Weight Watchers rebrands as WW in bid to distance itself from dieting

Rachel Hosie

Weight Watchers is rebranding with a new name: “WW.”

The slimming brand is changing direction to focus less on losing weight and more on general health. The new tagline is: “Wellness that works.”

Announcing the rebrand on Instagram, the company said: “Our mission is to inspire healthy habits for real life - for everyone. We’ll always be the global leader in weight loss.

“Now we welcome anyone who wants to be healthier: eat better, move more, develop a positive mindset… or all of the above!

“So we’re moving from Weight Watchers to WW, to reflect that we’re becoming the world’s partner in wellness. And we’ll be launching exciting tools, rewards and experiences to bring that promise to life.”

The change comes at a time when the anti-diet movement is gaining momentum. More and more people are realising the number on the scale is not necessarily an indicator of a person’s health, and how much you weigh does not reflect your worth.

This is a message both fitness and body positivity advocates have been pushing, with many amassing huge followings on social media where they spread an anti-diet message.

How much the Weight Watchers programme will change, however, remains to be seen.

It still focuses on tracking food intake, with different foods worth different “points.” The company no longer uses ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos in its advertising, in a bid to show that adopting a healthy lifestyle is a journey, rather than a destination.

There will still be weekly weigh-ins, but they’ll now be called ‘Wellness Workshops’.

Weight Watchers has come under fire in recent months - earlier this year, the company announced plans to provide all teenagers aged between 13 and 17 years old in the US with free diet help.

However it was criticised for various reasons - some experts pointed out that free weight loss services are generally not well-subscribed, long-term results tend to be poor, it might encourage teens to obsess over dieting, and a better strategy would be to address the psychosocial and environmental issues a teenager may encounter at home which has led to an obesity crisis.

Despite the criticisms, one of the most vocal supporters of Weight Watchers is talk show host and American national treasure Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey became an investor in the company in 2015 when its fortunes were very much in decline - since then, Weight Watchers’ stock has risen 400 per cent.

The media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist has spoken out about how following Weight Watchers allowed her to lose weight whilst still eating bread every day.

Reactions to the change have been mixed amongst Weight Watchers users.

“So excited about this change!” one person wrote on the company’s Connect app. “Focusing on health is so much more sustainable than just cutting calories and only focusing on weight loss.”

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” another added. “By all means, focus on healthy habits but people join because they want to lose weight. Concentrate on your core audience.”