Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

“Send that to me and heads would roll!”

Recently, my colleagues and I have been all abuzz about a new feature on the website of a well known residential weight loss program (I won’t name the program here because I refuse to give them any publicity!).  This website feature allows a person to have a postcard emailed to someone they know (or even to someone they don’t know), telling that person that “someone” is concerned about their health because of their “weight”.

The residential treatment program will send this postcard to the person anonymously or with the sender’s name included. It’s the sender’s choice.

OMG…if this is not the rudest, most misguided, misinformed, money-over-good-sense marketing attempt to get people into their treatment center, I don’t know what is! They must be desperate for clients! I hope that’s true!

When I first learned about this marketing tactic (See The Chicago Tribune article “Broaching A Weighty Matter”) , I was incredulous, outraged, and saddened that treatment providers who should truly understand the pain, shame, and or anger an uninvited postcard like this is likely to cause, sanctioned this anyway.

I mentioned my outrage to one of my coaching clients and she said, “I’m telling you, if someone sent that to me, heads would roll!

Above and beyond the rudeness, insensitivity, even cruelty of this marketing effort, when will people, especially health professionals, get this? Weight is not an indicator of a person’s health. You CAN NOT tell anything about a person’s health or fitness level by just looking at them, just like you can’t tell if a book is going to be a good read by looking at its cover. 

What would you like to tell this Residential Treatment Center about their postcards and marketing campaign? I’ll be happy to forward your comments to them!


Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com


  1. Anmarie James says

    If I received one of these postcards in the mail, I would be instantly furious, both at the company and the person who requested it. How DARE anyone assume to know more (or know better) about what’s right for my health that I do?? And the audacity of the marketing department (not to mention any higher ups involved) that came up with and then APPROVED this hair-brained scheme just floors me. The sad part of the commercial aspect is that it will probably work to some extent, simply because this tactic plays on our emotions and deep-seated need to be accepted/acceptable in today’s culture. It won’t, however, do any favors for this company’s “social status”.

    If I was able to stay angry, and not spiral down into a deep depression of embarrassment, shame, isolation, and hopelessness, I would contact the company and demand to know who gave them my information. Then I would invent a postcard of my own to send to that person…under the guise of being concerned for their health, it would be a postcard from a fictitious organization offering help for their drinking/STD/drug use issues. No, it doesn’t resolve any of the issues, but it’s representative of the low emotional level I’d be on.

    A healthier (or wiser) person might use her anger energy to start a campaign to spread “counter intelligence”…statistics and HAES information, etc., in hopes of educating people against such rediculous and emotionally/socially detrimental tactics. After I calmed down and regrouped, I’d jump right on that bandwagon. In fact, where do I sign up?

  2. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Coach; A Weigh Out says

    I am so in agreement with your suggestion, AnMarie! I think your turn-about-is-fair-play idea is right on…send the sender a “concerned” postcard—get people to think before they judge…especially when their judgments are based on erroneous and proven to be false assumptions about weight and health/cause and effect!

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