As I write this post, I’m wearing my anti-weight stigma advocacy hat…
A while back, I found an email in my INBOX from a life coach who was marketing a first time weight loss class. The subject line said ” I am 3/4 the person that I used to be…”
OK, I was curious. So I opened the email and I went to her website. I learned this coach normally specializes in coaching women in business. But now, after losing some weight herself, her newest offering was a class to help people “create an amazing body… and look and feel great”.
In both her marketing video and sales copy (her before & after weight loss pictures included), she said she was motivated to change a great deal in her life after looking at a photo of herself and saying, “Yuck, I look like a cow! How did I get this fat?” That’s an exact quote.
Please understand where I’m coming from…I feel one of the most important missions in my life is to contribute to the end of weight stigma; internal and external. And I have never ever before publically commented on any other coach’s marketing strategy or approach to selling her services. (I believe in freedom of speech and everyone’s right to make a living within ethical bounds.) But what she said really bothered me!
So, I wrote to her. We had a brief, civil exchange. But, when all was said and done, I just don’t think she understood that her comments, even if only written about how she felt about her own body (which is how she defended what she wrote), still perpetuated weight stigma.
I hope her class was wonderfully empowering and her content was different from her marketing copy….because, in my book, you are a whole person (not 3/4), with all the same talents and gifts, no matter how much adipose tissue (fat) you happen to have on your body on any given day. I would hope that anyone who plans to work with women who struggle with emotional eating issues will help those women build self-esteem and lessen shame, regardless of what they weigh or how much weight they might or might not lose.
My real hope for those of us who have struggled with or still identify with being an emotional eater or a binge eater, is that we get to recover from emotional eating without calling ourselves (or anyone else) names. I hope we can let go of the judgment and the shame, knowing in our hearts and minds that what we weigh does not define who we are or limit what we are capable of contributing to the world and to those we love…unless we let it.
I hope that shift happens in my lifetime. It’s my greatest wish! I know it’s a huge one!