Why Jennifer Hudson doesn’t inspire me to lose weight

Jennifer Hudson is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers

I just finished watching a special on 20/20 called “Gaining and losing Weight Means Big Paydays for Celebrities” The story confirmed what I have long believed about celebrity spokespeople for diet plans like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers: that they get paid gobs (about $30,000 per pound they lose) and they don’t really follow the plans they promote (personal chefs likely contribute more to their weight loss success).

With the success of Jennifer Hudson’s promotion for Weight Watchers, the trend of celebrities shilling for these plans is going to continue and grow. Jessica Simpson is going to be paid $3 million dollars to lose her considerable baby weight. Kirstie Ally, too, famously lost weight with Jenny Craig, only to put it all back on, and then lose it all again with her own company’s Organic Liaison diet (a pretty run of the mill, low-fat diet with a dependence on high-priced supplements).

Jessica Simpson will be paid 3 million to lose weight with Weight Watchers

I don’t begrudge these celebrities how great they look and say they feel now that they have “lost the weight.” I also don’t blame them for the money they make–these endorsements work on huge numbers of us, getting us to buy these tired old diet plans that fail 95% of the time. I myself followed Weight Watchers 13 times in 25 years, ending that journey with 100 extra pounds and a broken spirit.

I guess I just don’t find these loud, look-at-me commercials, filled with stunning before and after pictures, very inspiring anymore (the last time I was tricked by one of these endorsements, “Fergie, the Duchess of York” was the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers). They don’t reflect the reality that I have discovered about what it takes to lose weight for the long term. They don’t tell me that it will take time, or that my body needs to heal from years of metabolic damage (brought on by these same diets). They don’t tell me that I have to eat and nourish myself six times a day with protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and healthy fats in order to drop weight. They also don’t cause me to challenge a belief system–filled with messages like “lose 40 pounds by summer”–that promises a quick fix. I searched for a quick fix for most of my adult life. For this problem of weight, one does not exist.

So who does inspire me? I meet inspiring people every day who are taking risks by going against the grain and challenging the information sold by these tired, failing diet plans. Katherine from Andover, Minnesota who lost 100 pounds on Slimgenics, and has gained all but 10 pounds of it back. She is now looking for a better way to deal with this complex problem. Or, Mary from Cottage Grove who was a dieter her whole life and who expresses regret for modeling this behavior to her two daughters–one obese and one dangerously thin. She is now showing them there is a better way to lose weight and be healthy. These are real people with real, inspiring stories. I don’t know about you, but I’ve left the fantasy of easy, fabulous, quick-fix weight loss promises behind. For me, reality is inspiring.

Who inspires you? Leave a comment.

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  26. Ann says:

    Curves Complete inspires me! This program is the only true solution to take the weight off, get healthy, stay healthy and NEVER put the weight back on! There is NO program out there like this. The traditional diet industry is designed to keep you in it! It’s a $35 billion industry. Why would they want you to succeed? No one can sustain what these celebrities are paid to do, not even they can sustain it. Just ask Kirsty Alley & Oprah. I feel sorry for them, it’s just one quick fix gimic diet after another. Curves Complete is a holistic approach to weight loss and good health combining exercise, sensible meal plans (using real food and an online program) and one on one coaching for accountability and motivation with coaches certified with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio (the #1 heart hospital in the country for the past 16 yrs). All Curves Coaches are now certified with the Cleveland Clinic in exercise, nutrition and behavior modification. Curves Complete teaches lifestyle change and the success of this program is astounding! If you follow the simple program they personalize for you, by the time you reach your goal, you will own it! You will never gain your weight back. It’s a process they take you through, holding your hand all the way and all across Canada and the USA pounds are finally falling off, never to return! Thank you Curves!

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  31. ro1224Rob says:

    This was an interesting read. I’m not quite sure how I feel about celebrity-endorsed programs, but I am having some of my greatest success every on the new Weight Watchers 360 program. While WW360 isn’t a substantial departure from the old WW and while the Points system continues to guide members in their quest to be thin, what I’ve found is that for the first time I’ve taken control of my journey. In other words, I’m in the driver’s seat and I’m treating WW360 as the vehicle to get me all the way through my journey.

    Using a new personal perspective on portion control (something so many American’s don’t do) coupled with an increase in use of more natural or whole foods (e.g. eliminate all the artificial junk in your diet), I’ve been able to drop 27 pounds in just 12 weeks. I’m dead serious when I say that I have NEVER before experienced this level of success on any weight loss program. And all of this has been possible without exercise, which I plan to add very soon. While I can’t predict as to whether I will make it to my goal or whether I will be able to keep the weight off once I reach maintenance, I know that I am well-positioned to give it my all.

    All that being said, I certainly can recognize and value the statement made by the post author about having tried WW many times over a period of years only to end up 100 pounds heavier and feeling helpless. Though my experiences were quite as extreme, I have certainly felt as if the dieting effort was truly going nowhere and that no program would be able to help me get to where I needed to be for optimal health. I had certainly done my share of yo-yo dieting, and I was frustrated with it. This perspective also made me cautious when I made the decision to give WW360 a spin.

    In terms of dieting, I believe the true culprit to be all the questionable diet foods and artificial sweeteners which take the place of more wholesome food choices. A misleading message for so long has been to avoid unnecessary sugar and fat calories, and this has been something that had pushed millions, if not billions of dieters, in the direction of so-called “replacement foods”, which are filled with artificial substances to mimic sugar and fat. In my humble opinion, sugar and fat are not the enemy, but rather it is the absence of knowledge and understanding of proper portion size and what an adequate set of nutrients looks like. It is next to impossible for someone to make sense of a Nutrition Facts label if they don’t understand what that label is telling them. There is no realistic way for someone without some understanding in this regard to put that information to use in their dieting efforts. I would even venture a guess that some folks reading this comment don’t even know that a product’s ingredients are listed in order of quantity or concentration.

    For years I was a heavy user of sweeteners like NutraSweet and Splenda. During this time I never had any measurable amount of permanent weight loss, save one time when I exercised like a maniac taking five or six cycling classes per week and feeling as if I was married to the elliptical machine at my gym. The more I heard about these substances and the role they played in our bodies, the less I liked about them. The alternative – sugar – wasn’t exactly welcomed in my world either. I had great ambivalence in going back to sugar because I believed that in some manner that would only exacerbate all of my problems and ultimately make me fatter. I was very much wrong in that regard. Today I’ve pared down what would’ve been 6 to 8 teaspoons of sugar (to match the sweetness of 4 packets of Splenda) in a 16 ounce coffee to between 3 to 4 teaspoons. The result has been a reduction in cravings for sweet foods and the aforementioned weight loss.

    Some very interesting research has been going on that suggests artificial sweeteners actually make us crazy more sweet foods; in addition, they deliver the sweetness but not the calories (or energy) that our bodies – and more importantly, our brains – expect to come along for the ride. Glucose has been identified as having a keep role to plan in the regulation of hunger. When glucose is absent and fructose is substituted (think, High Fructose Corn Syrup), the hunger switch is never turned off. The end result is we continue to eat without much regard for how many calories we are consuming.

    A final word on that High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s in nearly every food that’s label “diet” or “healthy” though manufacturers are starting to get the picture that consumers are wising up to this ingredient and its potential negative impact on health. With research ongoing, HFCS has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and obesity. The question I’m asking is that if these claims are true, what the heck is that ingredient doing in a food product designed for use by dieters?

    Best of luck to all of you in your weight loss endeavors.

  32. Debbi Wood says:

    Instead of weight watchers paying celebrities to lose weight, they should pay the workers the excess money that they give to the celebrities who already have money. I would lose quite a bit of weight, too, if I was paid to keep it off. That way I would have enough money to hire a personal chef and trainer.

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  34. I check your blog everyday Nell. I look for your stories to reinforce my belief that this is the way to eat to be healthy. This story hits it on the head. How come it is so hard to believe it will work. I too lost 135 lbs on slimgenics and was at my goal for one day. I was continually hungry ALL THE TIME. I could not live like that. I was very active and even though I was running and exercising I was putting the pounds back on. Now I am up 60lbs even though I was working out all the time. After starting the Nutrition 4 Weight loss class and hearing you speak I feel I am on the right track. Even though I have not lost any more weight I feel full and hopeful. Thank you Nell

    • Your comment will help so many people. Thank you for reading. I love that you are out there! Believe me, it will happen. Remember, it took a full year before I saw the scale move. Then recently, I gained 10 pounds (it comes back on me so easily!), and I was so frustrated because nothing was happening. Just this past week, after almost giving up, I lost 3 pounds! It was all about treating myself kindly through my imperfect times and getting right back on my plan!

      You inspire me. Did you see I had another woman’s slimgenics experience in there. I am sure there are more of them out there!

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  36. Kate says:

    Nell,
    You are my inspiration. From the day I first heard you tell your story on “Dishing Up Nutrition” I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. I’m so impressed by you and proud of your accomplishments and so appreciate your generous spirit.
    We all get lured in by the quick-loss stories we hear and think maybe this is the program or pill that’ll give me the success I’ve been hoping for my entire life. No one tells the real story though of the vast number of people who gain back all the weight lost and then some.
    I was once a svelt figure on Nutrisystem … for about 20 minutes. I was flabbergasted at the rate I put on all the weight lost and much, much more. I just heard WW has a 4% success rate, yet we continue to hear “it’s such a good program.” Really? I’ve been on it so many times I lost count. And every time the eating plan had changed drastically. Finally, I’m learning the truth about what foods to eat to heal my body after lifelong abuses to my metabolism, not to mention my spirit.
    Reading your blog and the support you provide has helped me whenever my old way of thinking creeps back and says, “Maybe this other plan will give me faster results.” No. Don’t believe them! It’s all marketing. Save your money for organic veggies. Real food.
    Thank you, Nell, for keeping it real.

    • Ah, Kate! Thank you so much! I love this comment. Yes, the weight loss lasts about 20 minutes before it creeps back on!

      Thank you so much for reading Kate. I am so glad we are friends.

  37. […] more: Why Jennifer Hudson doesn't inspire me to lose weight « My Life … 此条目发表在 Loss Weight 分类目录,贴了 celebrities, celebrity-spokespeople, jenny, […]

  38. Dear Nell,
    Thank you so much for the beautiful post. I am stuck… really stuck. As a personal dev. coach who chose food relationships as a niche because of my own journey is this world I have been feeling so “lost” these days with twenty extra pounds on, no traffic for my programs offered and seemingly no one out there interested in my coaching. Can you tell I am having “one of those days”?

    I can be seduced by these things you mention (the glitz, glamour of celebrity weight loss) in times when I feel like this. I know there are answers waiting for me. I am so grateful you brought my feet back to the ground. Truth is … I still feel like shit and wonder if this twenty will turn to thirty or if I will ever be truly free but thankfully…. I don’t feel like this all the time. And you reminded me of what I value and what inspires me.

    I can not thank you enough!

    Mitzi

    • Wow! Thank you for this. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is write after a long day. You reminded me of why I do this!

      I feel your pain about the 20-30. I am currently struggling with the last 15 or so, and it has slowed to a stop. It has been a year of up and down with the weight. I am idealizing this brief 5 month period last year when I was at my goal weight and I felt great. No one really talks about how hard this is. So, thanks for adding your voice to the conversation. We need to band together!

      Nell

      Sent from my iPad


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