Thursday, December 20, 2007

"go on a diet diet."

i was on the subway this afternoon, looked up, and saw a series of signs running across the top of the car.






isn't that awesome! how inspiring! i wanna get on this NO DIETING train!

i was, of course, intrigued. i wholeheartedly do not believe that diets work. yes, you will lose weight, but you will gain it back, or you will spend the rest of your life obsessing (mildly to severely) about keeping the weight off i.e. you will develop an eating disorder. it is my opinion that dieting IS a culturally-acceptable, culturally-endorsed, culturally-encouraged eating disorder.

anyway, upon closer inspection, i realized that these uplifting little bon mots were ads for Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers, these signs tell me, is not a diet.



and oh yeah, bullshit.

Weight Watchers IS a diet. yes, you don't count calories, but you count POINTS. a number is a number. i will admit that WW is not the worst diet in the world as far as diets go. they've made adjustments in recent years that emphasize the importance of fruits and vegetables and exercise, but it is still a diet. it teaches you nothing about learning to eat intuitively, about listening to your body and its needs. you can spend the rest of your life counting calories or counting points or counting pounds, but it is still counting, and it is still crazy-making.

and... AND!!!

they weigh you every week. that's seriously fucked up. this allows no room for individual differences in how weight is distributed, muscle mass, water retention and extra heavy pair of dungarees. even more disturbing, it's an almost guarantee that you will, at one point or another, go to your "weigh-in" and leave in a shittier mood that you walked in. why? because you gained A POUND.

i went on Weight Watchers a few years ago "just to see." (more bullshit. i wanted to go on a diet. i wanted to be in control. i wanted, on some level, to develop another, more culturally-acceptable eating disorder). mostly, what i remember is that our meeting leader looked like Vincent Price, and that i was hungry ALL OF THE TIME. i had close to zero energy. but hey! i lost 2 pounds my first week.


when i came back the next week, i knew i'd gained the 2 pounds back before i even got on the scale. when i hopped on the scale, and the numbers revealed that i had indeed gained those two glorious, life-changing pounds back, my meeting leader WOULD NOT EVEN LOOK ME IN THE EYE. he was ashamed of me? for me? i felt like i was being shamed, tsk-ed, scolded for gaining TWO POUNDS.

"well, let's just get back on track for next week."

fuck you, i thought. i will not be back next week. or ever.


mystery said...

I tried to join WW once a long time ago. I was turned away because I didn't meet their weight requirements. I guess they thought I was underweight. I was devastated. I dont know if they still do that. Although I weigh more than enough now to join, I wouldn't because I think I should have been allowed to attend at that time just for the nutritional information. Maybe it would have helped with the inside my head conversations.

Beth said...

Yeah, I did WW too. Done almost all the diets. Now do bulimia. But from your blog and others, I am reminded DO NOT DIET! So thank you. I absolutely believe it more everytime I hear it.

drstaceyny said...

I got so excited by the first part of your post. . . until. . . . I visited a WW mtg a while back and was surprised by how thin many of the members were.

Great analysis, M. And, way to integrate "dungarees" into a blogspot post. ; )

azusmom said...

Amen! I went on WW three times, and it's a direct route to disordered eating.

cggirl said...

Wow, THANK YOU for this post!!! You said much better than I could say all the things I think. It feels so good whenever someone else speaks up against things that are so cluturally accepted as "healthy".

P.S. Mystery - I'm not sure if WW should or shouldn't let in underweight people. My initial reaction is that they shouldn't, but then again I don't think anybody should do WW so my opinion maybe doesn't really help there... But what I can tell you is that I seriously doubt WW has anything new or special to tell you in terms of nutritional information. There are no special secrets. And again, as this post says, I agree the obsessing over nutritional information of any kind instead of eating intuitively is not a good idea.

Laurie Anne said...

I agree that Weight Watchers can lead to an eating disorder, it lead to bulimia for me too. Thanks, Weight Watchers! Ugh.