exists for those people who truly need it. It’s just that most people who get it do not truly need it.

      And I really think Jennifer Grey looked gorgeous before her nose job, and after her nose job, she just looked bland. And unfortunately, she was so rarely cast in anything again, because of the blandness, that I don’t get to see her acting chops. It stinks.

      Have you ever seen the movie “Be Yourself,” starring Fanny Brice? She was the character Barbra Streisand played in Funny Girl and Funny Lady. Anyway, in “Be Yourself,” Fanny flirts with a boxer, and things are going well, until he becomes successful, and another woman starts flirting with him. The other woman tells him he would look so much better if he got his nose straightened. I suppose it had been broken before, and that was why it was crooked. Anyway, he does it, and looks quite different. The other woman is thrilled, and the guy thinks, “Yeah, I look lots better.” Then, in his next fight, Fanny tells the other boxer to “Go for the nose! Punch him in the nose!” People ask her why she would do that, since she is his manager, after all. She says it’s because she liked it better the way it was, in the first place.

  25. I hate WW commercials too. The commercial is way off base because I’m 5’2″, 116 lb and there’s some arm jiggling going on during clapping, but it’s not a big deal. @Nancy I don’t care for MO’s arms because the muscular aesthetic does not appeal to me, but what I really don’t like about MO is her nasty comments regarding people of size. Her blaming obese people for the world’s problems and her condescending words trigger bad memories and I’m afraid of relapsing. She and WW people should consider those of us out there who have major issues with body image and those of us who can’t “exercise away” our mental problems. No wonder so many kids have EDs nowadays.

    • For that matter, am I alone in noticing that Ana’s arms DO jiggle? Why? She’s had at least one baby and she’s in her 40s? I mean, come on. It’s a normal part of aging, and who the fuck cares anyway?

      • I 100% agree with you. It was ridiculous that WW made such a big fucking deal out of such an insignificant thing. As for Ana, I noticed a slight jiggle, and being a 40+ mother is likely to have that, but I’m 22 and have no children, but I have it and it hasn’t ruined my life. WW needs to get a life.

        • Oh, I think she has nothing to be ashamed of with the jiggle. I just found it pretty silly given that’s part of the “message” and just one more lie. Who cares if we jiggle?

          • That’s what I was trying to say, but you put it better.🙂

      • A trick I learned in belly dancing class – hold your arms out straight (like a T) and turn your elbows so that they point behind you. This will significantly cut down on, or even stop, the jiggling.

        But who can live their life with their arms out straight, and elbows twisted toward their backs? It’s great for dancing, though.

        Oh, and this totally reminded me of the movie “Monkey Bone,” where the character admitted he had a real fetish for jiggly under-arms. Hee!

        One person’s horrible flaw is another person’s turn-on! Yeah!

  26. Beautifully said.

  27. Jiggly arms give especially nice hugs. I don’t know why anyone would trade em in or cover em up.

    • Yeah, and they are more comfortable for soothing babies. Babies don’t really like to be held by people who are uncomfortably HARD. Too thin or too muscular, and you will be disadvantaged when it comes to cuddling babies. They *can* soothe babies, but they have to work harder at it, and it is hard to develop the confidence it takes to make a baby feel safe in your arms, when the baby is crying because it bonked it’s head on your bicep. Yeah, thin people and body-builders actually do have physical problems, too. Go figure!

      You know what’s cool about Fat Acceptance? It has helped me feel more kindly and compassionate towards the thin people and body-builders I used to jealously despise. I’ve met people who literally jumped for joy when they gained enough weight to reach triple digits. I knew a woman who put lead weights in her pockets for weigh-ins, so she could be considered healthy enough to attend college. I knew several people (more than a dozen!) who could eat a whole half-gallon of ice cream (each), and still be accused of anorexia, because they were just naturally thin. I once had a very tall, very thin teacher who could not afford the designer clothes made for people with a fashion-model’s figure, and couldn’t find clothes on the rack in discount stores to fit, so she had to make her own. I used to envy them, but thanks to the FA community, I realize that they face issues and discrimination, as well.

      I mean, how would you like it if someone yelled, “Eat a sandwich!” at you, just because you were too thin, in public? That’s gotta hurt, as much as “Put down the sandwich!” does. Not to mention the jealousy and sometimes hatred they get from fat people who have not yet embraced HAES, believe themselves to be failures, and wind up hating anyone who is “successful,” because of their own self-hatred. Mean-girls who are fat are really going to hurt the naturally thin girls, I think, as much as mean-girls who are thin hurt the fat girls.

      Our bodies are our OWN, and nobody else’s business.

      I love my doctor. He focuses on my health, and not my size.

      I also love claiming the word “fat,” as a mere descriptive and not a pejorative. Fat is no more hurtful a word than green or fuzzy. It’s the attitude behind it that makes all the difference.

  28. I have a non-WW question. Has anyone ever used the liquid lactaid drops? Do they cause illness like the pills do? I’m just wondering if that would be a safe way to eat more of some dairy products. Right now I limit “real” dairy and drink Lactantia or Dairyland lactose free milk that has lactase enzyme added.

    I know from other friends that the pills were the worst thing they ever took. It certainly was for me.

    • Crazy question but have you tried raw milk? By that, I mean unpasteurized milk. It can be crazy hard to get but I know that some who have issues with pasteurized milk can handle raw milk (probably because the enzymes needed to digest the milk aren’t killed in the production process).

      • There’s a dairy near my house that sells it, for $7 a gallon. If I could afford it, I would do it. Unfortunately, it is not in the budget for me.

        I did try it for a while, though. I don’t have lactose issues, so I have no idea if it would affect that. But there is a theory that it will really cut down on local allergies, and I can believe that.

        It takes a while to adjust to the taste, though. And BOY! Is it creamy. It felt like I was drinking half-and-half.

        Now, if I’m ever rich enough, I’m buying a farm (and hiring farm-hands to run it for me), so I can have lovely fresh raw milk, every day, along with oodles of fresh veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, and the like.

        Heh, these days you have to be rich and/or strong and healthy to eat like a peasant.

        • “these days you have to be rich and/or strong and healthy to eat like a peasant.”
          That is absurdly true!

    • I take Lactase pills if I’m going to have a milk shake or such. Lactase is a naturally occurring enzyme that’s deficient in lactose intolerant people. I’ve never had a problem with the pills. This is something I’ve not heard of before.

      • Those lactase pills made me feel like barfing (which I eventually did), and I missed several days of school one week since I felt awful on them and then thought I got this stomach flu that was going around. I felt like barfing out my whole insides.

        Are you pills the chewable kind or just swallow like a regular pill with a plastic coating?

  29. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I am so not sorry that I got rid of my DirectTV last year. Not having to see these vile ads has done wonders for my low self esteem. I used to think of myself as lower than a dust mite on a cockroach’s underbelly. Now I think of myself as being on par with a scorpion riding a rattlesnake. It’s a great improvement.
    I notice that often Weight Watchers targets older women, using actresses such as Ana Gasteyer and Carrie Fisher. It’s a well known fact that people in general tend to gain weight as they age. Instead of being respected for our life experiences, older women are shamed for not looking young and “hot” and for being heavier than we were in our youth.
    Our society is so screwed up. Anyone who thinks that it isn’t has been smoking the crack pipe while drinking the Kool Aid heavily laced with moonshine.

    • I am glad I got rid of cable TV, too. Netflix, for the win!

      I watch videos on DVD, VHS, or instant view, and I don’t have to deal with commercials.

      However, I do get them occassionally, because I am a Castle junkie, and can’t wait for the DVD, so I watch that online. Fortunately, Castle is not sponsored by Weight Watchers.

      I, too, read WW as World War.

  30. Too bad if it offends someone, but in the summer, I gotta go sleeveless. It’s comfy and besides, how else am I going to show off my tattoos?

  31. I don’t have any sleeveless pics… so this is what I posted. I’m sure Weight Watchers will pull it before very long. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151680925610572&set=o.117446295957&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Ffbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net%2Fhphotos-ak-ash3%2F316330_10151680925610572_669204980_n.jpg&size=600%2C902

    • Is that your wedding photo? You look awesome. Where was it? Arizona or some desert place? Drumheller, AB?
      🙂

      • It was the Valley of Fire in Nevada… near Lake Mead, and yes that is where we got married.

    • You look gorgeous!!!🙂

      Just fyi to everyone, there are already a lot of comments on this photo, and the quotient of crazy, illogical, and ridiculous is pretty high. There is some positive, HAES stuff, too, but I wouldn’t advise reading them unless you’ve got a sizable stash of Sanity Watchers points.

      Of course, if the WW crowd is freaking out, you know you’re doing something right. Go luciebluebird!!!

      • Aww ty❤

        And yeah, it's all a bit… ridiculous. I mean, I didn't even start the "bashing." They all did. But I remember being that way. I'd have been incredibly threatened by someone who was happy with themselves irrelevant of size when I was doing WW. So I also understand where they are coming from, even if I wish they would at least consider the possibilities.

        • Your photo is stunning! And your posts supporting HAES are stellar, too! It’s so sad to watch the ones frothing at the mouth over your confidence to be who you are. As a former WW victim, I find it inspiring to see you step up like that. Thank you for taking that risk!

        • I did one, too! I wish it was a clearer shot of my arms, but in any case you can definitely tell that they (and the rest of me) are not skinny. I hope the haters have a field day with this one . . .😛

    • Oh, you’re beautiful! I especially like the natural look. If you’re wearing make-up, you have applied it in a way to enhance your natural beauty, rather than look like you have blue eyelids and purple lips. That look is cool, too, and can look awesome, but my personal preference is for natural beauty.

      Was that a wedding dress? Congratulations!

      • Thank you, Michelle! It wasn’t officially a wedding dress, but it was my wedding dress! We planned our wedding in about 5 1/2 weeks, so no time to get a formal dress, nor did I really want one.

        I find it kind of funny because I had more makeup on that day than I normally ever wear, but you’re right… it’s not obvious. I guess I did good with it, heh.

  32. I love that you are teaching teens about marketing ploys and gimmicks!! I am forever picking ads apart (not just weight loss ones). And I wonder how it is that anyone goes for many of them…people need to be educated!

  33. Here is mine!

  34. I tried WW once, lost 30 lbs, gained it all back very quicky, etc etc. Someone on WW recently told me that it’s ” not really a diet”, which is absolutely false. WW is pure restriction. Within a couple of months on it, I had developed strange habits and reactions: hiding some chocolates and other sweets in my underpants drawer, getting really angry if my husband or my daughter ate one of my precious low-points ice cream popsicles…and I told myself and everyone else that this was “healthy”!
    Seriously, this was NOT normal behavior. I was really fooling myself, big time. So happy that I dieted only that one time in my life. Never again.

    • I had joined WW in the 90s convinced that 140 pounds was huge and I couldn’t lose weight on my own. I lost the twelve pounds that I wanted on their fat and fiber program and became a lifetime member. My weight went back up soon after. I tried to do their new points program. I was too much like starvation, calorie counting. I couldn’t live obsessed with food. Since then, I’ve been above and below my quote goal weight. Eating what I’m hungry for is a better way to live. My weight goes up and down. That’s life. It’s still hard to think that my weight is something that I shouldn’t try to control and just let it be.

    • Oh, good for you, Renee! It took me decades and I don’t even know how many attempts before I learned my lesson.

      What was that definition of insanity, again? Something about doing the same thing, and expecting different results? Well, check me OUT of the looney bin, now, sister!

      You were never in it. I’m proud of you.

  35. Ooh, this made me so mad. The amount of money I and my parents have poured into WW and other diet schemes…!!

    It made me mad enough to compose this post to Member Services at Kaiser. They have sent me postcards for their Optifast program, which has even worse effects on people than WW, I think:

    “Why does KP, who wants us to “Thrive,” support a program such as Optifast?

    “Even in its literature, it’s clear that while most people lose an average of 46.6 pounds, most of them end up with just a 5% weight loss–and a significant number of the rest (47%–nearly half!!) have less than that, or a weight GAIN.

    “It’s clear from the research that DIETS DON’T WORK. It’s also clear that rebounding weight losses and then gains is unhealthy. Finally, there is so much research that shows that size and weight isn’t the issue–fitness and health is, regardless of size and weight.

    “What is the reason for Kaiser to host and promote programs like Optifast and Weight Watchers? The science certainly doesn’t support it.”

    THANK YOU for being the voice of reason!

    • WAIT–on rereading the study, double the numbers of the failures, because 1,283 started and 621 finished. So about 600 people dropped out with (presumably) no success whatsoever. Fantastic, KP.

    • Great work! I couldn’t stand Kaiser. I went to see about getting endometrial ablation to eliminate the horrendous periods I have with PCOS. I was told I’d have to jump through lots of hoops to prove my periods sucked and even then I couldn’t have it unless I lost weight. Who knew nuking a uterus had a weight limit? Everything I saw them for was turned into a weight thing. Pneumonia? Let’s talk about your weight. Knee injury from a 5 mile run? Let’s talk about your sedentary lifestyle.

      • What is Kaiser, please, so I can avoid it?

        • Oh! I forget Kaiser isn’t a nationwide thing. Kaiser Permanente is a very successful HMO. They’ve actually done a great job for me and my son, but are still quite fatphobic (they calculate and write–sometimes pointedly, Thank You Nurse!–your BMI down every visit). My doc has been great about it, but I do get mailers from Kaiser about the Optifast program that I referenced above–probably because of my BMI.

  36. When I was little, I used to play with my mum’s “wings” – she hated it, but I loved those giant arms. Now, when my little son does that to me, I focus on the love and familiarity in those moments. My arms are exactly the right size for bear hugs, and that’s okay by me.

    • LOVE this…

      • Thank you! My mother had/has a lot of weight-shame issues, but she’s one of my heroes because she didn’t pass those issues on to me. I am grateful to her every day for that.

        My best advice to all mothers everywhere is to never let body shame or anxiety get between you and your mom moments. Dance with them in joy, even if people are watching, run around with your kids outside, and, especially, get into those photos! You’ll be sorry if you don’t. I have very few photos of my mum and I’m making darn sure my son has pics of me from his childhood. So, best advice: Don’t let them hate yourself so much that you cheat yourself out of those memories.

        • This! THIS! THISSSS!

          I have very few pictures of my mother, and have had to resort to “stealth” photography. Unfortunately, I also have very few pictures of myself, because I “inherited” her fear of the camera.

  37. What a coincidence! It’s burning hot where I live (literally, we’ve got a doozy of a wildfire going) so I opted for a nice cool sleeveless tee today. And at 275 pounds, I am firmly in the fat chick zone. I’ve had this top for a while. If anyone ever says something about my clothes while I’m wearing it, it’s usually about how this shade of blue brings out my eyes. Maybe because summer in southern California inspires otherwise shy fat girls and women to bare arms! Come to think of it, my one and only “I have to wear a dress” dress is also sleeveless. Nobody ever gave me grief over that either.

  38. I was going to comment a rant, but Ragen said 100% what I wanted to say anyway
    “Seriously, I can’t say this enough – screw you. I hope I get to watch you go bankrupt and out of business. And when that day comes I will dance while my fat arms jiggle in a sleeveless shirt in your honor.”

    I’m not sure if others can see this but I know you can Ragen🙂 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449090071833035&set=a.108384665903579.14651.100001961396598&type=1&theater&notif_t=like

    • I can see it, but I can’t comment there, so I’ll just say, “LOVE IT!” here!!😀

      Also, she sucks on “Fever.” Not at all an artistic rendition.

      • I cringe every time I hear that rendition of “Fever.” That is a signature piece of mine from when I actively belly danced, and this rendition causes me to gnash my teeth. Worst. Rendition. Ever.

  39. I’m a guy, a four (or is it five?) time veteran of WW.
    My mum is the only successful WW I know. She got down to her goal weight and 15 years later she keeps herself within 5kg of that.

    What interested me about your blog post is that I had a WW coordinator (Meeting organiser) tell me once (and this is a direct quote) “Weight Watchers has a lower success rate than Alcoholics Anonymous”

    AA is free isn’t it?

    • I’ve never been able to find published success rates for WW. Does anyone know where to find them?

  40. So…I left a photo of myself “baring arms” on WW’s Facebook page with a comment that basically said I don’t need WW to be strong, healthy, and beautiful, and they took it town.

  41. My mother started dropping me off at Weight Watchers when I was 13. Before that, I had no idea I had a “problem.” When the shame of stepping on a scale in front of a bunch of middle-aged strangers drove me into my room for weeks at a time and my depression finally became so pronounced I had to see a therapist, she assented to my “please don’t make me go” pleas. That summer I went on a diet, promoted by my mother, that included meals of bunless hot dogs and grapefruit. I DID lose a lot of weight… it came right back on my freshman year of high school, and I’ve been f’d up ever since. Thanks mom, and Weight Watchers, for teaching me I’m not good enough.

  42. I tried WW years ago. I lasted 3 meetings I think. I hated it. I told the ladies as I walked out the door halfway through a meeting that this was the biggest waste of my time. I was already being fat shamed by the Air Force. What I learned, when I finally did lose the weight, it wasn’t on any fad diet, and it wasn’t by killing myself in the gym. I lost some of the extreme amounts if stress, and stopped eating my feelings. Eventually I ended up getting sick and putting the weight back on and then some, but I refuse to let that stop me. I’m considered morbidly obese. I also work out 3 to 4 times a week. I am training for a 1500m swim and I am in perfect health. I even went as far as doing a couple nude photo shoots to prove that I could.

    I look good, and WW can kiss my fat ass. There is plenty of it, and I seem to get no complaints about it from the men I come across. When I feel depressed or not so great about my body I hit the pool, or I turn on the music and dance. That gives me my real power. Knowing that regardless of my size, I’m actually in pretty damn good shape and I could easily out-swim my boyfriend, who is a marathon runner.

    Oh, and I wear strapless and sleeveless shirts all the time. I know my best features and accentuate them. They damn sure aren’t my arms, but not one person even notices.

    I’ve flipped the bird to WW more than once, and I will do it again and again and again.

  43. When I was researching weight issues for a possible dissertation subject, i had found the study you mention about a net average loss of 5 lbs after 2 years. It’s TRUE! Apparently, WW had commissioned the study to support their claim that people are more apt to lose weight when they do it with others. It took awhile for them to use it in commercials, but of course, they never put the other finding in a commercial! They are a household name and businesses have invited them in without knowing the whole truth. What we need is more truthful education. Everyone needs to have their brain discs wiped clean of profiteering empires’ propaganda. Dieticians/nutritionists belonging to the national organizations relate disinformation.


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