Oprah and Weight Watchers: What’s Wrong with it All?

I recently read and shared this amazing open letter to Oprah, written by Dr William Davis, Author of Wheatbelly. This was a well written letter that explains why her endorsements of weight watchers and eating bread is contributing to the demise of our health as a culture. I won’t get into details as you can read this amazing letter in the link provided.

When I shared this letter on my facebook page, the Oprah worshipping haters chimed in:

“I follow the WW plan and find it encourages great nutrition, take your holier than thou attitude somewhere else. You are able to criticize without knowledge. How amazing!!!”

There were several other’s, one telling me that in fact I was just a fad. Sigh. As a blogger I learned to deal with and let go of hateful and fear based reactions from people. It’s never easy to hear, but I understand where it comes from and have learned to let it go.

The truth is these people are believing a celebrity. A multi-billion dollar industry that does not care about you or your health. Holier than thou? Who is the person that our culture is worshipping and following verbatim? I hate to break it to you pretty lady, but it isn’t me. I wish I could say I am making a bigger difference. I wish I could say I was reaching as many people as she is. However, I am swimming up a strong waterfall all the while grasping at slippery rocks. I haven’t drowned. I’ve touched a few lives. I don’t make much money. I just make it by. I actually care about your health, and trying to reach people to make a difference. I’m not going anywhere. I’m still swimming. I care about sustainable farming practices. I care about the health of organisms, soil, where our food comes from. I care about nutrient density, and digestive healing-the root of health. I believe that by removing processed foods and eating real food, including delicious healthy fatty foods like pasture raised bacon, you will feel amazing. By addressing core issues in your body, you can heal and lose weight.

What scares me the most about Oprah promoting WW, is the fact that our culture is so brainwashed to believe everything we see on popular tv or read in a magazine. We still believe “whole grains” are healthy because what, Oprah says so? The government food guide based on shady research funded by big agriculture and big pharmaceutical? Oprah is a HUGE influencer, and she has essentially sold her soul to the devil, for the almighty dollar. The mentality in our culture is that “Oprah can do no harm.”  You are sadly mistaken. She can, and is doing a lot of harm.

What we fail to recognize is the actual harm to our health that she is promoting. Health is not only about weight loss. Anyone can diet and lose weight. Cut calories and lose weight. Count “points” and lose weight. Diet’s fail. Someone very near and dear to me successfully lost a ton of weight following weight watchers. Then subsequently has a triple v-fib arrest. Health is about nutrient density, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Promoting the consumption of bread for money, does not automatically make bread healthy. We focus on all the wrong things. We focus on the scale. We focus on measuring ourselves and aesthetics.

 

 

Young woman dissapointed on a medical weight scale.

 

 

It isn’t just obesity that the person is struggling with. There are so many factors at play here. Hormones, sleep, microbiome, thyroid, and adrenals, to name a few. It isn’t all diet and exercise. It just isn’t. Losing weight through cutting calories and running on a treadmill is the primary focus in our culture, but that does not improve the core health of the individual. In many cases, the person is obese, yet nutrient deprived. or even skinny, yet nutrient deprived. Their cells are starving for nutrients like healthy fatty acids, magnesium, selenium, Vitamin A, and iodine. These people are hungry, irritable, and obsessed over counting and measuring their food, measuring their wasteline. Stepping on a scale. Walking on a treadmill. Wishing and hoping. Emotions running high, ups and downs. In my professional opinion, this is not health, and not healthy.

 

 

Portrait of young woman measuring her waistline

We see pictures like these depicting measuring and skinniness, and inches ^^^ This is what we idealize. Skinny does not equal healthy.

Skinny does.not.equal.healthy.

 

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way. It really doesn’t.

Processed foods, sugar, corn syrup, grains, pastas, etc… these typical addictive American food items are making us sick. Yes, even “in moderation” (the most frustrating cop out of a term). Our mindset is that anything less than this is depriving. People (like myself) who actually go against this core belief system are being told WE have an eating disorder. The cultural belief is that grains have to be a staple in our diet and without them, we are depriving our body of nutrients. Little do we know that we CAN in fact get nutrients from real unprocessed foods. Vegetables contain minerals and fiber that we can actually absorb without grains. Little do we know that the phytates and lectins in grains bind to nutrients, and render them unavailable for our body. There is no money to be made in knowing this.

We fail to recognize the connection grain consumption has on our health…all aspects of our health!

“Another very important issue that you should be aware of with your reliance on wheat- and grain-based products: Be prepared to have a future of health problems. Populations who do not consume grains enjoy freedom from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis; type 2 diabetes; hypertension; acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation; coronary heart disease; depression and suicide; and bear a far lesser burden of cancer and dementia. These are the “diseases of civilization” that plague modern humans eating modern diets, but not societies that do not consume such Western foods. With your dietary approach, you have in effect endorsed a style of eating that can, with difficulty, achieve weight loss, but propagates risk for all of these modern diseases.” -read more.

You can try to beat me down. You can keep following the big money influencers, because it’s within your comfort zone. You can keep attacking me with your fear based remarks and beliefs. You can lose weight on these diets-but it’s temporary, and you will continue to struggle with your health. I’m going to continue to teach and touch people who want to help themselves. I’m not going to let the haters beat me down. I have been in all of these places, and experienced loved ones go through it as well. If I hadn’t gone down the path I am on, I would be overweight right now, no gallbladder, on antidepressants, antacids, rushing to the bathroom after meals, and the list goes on and on. I was heading down that road. I will never look back, and I will continue to help people to move forward in the right direction.

 

About Kathryn:

 

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science, Health and Fitness from Westfield University. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Studies, from Springfield College. Kathryn specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions.

Kathryn offers worldwide skype consultations! 

My Services

Contact Me: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

 

 

Comments

  1. Great read and message!

  2. Great post! She may do some positive and inspiring things, but I’ve always wondered why people follow her so blindly regarding health given her history of health/nutrition issues.

  3. As a Paleo/Primal follower I’ve dropped 80 pounds, started running, and just finished my first full marathon last month all without grains. I can’t imagine that even being possible if I was suffering from sort of nutrient deficiency. I consider all of that a bonus. The biggest benefit is feeling the best I’ve ever felt in my 55 years.

  4. Our society is filled with chasing and following celebrities instead of educating themselves. It’s the same reason why so many people think Trump should be president. Crazy and scary.

  5. Sharon Hedte says:

    Absolutely …. Well done ….

  6. I think people want someone to tell them it’s okay to have bread/grains because they are finding not having them a difficult thing to do. And if someone like Oprah says it’s okay then even better. Indirectly, through Oprah, you have hit them at the core of their greatest addiction.

  7. Don’t give up! What you say is true and those of us who have put our autoimmune issues (like my Hashimotos and Celiacs) in remission through holistic health practices do recognize that our society has lied to us about what is good for us for profits. You do make a difference and there is a growing body of people who think and believe just like you and we are becoming more and more vocal!! The proof is there people just sometimes have to get “sick” enough (which breaks my heart) to see there is another way.

  8. Kay Coppenbarger says:

    I want to tell you how I lost 76 pounds and 36 inches. It took me 14 months to achieve my goal. As a former Weight Watchers Instructor. I struggled with years of bloating and cramping but didn’t know why; until I saw Dr. William Davis on the Dr. Oz show on September 2014. He shared the effects that you would have from eating wheat, grains, white flour and white sugar. It upset me to find out that they had changed wheat and its genetics and is now an appetite stimulant. I now live the wheat belly lifestyle. I went cold turkey off of wheat the day I heard Dr William Davis. I didn’t start with the wheat belly diet but I ended the last eight months strictly on the wheat belly diet. I can see sincerely tell you I have no more food cravings; to me that is incredible. I discovered that my body needed more protein and that I wouldn’t die without packaged and processed foods. My body decided in April 2015 that I had reached my goal weight and I’ve been maintaining between a 71-76 pound weight loss since then. I’m healthier I’m happier and I’m loving life; my life. Don’t ever think you’re too old; because I’m 64, and have four grown daughters, nine grandkids, and two great grandkids, or too overweight to do something positive. My pictures are my proof

    • Right on! I am 81 and with you 100%! I found Wheat Belly info somehow (?) and quit bread and potatoes the day I started reading the book. That was a little over a year ago and I am down to best adult weight having lost 35 pounds. Never Hungry. No counting calories or points or measuring. Can always find something nutricious to snack on or make a meal out of. My pantry & frig is Wheat Belly friendly. Wheat Belly is not another crazy diet, but a way of life and eating plan that works. Never going back to high carb eating! Thank you Dr. Davis!

    • Mary Hetchler says:

      About a year and a half ago my doctor prescribed Byetta for my Type 2 D. After years of not having any BS control due to the fact that I was allergic to Metformin I had to do something as my numbers were sometimes in the 400 area. I used Byetta for 2 months then ran out before being able to get into town to pick up my new pen. So for 2 and a half days I didn’t take any injections. I got my new pen and began using it again. I felt so sick and it seems I didn’t know how sick that stuff was making me until I had a couple of days off it and felt normal again. By the evening I made up my mind I did not need to make myself sick to make myself better and decided to throw that new pen I had just paid $$$ for right into the trash. So since I was not following doctors orders and I didn’t want to die I figured I had better do something right. I reasoned that if I don’t eat carbs and sugars my blood sugar should not rise. So I began to test before and after anything and everything I ate. interestingly I found that it was bread, pasta, rice, corn on the cob and oatmeal. that sent my numbers sky high. So I made up my mind not to eat any. I learned that I could eat green leafy vegetables and all the meat and eggs I wanted and keep my numbers close to normal. About that time while channel surfing I discovered Dr. Davis on a PBS broadcast. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as others who didn’t eat grains. I ordered the book and haven’t looked back. I wish I could say my diabetes is reversed. I can not. I am still diabetic and can only keep my numbers below 125 (considered normal) by limiting the carbs I eat to no more than 15 to 30 g carefully doled out throughout the day. Still it is much better than dealing with the ups and downs of eating grains and other high carb foods then have to medicate to bring my blood sugar down. I am 71 so you are never too old to learn a new way to eat.
      Mary Hetchler

  9. I have been wheat-free for over 4 years and my life has gone happily on, more happiily than when I ate wheat-flour products – I’ve lost weight and kept it off, decreased my cholesterol an avoided a statin, decreased my BP and eliminated medication for that. Eliminating wheat has also improved my complexion and stabilized my energy level. But I have many friends who eat wheat and their lives still go on happily. To each their own. But re Oprah and her claims that she can eat bread without side-effects? Let’s watch and see. She’s lost weight before…more than once. My bet is she’ll fail to keep it off. Again.

  10. Maybe if they stopped eating grains, the WW fans wouldn’t be so mean!

  11. All we can do is tell those that want to listen and learn, how this lifestyle is to everyone’s advantage.
    I encounter lots of people that show interest in my success, but they’re not willing to make the commitment to cook for themselves.
    I just can’t understand the willingness of most people to accept the garbage that the food industry dishes out.
    I find that the older the person is that I talk to, the harder it is to make them grasp that there is so much at stake with their health. How much better they could feel.
    I am very disappointed in the influence that Oprah has and she stears so many people down a very WRONG path!

  12. I quit WW. Doing Wheat Belly and loving it.

  13. Kristina Marshall says:

    I feel so much better since I started Wheat Belly. All other diets in the past including WW have failed big-time. I felt that I was starving myself. I do not feel like I am starving on Wheat Belly and furthermore, it has healed my body of headaches, joint pain, facial hives, itching and high blood pressure . I am staying on Wheat Belly indefinitely.

  14. A lot of people have been following Weight Watchers for years and Oprah has had nothing to do with it…

  15. I am a former Weight Watchers leader (2008-2011). I lived the program, did well, lost 60 pounds, and became a leader. But it was so HARD to keep it off. I am not disparaging WW, and it has helped a lot of people, but personally, I hadn’t learned any healthy habits, and we never talked about the real issue – processed food. Needless to say, I gained it back. And then some. I recently stopped eating sugar, wheat, artificial sweeteners, and anything that is “low-fat” or “low-calorie”. I kicked the unhealthy cravings! I have lost 33 pounds, and am on a roll, feeling better than ever. In fact, my body looks better now that it did at this same weight years ago. Keep up the good work!

  16. I don’t know why the anti wheat people have to be so righteous that their way is the only way? Pretty sure weight watchers has been around and plenty of people have lost weight and kept it off using weight watchers. I know lots of healthy skinny people of all ages who eat bread and pasta. WW has been around longer than I’ve heard people pushing this paleo anti wheat stuff. I just don’t believe there is only one way.

    • Oh, Anita…Weight Watchers has NOT been around longer than this “paleo anti-wheat” stuff! It’s how humankind ate for thousands of years before agriculture came into the picture fairly recently in our history. If you knew anything at all about Dr. Davis and what he practices (which you obviously don’t) , you would know how ridiculous your comment sounds. Jeez louise…

  17. Kathy Bart says:

    Someone should notify the American Diabetes Association. They should be promoting Wheat Belly. They promote whole grains. By following their recommendations I had to remain on medication. Following Wheat Belly I can maintain glucose levels with no medication.

  18. Mary Walker says:

    I’m 60. Did WW more times than I can count along w/many other programs. And I lost weight. But I never lost the fear. I was food obssessed. I felt like a failure. Then my new dr. had me dump added sugar for a month to help the pain in my fingers and swollen ankles. Omg, in 3 weeks the difference was dramatic. Then she said, “How about doing this forever? ” After flashes of donuts, frosting and cake blew thru my head, i said “Sure” thru the tears. I was mourning, but 9 months later, 50 lbs lighter, more energy than I ever had, I’m no longer stressed about weight. She reminds me to just eat. It’s no longer about weight for me. It’s about a long list of mental, physical, and emotional changes. I eat low carb high fat. I travel for a living. And I make no apologies for the way I eat to my friends, colleagues, and family. I am finally free.

  19. Great article Kathryn. As a fellow Nutritional Therapist but based in England, UK, I completely agree with your article. I’ve recently summarised the book Wheat Belly and I’ve been sending out to my email subscribers every few weeks. I’ve had quite a bit of interest from this.

    However, there are many out there that just won’t budge from Weight Watchers and over here it seems to be Slimmers World. I also find that people in the UK aren’t generally prepared to spend money on their ‘health’. They spend money on the health of their cars each year/month but not on their health.

  20. Thanks for writing this. I am an RN with a special interest in this subject and have devoted hours upon hours to research and study. It is so frustrating to see people argue the facts. I currently live this lifestyle and try to influence others to as well. Keep strong and don’t get beaten down by the naysayers that havn’t done their research!

  21. Thanks for this. Grains have been so engineered and modified that they have no real value in the diet. I have found WW to be a good source of diet encouragement; however, since Oprah bought into WW she appears to begin forming it into a platform for what she wants HER diet to look like. You are absolutely correct about needing to eat nutrient dense foods. You are right on!

  22. My concern with WW is highly processed food being sold under their name. Members buy them and see them as okay. I was a WW success story and stalled. I did a Whole30 and switched to paleo thereafter. I continued to lose weight, feel better, and eat foods closer to the earth and as far away from the lab as I can. That’s my experience. It’s not for everyone. And honestly, grains are okay for some; again, not everyone.

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