Weight Watchers wins when our diets fail – it won’t change society’s broken thinking around food | Susie Orbach

IIt's no surprise that shares of Weight Watchers International soared more than 70% earlier this month after acquiring Sequence, an American telehealth service that connects patients with doctors who can prescribe the drug semaglutide. Medications can suppress appetite and are used for weight loss.I don't think Weight Watchers is that much in the weight loss business. This is a money making business.

Repeat and subscription customers drive business. Research shows that 97% of dieters regain what they lost within three years—an ideal backdrop for Weight Watchers and the big dieting companies that see their customers come back time and time again. As long as we have a culture where people develop a sense that they risk becoming an unsavory “fat” state, there will be plenty of repeat customers; a sense of starting small.

What is the solution? The appeal of Weight Watchers, as a 2012 parliamentary inquiry found, is the claim that there is some evidence that modest weight loss of up to 10% of body weight can be achieved. But as research has shown, weight loss through calorie-restricted diets is not sustainable. Only 3 out of 100 maintained their weight loss, while the other 97 restarted their subscription.

I'm not saying semaglutide (sold under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic, although Ozempic is not licensed for weight loss) doesn't work. It works by suppressing your appetite, which for some people can have a real effect – but only for as long as you are taking it, and it doesn't address key related issues. Most so-called weight management programs funded by the NHS prescribe some form of diet or other. They don't address food cravings. They don't explore the psychological difficulties people may have when trying to reach their goals, or the emotional dilemmas they have when reaching their goals. They don't explore appetite and how to eat when hungry, don't eat foods that satisfy hunger, and have difficulty stopping when full.

Intuitive eating was introduced by me in 1978 and luckily has since been adopted by many including AnyBody UK and Health at Every Size in terms of understanding the psychological and social mechanisms involved in poor eating. It offers solutions that can help people break the pattern of weight cycling. It points out ways to address emotional needs without turning them into food needs.

Eating hungry and being conscious enough to stop when you're full is hard to do in a culture where food is sold as ideal, And are designed to contain precise amounts of salt, sugar or fat to achieve the so-called “bliss point” rather than nutritional value. Related to this is selling the “perfect” body as a sense of belonging and self-branding.

Eating disorders and troubled growing up is a sad story. This is tragic for the individual, tragic for the family, and costly to us as a society. It can occupy our minds from the time we first wake up in the morning to the promises we make to ourselves at night, in which eating is judged as if it were a crime, accompanied by Things that need to be given away serve as a kind of moral currency. Profit-seeking private equity and hedge funds have fueled the tragedy and horror by viewing eating disorders as an attractive growth industry.

The over-consumption-under-consumption pattern of food will continue to keep the profits flowing. Intergenerational transmission of physical and dietary distress ensures this. Tensions around food and bodies mark the next generation. Of course not on purpose. Every parent wants to give their child the best possible start, but the emphasis on getting one's body back in shape during pregnancy and the postpartum period can treat the momentous experience of pregnancy and birth as a physical blip that should quickly change. be invisible.

Early life should allow parent and baby to get to know each other and interpret different needs – needs for comfort, needs for cuddling, needs for sleep, needs for thirst, needs for food, needs for survival; important. But instead, a range of concerns—aesthetic, nutritional, economic, etc.—can combine to undermine an easy response to a baby's appetite. Tension in the early feeding environment can stay with children throughout their lives and lead them to seek more control over their food and to scramble around for reassurance in their appetite and satiety.

Weight Watchers and their allies in the diet industry benefit greatly when you become a lifetime partner. Their profits soared as we failed. Surely if their product works really well, at some point close to the problem-solving scale, they're going to be redundant? A rare opportunity.

There is an even bigger phenomenon. Its body is weaponized for profit while surrounded by people in extreme physical pain, stealing the lives of children and young adults.

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