Dear Weight Watchers
In response to targeting teens with access to your free program over the summer…
I’m having a hard time putting my feelings into words
Because as soon as I heard, it was an immediate dejavu moment for me.
It took me back to the summer of my 16th year. I begged my mom to order me an at home fitness program off the tv that I would pay her back for with my babysitting money.
I did some totally ridiculous rendition of the Atkins diet and weighed myself multiple times a day.
This was the year I began my obsessive relationship with the scale and decades of yo-yo dieting and correlating my worth to my body.
As an overweight teen, the last thing I needed was free access to a weight loss system. I did not need ONE MORE THING telling me I wasn’t good enough because of my weight and solidifying my belief that the only way to live a good life was to be thin and pretty.
And despite your seemingly “body positive” approach to weight loss (never a more contradictory sentence was ever written) – today’s youth don’t need that either.
I can, however, tell you what they DO need:
EDUCATION, AWARENESS, REPRESENTATION, COMPASSION, COMMUNITY
The need free and equal access to programs IN SCHOOLS that explore and educate on
-movement for joy
We need FREE ACCESS to tools, books, online resources that show MORE THAN ONE BODY TYPE, that talk about mental health and spiritual health in the same light as physical health.
We need MORE REPRESENTATION in the media, on shows, in magazines, of ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOPLE.
We need compassion for ourselves and others.
We need to STOP prescribing weight loss as the answer to every problem.
We need to equip our youth to be able to cope with life with means beyond just controlling their weight. Like ACTUALLY TALKING about what is bothering them or making them feel the way they feel.
We need to TALK ABOUT IT AND BE ABOUT IT. Openly.
So it’s not so bizarre for someone of a different size to be happy with themselves. So it’s not just okay to exist in a body with more fat as long as you’re trying to get rid of it.
Let’s teach our youth how to go back to their intuition and to be the boss of their own bodies and own their individuality instead of trying to be a carbon copy of everyone else. Let’s provide them with a holistic understanding that their body is PART of who they are, not ALL of who they are.
Want to offer free programs for teens? GREAT! Let’s do it! I HAVE done it through my non profit initiative GirlPhoria, Inc. and the affects are contagious.
Let’s introduce body shaming and bullying awareness programs. Let’s make life skills courses mandatory EVERY YEAR. Let’s provide free access to after school programs that get kids active without a focus on weight. Let’s create a community that doesn’t compete based on the way they look but raise each other up and SUPPORT each other. Let’s support body diverse campaigns. Let’s introduce media literacy courses so that teens understand how nearly ALL images have been altered and that what they see isn’t real.
Most importantly, we need to be 100% CLEAR: their bodies are not the problem – the society in which we live that states beauty and acceptance comes in ONE package – THAT is the problem.
Let’s help our youth to “Just do you”