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Ugh, Weightwatchers.

TW for weight loss/fat shaming stuff.

I'm on Weightwatchers. I'm a fan of the program - basing your daily allotment of food on fat/carbs/fibre/protein works better for me than strictly counting calories, and they have extra points for treats, so I can still have fries every once in a while. Technically once a week, actually, if I eat well the rest of the days.

I like the bones of the program - but I'm not sure I like the meetings.

I was on WW before, three or four years ago, for six months. Got to my goal and quit, and eventually went back to (and way, way past) my starting weight. My reasons for joining again this past May are not good ones. I'm uncomfortable when people in my life congratulate me on losing weight, because in my opinion, I'm on WW not because I needed to be 'healthier' but because my self esteem failed me. I was tired of not being able to shop in brick and mortar stores without being embarrassed, and often leaving the mall crying. I want to be able to buy clothes in person that I feel good in, and have my stretch marks start growing, and those are my reasons. So yes, it has been hard to lose weight, but getting my M.A. (while gaining weight) was harder. I didn't receive nearly as much positive reinforcement for that. And I liked my body just fine three months ago, when I wasn't trying to find clothes to wear.


But in the meetings, you'd think that we're all there because we are better people than all the fat women who don't want to change. The undertone of the meetings is so fat-shamey, it makes me sick. It's mixed in with some body positive stuff - like the common refrain that "Your goal isn't really a number, it's feeling good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you've reached your goal." But the subtext to that is "you won't feel good about yourself until you're in the healthy BMI range", because all WW goals are supposed to be in that range.

Usually it's more subtle. But today, the meeting leader told us a story about a friend who had to get a spinal tap. And she couldn't because she's too "big" (leader's word). They had to give her surgery to give her a spinal tap. After 14 hours of other surgery of some kind.

This somehow gave the leader an opening to discuss how we all are working toward healthier bodies, and as aging women (wow) it's our jobs to take care of our bodies in case 'something happens' (I guess, in case we end up on a surgeon's table?). She went into detail about the amount of time required to lift this women - apparently three hours of the 3.5 hour surgery was spent 'arranging' her unconscious body, using lifts and things? - and kept saying "now, do you want that to be you? Or do you want them to be able to lift you easily?"


She's a leading-question person, too, so the result was an entire room of women finishing her sentences for her, nodding their heads, and basically supporting this narrative - that somehow this mysterious, unknown woman was irresponsible with her health because she is "big" (whatever that means) and that we are better than her for trying to change. It seemed like a 101 on how to be smug that you're on a diet. And how to fat shame people who have no interest in losing weight, or are not able to lose weight, or maybe can't afford the fifty fucking dollars a month it costs to join WW (not to mention the cost of healthy food in the first place). No, let's all nod about how much more responsible we are than all of the people out there who have surgery complications due to their weight.


I'm just raging right now. I flat out glared at that leader the whole time, and I maybe should have said something, but I didn't want to not be civil, and I was having trouble thinking straight. "We" are not better than anyone else. Each person in that room decided to join Weightwatchers and lose weight. For their own reasons. The end. That does not give any of them the right to make value judgments about people who make different decisions about their own bodies. Mine have nothing to do with being a better person than anyone else, that's for sure.

I am ranting to GT because y'all are the only people in the world who will understand my rage right now, ugh. I have a zillion smaller examples of fat shaming in these meetings (like "put up a photo of yourself when you were skinny on your fridge so you know why you shouldn't open it" WHAT?) but this is getting long enough, so I'll leave it at that.


Do any of you have positive experiences with weight loss programs? Or are they all like this?

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