4 things to know about Weight Watchers With Oprah Winfrey signing on as Weight Watchers partowner and celebrity pitchwoman, the weight-loss plan has gained a considerable amount of popularity. Weight Watchers is based on a SmartPoints system that you'll budget as you choose. Foods are assigned specific points, which encourages you to make healthier choices such as eating more fruits, vegetables and lean protein and fewer sweets and unhealthy fats. Weight Watchers says that people who follow the plan can

Weight Watchers rebrands amid conversation on diets, body positivity

We’d like to hear from Atlanta-area Weight Watchers members. Please email jbrett@ajc.com 

Years ago, following the Weight Watchers points system helped Marcy Saucedo peel off 75 pounds.

“You could eat a little bit of everything. You weren’t restricted,” she said, adding she’s not a fan of programs like Atkins, which feature strict dietary guidelines.

When 25 pounds came creeping back, Saucedo again turned to Weight Watchers, without similar success.

“I stuck to the thing exactly. I didn’t cheat. I ate all the food I should have but I was gaining a pound and a half every time I was going in,” she said of the program’s regular check-ins. “I was like, this isn’t working!”

A different plan helped her slim down the last time, but she might check out Weight Watchers in the future, given its recently announced rebrand.

After more than 50 years of point-counting and regular weigh-ins, the company will now be known as WW, or “Wellness that Works.” It will emphasize healthy lifestyles for everyone, with less focus on what the scale says.

“We will always be the global leader in weight loss, but now WW welcomes anyone who wants to build healthy habits—whether that means eating better, moving more, developing a positive mindset, focusing on weight…or all of the above!” the firm said in a statement.

Social media reaction ranged from virtual applause to unkind GIFs to thoughtful responses like this one: “I get the overall objective —- but saying “doubleU doubleU” or “double doubleU” instead of saying “weight watchers” is going to make people frustrated and lose weight by running to Jenny Craig.”

Take it all in here:

The move comes three years after Oprah Winfrey became part owner and celebrity pitchwoman for Weight Watchers.  

"I’m excited about Weight Watchers being able to bring a healthier, more holistic approach," she said during a visit to Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show at the time. After Oprah exulted that she quickly lost 15 pounds on the program, Ellen noted that the move was healthy for Oprah's finances, too.

"In one day she made $45 million," Ellen said, noting that Oprah better than doubled her $40 million investment. She then jokingly teased Oprah for not giving her the good word ahead of time.

"We want to stay out of jail," Oprah quipped.

In January 2017, Oprah released her points-friendly cookbook, "Food, Health and Happiness," and frequently touted the Weight Watchers message in videos, social media posts and even a surprise visit to a Weight Watchers meeting.

“Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be,” she said in a video shortly after her partnership with Weight Watchers began. “Many times you look in the mirror and you don’t recognize your own self because you’ve gotten lost, buried in the weight that you carry.”

More recently, body positivity has in many quarters overtaken the emphasis on pounds and inches.

Plus-sized model Tess Holliday triumphed in gracing the cover of Cosmopolitan UK’s October 2018 issue, saying in a tweet, “If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life.”

In her cover interview with Cosmo, she talked about how her mental health suffered due to body image issues.

“I was so tired of hurting,” she said. “I just didn’t want to be here anymore.”  

Last month, a Huffington Post article titled “Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong” went viral.

The article is accompanied by photos of interview subjects of various sizes, who were given the opportunity to choose exactly how they were styled and accessorized.

“Years from now, we will look back in horror at the counterproductive ways we addressed the obesity epidemic and the barbaric ways we treated fat people,” it reads. “The terrible irony is that for 60 years, we’ve approached the obesity epidemic like a fad dieter: If we just try the exact same thing one more time, we'll get a different result. And so it’s time for a paradigm shift. We’re not going to become a skinnier country. But we still have a chance to become a healthier one.”

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