What Weight Watchers Offers That Ozempic Can’t

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Lauren: Interesting.

Sima: But because we are saying that it solves obesity, suddenly it’s a debate. 

Lauren: When you, when you say cancel culture, I mean, is that something that factors into your thinking about your messaging around Weight Watchers? 

Sima: I think that it factored into our thinking before. Look, I wasn’t here when we changed the name to WW.

Lauren: Mm-hmm. 

Sima: But I will say that I think a big part of that was a move towards wellness felt like it would align better with the times. And, you know, when I joined, I wanted us to re-embrace our heritage and acknowledge our past and, and be a part of the change moving forward because wellness is about achieving an optimal health. And Weight Watchers is focused on achieving the absence of illness. It’s about the optimal functioning and the, the way we achieve that is through weight loss. Now, once you do that, you can aspire for optimal health. You can aspire for overall satisfaction and happiness, but we’re not in the happiness business. We’re in the health-related quality of life business. And that’s what our focus needs to be on. So, you know, at, I would say at the risk of having that tough conversation and, and really letting everybody know who’s at our company that it’s OK. And frankly, they felt so unlocked and grateful because so many people who come to work at Weight Watchers are there because the program has had an impact on their lives or the lives of their loved ones. You come to work for a company like Weight Watchers because you’re truly passionate about this space and what we do and. Before when we were trying to say, “No, no, no, no, no. Look over here, we’re wellness.”

Lauren: We’re wellness. Right.

Sima:  We were, we weren’t being authentic or true to ourselves and, right. And I, I, I, I think we’re, well—

Lauren: Wellness was being marketed to a lot of people as a, as a solve for a lot of problems that were much deeper than wellness could solve.

Sima:  That’s, that’s exactly right. 

Lauren: You mentioned earlier in the podcast that you’re an optimist. What makes you most optimistic these days? 

Sima: You know, I’m looking at success metrics around reducing disease, uh, achieving, you know, helping people achieve remission in a chronic condition. Advancing prevention, improving health-related, you know, quality of life indicators, helping marginalized communities have better access to treat and manage and prevent obesity. I feel like there’s a paradigm shift happening right now. And we have the opportunity to sort of harness that energy and attention to do good. 

Lauren: Sima Sistani, CEO of Weight Watchers, thank you so much for joining me on, Have a Nice Future. I hope you have a very nice future. 

Sima: I hope you have a very nice future.


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