The Weight Watchers Oprah Dream Team


I heard on local radio that Oprah made 12 million dollars yesterday by posting a 30 second Weight Watchers commercial about eating bread daily to Twitter.  Her six million shares in WW stock jumped by two dollars per share following the spot.  People are definitely buying in.

I find myself wondering what else Oprah eats in a day on her plan with WW.  And then I remind myself that what’s on her plate is her business, and certainly none of mine.  Why am I even thinking about this?  And now writing about it.  I’m officially writing about it.  What gives?

Well.  I suppose I’m writing about it because Oprah is selling it.  Not just any old “it” either, but Weight Watchers of all things.  She has changed the world and inspired generations of people to dream big, work hard, and give back. Her influence is immense. And she’s using it to sell a program that has expected compliance failure built right into the business model.

A program with dismal long-term success rates and very high turnover rates, that depends on repeat business from their clients, not weight loss success, to stay in operation.

My issues with WW continue to be the same.

The recommended calories/points are too low for sustainability.

Assigning arbitrary rules to track intake teaches people lots about arbitrary trademarked rules, and not much about food.

There is not enough focus on moving our bodies, or the added nutrition requirements that come with participating in a consistent exercise program.

They continue to market processed frozen meals as nutrition.

Yes, you can lose weight by aggressive calorie restriction.  Oprah’s reportedly lost 26lbs since buying her shares starting the program. But losing too quickly often means the weight is a combination of fat and muscle loss.  Leaving you physically weaker than you were at the outset.  The weight loss is also typically temporary in nature.  It comes back when you go back to eating the foods and calories you have been cutting out.

Oprah is probably the most ideal spokesperson WW could have working on their behalf and getting her buy in was no doubt a brilliant strategic move.  Her weight loss efforts have been scrutinized in the public eye for years, to the point where most people (even me, UGH), feel like they have a stake in her success.   Achieving and maintaining her desired weight loss would be a major feather in their cap.  If she has trouble maintaining the weight loss long term, they will always welcome her back with open arms and a new advertisement campaign, and a percentage of the other 90% of WW clients who have tried and not quite maintained it will come back as well.

Because if Oprah can/cannot do it, we also can/cannot do it, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that she’s enjoying bread but I find myself wondering who told her she can’t have bread in the first place?  Honestly!  Who had the nerve to tell Oprah Winfrey that she could not enjoy a food that she clearly loves?  More importantly, why did she listen?  And why is it a revelation that a healthy lifestyle can include foods one genuinely enjoys?  Every single day even!

She says that underneath every overweight woman there is the woman she could be.  I argue that we are already the women we can be and a diet isn’t going to change that.  Only our self perception will.

Although, as I’ve worked through this, I try to keep reminding myself that 12 million dollars for one Twitter spot might help too.   Do you have an opinion about this or experience (good or bad) with Weight Watchers?  Hit reply and tell me about it!

Thanks for reading!



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