Weight Watchers has announced that it will offer teens free memberships this summer. This is like a dealer offering free drugs to teens in order to get them hooked for life and keep them coming back for more.
Dieting is like a drug. When you begin, there is a surge of excitement and an adrenaline rush. You find your plan, get your materials, set your goal weight and begin.
You lose weight and ride a wave of ecstasy as the praise and adoration floods in and your spirits soar. This shit is awesome, you think.
As with all great trips, then you crash. You are hungry and crabby and have lost your energy. You haven't been out with friends in weeks because you are afraid of what you might eat. You start to gain the weight back, often even though you are still dieting.
Food is calling your name from all directions. You feel tormented and alone.
The high eventually wears off and one day you snap, and you eat something off plan. Oh man, that is so good. You eat it all and then feel shame and remorse and regret and wonder, what have I done? Like an alcoholic who vows never to drink again, you vow to give up sweets for the umpteenth time.
Tomorrow of course, because there are still some brownies and ice cream in the kitchen today.
A drug addict has an advantage over a dieter. They know what they are addicted to and the whole world agrees that drugs are not good for you.
The dieter does not have the luxury of this clarity. The whole world tells them they are addicted to food, when in fact they are addicted to the diet and to the ever elusive dream of thinness.
The whole world says that dieting is good for you. And when it fails, the dieter never blames the diet, they only blame themselves.
A dieter is fucked.
That is why women spend their whole lives dieting and are never able to break free. They don't even know it's killing them and yet, they have handed the executioner the noose.
Weight Watchers claims they want to help teens live healthier lifestyles. They are going to tell them what to eat and how much. They are going to tell them what foods are good and what foods are bad.
The ultimate message a teen is going to get is - there is something wrong with you. How can that be healthy?
Our bodies need to eat multiple times a day. How is it healthy to live in fear of doing it wrong ? How are they not going to make this program about weight when the company is called "Weight Watchers"?
How is this not going to add to the stress and fear teens already have about their bodies because our world already values a thin, white, unattainable ideal?
How will this not add to stigma and discrimination which are more unhealthy than anything you can eat?
How are they going to emphasize that all bodies are good bodies as they tell us how to make all bodies look the same?
"Hey kid - do you want to come and see my puppy? I have some candy for you too. "
Like a predator, don't let Weight Watchers get ahold of your teen and twist their values and make them question their worth for the rest of their life. They have already done that to you. Now WW wants to guarantee paying customers in the future which is why they are offering free drugs, I mean memberships.
The world needs an intervention. Friends don't let friends diet. Who is with me?