October 15, 2018

The Hypocrisy of Wellness

“Indeed, Weight Watchers is a study in rebranding: the company has managed to respond to society’s changing norms around dieting while preserving its best-selling product (weight loss) since its inception in 1963. A wholehearted embrace of wellness—our latest version of the weight loss industrial complex—is only natural for WW, which has successfully sold weight loss with a side of shame for decades.

And most likely it will continue doing so with success, largely because a lot of what passes for “wellness” is actually just dieting. The wellness mainstay of “clean eating” and its fixation on healthy foods are just euphemisms for dieting; while you would never see a wellness company use diet as a verb, wellness culture continues to be preoccupied with health while pretending size has nothing to do with that obsession (paywall).

Weight Watchers’ seamless transition into the industry as WW only serves to underline that fact, and its future success as a wellness company will depend on the wellness complex keeping up the charade. At the end of the day, Weight Watchers is losing “Weight” but it’s still selling weight-loss.”

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