Another thing that has been weighing on me a lot (no pun intended) has been just that – my weight. By this time last year, I’d lost 29.8 pounds since around the beginning of December 2015. Anyone in Weight Watchers might remember that Thanksgiving as the day Oprah took over the site and apps. (It was a complete goat rope, you guys.) Then my friend Dee came to visit in late March, and I took a week off from dieting. And then a month. And then would try to restart only to fall off again.
As of right now… *goes to weigh on the bathroom scale* … my total weight loss from back then is a miserable 0.6 pounds. I gained back 29.2 pounds and am nearly right back where I began.
I can feel it, too. I don’t have the energy I had. I can feel myself being heavier as I walk. Only my biggest clothes are fitting me now, and not very nicely. My back will hurt if I stand for a long time, and the weird thing with my left thigh going to sleep is back. Yeah, crap you probably didn’t care to hear about, right?
“Why don’t you just stick to the Weight Watchers’ program if that worked for you?” I know it sounds ridiculous, but Oprah. I am so sick and tired of seeing Oprah all over the damn place. Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. And when we don’t see her, we see color photos of women who can’t be over 25 splashed everywhere. Eating large portions of stuff we are “technically” allowed to eat. Playing soccer. Hanging out on the beach. That’s fine… but do the Weight Watchers people really think it’s inspiring to parade models who obviously have never had any need whatsoever to go to Weight Watchers (or Jenny Craig or NutriSystems or even buy SlimFast) in front of women who know there’s no way in hell they are going to look like that 18-year-old ever again?
One of the ladies at the center where I go (yeah, when I go) said she saw a photo of the people behind the website content, Weekly content (the weekly mini-mag), and all. “Let me guess – no one looks as though they’ve ever struggled with a weight loss of more than the 10 pounds gained on their 10-day cruise?” Yep. And they all seemed to be fresh out of college.
As an example, I just pulled these off the website today:
The photos above look to me like something from a women’s college website: Sophomores skiing, Juniors kayaking, how delicious the food is at the local restaurants. And please – take a look at the people in that “meeting” photo and show me the person who has more than five pounds to lose. It’s simply not realistic. Not for what they are selling.
Don’t get me wrong – these are nice photos. Colorful, active. But think about the audience: there have been many times when I’ve been in the lowest part of the age group in a meeting, with women twenty and thirty years older. (And I’m not a Millenial…) I remember one evening when our leader had to use a flip-board yet again, and one of the women finally popped off with: “Oh, look! That one at least looks like she’s old enough to buy a drink!” or something to that effect. Everyone laughed, and most of us started saying we’d been thinking the same things. Because please, Weight Watchers – putting a model who looks all of 15 on the cover of a Weekly, wearing star-shaped Lolita glasses and what looks like they might be ponytails? Not hitting your target audience there.
In looking for a photo of the people who are in the marketing department, I kept running across articles about Weight Watchers losing money, even after Oprah bought 10% of the shares and was seated on the board. Yes, there was a huge surge at first, but then it slid. In these articles, they look to everything from the plethora of free apps available now to stiff competition from other places. To quote CNN Money (February 26, 2016):
The company has tough competition from the likes of Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.
Maybe nostalgic Gen X-ers are flocking to Jenny Craig? Kirstie Alley is now appearing in ads for Jenny Craig, along with fellow Cheers alums George Wendt (Norm!) and John Ratzenberger. The weight loss company where everyone knows your name?
It’s not the people in the advertisements. Not really. It’s not the fact that there are free apps everywhere to count calories, track weight, etc. That’s not the main reason for people unsubscribing or for meeting attendance to be low.
Dear Weight Watchers: It’s because you didn’t want to listen. I heard and read all over the place about the bad marketing. How it began to feel rather exclusive of men (the reason Hims never returned, despite the offers of free starter kits and free FitBits). How everywhere you looked there were photos of slender, fit twenty-somethings or Oprah. And more Oprah. No one representative of the women who actually attend meetings. And then the really tacky crap you began selling last year – oh, no.
Can you tell I’ve had this stuff on my chest for awhile?
Now that it’s off, I am going to hop back on the diet – because really, that’s what it is anymore. I am going to update about it here. And damnit, I am going to wear my swimsuits this summer.