Recently, on the very same day I spent 30 minutes agonizing over whether or not I should spend $50 on some black suede wedges at T.J. Maxx, Oprah was buying 10 percent of the Weight Watchers brand. By the end of the day, the shoes were in my closet, and Oprah had earned nearly $70 million in profits on her investment.
All of which is by way of reminding you that Oprah is not like you and me.
She’s a visionary business mogul and philanthropist who knows what we need before we know it ourselves. I, on the other hand, spend way too much time worrying about mundane things: When did wide-calf boots become a thing? What exactly is barbacoa, and why is Chipotle the only place that has it? Did anybody else hate Kristen Wiig’s performance in “The Martian” because she acted just like her “MacGruber” role and it was very distracting?
While I’m pondering piffle like that, Oprah is singlehandedly resurrecting an old-school weight loss brand that was circling the drain. The Oprah effect has always been astonishing, but when she slapped the metaphorical paddles onto Weight Watchers’ pale bony chest last week and screamed “CLEAR!” the overnight recovery was impressive even by her standards.
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Oprah said she had lost 15 pounds in two months on Weight Watchers and she wanted to invest in a program she personally believes in. To those of you who don’t know how WW works, foods are given a point value and participants strive not to exceed their daily points allotment based on their age, gender, weight, etc.
Until Oprah, WW was losing ground to a smorgasbord of calorie-counting phone apps and fitness trackers that made the points system seem as quaint as a Tupperware lettuce keeper.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating on WW. It absolutely works if you “do what they tell you,” “eat healthier foods in reasonable portions,” “exercise at least four times a week” and other hard stuff that isn’t nearly as appealing to me as binge-watching “Jane the Virgin” while eating cookie butter straight from the jar. Fun fact: I think cookie butter has 4,350,718 Weight Watchers points, give or take.
I know that Oprah will reach her weight loss goal because the whole world is watching. So, in this case, it’s good NOT to be Oprah. The rest of us only disappoint ourselves and maybe one or two nagging relatives who delight in saying buzzkill things like “Pimento cheese is NOT a vegetable.” In contrast, Oprah has to reach her goal weight while making it look not only tolerable but hip and fun! And here’s the kicker: The weight has to stay off or stocks will plummet again.
If I gain a few pounds after falling off the diet wagon, an entire company won’t go under because of it. But, yeah, I may have to take a closer look at those wide-calf boots.