Friday, April 9, 2010

Missed meetings and weight watchers apathy

So, I've missed the last two meetings. Not intentionally, mind you. The first one I missed because I was sick. Then last night, there was a nasty snowstorm which made my husband get home late (I need him here to watch the kids before I leave), and made the roads nasty enough for me to stay home.

Having said that, I'm starting to feel a bit apathetic towards weight watchers. Not weight loss, mind you, just weight watchers. Weight loss is the journey I am on to improve my health. Weight watchers is the giant corporation that I've been using to help me get there.

The thing is, despite their claims, weight watchers is a diet. It is also a diet where you can "eat anything you want". It is not a diet that is about health. It is a diet that is about weight loss.

I go to the meetings and am confronted with tables packed full of processed, nutritionally deficient food. I stand in line to weigh in with people that skip dinner and don't eat half the day in order to trick the scale into giving them a lower number. Then I sit through a meeting where members talk about how they can get the best tasting snacks for the lowest points. To finish it off, a recipe is presented, which more often then not is something I won't even try because it's packed with artificial sweeteners and/or has no nutritional value.

At it's core, weight watchers has a good program, but in practice, it's far from it. Ultimately, they design the program to be appealing to the maximum number of people, while still helping them lose weight. They have a maximum focus on low calories/points and a minimum focus on good health, so ultimately those people gain the weight back and then pay to lose it again. They supplement (double, triple?) this meeting income with the sale of their nutritionally deficient foods. Many weight watcher members are sucked in by the weight watcher logo and will buy anything that has said logo, regardless of whether the food is actually good for them.

So, what's my weight been doing during this hiatus? Well, after the food poisoning episode, it temporarily plummeted, then it crept up a bit (proof that starvation doesn't work), and has gone back down since then. I'll post numbers next week, but it's been going down overall.

So, despite all this, will I be going back to weight watchers? Well, I'm a hypocrite, but yes. Right now, it's still helping me. My regular leader is dynamic and interesting. There's some other members I enjoy talking to. I became a lifetime member a few years ago, so I don't have to pay for missed meetings. The weigh in keeps me in check and the meeting topics are usually good. I take what works for me and discard what doesn't.

Will I keep going in the long run? I don't know. My journey to better health will keep going in the long run, but I'll have to take it a day at a time to see how long weight watchers remains a part of it.

Have you ever been a weight watchers member? Are you now? What's your take on their program?


  1. Hi Deb,

    Glad to hear you're still shrinking and thinking.

    I lost 35 pounds on WW over twenty years ago, and then I was a leader for four years. I kept my weight off pretty well for the first ten years, even after having a baby.

    You have a lot of good points about the products and, ultimately, $$ being the driving force. I'm a cynic, too, so I see all that.

    However, I think that the health benefits of losing the weight trumps some of those flaws. Also, many members were eating much worse foods before joining. So, the WW products are a step up.

    The bad practices before weighing in are not endorsed by WW's. Although, I will say that many of the leaders did the same things to make weight at the monthly staff meetings. Not me, of course!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. I'm a Lifetime Member, who started gaining back 6 weeks after hitting goal! It hasn't worked long term for me, but I view it as a healthy program. I couldn't write down my points for a lifetime, and it became on program or off for me. All or nothing.

  3. I was a weight watchers member to just get weighed in and because I had to be after going to fat camp. It was one of the requirements to get 500 bucks back. But I didn't listen to a single thing that was said there nor did I buy a single product they offered. Nor do I buy a single product they offer now.

    Like you said, go to it, take what you need away from it, filter out the crap, and that's it. I think it's good for accountability since you have a weekly thing to go weigh yourself and if you bail out, well, you KNOW you bailed out so for most people, it helps keep them on track.

    Do what works for you and what helps you out :)

  4. I have similar feelings about Weight Watchers. I have been on and off of WW for 15 years. Yes, I lose weight on WW, but I lose weight by eating low-calorie, aspartame-filled processed foods. I choose a 2-point bag of cookies instead of a glass of milk, or an All-Bran bar instead of peanut butter.

    I do this because I am the best WW cheater ever. I can eat a totally crap diet and still lose lots of weight.

    But eating all of that processed food isn't healthy, even if I do lose weight (weight which, BTW, never stays off in the long term). Now I am focusing more on Clean Eating. Clean Eating has definitely decreased my intake of sugar and processed foods. Unfortunately, I have not been too successful yet with weight loss and Clean Eating due to my intake of cheese and nuts.

    It's a process. I'm still working it out, but my long and emotional relationship with WW is over for good. I think.