Weight Watchers and the Anti-Dieting Age

I recently read a fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner called Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age. The article covers a lot of ground dealing with weight loss in general with some specifics about Weight Watchers.  It is a mixture of general information about weight loss in the current age, along with information about the personal struggle of the author.  Under the title of the article is written, “The agonies of being overweight — or running a diet company — in a culture that likes to pretend it only cares about health, not size.”  The author is the primary example in the article of the overweight person and Weight Watchers is the diet company.

The article starts with an anecdote about Weight Watchers in January, 2015.  At that time, Weight Watchers had started doing some new and really honest ads about weight loss with a marketing campaign, called “Help With the Hard Part.”  I loved those commercials as I posted way back then.  However, as it turned out, most people didn’t love them.  In fact, Weight Watchers had a terrible January, which is normally when it has its best sign ups. It turned out that people didn’t like hearing, well, honesty about weight loss and how it is hard.

Weight Watchers started looking into why people didn’t like the new approach. The article details what happened when Weight Watchers head of consumer insights started talking to people:

Benovitz got to work. She traveled the country, interviewing members, former members and people they thought should be members about their attitudes toward dieting. She heard that they no longer wanted to talk about ‘‘dieting’’ and ‘‘weight loss.’’ They wanted to become ‘‘healthy’’ so they could be ‘‘fit.’’ They wanted to ‘‘eat clean’’ so they could be ‘‘strong.’’

[Read more…]