Like it or not, they call me the Weight Watchers lady. I’ve been associated with Weight Watchers for almost 30 years.
I started in January 1987 as a mother of 3 girls under age 6, and my weight had gotten out of control. I had an effective way to lose weight on my own. I was employing my special weight loss plan to get back into my favorite jeans.
The problem was I also had a precocious 5-year-old who recognized the completely unhealthy way I went about getting thinner and called me out on it. I had a responsibility to my kids to role model healthier habits, so I joined Weight Watchers.
Throughout the state of Maine and beyond I’m often referred to as the “Weight Watchers Lady.” Indeed, my grandsons who call me “Gamma” say my real name is Jackie Weight Watchers. With an identity such as that, one would expect me to reject a campaign that espouses No Body Shame (No BS).
Quite the contrary.
Watching and listening to Whitney Thore may change your perception about bodies and self-worth. Our bodies are not, should never be a source of shame. They’re not an outward indicator of our morals, character, intelligence, discipline, drive and most of all, value as a human being. They are nothing more than containers – all of our qualities, values and worth are inside of us.
We are becoming increasingly sensitive to the feelings of others and strive to accept all humans regardless of race, religion, country of origin, physical challenges, disfigurements, and mental disorders. Body weight prejudices, however, are still okay.
Many people think it’s fine, even helpful to a degree, to harshly judge and even publicly shame or humiliate people whose weight exceeds what’s considered “normal, healthy or acceptable.”
Those who judge people by their body weight justify their prejudice, and often unkind to nasty behavior, by saying, “they’re lazy gluttons and they did it to themselves. And they’re going to make my health insurance go higher and higher.” Without knowing the circumstances they assume they know and that allows them to sit in judgment.
I don’t care, and neither should anybody else, if a person’s weight is a direct result of eating too much and moving too little. A person’s food and physical activity levels are not relevant to anything meaningful about who a person is. There are plenty of people who eat very well and exercise daily who, in my opinion have no value because they are dishonest and cruel in thoughts and actions.
I don’t believe bodies should ever be a source of shame. I don’t want my body to stop me, or make it not fun, to do the things I enjoy.
I work for a commercial weight loss company. I offer help with improving eating and exercising habits to people who want my help. I don’t have an opinion about who should seek out my help.
Wait. I guess I do have an opinion about that…
My opinion, and it’s shared by Jean Nidetch, the mother of Weight Watchers, is:
If you decide that your weight is making it hard to do things you enjoy or your doctor has advised you that you have medical issues caused or made worse by your weight, then losing weight is a choice you must make for yourself, to get what you want for you – and nobody else matters but you.