Channel 4 will be airing Dispatches on Monday 28/01/13, asking how Weight Watchers make their money.
Without yet airing, an online debate has arisen over this programme. Faithful, loyal dieters have jumped to the defence of WW, testifying to successes and continued and sustained weight loss, while others have argued that the diet didn’t work for them, and they’re heavier than when they started.
You would have to live in a hole to not realise what big money “dieting” is. Everywhere we look, someone is touting some diet cure. And hell, I’ve had my fair share of experience. Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Slimfast, Herbalife, simple calorie counting, low carb, GI, low wheat, no wheat, ryvita, Special K. Goodness knows what else. And personally, nothing has brought me to a place where I’ve maintained weight loss.
“But you should take responsibility for your actions. It won’t work unless you do.” I can hear the voices already saying this after reading the above. And yes, you’re right. When I eat more of a portion than I need, it is my choice. When I go for the high fat option on the menu, rather than the jacket and beans, it is fully my decision (What is it about food that makes it all the more tantalising when you’re not meant to be having it?). The thing is, when you’re in a diet club, how much guilt do you feel from making that ill fated decision? How much guilt is placed around every food that is not on that recommended list of yours?
“Aha” you say “but I can eat what I want. I don’t have to give up the foods I love, I just adjust them slightly, or count them, or syn them” I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I may be alone but I felt pretty cheated with an awful lot of those adjustments. Extra light mayonnaise, really? And don’t even get me started on the Extra EXTRA light. Someone mentioned on a post I read earlier, that their joy of food had returned with giving up dieting. This I can fully relate to. Now I’ve taken the resolution to NOT diet this year, I’ve felt far more peace and enjoyment at mealtimes. I don’t spend the day salivating over some meal I’m spending hours preparing to try to get it remotely like what I really want. I don’t eat my sandwich, made with the thinnest bread known to man, in two seconds, and then sit there listening to my stomach rumbling for the next 3 hours. Liking food is not sinful, enjoying mealtimes is not wrong. A lady I used to live with had a phrase “Some people eat to live, and some people live to eat”. Now maybe I was already paranoid at that age, but I couldn’t help feel that this in itself was a judgemental phrase. Are those that eat to live superior beings? Spending their time doing good deeds, and only snatching food to refuel? I must be a very bad person when I think about food so much.
I guess the thing is, I have issues around food. Lots of them. Dieting for me does not address those issues. It focuses so much on the overeating, or wrong eating, but it doesn’t ask the questions as to why I make the food choices I do.
And the consultants can’t possible begin to counsel or help those of us with these deep rooted food issues. Ultimately, the consultants are there to list out the diet plan, take the gains and losses, and throw a few ideas out as to how to cope in certain situations. If you’ve had a bad week, they don’t have time or training to discuss with you or listen to your pains. They’re there to help with the simple complexities of the diet plan. Their training is to gently chastise, to encourage you to try harder, to remind you that “nothing tastes as good as being slim feels”. If you believe that then you haven’t tried Nigella’s Bread Sauce Flavoured Gratin that’s for sure.
If you want to go to a diet club, that’s your choice, and you have every right to choose how you spend your money, but one thing I would ask is that you start to value yourself as you are now. You are far more than your shape, your size, and the number you put on the scales.