“Eat bread. Lose weight.” It’s a marketing slogan for the ages.
To be clear, I am not anti-Weight Watchers or anti-Oprah. Nor am I anti-bread. I also don’t believe that being healthy must require extremes or deprivation. My dinner last night consisted of pizza. And wine. Which I used to wash down my crust with every delicious sip.
But what does irk me are businesses (and there are plenty of them) that strip the pursuit of health and fitness of the one thing that makes it absolutely amazing, and that is that it is transformative. That by nature, it requires change and sometimes a lot of it to be effective, to leave people better off than they were before.
Because through the simple act of doing something different – be it eating a new food or doing an activity you’ve never done before – you are immediately gifted a new experience. One, that if you’re willing to be vulnerable, can transform you on much more than a physical level. It can open doors.
See for me, as a coach, my biggest success stories are not necessarily those clients who have lost the most weight. It is those who through their journey have surprised themselves by doing things they never thought they were capable of, causing them to emerge with a newfound confidence to start dating again or seek out a new job. Because for people who have endured life-long battles with their weight (like, dare I say, Oprah) the real issue is not bread or lack thereof. It’s a void that leaves them hungry in every sense of the word.
Of course, as a professional in this industry, I know better than anyone that fear of change is the biggest hurdle to getting people to eat well and exercise. This is why the Weight Watchers campaign is absolutely brilliant, because the message it sends is “you-can-have-your-bread-and-eat-it-too.” And, if that ultimately gets people to lose weight and feel better and live a happier life, then I’m all for it. But I can’t say I agree with the approach.
Because I choose to believe that inspiring people involves a responsibility to guide them out of their comfort zone. It requires helping them examine what it is they’re really craving, so that they can find a type of satisfaction that doesn’t come from toast.