Yesterday I cancelled my monthly Weight Watchers plan. I’ve considered doing that for months now–since December–but I wanted to be sure. In December, Oprah (who apparently no longer needs a last name) announced that she was buying 10% of Weight Watchers and she was endorsing their newest plan (their plan changes fairly regularly, usually about five years behind the current research) and she had lost 26 pounds. Amusingly, announcing her weight loss has now made it relevant investor information and she has to disclose her weight loss to everyone or no one, because it has become insider information. After all, if she were to gain some of the weight back, Weight Watchers stock would then go down, in theory. It gives public accountability for weight gain a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? I mean, a few people read my blog and a few of those people might be sad for me if I gained some weight back, but it’s not like I have to disclose it in my quarterly earnings statement.

But I digress.

When Oprah took up WW and the newest plan was announced, suddenly it was all about “a new healthy you” instead of about practical weight loss. The information sessions weren’t about fitness and nutrition, they were about checking in with your inner needs and psychological health. There were a few minutes at the end of each meeting where the leaders got to try to sell us WW snacks and crackers, all in lots of crunchy plastic that divided them into “two-point treats” and similar processed bullshit. Costco sells 100-calorie snackpacks, too, but they don’t try to claim they’ll help you lose weight and that they’re secretly good for you, even if they do contain quinoa.

I hate processed food. It’s mostly designed to be addictive, lots of sugar and salt. Here, for example, is one such product. Note that the first ingredient is sugar.

What a brilliant idea WW has! They sell you food that is bad for you while they are pretending to help you get healthy. It makes sure you keep paying those membership fees, even while they make it harder for you to reach your goals.

And meetings? You come to a meeting, you sit down in a chair, you listen to a conversation about food, and you leave. Will someone explain to me why meetings don’t include a group walk? Why WW’s centers don’t have walking groups?

The meeting that tipped me over the edge was a half hour on how to use spices when cooking. Seriously? This is not a good use of my time.

The problem I had then is that I’ve enjoyed having a support group–I like some of the people in the meetings (not the ones that are in denial about their food issues, but the ones who are actually trying to change their lives), and I like the Monday morning accountability.

I went looking for something to take the place of WW, and I found an online sports nutrition group aimed at female tri-athletes (and other serious female endurance athletes–cyclists, swimmers, runners). It’s been a joy. I hate this cliche, but it applies: “I have found my tribe.” If I say that I’m struggling to figure out what I can eat before I bike and swim so that I don’t bonk, there are actual answers, that involve real food. I even asked for advice about those long agility days–and got an answer I’m looking forward to trying.

There’s a month-long (quite pricey) introductory program. I will be posting details once I finish the program.