28 May 2010

Goodbye Weight Watchers in Finland

This news just in. Pinch me, I'm dreaming.

Weight Watchers is withdrawing from Finland, according to the newspaper Ilta-Sanomat. A report stated that a complete withdrawal was initiated in April 2010 after a 35-year corporate occupation of the country. Business has become increasingly unprofitable, which the company attributes to a small population spread over Finland's large geographical size. I would add that it's likely that the increased presence of radical fat activism through scholars such as Hannele Harjunen, and disillusionment with dieting is also a factor. It's really amazing that the company can't turn a profit amidst the worst ever moral panic about obesity. Weight Watchers groups in Finland will end in the summer.

I'm stunned and happy. Only 29 more countries to go until there's no more Weight Watchers anywhere.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

If they went out of business there, I guess they couldn't make any money, so they had to leave. But I lost the 100 lbs. I wanted to on WW, and kept it off for several years. If it's doing somebody some good, why should it disappear off the earth because it ticks you off?

Charlotte Cooper said...

I don't think it's doing somebody some good.

Kate said...

Good for the Finns. I went to a Weight Watchers in college (early 90s) and they said I should weigh between 110 and 115 lbs, and if you knew how big my frame is, you'd know that was absolutely ridiculous. I also was not a fan of how loudly they read out the weigh in numbers.

People tell me they have changed, but it still does not provide effective weight loss for the majority of their clients, just like every other diet.

Susanna said...

I think a major reason why they went out of business is that there are more weight-loss options available now than there were earlier, specifically online-programs that are MUCH cheaper (or completely free). 10-15 years ago there (often) weren't any other programs available besides WW in small towns, but these day everyone has internet, so...
I don't know, maybe I'm just being cynical...

Jessie said...

GO FINLAND!!! You squish that bloodsucking bug!

I think they were the first country to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against gypsies, too.

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. said...

This is so fucking exciting! Awesome!

fatchicksrule said...

One country down, how many more to go?

SueW said...

At least Weight Watchers (1) allows your doctor to set a healthy weight (2) gives free membership and meetings to those who keep the weight off (3) gives members very healthy guidelines to eating including 3 servings of dairy, 2 of protein, 5-7 of fruits and veggies (4) emphasizes the healthiness of cardio exercise and (5) tells members up front that if they want to keep off the weight, they're going to have to restrict the calories - there is no other way. That's more than one can say for any other diet organization including Jenny Craig (and that one is about the opposite of Weight Watchers). I agree with anonymous - if it's doing somebody good why should it "disappear"? And why don't they have a class action suit against the surgeons who mutilate the digestive organs with the promise of "losing weight" when that not only doesn't work, but kills people. If you are going to pick a demon in the diet industry, there are lots more which are far less healthy than WW and far more dangerous to health!

Charlotte Cooper said...

Sue, why pick any of this shit at all?

Anonymous said...

I'd say that's probably because Scandinavians have quite healthy lifestyles.

Charlotte Cooper said...

Er, where's your evidence for that? It sounds like cultural stereotyping to me.

Mireille Sillander said...

I'm from Finland, so I'm putting my two cents in here (found you through Fat Chicks Rule, btw :) ).
The official explanation from Weight Watchers is that Finland is georaphically a difficult country for them to provide services, hence operations are non-profitable, even thought they say there's an increasing need for "health services" like these.
So yeah, we're getting moderately fatter. Still the development in collective BMI hasn't been as drastic as it has been in other western countries.

I'd say the bigger issue besides georaphy is that people have lost faith in calorie restricted ways of losing weight. And peer pressure and group gatherings where the sole purpose is to worry about your weight, not your overall health. The most popular way of improving both is currently a low carb lifestyle. While i'mnot ahuge advocate of dieting solely for the purpose of losing weight, what the low carb craze has done is bring to light how abnormal the current food offering in grocery stores is. People are seeking out healthy, natural foods that make them feel good and put minimal strain on the ecossystem. So while low carb might be a fad (I hope not) there are unexpected benefits. And good riddance to WW. As someone who knows a lot of people who have gone to WW and ended up yoyoing on their program that's "totally not counting calories because we call them points now" and even people who've ended up just gaining on their system because they were eating too little, the downfall of WW as any sort of health autority can't come fast enough for me.

Charlotte Cooper said...

Thanks for your comment.