Do you have one of those friends who you get on with pretty well and they’re supportive but there’s just something about them that you’re not quite sure you can trust? And you can never quite put your finger on it until they suddenly sweep the rug out from under your feet and reveal their true colours?
Me too. Except the friend I’m talking about is Weightwatchers.
Weightwatchers and I have been pretty good friends for the past 6 months. We got off to a rocky start, counting Points was incredibly irritating and frustrating at times, but mostly the journey has been good. Since the beginning of May there have been 2 weeks where I have put weight on and I think my weight loss averages out at about 1.6lbs a week, so just below the recommended 2lbs of weekly weight loss. I think that’s kind of good going to be honest with you.
Once the initial Points counting annoyance was out of the way I seemed to slip effortlessly into a new routine and a new way of living. I say “effortless” simply because I didn’t realise I’d changed until the change was already upon me and I saw that I was eating better, eating less crap and exercising more. I was happy and more than that I was rather bloody proud of myself – I didn’t think it would work to be honest and I’m impressed that I managed to prove my negative little head (along with all those people who have been dying for me to fail at this) wrong.
Me and Weightwatchers were buddies. We were pals. I thought that Weightwatchers was probably proud of me too. After all I have to be a great statistic for them – steadily losing weight, following the Points system at the beginning, and learning a new way of eating and living which is healthy. Isn’t that what Weightwatchers is all about?
My concerns about my friendship with Weightwatchers first materialised when I got to my 3 stone landmark. I don’t usually stay for the meetings (I find them incredibly irritating, not the content of them, but the people that attend) but decided that I would to see what was going on. I got my Silver 7 and an embarrassing round of applause and my leader asked me if I had any tips to share that had helped me on my journey. I explained that sticking with it in the first couple of weeks and persevering with the Points counting was really really worth it to get you thinking about portion size and what you’re eating and that it had become so ingrained in me that I hadn’t actually tracked in months.
I realised I’d said the wrong thing. I didn’t understand what I’d done wrong and yet I had the distinct impression that Weightwatchers had fallen out with me a little bit. Surely this was the goal though? The point is that they show you a new way to look at what you’re eating, you make changes and these changes set you up for life so you can maintain your weight – isn’t it?
Now I’m beginning to wonder.
You may, or may not, know that Weightwatchers introduced a new plan last week. I was a naive soul who didn’t realise they did this quite regularly, silly little me thought that the Plan when I joined was just the general Weightwatchers Plan but apparently not.
Now. Before I begin I would like you to pay very close attention to what I’m about to say. I think the new Propoints Plan is VERY GOOD. Instead of just counting calories and fat you’re asked to know look at carbohydrates, protein and fibre into the balance – a much healthier way of looking at things. I AM NOT KNOCKING THE NEW PLAN. Are we clear? Good. I shall continue.
I stayed for the meeting to learn more about the new ProPoints plan. There is a new Points-finder which is almost comically difficult to navigate. I think I’m a pretty bright person but I struggled with this one – a cynical person might say that what they really want you to do is spend £7-odd on a new ProPoints calculator.....
One of the ‘helpers’ came to show a few of us how to work the wheel and I said “To be honest I think I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.” The helped looked at me as if I’d spit on her “But this is really good, you have to do this one.” I was a little puzzled and actually more than a little bit riled up.
I think that this was the moment that Weightwatchers and I fell out. Weightwatchers appears to be telling me that everything I’ve done up to this point in time is wrong. “Forget everything you know about the Points system because this is all completely different” said my Leader. Right. So this Plan that you’ve been championing up until last week you’re now saying is completely rubbish and you have to forget about it.
I was actually genuinely hurt. Weightwatchers hurt me. I felt that they were trying to take away from me all the successes I’ve achieved up to date. I felt like they were saying that my weight loss was down to doing the “wrong” thing. I went from feeling incredibly proud of my weight loss to feeling a little unbalanced and a little crappy. I felt that was mean – don’t take away from me what I’ve achieved – I’ve lost nearly 3.5 stone in 6 months, don’t tell me that’s rubbish because I didn’t do it according to your latest plan.
And then it hit me. Weightwatchers isn’t really my friend. I don’t think it wants me to succeed. It doesn’t want me to change my habits sufficiently so that I stop tracking and don’t need them anymore. It doesn’t want me to not be reliant on buying all of their products. Weightwatchers wants me to need it. It wants me to track for the rest of my life so that I’m scared of stopping and continue to give them my hard-earned cash each month. It was an unsettling realisation.
I could destruct my friendship immediately and never go back again but I don’t think there’s any need for rash decisions like that. I’m only 11lbs away from goal and I don’t own scales at home, I still like that weekly weigh-in and want to keep on doing it.
But, like that friend who stabs you in the back just that once, the friendship will never be the same again, there’ll always be a hint of mistrust. And I find that very sad.