Weight Watchers is changing its name after facing backlash from the body positivity movement

Weight Watchers is changing its name after facing backlash from the body positivity movement

What with the recent focus on wellness and self-care, talking openly about - or promoting - dieting has become increasingly taboo.

One company that has made its allegiance to the aforementioned the centre-point of their branding is Weight Watchers. However, the 55-year-old company has now announced that it is rebranding to focus more on overall health, and that it will be known as "WW". It's new tagline: "wellness that works".

After more than 50 years of counting points and regular weigh-ins, Weight Watchers, now known as WW, will actively be emphasising a healthy lifestyle for everyone, with less of a focus on the number on the scale.

"We will always be the global leader in weight loss, but now WW welcomes anyone who wants to build healthy habits—whether that means eating better, moving more, developing a positive mindset, focusing on weight…or all of the above!" the company wrote in a statement.

This move comes three years after Oprah Winfrey became a part owner of the brand, and its celebrity spokesperson. "I’m excited about Weight Watchers being able to bring a healthier, more holistic approach," she said during an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. After the talk show host waxed lyrical about losing 15 pounds while on the program, Ellen highlighted that the partnership was beneficial for more than Oprah's waistline.

"In one day she made $45 million," Ellen said, noting that Oprah had more than doubled her initial $40 million investment.

In January of 2017, Oprah released a points-friendly cookbook, titled "Food, Health and Happiness". To promote the book, the 64-year-old frequently touted the tenants of Weight Watchers in videos, on social media, and even made a surprise visit to a Weight Watchers meeting.

"Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be," she said in a video which was released shortly after her partnership with the company was announced. "Many times you look in the mirror and you don’t recognize your own self because you’ve gotten lost, buried in the weight that you carry."

Weight Watchers' decision to distance themselves from dieting is certainly a shrewd move, considering that society is finally starting to embrace the body positivity movement.

Just last month, plus-size model and body positivity activist, Tess Holliday graced the cover of Cosmopolitan UK's October 2018 issue. "If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life," she later wrote on Twitter.

At its core, however, Weight Watchers has always been a company that requires members to log their food intake. Throughout the years, it has employed different methods of applying value to food - beyond just calories - and this point system changes drastically every few years.

The fact that this system changes so often not only shows that new scientific breakthroughs are being taken into account, but that society's attitude towards dieting is always evolving. As such, for several years now, Weight Watchers has been adapting its branding to reflect that weight loss is more of a journey than a destination.