Why Numbers Matter in Weight Loss

by Andie Mitchell on March 6, 2011

Jennifer Hudson was on Oprah a few weeks ago and one of the things she and Miss O spoke about was how she lost weight on Weight Watchers. For the most part, it was inspiring to see a woman so alive with passion and a feeling of newfound confidence, freedom, and optimism. Perhaps especially given the fact that she has faced such tragic hardship in the past few years, I felt happy that Jennifer was happy.

The part where she lost me was when Oprah asked her how much weight she had actually lost. Oprah, excited and waiting to hear a big number so that she (and the studio audience) could congratulate and applaud her, saw Jennifer smile and pause. Jennifer looked to a woman seated in the front row of the audience, and sort of silently questioned her with a look of, ‘Can I say?’

Who was this woman she was deferring the question to? Who was refereeing Jennifer’s answers about her personal weight loss? Turns out it was Jennifer’s Weight Watchers group leader, who apparently didn’t think it wise or necessary for her to reveal to the millions watching the number of pounds she shed on the program. It was clear that Weight Watchers, as a company, was trying to take a new approach where the scale doesn’t matter, the numbers aren’t of sincere importance, and it’s how you feel that counts. I completely applaud a sense of satisfaction from feelings, from what’s inside rather than out. Let me make that clear. I also believe that changing your life starts within, and will never last in the inverse.

But this irked me on a number of levels:

  1. I don’t like that Weight Watchers is pretending like the scale isn’t the mainstay, a centerpiece, of their weekly weigh-ins. When you are trying to lose weight, seeing progress in the form of numbers is motivating. Period. As someone who started out having to lose 135lbs, that number was absolutely overwhelming. That’s how much an average person weighs. Knowing that each week I could break that number down into smaller increments, into 2 pounds, 5 pounds, a goal of 10 pounds a month, was instrumental in feeling like I could actually do it.

    It’s also important to remember that the number on the scale is only detrimental to your sense of self, your sense of self-value, if you allow it to be. It’s not the overall number that makes the weekly weigh in work, it’s the fact that the number is going down and therefore moving you toward a goal of wellness. Yes, people can take this too far. Yes, people can get caught up in wanting the number to go lower and lower and lower. But that’s a personal thing, and it somewhat undermines the idea that seeing results and progress breeds motivation and confidence. Numbers are not important, but they help to show that you’re on your way to your goal. Hopefully, a realistic and healthy goal.

  2. Saying how much weight you lost makes others who have any amount of weight to lose, feel like it’s possible. And it doesn’t even really matter how much weight. If someone reads this blog and realizes that I lost 135 lbs and they have 135lbs to lose, they may feel a sense of hope, a comfort knowing that yes, it’s possible to lose something the size of Justin Bieber. There’s an empathetic comfort there. If someone reading this blog has 20 lbs to lose, and they realize that I’ve lost 135lbs, they may feel like, “Hey, if it’s possible to lose that much weight, then certainly I can do it!”

    You get the idea. It’s reassuring, and it helps to make the future seem brighter, more possible. That’s how inspiration works.

 

Bottom line: I get how diet companies work. I get that it’s a savvy strategy for Weight Watchers to make their program seem more like a lifestyle based upon good self esteem rather than a place you go each week to find out how much you lost down to the decimal of a pound. Because it really is both of those things. And them taking an emphasis off of the numbers and putting it onto the feelings is a step in the right direction. But it muddies our relationship to weight loss and diets and programs.

The fact is, most diet companies are realizing, as are millions of Americans, that diets or trendy plans just aren’t working. Nothing works in the same way that changing your life long term does. In the grand scheme of our lives, there’s no room for too much restriction, for food group exclusion, and for super-precise practice. But in the short term, seeing results makes us feel capable and motivated. So just getting even a fraction of the weight off in a week or two means a lot to us. It makes moving forward doable. So we adopt a diet plan to see quick results now, hoping that the ensuing success and motivation will breed more motivation and more motivation, and finally, we’ll be so darn proud of ourselves that we’ll live life that way.

And though it’s not quite as cut and dry, it makes sense.

Weight Watchers does not need to move their emphasis away from numbers on a scale. People do. Jennifer Hudson, in revealing she lost 80lbs, is not giving other people a complex about how much weight they should lose to look great. She’s simply sharing her story. And that gives us hope.

Weight Watchers is a plan, and though it’s more of a healthy lifestyle than any of the other diet plans I know of today, it’s still meant to help people lose weight. Successful weight loss means that if you are overweight and have to lose 50lbs, 100lbs, any pounds, that you lose a small incremental amount of that gradually until you’ve found yourself in a healthy weight range, with a healthy relationship to food and your body. I realize it doesn’t always work this way. But my point is, the numbers matter. Not in a ‘make or break your sense of self worth’ way, but in a way that means you’re getting there. Wherever that place may be.

 

What do you think? Did you see the show? If you’ve lost weight or have weight to lose, do numbers matter to you?

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam March 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Although I understand Weight Watchers desire to spread the idea of a healthy lifestyle as opposed to a short term change, I feel like numbers are second in the weight loss process only to how much better you feel once you start losing.
I am down about 80 pounds now, with about 70 more to go. While that number seems astronomical still, it is so much easier to look at where I have come from in a concrete form and tackle what I have in front of me.
I know you have written about maintenance before, this is what I feel is most important and what I fear the most. My mother lost 100 lbs on the Atkins diet and gained it back almost immediately after stopping Atkins. It isn’t a diet that you can reasonably maintain for life.
I have found that changing my lifestyle has, well, changed my life. I am scared to death to slip back into my old habits (sneaking food, fast food, eating meat, ‘casual’ workouts) because that life, 80 pounds ago, is terrifying. I have a new lifestyle now that I love. I am working on allowing myself small indulgences without thinking I will instantly gain 4 dress sizes.
I have a friend that has gained about 40 pounds in the last few years and asked me to help her start a weight loss plan but “not for 3 weeks, until after my birthday” I tried to explain that she just needed to start with small changes and start this second, rather than postpone. She just kept saying that she couldn’t live like I do, she hates the gym and broccoli and she refused to “go crazy” like me. I’m still working on her perception of healthy.
Very thought provoking- thanks for writing.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:02 am

Ah Sam, I know what you mean about the fear. The thing is, just take it one day at a time and you will over time grow into the life you created. It’s a really gradual snowball effect, but at some point the new, healthier life you built will be the easier one and you’ll feel more comfortable doing the things that make you feel good about yourself- eating well and exercising. It’s really hard to see your friend with the attitude of “The diet starts Monday” but it happens. I find that people respond to more extreme approaches much better than moderation. It’s almost as if telling someone, “Just cut out all sugar, all fast food, and all red meat!” would be easier for them to do than, say, only eat 1 cookie and not 2. Thanks for sharing!

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johnny March 7, 2011 at 4:27 am

Your above blog is why I read you every day! Your insight and down to earth nature inspires. I too have a lot of weight to loose and even though some weeks I don’t want to look at the scales I know it is a measure of how successful my life change is going. If I don’t ever look at my weight than I loose the feeling that I’m making a change and could very quickly go back to the way it was. I’ve only lost 12 lbs in the past 2 1/2 months but it’s better than the alternative. It’s time we realize that we have to hold ourselves accountable to something, and if we are loosing weight than the scale is our accountability. I can’t FEEL good if I’m not loosing!
THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:04 am

Good point about accountability Johnny! And I agree, the slower you take the weight off the easier and better you will be for it in the long run. It’s slowly changing your life in the process so that maintenance isn’t such a foreign place.

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Brandee March 7, 2011 at 5:59 am

I did not see the show. I wish now that I had. When you get right down to brass tacks, the number on the scale is not the end all be all of weight loss. How you feel about your body as well as how healthy you feel because of losing excess weight is the more substansive benefit. But seeing that number go down day after day, week after week, well let’s just say it can help me refocus when all I can think of is spending an afternoon at my favorite Chinese restaurant with nothing but a debit card and a pair of dark sunglasses. While I am farrrrrrrr from where I would like to be health and weight-wise, I am getting closer every time I make a healthy choice. How do I know this? Because my scale says so.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

Excellent point, Brandee. As trivial as the number may seem, at least it’s there as a reminder of what you’re working on and how far you’ve come when you start to feel that desperate pull into old habits. Thanks for sharing!!

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Cari March 7, 2011 at 6:22 am

First of all, I love your blog. I read it every day, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented here.

I understand your points about diet companies vs. individuals and whether or not they should be “allowed” to reveal how much they’ve lost. It’s a personal choice.

For me, however, I *hated* when people would ask me how much weight I’d lost. I understand that people need a frame of reference and need a frame of refrence for what a 20 lb, 40 lb, or 135 lb weight loss looks like.

But, for me, I just felt like people were asking “So, exactly how fat were you in the first place?” Or it felt like some sort of competition “Cari said she lost 40 lbs… my mom just lost 55 lbs.” It just didn’t feel great for me to get the numbers question.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I agree that Jennifer Hudson should absolutely be allowed to spout her “magic number” from the rooftops if she wants… I just kinda find Oprah’s initial question– as normal and expected as it is– kind of off-putting.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:10 am

Hi Cari! Thanks for writing! Yes, you know what, I absolutely agree about the odd feeling of being asked exactly how much weight you’ve lost. I remember at my high school reunion a few years ago thinking, Ooo I’d really rather not say… And the judgment that ensues isn’t any better. I think this is really apparent too on the Biggest Loser. How normal it has become for us now to see someone who has 200 lbs to lose. I just don’t know that we should be desensitizing ourselves to that. But I get the sensationalism of it.

Thanks for pointing this out, because thinking about it now, I feel similarly.

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Karen Reuter March 7, 2011 at 6:24 am

My doctor always told me that its not the numbers on the scale, but, how you feel. You know if you have lost and doing the best you can. I feel I don’t want to be ruled by the scale. I do only weigh once a month, not every week.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:15 am

Hi Karen! I agree, the number is secondary to how you feel about yourself and your life. And even I have stopped weighing myself. It’s probably once every few months that I actually hop on a scale, just to see where I’m at. I’ve gotten to a place where I say, let me live the life I want and then find out where the number goes. Thanks for sharing

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Brenda March 7, 2011 at 6:52 am

I worked for WW briefly, and they are very meticulous about the message they want to send. However, WW is set up for the numbers. You weigh in every week, you have 5% and 10% goals that are calculated into pounds. The WW badges the leaders wear have how many pounds they’ve lost on them (or at least they did last summer). So for them to shy away from that is disingenuous. Although I would like to say the number on the scale doesn’t matter, it does keep me in check. Maybe I’ll evolve at some point.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:13 am

Thanks for the insight Brenda! I agree, there’s an accountability that the scale brings. I remember those badges now that you mention it…

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Shiela Cote March 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

I saw the show and was encouraged and felt a sense of hope. I too have about 135 lbs to lose and I’m scared.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 7:18 am

Glad it gave you hope, Shiela. I think Jennifer seems so full of life, so happy, and it’s inspiring! Don’t feel scared…do you have more weight to lose? Just take it one day at a time

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Curt Stimpson March 7, 2011 at 7:27 am

Numbers are motivation. Numbers tell you how you are doing. Numbers are the whole reason you want to lose weight. You weigh a certain number that you do not like…you’d rather weigh a different number. Numbers matter.

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Curt Stimpson March 7, 2011 at 8:33 am

That said….I’m one who preaches ‘life style change’ as opposed to ‘dieting’. Eating good wholesome food, not processed factory food is important. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important. Organic…even better. If you can develop good eating habits you number will slowly drop to where you want it and with continued good eating and a DAILY EXERCISE routine your number will stay there. Results will keep a smile on your face!!!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I think you’re absolutely right Curt, and I couldn’t agree more- it’s changing your life that makes any lasting difference in you. Thanks for all the support! Hope you’re well :)

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Karen Reuter March 7, 2011 at 7:41 am

Yes, its true numbers matter. When it comes to some people, the scale can be their enemy. Emotionally that number can effect you to the point you may want to give up or eat everything in sight. If only it can always give you good news. Its just not realistic. Everyone handles it different, this is up to you.

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Sarah March 7, 2011 at 8:10 am

I hear what you’re saying, but I have to disagree. Sort of.

I’ve lost about 120 pounds and probably have 20-35 more to go, and find that success is easiest when I focus on trying to live the way that healthy people live, rather than trying to lose weight or focus on the number on the scale. The fact that i’ve lost weight and continue live in a healthy way is a lot more important than those 120 pounds. My health means something to me, but my weight doesn’t.

In my head, healthy people don’t think about how much they weigh and it doesn’t have much of an impact on why they make healthy choices. They just make healthy choices because that’s what keeps their bodies feeling good. I don’t have control over how my body gives up weight, but I do have control over what I eat and how I move, so those are the things I focus on. The scale isn’t what has defined my weight loss or journey to a healthy lifestyle– that’s a position held by my running shoes.

I think weightwatchers is sending seriously conflicted messages about scale stuff. With with Jennifer Hudson stuff, it’s that the scale doesn’t matter, but the program is called “Weight Watchers,” which, to me, brings up the image of someone paying a lot of attention to the scale. And as someone else wrote, badges/whatever are given based on hitting weight loss mile-marks. But the scale doesn’t matter?

I don’t know. I think it’s different for everyone. I get nervous when people say that the scale is the focus of their weight loss because once they are done losing weight and the scale is no longer moving down, what will continue to motivate them to make healthy choices? Scale stuff is tricky.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

Hey Sarah, Funny you should say all this and think you’re disagreeing with me, but I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t think anyone should define themselves or their happiness and achievements through a precise number. My main problem is that Weight Watchers is muddying their message, much like you said. And I do believe that when you start out losing weight, seeing any changes in numbers on the scale helps to motivate you and keep you encouraged to forge ahead. Living and deriving any sense of self from that number is not only unfulfilling, but it can be detrimental, which is the main reason I stopped weighing myself with any regularity a few years ago. Thanks for your input!

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Sam March 10, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Thought provoking what you said about ‘healthy people don’t think about how much they weigh’. I live with 3 male roommates (I know the name Sam is androgenous but I’m female) and they are all in really great shape, but one in particular is in peak physical condition. We talk about it a lot and in the most platonic way possible I tell him all the time how amazing he looks. Ok, ok, he’s hot! Anyway, he is a ‘healthy person’ and I’m suprised by his choices all the time. He is consistent in workouts, and educated about food. A couple mornings ago he made us both egg white, spinach omlettes, but tonight he ate 3 pulled pork sandwiches, chips and 2 beers. At 10:30 at night! *gasp!* He doesn’t do this every night, or even often, but he allowed himself to tonight. He is probably the ‘healthiest’ person I know and the best part is HE HAS NO IDEA HOW MUCH HE WEIGHS!
I guess I always thing from the perspective of ‘trying-to-lose-weight’ instead of ‘making-sure-im-healthy’. I wonder what would happen if I changed my thinking? Very interesting!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 11, 2011 at 7:28 am

Yes, super interesting Sam. I love things like this- affirmations that it’s about the lifestyle and the majority of how you spend your days eating and moving, rather than the few times you go wild and eat til the cows come home. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s so important to have people like this in your life, people with positive body images

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Shanna, like Banana March 7, 2011 at 8:13 am

I did not see the show, but I do understand the debate. People get very caught up in the numbers — myself included. While I don’t have weight to lose per se, I do perceive a magic number on the scale as my ideal weight, which is silly because I may feel/look better and be X lbs more.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 7, 2011 at 8:25 am

Yes, it’s super easy to think the number matters or that given a certain height, someone should weigh X number of pounds or eat X number of calories per day. It’s just unsubstantial in most cases. I had a hard time a while back even deciding what a goal weight would be because I really had no frame of reference for what my body would look like at different weights. I remember being at Weight Watchers and being like, Ummm…Let’s just see what happens 100 lbs from now?…

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Kace March 7, 2011 at 8:28 am

I’d need the numbers. Nothing else would keep me motivated.

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Janice Harper March 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

Bravo on another insightful post. I live on the shores of the Salish Sea, and I enjoy watching the old barges slowly trudge by. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be on such a slow boat to China (or whatever far flung land it is heading to), and think it must feel maddening to be moving at such a glacial pace. Yet I only need turn my head for a few moments to discover that when I return to gaze out to sea, the boat that appeared to barely move had already disappeared. Just by moving, however slowly, the slowest boat in the world eventually reaches its destination. Whether it’s losing a pound a week or gaining a dollar a day, by staying the course, we get there. Your posts are inspiring, not just to readers who want to lose weight, but to anyone who wants to be inspired to do more, go further, and treat ourselves with greater kindness and compassion.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Oh Janice you have such a way with words. Excellent excellent analogy. It made me realize how impatient I am, how easily I would refuse a slower path in life, even though it would still get me there. Thank you for sharing :)

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Sober and the City March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I didn’t see the show, but I am torn on the pounds lost idea. On one hand, my eating disorder came out of being obsessed with the number on the scale. The number on the scale in the morning would make or break my day and could completely destroy my sense of self and self-worth. However, that’s just my own personal struggle. All I know is that once I stopped weighing myself and focusing on a specific goal number, my eating issues significantly subsided.

It is a tangible way to see your progress though. People who participate in the show I Used to Be Fat on MTV only weigh in every 2-3 weeks or so. You can see the progress, but the scale isn’t the goal. The goal is for the HS graduates to understand healthy eating habits and to push themselves in terms of exercising. Exercising is the main focus of the show. Now, not all of us can work out 4-8 hrs a day for a whole summer to lose 100 lbs, but not only do these kids do it, most of them keep the weight off and the show is about a transformation from the inside out for most of them.

So, focusing too much on the scale during the weight-loss process can be incredibly dangerous, but what a great way to measure progress before/after. I also think it’s important to look at body fat % as lean muscle weighs more than fat.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

What a heartfelt reflection of what I wrote. Thank you! I really do agree with you in that shifting the focus from a number to an inner pride and confidence is beautiful and it breeds so much good.

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Erin March 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

As a new reader, I APPLAUD you for taking what I was thinking through that whole episode and actually saying it out loud. I’ve been a “weight watcher” for years, and this time I’m back in meetings for the fourth time and down 17lbs in about 3 months. Part of why Weight Watchers is so successful for me is that I’m a “put a gold star next to my name” kind of girl. Call me Rachel Barry, I need that kind of motivation – and WW gives you a gold star for every 5lbs lost. They give you a standing ovation and they annouce how much you’ve lost in front of the entire meeting. here they are saying on Oprah that they DON’T do that and “the numbers don’t matter” – its just simply inaccurate. Their leaders have been instructed to offer this reward system based on the numbers and how much we’ve lost. Anyone who has ever been to a weight watchers meeting will tell you that.

Yes, they’ve done a great job of integrating the idea that this program is a lifestyle change, and I think thats why my weight is coming off slower than ever – I’m truly making this a lifestyle choice rather than treating it like a crash diet – but at the end of the day, I still just celebrated my 10% loss with my meeting and my 17lbs down was annouced. Everyone applauded. I even got a cute keychain to show for it.

So yes – the numbers to me matter. And I agree, lets celebrate Jennifer’s success by giving a positive role model for those of us who need one, regardless of how much weight we need to lose.

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smilinggreenmom March 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Wow – that is strange about what happened on the show. I missed that. You would think they would have had that worked out in advance! Anyway – I think it is personal choice as to whether anyone wants to share how much they have lost. I don’t think it is a bad thing but I can also see both sides. I don’t own a scale and never will. I don’t want to know where I am at and when I can see and feel that change is taking place, then that will be my success! For me, it’s about a lifestyle of small healthier choices like whole foods, water and green tea and taking my Vidazorb probiotic. I just want to feel better and look better all while make good choices. That’s so crazy though about the O show that day, hmmm!

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Rachel @ Grateful Girl Goes Gluten Free March 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I think what you wrote is so inspiring. You’re weight loss journey is so amazing and when I read 135lbs on your blog I couldn’t believe it! I lost 30 in a year and I love telling people a real number.

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Toni March 8, 2011 at 5:24 am

I didn’t catch the episode unfortunately. But, I do think that it’s silly that she wont reveal the numbers. It’s those numbers that motivate a person to want to try a diet, it’s the ultimate confirmation that it works, it what’s sets people up to want to jump on the bandwagon!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 7:11 am

Very true, Toni. Thanks!

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Katie G March 8, 2011 at 7:12 am

I don’t know if this is true or not, but I read recently that a possibility of Jennifer Hudson having to keep mum on her exact weight loss has something to do with the fact that she didn’t lose all of her weight on the current Points Plus plan, which could possibly create an issue with false advertisement. I don’t know for sure if she started losing weight inititially on her own before becoming a spokesperson for WW, but obviously a lot of her weight loss came from the old plan and not the current one, which only began at the end of November.

Again, I don’t know if that bares any truth or not, but it’s a possibilty! Personally, I would have loved to have heard what she lost for no other reason than that she should be PROUD of it!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 7:14 am

Ohhh, what an interesting point, Katie! Thanks for sharing, I had no idea but it could make sense!

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OliePants March 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

I really appreciate your candor in this blog – this is how blogs should be written. I do think that people tend to get a little number crazed – well a lot number crazed. While I do not think that numbers are the end all be all of weight loss – I really don’t, it may be good in the long run. For instance, if I wanted to lose 50 pounds, I wouldn’t necessarily check the scale every single day to make sure I lost the necessary pounds. I would live a healthy lifestyle and check once in a while to ensure that I was on the way down and not really focus on the number per se. Does that make sense? I think if your clothes start fitting better and you can see a difference, you know you’re doing the right thing. And that’s worth much more than a number on a scale! Great post!

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

That’s a fabulous approach! Going by how you feel and how your clothes fit seems a bit more organic, and I like it.

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Erica March 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I think that more important than the numbers on the scale are your actual physical measurements, and that both should be used to gauge progress. Your weight can fluctuate by nearly 5 lbs in a day. Women also tend to gain water weight during their menstrual cycle. I’ve had instances where I was lifting intensively, trying to gain muscle where my weight on the scale did not change at all but my measurements did.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Excellent excellent point Erica! Thanks!

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Liz M March 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I am torn by this topic as well. I did not see the show, but I have also lost over 100 pounds. I always hate it when people ask how much I’ve lost because I find it embarrassing to admit how far I had let myself go, plus I don’t like being in the spotlight for my body (good or bad). The truth is that I really felt like I needed the scale for motivation in the beginning, but at some point along the way, the scale went from motivator to an overtly negative influence for me. It became a very unhealthy obsession for me, and whether or not I had a good day was determined by what the scale said every morning.

I agree also that if the scale is your primary motivator for weight loss, you are going to have a very ugly wake up call when the scale stops moving. I have had a very difficult transition from losing to maintaining (which reading your blog has helped me with), and I am coming to realization that to make that transition successfully I need to let go of the scale and start focusing on how I feel rather than what the scale says or even how I look. If a weight loss company can successfully communicate the idea that it is about more than pounds lost, I applaud them.

While it does seem strange for WEIGHT Watchers to hesitate to announce the amount of weight their spokesperson has lost, maybe Jennifer is at the place that I am, learning to transition from reliance on the scale to reliance on positive feedback from her more healthy body. Maybe her group leader knows that Jennifer has a tendency to want to take it too far and could be in danger of over-losing or becoming obsessed with her weight. Maybe this was more about helping Jennifer view her success in terms of something larger than just numbers on a scale, or maybe Jennifer is embarrassed about admitting on national TV just how far she had let herself go, as I would be in her position. It’s one thing to show your before and after shot and another to tell everyone exactly how many pounds you lost. At any rate, I think it is good for a weight loss company to address that it has to be about more than just the numbers for real life long success.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Liz, thank you for such a thoughtful and honest reply. What you wrote is so true, so relatable on a number of levels for everyone who reads. And yes, I too believe it’s good that a diet company would want to make how you feel *at least as* important as how much you’ve lost. Maintenance is another story entirely because it’s the rest of life and finding a beautiful balance is one of the hardest things I think I’ll ever do.

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Carbzilla March 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I saw the show and felt the same way you do, at first. I discussed it with a number of people, and we all decided it had nothing to do with the number and Weight Watchers program as much as it had to do with Jennifer’s contractual agreement with the company. Her weight loss is their marketing material, and they haven’t fully capitalized on it yet. I know that sounds cynical but I think it’s much closer to the truth than any other theory, and I’m both WW Lifetime and a former employee.

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm

This is such a good read into the reasoning behind everything! I absolutely think you’re right and though it seems slimy of WW, it would make perfect sense and I get that from a business perspective it’s wise. Thanks!

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Amy Sue March 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Sadly, I didn’t get to watch that Oprah. I would have loved to see it.

I have been overweight since I was a young child. I hate that! I am working to lose weight. I have done it before, on LA Weight Loss to be exact. I lost over 70 pounds, I was so proud of myself!

Well here I am 4 years later and trying to lose 150 pounds that I have been holding onto for so many years of my life. I found your blog and I cannot even begin to tell you how I love it! You make some of the best foods, some that I would never even think about.

My biggest issues are convenience and motivation. How did you find those?

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ASuburbanLife March 11, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Nice post and I really see your point. However, what I most take issue with is that Oprah asked the question. It seems as though her question, not WW’s desire to not share the number, trivializes all of the benefits of Jennifer’s weight loss into “how much?”

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Can You Stay for Dinner March 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm

That’s a really valid argument. And I can completely understand that, because the more important question is always, how did you change your life? Thanks for bringing this to light!

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Cindy March 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

YES, numbers do matter. Right or wrong, most of us live by those numbers until we get to where we want to be.

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ann March 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm

You know, looking at your blog and all the delicious food you make, I never would have thought you had a large weight loss in your past. The food looks so good! And when I started my weightloss journey (working on losing 130lbs.) I thought I would never eat good food again. But it’s been kind of like quitting smoking. When I quit, all I wanted was to smoke. When I quit eating bad all i dreamed about was having a huge binge on all the bad food. But now that I’ve lost some weight that bad food doesn’t have the same draw. THAT is the life change. You deny yourself or use moderation for awhile and soon enough, you don’t want the same things you wanted before. Maybe because you aren’t the same person. No matter your weight or weight loss number getting healthy is good for everyone.

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ann March 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm

And I love your blog!

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Gordon November 23, 2011 at 5:06 am

Not only was this article useful but i love your theme, viva la wordpress!

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Ally January 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

I completely agree! I started WW online 6months ago and was so afraid to use a scale. Being overweight for all 25 years of my life had me scared to look daily or weekly at my weight. After about 2 weeks on the plan I began to feel a lot different, ie more energy, but I was not seeing big physical changes. At that point I went out and bought a scale and stepped on it the first time. I was elated to see that I had lost 10lbs (knowing where I started from a recent Dr. visit). From that point the weight loss slowed down, as it should to be a healthy sustainable weight loss, but I was able to rejoice in knowing that I had lost my 1-2 lbs that week even if my pants fit just the same. Those numbers have motivated me to lose 37lbs and have given me the courage to know that I will lose the next 30-40lbs! Thanks for your blog Andie, it is such a motivation to me!

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