Weight Watchers Is Offering Free Memberships to Teens — and I’m Not OK with It


Weight Watchers simply introduced on February seventh that they’ll now be offering free memberships to teenagers.

I’m simply going to let that sentence sink in for all of the mother and father on the market.

Weight Watchers — a totally profit-driven weight-loss program — is handing out their eating regimen curriculum to center schoolers and teenagers, without cost. Their hope from this initiative? To assist them generate two billion in income this 12 months.

As a former teenage Weight Watchers member, I’ve to say that there’s something significantly improper with this. And fortunately, I’m not the one one who feels this fashion.

Shortly after the announcement, Melainie Rogers, a dietician and the founding father of BALANCE Consuming Dysfunction Remedy, began the hashtag #WakeUpWeightWatchers as a manner of encouraging the corporate to cease their advertising and marketing ploy. Her efforts have swept the web and gotten the eye of the National Eating Disorders Association, who took to Twitter on February 10th to share their fear:

But regardless of the mounting issues, the parents at Weight Watchers are refusing to alter their minds about launching this system. And if I’m being utterly sincere, that terrifies me.

In contrast to most weight reduction corporations, Weight Watchers prides itself on showing to be one thing it’s not. It sneakily masks a really clear point-calculating system with public claims that it supplies “healthy habits for life.” It takes a eating regimen program relying closely on calorie monitoring and pretends it’s an training in wellness. And that type of commercial is downright harmful for an impressionable younger individual.

weight watchers
Picture supply: Lindsay Wolf

I do know all this to be true, as a result of the misleading message of this program impressed me to enroll in a membership at 16 years previous. And shockingly, at that younger age, it wasn’t the primary time I’d tried out a weight-loss program.

The actual fact is, I’ve spent greater than half of my life on a eating regimen. On the weak age of 12, I had satisfied myself that I used to be solely lovable once I was skinny. I spent years painfully proscribing my consuming, binging, and purging, and even developed an abusive relationship with weight loss supplements. I usually cried on the sight of my physique in images, evaluating it to the unattainable magnificence requirements I noticed in magazines. So once I began noticing ads for packages solely centered on weight reduction, I jumped on the probability to hitch.

Sadly, the one healthy habits I adopted from Weight Watchers had been find out how to measure my meals, weigh myself weekly, and examine myself to different folks trying to shed pounds alongside me. Not as soon as did I give attention to selecting well-balanced, nourishing meals as a result of they helped me really feel wholesome and powerful. Nor did I ever take a second to query why I used to be placing myself on a eating regimen within the first place.

weight watchers
Picture supply: Lindsay Wolf

This comes as no shock, as a result of as a teen, I used to be nonetheless very a lot a baby navigating a posh and dangerous eating regimen tradition. Reasonably than being inspired to like myself and make wholesome decisions from that caring place, I used to be bombarded with ongoing methods to restrict my consuming and trim down my bodily body.

The teenage years are a time of deep vulnerability and fixed inside questioning. Our kids enter a college setting the place they’re at all times struggling to slot in, and overwhelming societal requirements educate them that their value may be discovered solely in how they give the impression of being. I communicate with full confidence to this, as a result of at a younger age, I turned an knowledgeable at sustaining a eating regimen I by no means truly wanted and tearing down my physique merely for present.

weight watchers
Picture supply: Lindsay Wolf

Whether or not Weight Watchers goes via with this teen initiative or not, it’s vital that we be certain that we’re elevating our kids to embrace and love exactly who they are, irrespective of how a lot they weigh. Encouraging that self-love wants to return earlier than any motion devoted to altering our youngsters. I can not emphasize this half sufficient, mothers and dads.

And irrespective of how empowering the publicity could appear, self-love is rarely on the coronary heart of a marketing campaign devoted to educating our kids find out how to shed pounds.

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