If You’re Happy And You Know It WW Will Fix That

You Forgot Your BullshitUpdate:  Reader VioletVaper has recorded a fabulous version of my more realistic version of the new Weight Watchers Ad!   Scroll to the bottom to check out the video.

It’s that time of year – when Weight Watchers tries to convince us to sign up for one of their programs.  This year, instead of using celebrity spokespeople to try to create self-loathing, they are using “everyday” people and children’s songs. (Standard disclaimer:  The Underpants Rule applies here, people are allowed to choose to attempt to manipulate their body size, including by joining Weight Watchers.)

Now, if people based their decision to join WW on the facts, and if WW based their advertising on facts, then WW would have a much more difficult job. Their own research shows that the average participant loses 10 pounds in the first year, then regains 5 pounds, thus losing 5 pounds in two years (and paying $254 per pound in meeting fees alone for the privilege.)  Despite the fact that their Chief Scientist, presumably with a straight face, called this “validation of what we’ve been doing” this year’s commercial jingle is not about paying $1270 to lose 5 pounds that you’re probably going to gain back.  I’m shocked! No, wait, I’m the opposite of shocked.

This year they’ve commandeered the children’s song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” to try to convince us all the we are all making “the mistake” of eating while we are happy, sad, sleepy, angry, bored, human, or having feelings of any kind, and, moreover, that we need Weight Watchers to solve this “problem.” I guess the idea is a life where eating and being a human being with feelings are two completely separate states (which, considering how their food tastes, might be necessary to stay on the plan.)

Weight Watchers has made boatloads of money selling very temporary weight loss – cleverly using the fact that most people can lose weight short term, and most will gain it back long term  – by convincing their clients to give WW the credit for the first part, and blame themselves for the second part. But before they can do that, they have to convince us try their product. In honor of their choice to try to incite self-loathing through song, for profit, I wanted to offer a song for Weight Watchers that I think is a bit more realistic (as always, my gift to you is that I won’t be singing this, but if you want to record it then feel free to send me the link or leave it in the comments, and I’ll be so very happy to add it to the post!)

If you’re happy and you know it, we’ll fix that.
If you’re happy and you know it, we’ll fix that.
If you’re happy and you know it, then your money – you won’t blow it,
If you’re happy and you know it, we’ll fix that.

If you’re human and you know it, hate yourself.
If you’re human and you know it, hate yourself.
If you aren’t full of self-loathing, then we’re here to lend some help.
If you’re human and you know it, hate yourself.

If you’re sad and you know it, that’s just great.
If you’re sad and you know it, that’s just great.
Please forget that we’re the cause, just focus on your body hate.
If you’re sad and you know it, that’s just great.

If you’re coming to our meeting, we’re so glad
If you’re coming to our meeting, we’re so glad
The outlook isn’t sunny, but we’re glad to have your money
If you’re coming to our meeting, we’re so glad

If you failed on our program, that’s a shame.
If you failed on our program, that’s a shame.
Our product almost never works, but trust us you’re the one to blame.
If you failed on our program, that’s a shame.

If you failed on our program, try again.
If you failed on our program try again.
It won’t work this time either, but we need your money, friend.
So if you failed on our program try again.

Or, you know, maybe not.

Check out violetvaper’s version of the song:

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35 thoughts on “If You’re Happy And You Know It WW Will Fix That

  1. There’s a new study – one that was actually PRO dieting – that showed the average member lost about 5 pounds in a year. This article links to the actual study, but the part that I found interesting is this quote:

    “Duke University researchers said in July that the average Weight Watchers subscriber paid $377 a year and only lost five pounds — in other words, paying about $75 per pound.”

    The article is talking about how Americans are moving away from WW in favor of free apps. So it may be triggering for some.


    This quote is directly from the Duke University study:

    “Based on the cost and weight-loss data, the average cost per kilogram lost ranged from $155 per kg for Weight Watchers to $338 or more for Jenny Craig. Qsymia came in at $232 per kg. ”

    That’s pretty damn expensive… and it doesn’t even begin to factor in the mental health costs associated with the feelings of failure, frustration and fear diets tend to bring up for so many of us.

    1. “Based on the cost and weight-loss data, the average cost per kilogram lost ranged from $155 per kg for Weight Watchers to $338 or more for Jenny Craig. Qsymia came in at $232 per kg. ”

      Now watch WW try to spin that as “endorsed by Duke University as a better value than Jenny Craig and Qsymia!” They are the guys who tried to spin an unsustainable five-pound weight loss as “validation,” after all.

      1. Ugh! I’m not a fan of any of them but these aren’t the most valid comparisons since Jenny Craig includes three meals a day and two snacks, and Qysmia’s side effects include death.


      2. Hey, they’re all cheaper than the weight loss I had between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day 34 years ago. For the 25 pounds I lost, I figured it cost me more than $1000 per pound!

        (That was six weeks in the hospital for intestinal adhesions, two major surgeries, IV feeding for most of it. I went in at 145 pounds and came out at 120 pounds. Helluva way to spend our first Christmas together as a married couple…)

  2. Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for just a couple of months, and today I feel compelled to comment. lol (This may be long because I have many feels concerning WW.)

    In the beginning of time, I found their commercials to be a mixture of stress-inducing (shortly after I quit WW myself) and annoying (if Jennifer Hudson sang to me one more damn time…), but this year, I glare at my television with a smirk on my face. WW does not work. Plain and simple. And they must pay a fortune to their marketing dept.

    They have two commercials that I’ve seen. The first being “If You’re Happy”. I find it so clever that they narrow in exactly on human behavior (emotional eating) and then make it sound like it’s a problem that they can help you fix. If I didn’t know any better, I’d believe them (while thinking I’m a special breed who can’t control myself around snacks). How many people have never grabbed a snack because it smelled amazing or because it looked good, or because they were sad, happy, angry, depressed? That’s human nature.

    The second commercial is called “My Butt”, where a woman talks about her feelings and her life with her butt. At the end, she says, “after 12 years, 7 diets, and 6 sizes, I finally realized, my relationship with my butt had nothing to do with my butt and everything to do with my brain.” And then the stupid screen shows the words: A weight-loss plan for the body. A support system for the brain. And their tagline line this year (for both commercials) is: Help with the hard part.

    Now if that line (the one the actress spoke) had been in an inspirational commercial about loving yourself, it would hold true. Yes, my dislike toward my extra large, jiggly belly had nothing to do with my belly and everything to do with my brain, a.k.a. how I unnecessarily tortured myself with negative self-talk because I mistakenly believed there was something wrong with an extra-large, jiggly belly.

    So it kills me that they are SO spot on. They have part of their message so crystal clear. And part of me applauds them. But, of course, it’s sickening at the same time because there are many, many people who don’t realize they are fine they way they are, there’s nothing wrong with a snack because you simply FEEL like having one, that your butt/belly/thighs/etc. are a part of you (big, small, dimply, whatever), and that you don’t need their support because you don’t need fixing.

    Ah, I feel so much better. 🙂 I’ve been pointing, shaking my head, widening my eyes, and yelling at my TV screen. Thank you for a place for me to get out what I’ve been wanting to say. 🙂

  3. I tried WW 3 different times over the past 15 years. Each time there was a new program in place that was supposed to be easier to do and lose more. Each time I paid the first 3 months in advance. Each time I bought a new food scale, the measuring spoons, the folder, the WW exclusive snacks. Each time, I lost up to 15 pounds and then hit a plateau. Each time I gained back MORE than 15 pounds! Yes I WAS surprised and then angry – at myself! Something must be wrong with me, with my body, with my willpower. Each time I vowed not to go back. And yet I did until my own doctor told me not to spend another cent on anything that promised weight loss! Now, I DID learn some things from going to WW. I learned that fiber will make me go to the bathroom. I learned that sugar has no fat in it. I learned that I can have fun experimenting with various forms of cabbage soup. I learned that I don’t like snacks that taste like styrofoam with cheese powder sprinkled on it. I learned to experiment with seasoning fish. I learned that gaining 1/8 of a pound will get you a frown. I learned that if people know you are going to WW then they give you approval but they still ask if what you are eating at the moment is on your diet. I learned that I should label myself an emotional eater, a self-medicator. I learned that a yo-yo diet such as this has a negative effect on my metabolism. I finally learned that it wasn’t for me. I actually learned more from the Atkins diet! Maybe WW has served it’s purpose by encouraging science to keep exploring what makes up healthy nutrition because after all this, I am learning now that the best thing I can do for my health is to eat whole foods, non-processed foods, real vs artificial food, regardless of calories and carbs and fiber and fat content. I am learning that when I eat this way and go to the pool every week that I FEEL better! FEEL BETTER? But isn’t that (gasp) EMOTIONAL? Well yes, and no. I can live with that!

  4. I don’t have cable TV so I hadn’t seen this one until I was in the movies the other night. I actually threw popcorn at it.

  5. If you’ve got some extra money, send it in,
    If you’ve got some extra money, send it in,
    We think you should be leaner and there’s payments on our Beamer,
    If you’ve got some extra money, send it in.

    We fired Kirstie Alley, she got fat.
    We fired Kirstie Alley, she got fat.
    And we fired Bertinelli when she put back on some belly,
    We fired Kirstie Alley, she got fat.

    (Actually, I’m trying to remember if Alley and Bertinelli were in Weight Watchers ads or Jenny Craig, but the rhyme works anyway. By the way, I’m not criticizing the way either one of them looks.)

  6. Here’s another jaunty little tune for WW:
    To the tune of the Hokey-Pokey
    You put your dollars in,
    They take the science out,
    You put your dollars in,
    And they shake it all about,
    It’s all a bunch of Hokum,
    And you turn yourself around
    That’s what it’s all about.

    You put your energy in,
    They take your energy out,
    You put your energy in,
    And they shake it all about,
    It’s all a bunch of Hokum,
    And you turn yourself around
    That’s what it’s all about.

  7. Oh, I love the “The outlook isn’t sunny, but we’re glad to have your money,” line. XD

    I’ll join in on helping WW repurpose kids’ songs to be about weight loss snake oil with this short variant of Row Your Boat:

    Pay, pay, pay your way
    slowly down the scale
    each shed pound all thanks to us
    but your fault when you fail!

  8. Here’s my original version:

    If you’re hungry and you know it eat a snack!
    If you’re hungry and you know it eat a snack!

    If your hungry and you know it and you really want to show it…eat a snack!

    If the media has convinced you to hate yourself…give them money!
    If the media has convinced you to hate yourself…give them money!

    If they need your money more than you do…give them money!

    If you like science and facts, take a bite.
    If you like science and facts take a bite!

    They say its Newtons laws but we see they’re flaws!

    If you like sceience and facts, take a bite!

    ROFLMAO…if you like this I’ll be peforming at the SDSU auditorium all week…NOT!

  9. The idea to use regular people to push their scam has been in the works for the past few years. I have a friend–more of an acquaintance who lives in another state– who lost weight on the program. She was offered money to do a commercial. The only thing is, she was asked to fudge her results. They wanted her to say she lost it faster than she did, that she lost more than she did and that she has kept it all off. She was debating on whether or not to do it as she knew she’d be lying and misrepresenting the program. But she wanted the money. I have no idea what happened with all of that, but I always wonder.

  10. I have a very, very good friend who was a weight loss adviser for WWs. She had done the program herself and lost a great deal of weight, so she thought, Hey, why not go back and help others? I really believe in this! So she did, for a few years.

    She quit when she realised what their philosophies really were (and there’s a lot the customer doesn’t know about). She couldn’t justify supporting their dogma and the financial practices..really bothered her morally. It made me want to hug her. Now she does weight-loss coaching for those who want it, but her focus is fitness first at the level you are now, not where you ‘should be’. She’s amazing.

    1. I left my WW story in an earlier comment, so after reading yours I got very curious as to what exactly WW as a company is doing wrong. What could be behind your friends story? I googled for over an hour and just about gave up when I decided to try one more phrase: Weight Watchers Lies. This too me to a page here: http://fastptnc.com/weight-watchers-lies-to-you-part-1/ and this article was very informative about what is really wrong with the eating approach that is promoted at WW. But I am still curious about what your friend had to say about the things she learned while working for WW. Could you share one or two examples? Thanks!

  11. If Weight Watchers Sucks In Many Ways And You Know It Clap Your Hands!!!

    (((((Claps Hands)))))

    I despise Weight Watchers! And I could be considered one of their fabulous success stories! 55 pounds with them. Then another 20 after I left in disgust at their customer “service” practices. I take great pleasure in telling anyone who asks how I lost all my weight all about Weight Watchers’ many FAILS. I get asked often working in a job with the public. Probably not what WWers wants people like me to do. But that’s how awful they are as a company!

    1. My only experience with “customer service” at WW was when the lady taking down my weekly weight would frown and refuse to talk to me and just gave me a “shame on you” look. What kind of bad customer service did you experience, if you don’t mind sharing? Thanks, Susan.

        1. Well for starters, the issues mentioned in the link someone else posted are spot on.

          I did WW twice, the first time was in the late 1990’s. Had a similar experience with a Weigh In Lady. She had a huge hissy fit at me when I GASP SHOCK HORRORS! had a .6 Gain!! :O :O The way she carried on you’d have thought it was 6 or 66 or since clearly I was completely evil for daring to have a GAIN 666 pounds and not .6. I snorted in disgust, told her to get a grip, so what, I forgot to go pottie before I came in today. Never went back.

          WW working about as well as all diets do long term, 11-12 years later I had gained all I had lost back and then some. Where I work was having a Biggest Loser contest. Disliked WW less than other weight loss plans so I went back. It was 2010 and you could do WW just Online. Signed up for it because I wasn’t doing the Meetings thing again. Well, I’ll give WW credit that for the most part the Online was less noxious than Meetings. But only a little credit. WW just doesn’t do technology well. Their website is like 1997 called, wanting its website back. Layout, Message Boards, just everything a good 15 years behind the times. Ditto with their electronic gadgetry.

          Also the Message Boards are dominated by a cabal of nasty negative downright vicious people which WW does little to rein in. I found these sad sorry horrid people to be highly entertaining and used to amuse myself by posting things I had or had not eaten or had or had not done while On WW that I knew they would NOT approve of. They’d get their panties into such knots, wads, and bunches over what others were or were not doing on WW that it would take every sailor who has ever been in the US Navy since there was a US NAVY PLUS every Locksmith who’s ever attended a Locksmiths Convention to get those knots undone! Once I posted about eating a McRib and Fries from McDonald’s!! Ayy Chihuahua! I was amazed the WW Enforcement Squad didn’t break down my door to haul me away in handcuffs, ankle and belly chains! I found the nasties hysterical in a sad way. But they were very hurtful to others. And they could dish it out but not take it. Mention while they were raking some poor hapless other poster over the coals that they’d been on WW 8 years and had lost a grand total of 4 pounds or that in some other post they’d admitted they weren’t really following their or WW “rules” at all and that perhaps they could be a little kinder and maybe they weren’t as perfect at doing WW as they were claiming to their victims they were they’d cry whole oceans of crocodile tears.

          WW doesn’t respond at all well to the concerns or needs of their customers. Some of the info in their database was/is flat out wrong. I bought their original Activity tracking gadget that you plugged into your computer to get the data off of it. My poor old computer was never really the same after that. Dell said they and I could never prove it but they thought the gadget thing was the culprit. WW puts 0 effort into the needs of their Online Members once the Member reaches their Goal Weight. Maybe they assume no one ever will so they don’t have to bother, I dunno.To the point that the software can’t even tell that you are an Online Member. I was keeping within the ridonkulous 2 pound range WW requires you to keep within. Actually mostly I was within a pound of it. Never mind that WW doesn’t permit Lifetime Status for Online members in the first place. You just get to pay and pay and pay forever unless you wise up to the scam. Anyway so I was keeping near where my goal was. And if I was up a tenth or 3 from last time I’d get these scolding messages like I’d just gained the weight of an 80 car freight train. Lose a tenth from the week before and I’d get told I had no idea what I was doing and that I should “Talk To My Leader!” When I didn’t have “A Leader” on account of being an Online Member. I was so dissatisfied with the experience that even Meetings seemed like a better option. So I went to the closest WW Center to scope it out. That worked out well. Mentioned to the lady at the desk I had lost X pounds doing Online. She then proceeded to tell me that I couldn’t possibly have done so! I got out my phone which had a Before Picture on it. Showed it to her. She didn’t believe I was for real. Never mind there was a very visible difference between the Me on the phone and the Me standing in front of her, at that time close to a 40% difference. Finally she sniffs and says Yes, well but you can’t have done that ALL Online. Meetings weren’t going to work if they couldn’t even accept I’d lost anything in the first place. At that point I decided that Meetings and WW itself were a lost cause and quit for good. I sent emails to WW over these things and also about the horrible bullies on their boards. Never got so much as a response about any of it. Only emails I get from them are pleas to return and how I can’t possibly do without them. Actually I suppose I am glad they never got back to me. From what I understand from people whom WW does deign to respond to it’s in the nature of “We’re Right And You’re WRONG!! Don’t Let the Door Hit You In The Ass On The Way Out!! KTHNXBAI!” Complete with hair flounces, eye rolls, a sniff, a foot stamp, and a stalk off no doubt. :D.

          1. Aayyy Chihuahua! This response made me laugh hard enough to spew coffee on my keyboard. Not that there’s anything remotely funny about what happened to you, but you were able to take these experiences and spin them into comedy gold, just like other posters did with that irritating little commercial ditty. It’s absolutely true that when you break up with WW, they track you down and beg you to come back, like a stalkerific Bad Boyfriend. Ick!

            1. Thanks! But I can’t claim credit for inventing Ayy Chihuahua! Been saying it since I was a kid. Probably because of having lived in Phoenix, AZ as a child in the mid 1970’s. It was a fairly common thing to say in that place and time especially amongst Elementary School aged children. I’m pretty sure it was in at least one Looney Toons cartoon as well. Daffy Duck said it I think, or maybe Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzales or Yosemite Sam. I will admit to inventing the crack about knots, wads, bunches, panties, The US Navy, Locksmiths, and The Sanctimonious Self Appointed Self Important Weight Watchers Enforcement Squad! 🙂

  12. Ugh, these ads have had me wanting to throw things at the screen for weeks. I love the rewrites! Now those ads will be a wee bit more bearable since I can remember this and smirk.

    My mom pulled me into WW with her when I was in middle school (so, 12-13 years old), and I’m still working on baggage from that bullshit, 23 years later. It helps to read things like this and the comments. Y’all rock.

  13. What do you and your readers think of the tidbit described below, one that I just read on Facebook from a “friend”?

    A mom and dad I know are both fit and conscious of health. They have 3 kids, all under 10.

    The mom posted a video of one daughter, who is less than 6, crying. She explained that she’s teaching her kids which foods are “good” and which are “bad”. Dad then said in the comments that his kid is crying because he told her that she’ll “get a big belly like Santa if she has too much sugar.”

    Their kid was basically crying because she thought she’d get/could get fat.

    I didn’t watch the clip but the preview (the still) shows one of their kids upset.

    Care to share your thoughts, folks?

    1. I think that will work out about as well for Mom and Dad as it did in the 1970’s when I was a kid and I had friends whose parents played Food Police. Their kids would go to their friends houses and gorge on what was forbidden at home but available in homes where the parents had more sense.

      1. Yep!
        But it won’t end there.

        These parents are setting their kids up for a lifetime of issues regarding food. Whether it manifests itself as obesity or anorexia or the use of food as reward/punishment or constant emotional turmoil regarding food choices, weight, appearance, etc. it remains to be seen. It is too bad that these parents can’t (or won’t) impart a healthy attitude towards food and eating. Later, the parents won’t fathom that this treatment created the issues their teenagers have to struggle.

        Wonder if the parents plan to impart other life lessons in a similar manner (e.g. dating: “If you get pregnant we’ll throw you out of the house”, learning how to drive: “If you smash up the car, I’ll kill you!” obeying the law: “It’s okay as long as you don’t get caught”, “Run if you hear sirens”.)

        1. It’s heartbreaking how much fat hatred that little girl has already internalized at such a young age, reacting as if getting fat was absolutely the worst thing that could happen to someone. She may very well be thinking, “Will Mommy and Daddy stop loving me if I get fat? Do they love me less than my thin siblings/cousins?” For her sake, I hope she comes from a genetically thin family.

          The parents may think they mean well, but they’re setting their child up for a lifetime of trouble.

          And it only gets worse from here.

        2. That the kids will be defiant and gorge on Captain Crunch, Doritos, and Twinkies to their hearts’ and stomachs’ delight while visiting other kids which would serve their food cop parents right would be a best case scenario, yes. 😦

          1. Yes, indeedy. That scenario would be much healthier than little pleasers starving themselves to please perfectionist parents who will never be happy with them.

            1. It worked out well for the kids I grew up with who feasted on the forbidden fruits at my house. None of them wound up having any of the problems their uptight parents were certain they would have because they ate a smorgsboard of delights like Lucky Charms, Coca-Cola, and Oreos while away from home. Didn’t even wind up causing anyone much grief from “bad behavior” the way a couple of the parents were certain they would because of the evil sugar and nasty fat! Only ones with grief were the parents who didn’t like their kids not toeing the line properly. Us kids enjoyed the mild naughtiness we were engaged in. 😀

  14. So, I log onto youtube this morning to seek out yoga poses for head colds (found an awesome video!). What do I see on the front page of youtube? A large ad by Weight Watchers–“Everyone has a butt. And every butt has a story. Here’s one.” Then there is an arrow pointing to a video showing a woman’s butt as she walks down the street.

    I can’t bring myself to click on the video but WTH? Seriously? Now, as I said, I didn’t watch. So, I have no idea the content of the video. But just from what I’ve seen–I’m irritated because I hate anything that reduces people to parts rather than a whole. And this seems to be reducing people to parts.

    Ugh–I so loathe the diet industry.

    1. Even if you hardly have any butt or hips to speak of like I do because I’m just not built that way you still can’t win. Not properly female or something or so I’ve been told. Never mind that I’ve got a rack and a half up top making me uh well most certainly female. But women who ARE naturally more pear shaped get commercials made about their “flaw” by a diet company. Of course I am considered flawed by the Beauty Police not even taking boobs and butts into account because of being all of 5′ 1″ wearing shoes.

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