Monday, January 17, 2011

Weight Watcher Woes

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, I did something very brave. I thought it would be the bravest thing I did all day. I threw away the last two slices of the pecan pie. First, I was having one slice everyday; Sunday I had graduated to two. Yes, the pie had to go, and it was o.k. if I didn't finish every last piece. Indeed, I was very brave.

And then I went to my Weight Watchers meeting. Now I admit, I was a little excited. For weeks, there had been a buzz about some updates to the program, and I was eager to know what was coming about. What I found, and what I did not expect was a revamp of the entire program. It was like being a new member--like starting over. Foods had different points values; the amount of points I could have was more (but not really, because all the food was worth more points). Despite it all, and despite some pre-meeting worry, I went home up-beat and determined to try.

Now before I launch into a diatribe of my misgivings, I feel it is important to emphasize that I tried the new Points Plus program for three weeks. Even though I had to look up and re-calculate everything, I tried and used the new program. I attended meetings. Rather than feeling supported, more and more I felt betrayed. To clarify, I did not feel betrayed by the leaders; all those ladies, I have grown to love and appreciate. I felt betrayed by the company itself. We TRUSTED Weight Watchers, and I feel they have taken advantage of that trust.

In addition, the change came at a very bad time. It was the Christmas rush for heaven's sake! I do not want to have to re-figure out a lifestyle (because it's NOT a diet) in the three weeks before Christmas. I have got enough to do! If you are sensing frustration, that's exactly was was boiling under the surface by the end of the third week, when stress over the new program and my third cookie baking day converged.

One dozen cookies later, I took responsibility for my own actions, and I also took my life back. I went back to the old program, and that is right where I have happily stayed for the last month. There have been bumps and struggles, yes. Christmas eating happened, and since I'm still training for an endurance event, I have to eat most of my activity points to stay strong, but at least I'm maintaining because I feel in control again.

I suppose if I was to put my finger on the one reason I'm truly upset over the changes at Weight Watchers, it all comes down to control. The old program really empowered the member to be in control of choices and environment. But nobody gave us an opportunity to choose or be a part of the changes at Weight Watchers. We all just had to act happy when it was "unveiled." New members used to be able to manage nicely on the entry level packet they received upon joining; whereas, now you have to lean HEAVILY on their "guides" and the points calculator. That is not CONTROL; that is DEPENDENCY. Dependency is a big problem you see with other weight loss programs, like Nutri-system or Slimfast. If a program won't work simply outside of its products; it does not give its members the independent ability to be successful.

And speaking of buying products, here we come upon a second problem, an ethical problem. People were not discouraged from buying old products before the change came about; in fact, these items were pushed out the doors in the guise of sales. Now with food items, there is no problem; however, with items such as old dining guides, cookbooks, and scales, there is absolutely a problem. Members should have been warned that these materials would not be valid in a matter of weeks, or either that, Weight Watchers should have offered to replace materials brought in for exchange, that had been purchased in the weeks before the change-over. Anything other than this, is a breach a trust.

Yes, I know that there is a lot of new "science" behind the new program, and actually, I do believe the new program will probably work just as well for new members as the old one did. However. Weight Watchers has overlooked the very important science of TRUST. I think it will take quite a while for old members of the Weight Watchers program to overlook the violation that took place in December 2010. I myself will probably return to the program eventually, to lose that last five pounds and maintenance, but for now, I'm going to do what the program taught me to do--be in control. Me and the old program are eloping.


  1. Sometimes old ways are the RIGHT ways! Keep up the good work!