They have created a billion dollar industry convincing women across the globe that if they just count, track, and log every bite of food they put into their mouths - they can ditch the yoga pants, don some tight jeans and knee high boots, and become an after picture success story.
Well, apparently the millions of men and women tracking their food and activity points across the globe, just isn't enough. Their newest, genius, marketing target? The new mom.
Who best to be the poster child for this campaign? Jessica Simpson, of course.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this strategy out. Jessica is famous for her weight struggles - particularly the ones she had during this pregnancy. Every few weeks there was a new headline. Is Jessica's weight gain safe for baby? Even appearing on a show surrounded by what one would expect to be sympathetic hosts - the strictly female-staffed The View - wasn't safe. Joy Behar called her fat.
|My pregnancy photos look nothing like this. No fair.|
Jessica signs a $4 million contract to lose 50 pounds in five months. For a company that boasts being "dedicated to inspiring and helping you adopt a healthier way to live," it seems a bit rash, doesn't it? Why 50 pounds in five months? It clearly states under every success story on their site people following the plan can expect to lose one to two pounds per week. Okay, let's split the difference and call it a pound and a half. I think that's fair. So by Weight Watchers own claims, following the plan the way it should be followed, you can expect to lose 30 pounds in five months. Yet Simpson signed a contract to lose almost double that. Even if she did perform at the high end of those expectations she would cap out at 40 pounds. Still 20% less than what Weight Watchers is asking.
This is why Weight Watchers is genius, and also why I hate them. They are swooping in on the tail end of all the criticism. Post-pregnancy pictures show Jessica fatter than she has ever been. Weight Watchers knows that the public has a short attention span. This stuff won't be interesting for long. They also know Jessica has all of the trainers and personal chefs she will ever need to make this happen. And I'm pretty sure they are certain that a four million dollar price tag will ante up the motivation factor. They know they are expecting more than their own credo even claims is possible. But they don't care. Just do it, Jessica. You're rich enough. You've got the resources.
What really pisses me off, is that when she does emerge 50 pounds lighter - which she will - regular women are going to actually believe this is possible for them. They are going to watch Jessica strut around in some Daisy Dukes in a Weight Watchers ad a few months from now, and wonder why they are still in their pregnancy pants.
If Weight Watchers is going to sell post-partum women on this fantasy, they are going to have to customize their website a little. Is breastfeeding on your activity list? How many points do I get for that? Maybe it depends on how much milk I yield? How about walking up to my fourth floor apartment, with the Baby Bjorn strapped to my torso, and a handful of groceries. How many activity points for that? How many points in approximately a half a handful of elbow pasta I picked off the floor? Oh, also - can you please add toddler treats to your food lists? I can't find how many points are in an Earths Best teething cracker anywhere.
Being a new mom is stressful enough without logging every bite you take. If you are breastfeeding, I'm not even sure if that is healthy behavior. The most fantastic thing about being a new mom is enjoying those rare few months of total immersion. You won't get those months back Jessica, you just won't. You had the opportunity to be the poster mom for the average woman, who gains weight, enjoys her baby, and deals with it when it's time. Instead, you decided to go another route.
"It's funny to be at your heaviest and feel the most confident. I just take such pride in being a mom! I just love my body more than ever now." You were quoted as saying this a couple days after you gave birth. Reading this quote makes me happy. I only wish it made you happy, too.
But Weight Watchers is smart. And $4 million dollars is a lot of money.