Friday, January 04, 2008

But it's NOT a diet!

Weight Watchers has a new ad campaign. They tell their viewers that "Diets don't work". Which is true - countless studies suggest that 95 percent of dieters regain the weight within four years of losing it. So that's great but they go on to say "Weight Watchers works". Wait a minute. Weight Watchers is a DIET and they just said "Diets don't work". And Weight Watchers, although one of the healthiest weight loss programs out there, is STILL a DIET.

My personal opinion is, although that seems a good idea, it may backfire on them because if they ADMIT that diets don't work (and everyone knows that Weight Watchers IS a diet) then, folks might get to thinking that maybe it's NOT time to re-join!

Resolutions to "lose weight" were somewhat absent from the numerous New Year's interviews and news articles. And a news article suggests that Americans are AT LEAST as interested in health as they are in thinness. Only 29 percent of those asked, admitting to dieting (but remember many dieters do not admit that a weight loss program is "dieting"). Of course, people may be going underground with their interest in slimness because it's fallen out of style to admit that you want to be slim. However, diets or weight loss programs are STILL being sold as a looks improvement - with smiling slim ladies and a few gents saying how wonderful it is to be slim, how they can buy clothing off the shelves and fit on carnival rides. The usual sound bites.

And despite the word "diet" being a no no now, Diets are going strong in 2008...

Discovery Channel's "body challenge" is one diet which has been heavily advertised. That's 8 weeks long and encourages a quick weight loss with supposedly changing one's habits (an 8 week membership at Bally's is included). But as we all know the quicker you lose the weight, the quicker it comes back. And will people REALLY change their habits in 8 weeks? Questionable.

Of course, the 55 BILLION buck a year diet industry doesn't mind repeat customers, in fact they thrive on repeat customers.

Oklahoma City is being put on a diet by their mayor who brags he wants his people to lose 1 MILLION pounds. (will they gain back 2 million lbs then?). The enthusiastic mayor of OK city has TWO domain names for the program and fancy websites with messages like how much obesity costs. Their program encourages exercise and watching what you eat. The 2600 people who have signed up already, have lost 300 lbs (they say). Nice but 2600 is but a small percentage of those who live in OK city. Perhaps not all residents are that enthusiastic about the major's challenge!

And NutraSystem has a new ad (with plenty of happy smiling slim people) and a new program called Nutrasystem advanced. You get 2 free weeks of food, food is shipped in plain boxes so your mailman doesn't know you are on a (gag) diet and the smiling slim folks in the ad tell us how much they love the food and especially the chocolate. The small print in the ad (which becomes available to those of us who have DVR's and can stop the action) tells us that those used in the ad were "renumerated" i.e. paid, and that they lost weight on the OLD program and that it isn't exactly 2 free weeks - it's more like buy 3 weeks, get on free, twice. Also says the small print, you only get the entre for $10 bucks a day. You have to buy the fruit and veggies. Seems rather pricey to me.

And then, somewhere in a quiet corner amidst all the noise of all the diet (oops NOT DIET - weight loss) groups advertising is HAES, Health at Every Size. The only program which has been suggested by CLINICAL studies to really work to help people GET HEALTHY. HAES is where you try to eat healthy and exercise a few times a week and don't fret about your weight. Because we know that DIETS DON'T WORK for most people. HAES, unlike diets, DOES work.

Problem is, I think just about EVERY American knows how to lose weight and what they SHOULD be doing for health but many choose to not do it. And maybe, that's ok too. It's nothing to feel guilty about, because for as many epidemiological studies which suggest that being obese is dangerous, there are an equal number of epidemiological studies which suggest that obesity really isn't a big factor in health, one way or another.

One of my favorite things to think about is this:

On the Titanic, destined to sink that night, how many women denied themselves desserts due to "watching their weight"? And if they had it to do over, would they have skipped that dessert?
So take a walk a few times a week, try to eat more veggies, don't fret about your weight and .... enjoy your dessert because you never know when it will be your last.

No comments: