Oprah and Weight Watchers

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

61-year-old billionaire Oprah Winfrey bought a 10% stake in Weight Watchers International yesterday. Her $43M purchase of 6.4 million shares caused Weight Watchers stock price to double – netting her a tidy profit of about $75M (including shares and options). Her investment comes at a good time because even with the Oprah-induced doubling, WW stock price is still down 44% so far this year, WW memberships and revenue have been dwindling for the last 10 consecutive quarters, and the company has a $2 billion debt load (according to WSJ). WW is controlled by a European family (investment company Artal Luxembourg SA).

In a press release, Ms. Winfrey is quoted as saying, “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution.”

As a past guest on The Dr. Oz Show (produced by Ms. Winfrey’s Harpo productions), and a frequent contributor to a variety of Hearst magazines (publisher of O magazine), I’m a big fan of Ms. Winfrey’s ability to both educate and motivate her fans – so I really hope that she can bring some much-needed “evolution” to Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers suffers from some of the very same problems that are plaguing the entire “weight loss” industry, including a “deprivation” mindset, an inappropriate focus on calories or fat grams or carbs, an inability to help clients keep the weight off, and a lack of appreciation for the real reason that most people gain weight in the first place (disruptions in metabolic equilibrium).

The future of the “weight loss industry” has nothing to do with “weight loss” – but has everything to do with helping people to rebalance their underlying biochemistry – so the weight loss just happens.

Most of our modern 21st-century “problems” are caused by biochemical imbalances leading to fatigue, depression, weight gain, mental fog, low libido, and burnout. For more than two decades, I’ve dedicated my life to educating people about the scientific basis for how restoring biochemical balance in body, mind, and spirit is the solution to higher energy, elevated mood, accelerated fat loss, focused mental clarity, youthful libido, and ultimate performance in all aspects of our lives.

I’ve created and researched products for some of the largest and most successful health companies across retail, B2B, and direct-to-consumer channels – but, I started my new venture (EQQIL) because I believe that restoring balance is literally life-changing for people – and I’m lucky to see it in action everyday.

Restoring balance helps you feel better, look better, and perform better (which is a huge “win” for you) – but you’re so much better that you want to share that with others (which is a huge “win” for them). People in balance are better parents and spouses; they have more energy for relationships, hobbies, and volunteering; they’re more creative, optimistic, happier, and engaged with life. This potential to fundamentally change lives is why EQQIL exists – to motivate people around the world to discover and share the transformational power of balance and inspire others to do the same.

Ms. Winfrey is smart. She realizes that a restrictive “diet” (like the OptiFast liquid protein program that she followed to lose 67lbs back in 1998) is not the right way to go (she gained it all back). She also realizes that the “social connection” that WW does very well can be an important aspect of an effective program (but most WW clients also gain their weight back). But, what she might not fully grasp is that without the “biochemical balance” part of the equilibrium equation, clients will never achieve their optimal body weights, nor will they become as balanced as they could be in body, mind, and spirit (which is what Ms. Winfrey has based her entire career and life around – to help people to achieve their dreams).

Thanks for reading,



Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN

Nutritional Biochemist and Author



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The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic

The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)

The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)

Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)

Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)

The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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