Pageviews last month

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Paradox of #WeighThis

A friend of mine posted a link on my fb timeline today, asking if I had seen it and called it amazing.  Below is the link, so you know what I'm talking about:

Go ahead and watch it.  I'll wait.

If you chose not to watch it, SPOILER ALERT...

It shows women coming near a scale and an unseen narrator telling them that she wants them to approach the scale, asking them if they would like to weigh themselves.  Then, the narrator says that she is not going to weigh them and asks instead, "What is your greatest accomplishment?"  This is followed by a 50 something woman who went back to school, another person who is celebrating 24 years of marriage, another woman celebrating her divorce, and a tearful woman who is a single mom that made the dean's list.  There are a few more heartwarming stories that are designed to tug at your heartstrings.  The video then shows these same women putting their "accomplishments" on the scale.  When asked what it weighed, one woman replied, "It's just not measurable" while another one said, "I'm more proud of what I'm doing than what my weight is". The description on the youtube clip reads:  If you’re going to weigh something, weigh what matters. Share how you want to be weighed with the hashtag #WeighThis.

Aw.  It's touching, right?  Did it make you tear up?  Give you goosebumps?  Get you all emotional?

Welcome to the amazingly powerful world of advertising which, defined, is a form of marketing communication used to promote or sell something, usually a business's product or service.  I have to give it up to Lean Cuisine for using the scale tactic to hit you right in the feels.  After all, they certainly do know their target market (women) and manipulated their emotional nature to elicit a response.  I can imagine women everywhere watching this and applauding, exclaiming loudly, "oh!  They get me!"

Not so fast.  I may sound like a cynical, jaded killjoy, but this has to be said.

Did you know that the dietary guidelines set forth from estimates total calorie needs for adult women to be between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day?  Sedentary women aged 19-30 need between 1,800-2000.  SEDENTARY WOMEN.  Quite a far cry from what Lean Cuisine offers.  Their Creamy Basil Chicken with Tortellini offers 230 calories.  How about the Cheese & Tomato Snack Pizza?  This one comes in at a paltry 160 calories.  The Lasagna with Meat Sauce looks hearty in comparison weighing in at 320 calories.  So, if we were to average these three meals, we are talking about 235-240 calories per serving.  Multiply that by three and you get a grand total of 720 calories.  Hell, I'll be generous.  Multiply that by six (if we adhere to the three small meals/three daily snacks "diet" staple) and you get a whopping 1,440.  For.The.Entire.Day.

 May I remind you what Lean Cuisine does?  They sell low calorie, prepackaged diet food which is specifically marketed to women.  They are the Diet Industry.  They ARE.  They want to you get by on as little nourishment as possible so you can shrink yourself down.  They claim to be an ally for Women's Wellness, but how can that be when they are clearly representing diet culture?  They also say that they are here to make food that helps women thrive, but do you realize HOW MUCH of their food you would have to eat in order to "THRIVE" and be satisfied, particularly if you are active?  

Ladies, please don't be fooled by the touchy feely, warm and fuzzy approach used in this youtube clip.  They may be deemphasizing the scale, but they are certainly aligning themselves with every other facet of diet culture, particularly low calorie, portion controlled "meals".  How can you take their message seriously in light of who they are and what they promote?  

You don't need "lean" cuisine.  You don't need pre-portioned, pre-packaged meals that leave you hungry ten minutes later.  You need to take your power back.  You need to trust yourself.  You need to think critically about these sneaky, subliminal messages that the diet industry is feeding us. 

So, that's my opinion.  Feel free to #WeighThis.  

Friday, October 2, 2015


We've heard the above expression countless times, haven't we? And it's true: Comparison IS the thief of joy. So often, we measure ourselves against photoshopped images, fitness bloggers, people on instagram, and supermodels. We feel like failures because we haven't reached their level of "beauty and perfection."

That's been talked about quite a bit, as it should. We do compare our behind the scenes to other people's highlight reel and it's not serving us. But, there is another aspect of comparison that is equally troubling.

A few weeks ago, I was working with a client. She and I have been together off and on for two years. We had sessions to help her heal her relationship with food and body image as well as personal training time. As I took her through her workout, she told me that she was starting to become more accepting of her body and wasn't being as critical, which is GREAT. But then, she said, "I mean, I look at other women and I say to myself, 'hey, I'm not half bad'.

Seems pretty harmless. I'm sure we have ALL done this. I know that I have. And I was WRONG.

Do you see why that is problematic? If she is comparing herself to other women and coming to the conclusion that she isn't "half bad", what does that say about the other women? That they ARE bad? In other words, she is still judging other people's appearance and bodies. It may seem like I'm nitpicking here, but think about it this way: how would you feel if YOU were the criteria someone was using in order to feel BETTER about themselves???

Make sense?

So, what's the answer? What is the solution? Well, it starts with us "being the change". We need to STOP placing so much emphasis on APPEARANCE. It gets WAY too much of our attention and there are so many other things that are more deserving of it. We are visual creatures and, of course, you are going to formulate an opinion based on what you see. You may not be able to control the thoughts that come in to your head, but you can certainly control what you do with them.

What if we just stopped comparing ourselves to others for ANY REASON, period? Because, let's face it, we are all different and it makes no sense to do it at all. And maybe, just maybe, if we really took some time to be still and question whether or not we are still in judgement of our bodies, we wouldn't feel the need to compare at all.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Problem With "No Excuses"

The phrase "no excuses" gets a lot of airtime these days. Particularly in sentences like:

"That's it, I've had it. From now on, I'm going to do meal prep for the week on Sundays. No excuses!"


"I have to get my lazy ass out of bed so I can hit the gym before work. No excuses!"

Here's a question: does that strategy ever really work for anyone, forever? Like beyond the first week or two at the most?

The thing is, we are hardest on ourselves than anyone else. You know it's true. If our loved ones talked to us the way we speak to ourselves, we'd have no loved ones left. So, to add insult to injury, we add the "no excuses" caveat after beating ourselves up for not being Superwoman (or Superman for the males who are reading this). 

Here is another question:  How's that working for you??? I don't know about you, but it's never done squat for me.

Maybe you're overworked, overstressed, overcommitted and overwhelmed. Those sound like pretty valid excuses, if you ask me. You don't need a mantra of "no excuses". You need a heaping dose of TLC and you need it STAT. You need to take a deep breath and relax more into your life. You need to be kinder. 

"No excuses!" or "I'm doing the best I can with where I am right now."

Which one FEELS better???

Letting go of the compulsion to shame and guilt yourself into change is the first step to seeing those "excuses" through a much softer lens.