Posted on 02/13/2009
This week was the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, one of my heroes. He was shaped by living on farms and in small towns, and the same is true for me, so it’s easy to identify with his values and virtues. Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln. I’m keeping you in mind as I share my thoughts on three heavily advertised meal plans—last week, Jenny Craig; next week, NutriSystem, and this week, Weight Watchers.
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I always say what I honestly think, so I hope it doesn’t surprise you when I report that I like Weight Watchers—at least the non-meal aspects of their program. They have a good support group for people who have the time, and the extra money, and like to go to meetings.
If you’re that kind of a person, here’s my heartfelt suggestion. Use Weight Watchers for support and Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating for healthy eating.
Simply put, I think that Weight Watchers meals—frozen, you know—are not a good way to go. They contain high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, color food dyes, and artificial flavors. As you may know, putting stuff like this in your body is—why tiptoe around the truth—not very smart. Pardon my repetition, but I think it’s vitally important, so I’m going to repeat: Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating does not contain high fructose corn syrup, does not contain partially hydrogenated oils, does not contain color food dyes, and does not contain artificial flavors.
We do provide fruit and vegetables as part of our regimen. Weight Watchers does not.
All Weight Watchers meals are produced and distributed by Heinz, the ketchup company. Once again, the production and marketing requirements for mass meal manufacturing are not compatible—how could they be—with the quality procedures of Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. We never have made—and never will—any ingredient adjustment that might save a few pennies per meal and, consequently, reduce the quality of our healthy eating program.
Weight Watchers employs almost 50,000 people. That’s a mighty big company. They spend nearly $200 million a year advertising. Wow! That’s a mighty big number. Of course, in the spirit of Honest Abe, I will admit that their advertising power is frustrating to me, because I know in my heart, and in my mind, and from decades of experience, that our meals actually benefit people, in the both the short and long term. So when advertising draws those in need to a meals solution I believe is vastly inferior, of course I am troubled.
However, the world is what it is, at least until we find a way to change it. So I repeat my suggestion: If you need the kind of support offered by Weight Watchers, pay for it, take it, and augment it with Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating.
Absent the fees one must pay to be part of Weight Watchers counseling service (approximately $30 per month), the cost of meals in each program is just about the same. It seems to be a little less if you purchase our 1,200 calorie a day program.
Weight Watchers runs their counseling program modeled after the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) approach. It’s interesting to treat eating as an addiction and in some cases appropriate. Usually, though, I think that’s an extreme remedy. Some people absolutely need it and others, as I have said, prefer it.
Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating does not provide counseling, but our distributors see most of their customers twice-a-week and are very supportive. Most importantly, our meals demonstrate thrice-daily the importance and ease of portion control and healthy eating. That may not be counseling, but it sure as heck is education.
One great advantage Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating has over Weight Watchers is that the latter’s approach is time-consuming, requiring planning, shopping, cooking, counting points, etc. Too many decisions are left to the Weight Watchers customer, in my opinion.
I don’t think the Weight Watchers point system is as easy to apply to individuals as is our “calories in versus calories out” basis. No foods are banned in their program. Is this healthy? One could take all their “points” in ice cream, for example.
After a customer reaches a desired weight and leaves the program, are points or calorie control easier to remember and utilize? Our portion control method is more helpful, and it sure is easier to use.
I could write for pages, but I must come to a conclusion. So herewith, one more point: Weight Watchers requires their customers who have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or gallstones, to get clearance from a doctor before beginning their program.
Speaking on behalf of Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, since when do people have to receive permission to eat truly healthy meals?
She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.