We are a weight obsessed society. It’s everywhere; from TV to magazines to bloody facebook. Lose 5kg in one week! Dance yourself slim! Eat only cabbage soup and you too can look like me! Negative calorie water, YESS! Celebrities (who seem to be the body ideal for many) have abs just two weeks after giving birth, lest they be seen on the cover of a magazine looking less than svelte. And so there are programs for us regular schlumps so we too can look as good as those celebrities! HOORAY FOR WEIGHT WATCHERS!!
Look, here’s the thing. I just can’t get behind Weight Watchers. I have grown up with the whole thing drilled into me from a very early age (my aunt has been a WW fanatic for nearly all of my life) and knowing my personality, I’m sure this makes me totally biased against the whole program. I get that. And perhaps it’s just the way my aunt did the program, but I cannot see where the value lies, other than making a person feel inadequate about their current size and enhancing their need to fit into one particular beauty ideal. And when I see a company that whose entire business revolves around losing weight, of making people count points towards everything they eat, of receiving extra points if you exercise…. it honestly makes me think of someone with disordered eating. Because those things I just mentioned? They are all signs of an eating disorder.
And yes, I am fully aware of the confidence it can give individuals, but I don’t know if we as a society should be congratulating people merely for losing weight. Doesn’t that just perpetuate the cycle of thinner = better? Beauty should not revolve around weight. Beauty is confidence; beauty is standing up for yourself; beauty is the ability to say you are beautiful and really mean it, regardless of what “society” tells us.
My aunt (bless her heart) gave me a couple of WW points books when I was in my teenage years. I remember being totally saddened when I had something like 18 points allotted to me for one day, and a slice of cheesecake was 17 points. Given my penchant for cheesecake, you can imagine that I didn’t follow the whole WW ideology for too long. I get that they don’t promote eating only cheesecake in a day, for what it’s worth. But why even give people the option of points if they can’t “spend” them how they see fit?
I know quite a few people who either participate in or agree with the idea of WW, and far be it from me to tell people what to do. I think a lot of people go for the community WW gives them – you get to meet people who share similar stories; you can commiserate with their trials and celebrate with their triumphs. I totally get that – I just wish there were groups available to people that don’t intertwine someone’s value with what they weigh. Focus on healthful eating, focus on exercise, but fuckdammit. Stop focusing on your weight as an indicator of your worth. You are more than a number on a scale.
Have you had a positive WW experience, or know someone who has? Do you think this business (and others like it) are a good, bad or neutral thing? Am I totally off-base with my opinions? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!