News, Culture & Society

Weight Watchers is ditching its ‘before and after’ photos

It helped pioneer the milestone as proof its methods work but now Weight Watchers is ditching the ‘before and after’ photo.

The global dieting club announced the move at a brand relaunch in the US, saying the concept was not in keeping with modern lifestyle values.

Instead it wants to promote long-term life changes, rather than short-term diets. As part its revamp Weight Watchers will also offer free membership to teenagers to help reduce childhood obesity.

Weight Watchers announced it is ditching the ‘before and after’ photo because it wants to focus on long-term lifestyle changes rather than ‘finishing’ a diet. Pictured, member Tanya

Head of social media Lauren Salazar said at the conference: ‘We’ve made the decision to lose the expression “before and after” because our members’ journeys are so much more about then than now.

‘A journey of health, with no beginning, middle or end.’

The company’s chief executive Mindy Grossman, said: ‘We’re not going to discourage a member who wants to show where they are today versus where they started.

‘But when they’re talking about their journey, it’s more about the then and now and where am I going.’ 

Last month American music producer DJ Khaled was announced as Weight Watchers’ new ‘social media ambassador’, as well as a member.    

Psychologist Dr Jane Ogden, who specialises in diets and body image at the University of Surrey, welcomed the move.

The move has been welcomed by experts in the field who insist long-term changes are healthier. Pictured, Lisa, who transformed her body with the help of Weight Watchers

The move has been welcomed by experts in the field who insist long-term changes are healthier. Pictured, Lisa, who transformed her body with the help of Weight Watchers

She said: ‘Sending a message that a diet will be all done and dusted in a few weeks may not be helpful. If you follow up with someone six months after they have “finished” a diet, they make look more like their before photo.

‘But having said that for prospective diets ‘before and after’ photos can be an incentive and give a sense of hope. They provide a belief that these diets are do-able and it is good to believe that losing weight is possible.

‘At same time people also need a realistic approach that weight loss is a day-by-day process. They shouldn’t be too naive about it, because when they don’t manage to loose the weight they are likely to feel critical about themselves and give up.’ The brand has long used ‘before and after’ photographs to inspire people to sign up to the diet plans and to promote members’ weight loss journeys. 

Members’ weight loss images are published on its UK website.

Weight Watchers' Helen

Weight Watchers is ditching its 'before and after' photos

Members’ weight loss images will no longer published on its UK website. Pictured, Helen

The revamp will also see Weight Watchers modernise its food range by offering free membership to teenagers.

Currently, children need to be 13 years old and accompanied by a parent or guardian, or have written permission by their doctor to attend a meeting.

Under the new scheme, the youngsters will have a target weight set by their doctor which will be reviewed every six to nine months to make sure they do not lose weight too quickly.  

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said he thinks the scheme has ‘great potential’ to help to tackle the childhood obesity crisis.

He said: ‘I think it is well worth exploring, especially given we know the huge benefits children can gain from weight loss.

‘With an organisation of its size and standing, it could get some real oomph behind it and achieve something meaningful.’