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A Tale of Two Sisters Blog

We support, celebrate, and teach writers.


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I am 4.4 pounds overweight. Winter's comfort and stress eating and a general inconsistency in movement caused a bunch of extra pounds to grab onto my body.

Some still haven't let go -- even though it's July! 

Just the other day I was thinking what a great spokesperson and role model Oprah Winfrey is for Weight Watchers. Despite being more personally and professionally successful than some small nations, at her core, she's just one of us, reminding us that we are all connected by our struggles and successes.

When I joined WW, Jessica Simpson was the spokesperson. To this day, other than "celebrity," I am not sure if Ms. Simpson is an actress or a singer. I think at the time, she had just become a mom, and so maybe those women trying to lose baby weight could relate to her? 

Then Jennifer Hudson became the spokesperson for Weight Watchers. When I was a meeting leader, splashy posters covered the walls with WW taglines and a smiling, happy Ms. Hudson in her sexy, size 6 outfits like an advertisement for a movie premier. She's beautiful! Her before and after photos via Weight Watchers could inspire anyone to join!

But not many women (and the occasional man) in the room in Reno, Nevada, could relate to her. She was this gorgeous young woman who looked absolutely fabulous. That kind of glamour did not resonate with the seamstress trying to drop 10 pounds. Or the mom of four who'd just had a hysterectomy. Or the grandmother who wanted to drop 60 pounds before her 75th birthday. No one aspired to be like Jennifer Hudson. People had realistic goals: they may have aspired to wear a size 16, not a 6. 

The shock of Jennifer Hudson's before-and-after photos had a one-time impact; the photos on the walls were just background. She, like Jessica Simpson, was an attractive celebrity on the wall. 

But when Oprah became the face of Weight Watchers, the seamstress, the mom, and the grandmother all felt a comfortable sense of familiarity. Some had the sight of Oprah in her size 10 jeans with the wagon of 67 pounds of fat in 1988 emblazoned in their minds. Some had still had Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body--and a Better Life by Oprah and Bob Greene on their shelves (I LOVED THAT BOOK!). Many had subscriptions to magazine. Some considered watching Super Soul Sunday the equivalent of going to church. Everyone in the room knew of Oprah, and most had been vicariously riding along on her decades-long journey. Like a sister, a mother, a friend. 

They -- we -- knew Oprah, and related to her humanness which was no different from the side of ourselves that has also celebrated success only to slide back into old habits again and experience the doom of another failed "diet." Sure, our vicious cycles of weight gain and loss have not been on national TV, nor on a global stage, but if Oprah could keep her head up and keep trying to live a better, more healthful life, then we could, too. 

Weight Watchers is brilliant in this way. Because once you get to your goal the first time, you are officially a Lifetime member. That never goes away. You can then officially spend the rest of your life working to maintain your healthy goal weight, which is the hard part. I became a lifetime member in 2012, six months after joining, yet in the five years since, I've popped above my goal weight twice. I hope when I drop this 4.4 pounds, it stays off, but given my history, it may not. I'm not going to worry about that. 

Change like this is lifelong. Nobody joins WW because they ate too many apples. Every food, even Oprah's favorite corn nuts, are fair game. But they have be balanced. That's what it's all about. Nothing grand, nothing glamorous, just daily effort and constant balance.

Slow and steady wins the race. 

Do you have a Weight Watchers story to share? I'd love to hear from you! 

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(c) 2017 Catherine M. Greenspan