Would you take weight loss advice from the most successful woman in the world? Would it change your mind if that same woman has also struggled her whole life with the same weight issues that you have, and is still a work in progress?
In October 2015, Oprah became a member, board member, advisor and 10% owner of the world’s leading commercial provider of weight management services, Weightwatchers. At least, that is what the press release from Weight Watchers said. I am not a member of WW, nor have I ever been. However, it is my mission to assist my clients in finding health on their own terms.Oprah does not love who she is. Do you feel the same way? Click To Tweet
I am unique in my approach to weight loss, because I have never struggled with loving myself. Losing 100 pounds did not make me a more beautiful person- it only allowed others to acknowledge how beautiful I already was. I am so passionate about being happy with your body that I am contributing a Master your Mindset video as part of the Take Charge online health coaching program. More on that below.
However, I understand that self-love is tough for most women to accept.
Here is what Oprah said:
The real question on everyone’s mind is not whether Oprah can actually lose weight AND keep it off this time. She has been completely open about her struggles with maintaining weight loss, which I admire. She is always a champion dieter. This means, that she has been successful EVERY TIME she tried to lose weight. I have no reason to doubt that Weightwatchers will be the same for her.
The real question on everyone’s mind is whether Oprah will provide the Midas touch for this company, or share the Medusa stare. Here are my brief comments on each side. Read through my points, and let me know what you think!
- Oprah can touch anything or anyone, and it turns to gold! There are a plethora of success stories and influential health folks in this crowded weight loss market, many of whom were featured on one of Oprah’s shows. Oprah fans might be excited to join Oprah in her quest to find the “woman within”, especially as she helped launch the careers of many influential health and fitness folks, including giants like Dr. Oz and Harley Pasternak. Find my health heroes on this blog.
- WW is a program that works for thousands of people all over the world. I know at least 5-10 people who attained lifetime member status, which is their way of honoring those who have maintained their weight over a long period of time. Follow several of my favorite WW success stories, Marci or Diane Carbonell.
- Weightwatchers is still a very affordable program, whether you choose the online platform or in-person meetings. If the company chooses to leverage Oprah’s influence to create special videos or content to connect with her, that might inspire more members to join. I mean, how cool would it be to be one step closer to the great Oprah???
- The previous Points Plus system was revamped to the new and improved Smart Points, which makes it harder to justify eating treats high in carbs. This is positive, as reducing simple sugars in your diet can lead to greater success. Get more specific details on the points changes from a longtime member Emily Bites.
- There are now points and goals for exercising more. Exercise has many benefits, and should be part of any healthy weight program.
- Health at every Size (HAES) advocates felt sick to their stomach after Oprah’s ad came out about her weight loss struggles. Health at Every Size supports people of all sizes in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors. Others are concerned about the emphasis on weight from a woman who has surpassed every measure of success. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry gave a much better summary of this concern than I ever can. Read her take at http://www.upworthy.com/melissa-harris-perry-has-a-great-point-about-oprahs-new-weight-loss-ad
- Previous spokespeople for WW were already success stories, not works-in-progress. Stars such as Kirstie Alley, Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson apparently weren’t big enough names to help Weightwatchers compete with other programs that focus on more than just points. If Oprah does not succeed in her effort to lose weight, how will it impact the motivation of those who join specifically to share this experience with her? Health tip: The best motivation for any transformation in your life should come from inside factors, not outside.
- WW has revamped their program several times (kinda like New Year’s resolutions), and even experimented with offering WW-approved food products, which was basically over-processed crap. Those who are current members will have to adapt to the new system, and it is unclear whether the new system will be interesting enough to encourage new members to join. The membership has been steadily declining over the past several years.
- While the new Smart Points decrease your ability to eat sugary snacks, it still favors low-fat foods. Following a low-fat diet has many benefits, according to the National Weight Control Registry. However, as a young victim of the low-fat diet craze of the 80’s, I am an advocate of eating plenty of healthy fats like nuts, butter, olive and coconut oil, and avocado. Plus, eating higher-fat foods leads to less cravings. Taking away sugary snacks is a step in the right direction, but who can enjoy steamed broccoli without a nice pat of butter, or apple slices without some almond butter? Check out this infographic on fats HERE.
- Exercise does not specifically lead to weight loss. Exercise will improve your mood, circulation, stress levels, flexibility, energy, and ability to make good food choices. Adding exercise “points” to a primarily dietary program takes away from the main mission of improving your nutrition. This could be overwhelming for beginners who would benefit from one simple step, like starting with a healthy breakfast.
As a health coach and girl who had her own weight loss struggles, my only goal is for clients to make changes to their lifestyle that they can be happy with, and sustain for life.
Oprah is only doing what most of us are doing- trying to find a program that she can live with. I sincerely hope that Oprah finds the path and the peace she needs to finally find the woman within.
If you distrust big-name programs like Weightwatchers, why not choose a more customized approach? I work with women who have been burned by major weight loss programs, because they did not result in lifelong change. Stop taking the cookie-cutter dieting approach, and make the program fit YOU. Not the other way around.