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Oprah’s new weight loss commercial is still missing the point

Weight Watchers has recently started a new campaign featuring Oprah Winfrey. As someone who has struggled with my weight for years before finally learning how to maintain a healthy weight, I connected on a deep level with what she was saying.

“Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be. Many times you look in the mirror, and you don’t even recognize your own self because you got lost, buried in the weight that you carry,” she says in the ad. “Nothing you’ve ever been through is wasted. So every time I tried and failed, every time I tried again, and every time I tried again, has brought me to this most powerful moment to say, ‘If not now, when?’”

These words are motivating and relatable. But while I think Weight Watchers can be a tool in your toolbox just like MyFitnessPal (my personal favorite) or SparkPeople, which also help you understand energy in (food) vs. energy out (activity), weight and weight loss are so much more complex than that.

If you are going to have success when it comes to your weight, you first have to acknowledge how you got into this predicament in the first place. Your eating habits and weight gain did not happen overnight, and it won’t come off overnight. Your journey to weight gain needs to be acknowledged. Your relationship with food and your body needs to be reflected on. Only then can real change happen.

Once you are clear on how you got to where you are, then a clear plan on how to get to a new place can be made. Just like with any life change, whether it’s your finances, a career change, starting a family — any big change — planning will make all the difference. There is a saying that my husband loves to quote, The 7-P axiom: Prior perfect planning prevents piss-poor performance.

I used a tool called S.M.A.R.T. goal setting.

S is for specific. Be as specific and detailed as you can with your goals. Include who, what, when and where you will accomplish the goal.

M is for measurable. Quantify your goal. Set a weight loss goal in pounds lost or an activity goal in miles walked by a certain date.

A is for attainable. Does the goal align with your core values and vision of your future self? Not what you think you should do or be, but what you envision yourself to be? Do you have the right attitude and skills to reach the goal?

R is for realistic. Is this goal truly possible given your work schedule and family life? Do you need to make the goal less difficult so you can achieve it?

T is for timely. Give yourself a deadline to reach your big goal, and then create mini goals to perform each week to reach that goal.

Then get your calendar out, and schedule in the time you will need to reach the goal. Time for activity, time for shopping, time for cooking all need to be scheduled.

I have a degree in nutrition, have read hundreds of diet and nutrition books and have tried many diets to lose weight. It wasn’t until I took the time to reflect, make a plan and then resolve to stick to it that I was able to lose the weight and maintain that weight loss for life.

Now that several years have gone by and my new eating habits are second nature, I can’t think of living and eating any other way. Making diet and lifestyle changes was truly life changing, but I can’t think of a better life to live.

As an aside, this tool is used by corporations, universities, governments — organizations all over the world use this tool and find it effective.

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What do you think of Oprah’s new commercial?

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