Kate Hudson is the latest ambassador for Weight Watchers—excuse me, WW, the company changed its name in September in an attempt to pivot to wellness—and told Oprah all about it over FaceTime Sunday night.
“I just wanted to say welcome to WW,” Oprah said in the conversation Hudson captured and posted on Instagram, “So everyone has a reason to get healthy, Kate, so what’s yours, for joining WW?” Hudson replied, “Well, Oprah, my ‘why’ is really my kids and my family and my longevity and wanting to be here as long as I possibly can. It’s really about the holistic approach to wellness.”
While WW’s rebrand brought about a few additions that could arguably fall under the “holistic approach to wellness” Hudson mentions, like a collaboration with meditation and mindfulness app Headspace and little else, it is still a program based on a point system and literally watching your weight. Conflating the counting of calories and weight loss—or worse yet, some abstraction of thinness—with wellness, empowerment, or whatever fun branded word of your choosing gives the appearance of inclusion without any of the work, is a dangerous concept.
As Julianne Escobedo Shepherd wrote last summer, “body acceptance is an important step in changing the culture, but as we have written extensively here at Jezebel, the body-positivity movement’s co-opting and corporatization has tended to reabsorb it into the very ideals it was trying to subvert.” Slapping a new name on Weight Watchers, expecting success with a new clientele less inclined to diet while selling them the same, antiquated ideas of beauty isn’t “wellness.” That’s just Weight Watchers.
Hudson’s caption on Instagram highlights the contradiction:
“Health and wellness is my number one and I always say that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone. I believe that we need to celebrate diversity in how each individual wants to celebrate their bodies. We aren’t all going to enjoy the same work outs, outdoor activities, foods etc. This is not a community for people who just want to lose weight, although leading a healthy lifestyle lends itself to such, this is a community about supporting each other through a life long journey of wellness.”
If everyone does not enjoy the same processes of wellness as Hudson, why would they partake in WW (which CEO and President Mindy Grossman recently referred to as “the global leader in weight management”) to lead healthier lives? I struggle to accept that losing weight isn’t at the heart of WW when dieting has been at the forefront of their message since their inception. It’s not an effect of “leading a healthy lifestyle” through the service. It’s the whole purpose.