Janet Jackson Doing Nutrisystem? And This Motivates What Woman??

I’ll admit it: when Jennifer Hudson began to endorse Weight Watchers, I got so sick of hearing her scream at me through the television that it made me cringe. Seriously. However, I thought her progress was beautiful and having successfully participated in Weight Watchers in the past, I could understand her allegiance and endorsement. Even amid the lap-band and other weight-loss surgery rumors (because fat people don’t just lose weight, and it’s everyone’s business how said weight is lost), they played J-Hud back-to-back-to-back-to-back singing “Feeling Good”, and she got press and continued to lose weight. I did, however, suspect that Weight Watchers was looking for a more urban vibe.

And that’s okay, I suppose. First Lady Obama is working on an initiative to end childhood obesity while Republicans are discussing her booty, right?

While I always found her singing to be a tad bit distracting and, perhaps, distressing (and, my goodness, I mean that in the nicest way, as she has a very powerful voice), I’ve always found Jennifer Hudson and Weight Watchers to be a good pair because they both seemed to be selling me something very authentic. By this I mean: Jennifer Hudson struggled, but succeeded in her career as an artist and film star as a plus sized Black woman. Likewise, beneath the fluff of celebrity advertising and fees, Weight Watchers is merely a support group that teaches participants portion control and weight management. That’s it.

On the other hand, it looks like the other major weight loss companies are also looking for a more urban vibe. What, with Janet Jackson endorsing Nutrisystem and Mariah Carey endorsing Jenny Craig. And as stated above, by all means, have at it. My question, though, is this: is Janet Jackson, who has seldom been seen without a tight body, really supposed to make me believe that eating processed Nutrisystem food will make my body look like hers? Matter fact, show of hands: how many people think that Janet has actually even tasted Nutrisystem’s food?

At several points during her career, Mariah has put on and off a bit of weight. However, having witnessed Mariah in the early 90s, I wonder the same about her as I do with Janet: who, exactly, is supposed to be inspired by their endorsements of the processed food diet programs? I am not certain that Jenny and Nutrisystem want its consumers to take it seriously with such advertisements, and yet I also have a difficult time believing that the majority of their consumers are Black women. In fact, I’ve found that the programs are slightly expensive and the foods have a reputation of not being pleasing to the palate.

I’ll stipulate: creating programs geared toward Black bodies to encourage health and wellness is incredible; yet I can’t help but feel that this battle toward inclusion in advertising (especially when we aren’t seen as beautiful where mainstream depictions of beauty are concerned) bothers me. (We do know that wellness programs and gimmicky get-skinny-quiet diet schemes are completely different, and that size is no reflection of beauty, don’t we?) Even more, it puzzles me when celebrities who’ve had average sized bodies attempt to sell products implying that these meal plans have assisted with their epic quest to skinny. What is that about? Don’t even get me started on the gender binding Weight Watchers campaign a la Charles Barkley..

Similar to the Weight Watchers idea are programs online that can help you count the nutritional aspects of the food that you ingest. Most of them even have apps for your phone and have an exercise component with them (see: My Fitness Pal). What they do not have is celebrity advertising, because there is no patent on proper diet and exercise. Similarly, they may not have the advantage of a support group but they do encourage inviting family and friends to join you on your journey. I’m not dissin’ the weight loss heavy weights, I’m just wondering the necessity of the constant advertising that include celebrities who have mostly always had smaller, in shape frames when the formula for losing can be found online?

Jennifer Hudson: Before & After

I know that it is truly more easily said than done, but the path to weight loss is found in diet and exercise. As a plus sized woman, I’m fully aware that everyone’s situation is different and it is ineffably frustrating for some people to lose weight. Weight loss commercials ought to come with a disclaimer that reads: “Celebrity spokespersons can afford resources that our viewers may not have access to; including but not limited to – healthy food alternatives, personal trainers, nutritionists, food therapists, chefs, weight loss and/or cosmetic surgery, and free time to plan and combine each of the aforementioned resources. Results may vary.”

That’s aight though. When I get skinny, I’m gonna make a video of my skinny self singing a duet with my fat self. Won’t be able to tell me nothing.