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Has Oprah given Weight Watchers a new lease of life?

When Oprah announced last week, “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution,” share prices of Weight Watchers – for that is the company she is talking about – skyrocketed.  Oprah had bought her shares at $6.79, but in the space of 72 hours, weight watchers shares had gone up to $15.09

If Weight Watchers had wanted to get a sprinkling of the Oprah Effect, then they have succeeded, for everything Oprah loves, well, people love.

The Oprah Book Club for instance, has done wonders for many a writer who could have only dreamed of the kind of success the endorsement of Oprah gave them. Even dead writers have much to thank her for. In 2011, Anna Karenina reached the No.1 spot on USA’s Today Best-Selling List.

So, just as people flocked to read the nineteenth century classic, the board of Weight Watchers is hoping that they will flock to their company. Already the share prices have gone up by 105%. Now a similar intake is needed for the program.

The fortune of Weight Watchers hasn’t been the best in the last few years.  Firstly, they have competition from apps like MyFitnessPal and iTrackBites.  Free, or sometimes considerably costing less than Weight Watchers, they provide the same results, or nearly.

Justifying her investment in the company, Oprah Winfrey said, “Weight Watchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for.”

Unfortunately, many people no longer have as much faith in the program as Winfrey. A study conducted by Drake University showed that Weight Watchers members spend about $377 for an average weight loss of 5 pounds.  And then, there is the fact that as Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers said in an interview she did with Sun Sentinel in 2011, “We ourselves hold the instrument that makes us fat.”

For many, it is now dawning on them that weight loss goes beyond fad dieting and is more a case of self-control and exercising a better choice where food is concerned. Lifestyle diets such as the Paleo Diet have mushroomed in recent years.

People and Weight Watchers have realized that it isn’t about controlling the portion of the same processed foods with their high fat and sugar contents.  Weight Watchers has hinted towards a shift in homemade foods on its Instagram page.

This now leaves many to wonder if even Oprah will succeed in creating a mentality shift in people. Unless the whole thing will simply end up making Oprah and the shareholders just a little bit richer while members carry on with the yo-yo dieting.

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