“Everyone knows that Weight Watchers works.” Those are the words spoken at the beginning of a recent WW television ad. And I cringe each time I hear them. For a multitude of reasons.
And it’s not even just because, well, everyone does NOT know that. In fact, more often than not, the words I hear about Weight Watchers are along the lines of “I just don’t know what to do about my weight. I guess I’ll go back to Weight Watchers because it worked for me before.” And that always makes me curious because if the system worked so well, why did you stop and why do you need to go back?
And it’s only a little bit because what really matters when it comes to weight loss is the long term. Quite frankly, for people who are hormonally healthy, there are a lot of ways to lose a moderate amount of weight and keep it off for a period of weeks or months, WW being one of them. So what? Show me the statistics 1 year, 5 years, 10 years out. It’s hard to find that information, but this blog post goes over some of the numbers that WW published several years ago.
No, the biggest reason that statement gets to me is what it does to your psyche. Because if, as they say, everyone knows WW works, then what does that mean when it doesn’t work for you? Well, if the program works, then the problem must be you. You must be the failure. The willpower weakling. The one and only person for whom WW didn’t work.
That makes me sad. And a little angry.
Because that means (if we use the numbers in the blog post I referenced) that 1998/2000 of you didn’t do it right. You screwed up. You cheated. You ate too much. You couldn’t follow the system. You stopped doing it. Your fault, your fault, your fault.
If the programs out there result in a 99% failure rate, you are not the problem! Got it?
You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. There is nothing wrong with you. You did not get it wrong.
You got hungry! You got tired of a program that required you to eat less than your body needed to thrive. You didn’t want to count points for the rest of your life. You wanted to go out with your friends, to have fun, to have a life. Who could blame you for that?
So no, everyone does not know that Weight Watchers works. Everyone does know that weight loss is a complex challenge for complicated, interesting human beings – and it goes beyond points and pounds.
Fortunately for all of us, there are other ways of living – and of being in our bodies – and even of losing weight – that don’t involve bullying, food restriction, or math calculations! There are some simple (though admittedly not always easy) nutritional and eating psychology strategies that will give you the body you want – and will also encourage you to experience pleasure with food, with movement, and with life.
I’m going to give you one of those strategies right here, right now, that you can start doing no matter where you are on your journey with weight, food and body. Are you ready for it? Here it is:
Yes, it is that simple. Trust that your appetite is there for a reason. Trust that your weight is there for a reason. Trust that your body has a wisdom that you may not fully understand – but that it knows what to weigh, how much to eat, what movement it likes best, and how to experience pleasure in life. The more you can start to relax into who you are (and even how much you weigh) and begin to open to the possibility of trusting yourself to know what is right for you, the sooner you will be on your way to the body and the life that you truly desire.